a.i. generated image of goat on colorful backgroundHave you ever heard someone refer to a person as a scapegoat? A scapegoat is a person blamed for the wrongdoings of others. Maybe it’s that weird uncle who seems to mess up all the time, or the athlete who chokes on a critical play, or a person at work who gets the blame for everything that goes wrong.

In the book of Leviticus Chapter 16 we read about the concept of the scapegoat. On the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), the Jewish high priest selected two goats. One was sacrificed, the other, the scapegoat, was set free. But before releasing the scapegoat, the high priest symbolically placed the sins of the people on it by laying his hands on its head. This scapegoat would be taken far away from camp and released into the wilderness.

A Foreshadow

Hebrews tells us that the blood of bulls and goats could never take away sin. Those sacrifices were merely a foreshadow of what God would do through His Son Jesus Christ. Isaiah wrote of Christ, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on Him [Christ] the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6) And 1 John 2:2 says that Jesus Christ “is the atoning sacrifice for our sins.” Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary’s Cross pardoned and canceled our debt and sin. God expresses His infinite grace and forgiveness through the sacrifice of Jesus in which He took on the sins of mankind. Only Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, could take on the sins of all mankind for all time.

If perhaps you think that God cannot possibly forgive you for the kind or scope of sins you’ve committed, then consider Romans 5:20. That passage tells us that we cannot sin beyond the scope of God’s grace, because where sin abounds, grace increases even more to bring eternal life to all who put their faith in Him. God delights in providing His love and grace to each of us. We are forgiven for every sin – past, present, and future. Grace is simply defined as unmerited favor from a loving God who desires for each of us to know and experience His love and fellowship with Him. Christ bore our sins that we might know the joy and peace that freedom from sin and guilt brings. Where we were once enemies of God, Jesus reconciles us to God and makes us His children.

Let the assurance of your salvation fill your heart with gladness and thanksgiving. May we be filled with reverence and appreciation to our loving Father and to Jesus who gave Himself for us. And since you’ve experienced the cleansing and forgiveness of Christ’s death for you, live for Him in that grace and share that good news freely with others as well.

Scripture Reading: Romans 5:12-21

Personal Application: Have you accepted God’s grace in your life? If so, you are completely and utterly forgiven. Seeing that you are forgiven by God’s grace, how does this impact the way you live your life from now on? (See Romans 6:11-4.)