God created man in His image. We, male and female, are His offspring and made for fellowship with Him and His family of believers. Two men are key players in our stories and destinies. By Adam’s disobedience sin and death “passed upon all men” (Romans 5:12), but the obedience of Christ has brought us grace, righteousness and eternal life, taking away our sin and its penalty. “The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven” (1 Corinthians 15:47).
Men of all races and tribes have offered sacrifices whether to heathen gods or to the true God. The idea is deeply rooted in the human mind and has the intent of obtaining favor or appeasing anger and avoiding disaster. God, when He gave His law, regulated offerings. Animals offered to Him were to be clean and without defect. Jesus Christ “who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth” (1 Peter 2:22) “offered himself without spot to God” (Hebrews 9:14) ending the need forever of offering animal sacrifices year by year that couldn’t make the worshiper perfect or ease the guilt of conscience. He offered once for every person and by His death on that cross “hath perfected forever them that are sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14).
Everywhere we turn “evil is present” (Romans 7:21) in the form of temptation and our sinful nature. Even when the mind intends to obey God, we cry with Paul, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death” (Romans 7:24)? Jesus is our Deliverer. Those who accept Christ walk in His Spirit and bear the fruit of His Spirit. My little grandson, when I corrected a wrong, said, “Well, Granny, I need your help!” That’s our cry to Jesus. We need His help and we have His help. His Spirit indwells believers and gives power over our fleshly nature and by the Spirit we have eternal life abiding within us. He is our “wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30). Jesus is our only way to God, the only sacrifice God will accept for our sins. We are defiled by sin, but He is the spotless “Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). No matter your race, color, gender or wealth, you can receive His gift of salvation. Without Him we don’t have a prayer!
Jesus has taken our reproach, our grief, our sins and guilt. He travailed in pain bearing our guilt in His own body and satisfying God as He substituted for us upon that cross. The holiest place of hope and life in God was opened as He died that day. We can go in! By His Spirit we are purged from the works of the flesh that prevent our citizenship in His kingdom and are able to walk in “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance” (Galatians 5:22, 23) as members of His kingdom. “And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly” (1 Corinthians 15:49). By faith, repentance, confession of Him, water baptism and the indwelling of His Spirit we are saved from eternal death in Hell.
Jesus is our way to God, the propitiation for our sins, our Savior and Baptizer in the Spirit. He’s the Firstborn of the great family of God. He’s our Counselor and the Looser of prisoners. He’s our Physician who heals hearts and bodies, the Great Shepherd who leads and feeds His flock. He’s our Altar, our High Priest and Sacrifice, our Mediator and our soon-coming King. He’s all and in all who receive Him.