can be cured only on the ground of the shed blood of
the Son of God."
in the Biblical doctrine of sin there are certain
distinctions, two universal facts should ﬁrst be noted:
1. Sin is always equally sinful whether it be committed by
the heathen or the civilized, the unregenerate or the
regenerate. The question of many stripes or few is one of
the judgments to be imposed upon the sinner; but any sin in
itself is unvaryingly sinful because it outrages the
holiness of God.
2. Sin can be cured only on the ground of the shed blood of
the Son of God. This was as true of those who anticipated
the death of Christ by animal sacriﬁces as it is now of
those who look back to that death by faith. Divine
forgiveness has never been a mere act of leniency in
remitting the penalty of sin. If the penalty is remitted, it
is because Another as a substitute has met the holy demands
against the sinner. In the old order it was only after the
priest had offered the atoning blood-sacriﬁce, which
anticipated the death of Christ, that the sinner was
forgiven (Lev. 6:7; 4:20, 26, 31, 35; 5:10, 13, 16, 18;
19:22; Num. 15:25, 26, 28). Likewise, after Christ has died
the same truth obtains. We read: In
whom we have redemption through his blood, even the
forgiveness of sins (Col. 1:14; Eph. 1:7).
The substitutionary work of Christ upon the cross is inﬁnitely
perfect in its sufﬁciency, therefore the sinner who trusts
in Christ not only is forgiven, but he is even justiﬁed
forever (Rom. 3:24). God has never treated sin lightly.
Forgiveness may impose no burden on the sinner, but he is
forgiven and justiﬁed only because the undiminished divine
penalty has been borne by Christ (1 Pet. 2:24; 3:18).
I. SIN BEFORE AND AFTER THE CROSS
1. The divine method of dealing with sin
before the cross is said to have been by atonement, which
word, in its Biblical use, means simply to cover. The blood
of bulls and goats could not, and did not, take away sin
(Heb. 10:4). The offering of sacriﬁcial blood indicated on
the part of the sinner the acknowledgment of the just
penalty of death (Lev. 1:4), and, on the part of God, the
sacriﬁce anticipated the efﬁcacious blood of Christ. By
symbolizing the shed blood of Christ, the atoning blood of
the sacriﬁces served to cover sin, as it were, in covenant
promise until that day when Christ would deal in ﬁnality
with the sin of the world.
Two New Testament passages throw light upon the meaning of
the Old Testament word atonement or covering:
(1) In Romans 3:25 the word
remission has the meaning of "passing over" and
in this connection it is stated that when Christ died He
proved God to have been righteous in having passed over the
sins which were committed before the cross and for which the
atoning blood of the sacriﬁces had been shed. God had
promised a sufﬁcient Lamb, and had forgiven sin on the
strength of that promise. Therefore, by the death of Christ,
God was proven to have been righteous in all that He had
(2) In Acts 17:30 it is stated that, before the cross, God
winked at sin. This word
should be translated "overlooked."
2. The divine method of dealing with sin
since the cross is stated in Romans 3:26. Christ has died.
No longer is the value of His sacriﬁce a matter of
expectation to be taken in covenant and symbolized by the
blood of animals; the blood of Christ has been shed, and now
all that can be asked of any person, regardless of his
degree of guilt, is that he believe in the thing which, in
inﬁnite grace, has been accomplished for him. This passage
declares that Christ upon the cross so answered the divine
judgment against every sinner that God can remain just, or
uncompromised in His holiness, when at the same time and
apart from all penalties, He justiﬁes the sinner who does no
more than believe in Jesus.
As before stated, the word atonement, which occurs only in
the Old Testament, indicated the "passing over,"
"overlooking," and "covering" of sin; but Christ in dealing
with sin on the cross did not pass it over or cover it. Of
His sufﬁcient sacriﬁce it is said:
Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the
world (John 1:29; Col. 2:14; Heb. 10:4; 1 John
3:5). Who his own self bare our
sins in his own body on the tree (1 Pet. 2:24).
There was no temporizing or partial dealing with sin at the
cross. This great issue between God and man was there dealt
with in a manner which is satisfying even to the inﬁnite
holiness of God, and the only question that remains is
whether man is satisﬁed with the thing which satisﬁes God.
To accept the work of Christ for us is to believe upon the
Saviour to the saving of the soul.
II. SIN OF THE UNSAVED AND THE SAVED
1. The forgiveness of sin is accomplished
for the sinner when he believes upon Christ and is a part of
his salvation. Many things which constitute salvation are
wrought of God at the moment one believes; but forgiveness
is never received by the unsaved apart from the whole work
of saving grace, and on the ground of believing on Christ as
2. In the divine dealing with the sins of the Christian, it
is the sin question alone that is in view, and the
Christian's sin is forgiven, not on the ground of believing
unto salvation, but on the ground of confessing the sin (1
The effect of the Christian's sin, among other things, is
the loss of fellowship with the Father and the Son, and the
grieving of the indwelling Spirit. The child of God who has
sinned will be restored to fellowship, joy, blessing, and
power, when he confesses his sin.
While the effect of sin upon the believer is the loss of
blessing, which blessing may be renewed by confession, the
effect of the believer's sin upon God is a far more serious
matter. But for the value of the shed blood of Christ and
the present advocacy of Christ in Heaven (1 John 3:1, 2;
Rom. 8:34; Heb. 9:24), sin would separate Christians from
God forever. However, we are assured that the blood is efﬁcacious
(1 John 2:2) and the Advocate's cause is righteous (1 John
2:1). The sinning saint is not lost because of his sin,
since, even while sinning, he has an Advocate with the
Father. This truth which alone forms the basis on which any
Christian has ever been kept saved for a moment, so far from
encouraging Christians to sin, is presented in the
Scriptures to the end that the Christian
sin not, or
be not sinning (1 John
2:1). Beholding the Saviour advocating for us in Heaven must
cause us to hesitate before every solicitation to sin.
1. What is the ﬁrst universal fact
2. What is the second universal fact concerning sin?
3. How was the second fact illustrated in the Old Testament
4. On what ground does God forgive sin?
5. What is the meaning of the word atonement?
6. What light is thrown on atonement in Romans 3:25 and Acts
7. What is now required of the sinner in view of the fact
that his sin has already been borne by Christ?
8. What did Christ do with sin on the cross if he did not
atone for it, or cover it?
9. How much sin did He take away?
10. God having been satisﬁed with the solution of the sin
question at the cross, what is left for the sinner to do?
11. With what else must the sinner's forgiveness be
combined, and on what ground may it be received?
12. On what ground is the Christian forgiven and how may
forgiveness be received?
13. a. What is the effect of a Christian's sin upon himself?
b. What is the effect upon God?
14. a. Describe the work of Christ as Advocate.
b. At what time in relation to the Christian's sin does
Christ advocate in his behalf?