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 ESV)
In the OT lambs were brought to the priests for sacrifice. The animal would be killed in the place of the people so that the sin of the people would be removed and they could dwell in God’s presence. This poised us to Jesus who came to “take away the sin of the world.” the context of “world” was given in verse 12. Those whose sin would be taken away were those who received him, “who believed in his name.”
But what does it mean to have your sin taken away? The words of Harry Reeder sound in my mind when I think to answer. It means the penalty of sin is removed. Jesus’ death as the lamb of God took the place of my death. He paid the penalty for me. But this wasn’t the penalty of one sin that was removed, it was the penalty of my sin nature. It was a once for all death. This means that the power of sin was also removed. The guilt that always accompanies sin, this power of Satan to shove back in my face my own sin, is removed. “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” are the words that should echo in our minds. Even so, this is hard for us to swallow. I hate looking back on my sin of yesterday. It pains me to consider the impact of my sin upon others. And I want to somehow inflict punishment on my own head! But in this I must be careful because, while that may sound noble on the one hand, it can be a form of rejecting Christ’s atoning work and an attempt to pay it myself (though it never could). This problem of guilt must be dealt with by my faith if I ever expect to see the power of sin truly defeated. Do I really believe the penalty of sin is removed?
One as I do can the practice of sin be overcome. Jesus did not die so that we would go on sinning. He did not die to leave us wallowing in our own more. He rose from the grave, from that more, and brings us with him. Everyday we are to die to the sins of the flesh and live in the spirit. This is something that we can only do through faith in the fact that Jesus has removed the penalty and the power of sin in our lives. The reminders of our failures need not haunt us. They must not haunt us if we are not to break the practice of sin.
Lord, would you grant me victory of the patterns of sin in my life? I cannot overcome them on my own!