Sins Blotted Out
When Luke recounted the story of the Great Commission, he said about the death of Christ that it was necessary. He wrote, “Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:46-47). The word “behoved” (past tense of “behove”) expresses necessity and adequacy.
In order to have forgiveness of sin (by God) on condition of repentance, there absolutely has to be an adequate payment for sin. Christ’s ordeal culminating in death was that adequate payment. Under the Old Covenant, the sins of God’s people were brought forward year after year as the blood of animals sacrificed to that effect could not make absolute atonement for them. But the death of Christ on the cross was according to God’s plan of salvation the ultimate sacrifice for sin. It was designed to take away sin, and it did (John 1:29; Hebrews 9:26-28). It was the perfect sacrifice.
The death of Christ on the cross thus satisfied the transgression of God’s law by sinful men (1 John 3:4). Consequently, sinners were “justified by his blood” (Romans 5:9). And God could in the name of His Son pronounce sinners pardoned of their sins without wrecking the moral order He had impressed upon the universe. In other words, God could potentially say at the cross, and he can say today, to every individual that comes to Him with a repenting heart and the willingness to submit to Christ’s command to be baptised for the remission of sins that they have been forgiven. The sins the penitent believer who submits to Jesus’ authority is remitted the moment they are baptised the water upon confession that “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3). When one is baptized, he is “dead to sin” (Romans 6:2). This means, his sins will no longer be working to destroy his soul, just like the bad cells in the body of a person with cancer in complete remission cease to be destructive. The Apostle Peter emphasized this idea with the phrase “blotted out” in his second recorded sermon in Acts 3. To his audience he said, “Repent ye therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out” (v. 19)
Now, attached to the blessing of forgiveness of sins is the wonderful possibility of reconciliation with God. Those who were once alienated from God because of their sins are no longer separated from God once they have been baptised in Christ. They are reconciled to God by the blood of Christ (Romans 5:10; Colossians 1:21; Ephesians 2:11-18). Through His death, Jesus has bridged the chasm that separated man from God because of sin (Isaiah 59:1-2).