By Jared Wilson:
“The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’”
– John 1:29
John the Baptist commands a beholding of the sin-taking-away Lamb. What do we see in this beholding? How exactly does Jesus take away our sin?
Here are 6 things Jesus does with sin:
1. He Condemns It.
Jesus puts a curse on sin. He marks its forehead.
Romans 8:3 – “For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh.”
Jesus says to sin in no uncertain terms, “Sin, you’re going to die.”
2. He Carries It.
Like the true and better scapegoat, Jesus becomes our sin-bearer.
1 Peter 2:24 – “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.”
2 Corinthians 5:21 – “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
3. He Cancels It.
He closes out the account. (Even better, he opens a new one, where we’re always in the black, having been credited with his perfect righteousness.)
1 Corinthians 13:4-5 – “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful”
That word resentful is more directly “to count up wrongdoing,” which is why some translations of this text say that “Love keeps no record of wrongs.”
Colossians 2:13-14 – “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.”
That last proclamation leads us into this great truth:
4. He Crucifies It
1 Peter 3:18 – “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.”
At the cross, Jesus dies and takes our sin with him. Only the sin stays dead.
5. He Casts It Away
Jesus takes the corpse and chucks it into the void.
Micah 7:19 – “He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.”
Psalm 103:12 – “as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.”
6. He Chooses to Un-remember It.
Jesus is omniscient. He is not forgetful. But he wills to un-remember our sin.
Jeremiah 31:34 – “And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
Hebrews 8:12 – “For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”
Hebrews 10:17 – “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”
Astonishing. We bring our sin to him, repentant and in faithful confession, and he says, “What’re you talking about?”
This is how Jesus forgives sin: He condemns it, carries it, cancels it, kills it, casts it, and clean forgets it. If we’ll confess it.
1 John 1:9 – “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”