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God’s Word is Very Clear: Only One Atoning Sacrifice is Necessary

Please first read

Hebrews 10:11-18.

11 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. 15 But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, 16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” 17 then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” 18 Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.

A popular expression these days is “Let me be clear.” Speakers preface their statements in this fashion because they believe that what they are about to say is very important and they don’t want anyone to miss or misconstrue it.

Thankfully, all of Holy Scripture is abundantly clear. This blessed truth is brought out repeatedly in the Bible, such as in the psalmist’s declaration concerning God’s Word, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (119:105).

Whether we are reading the Law of God, which reveals God’s holy will; or the Gospel of Christ, which makes known God’s gracious plan for our eternal salvation, it is reassuring and comforting to know there is no unclearness or ambiguity in any of these important truths.

A good example of the clarity of the Gospel is found in Hebrews 10:11-18. The inspired writer makes it absolutely clear that by Jesus’ one sacrifice on the cross, He atoned for all the sins of the world for all time. This is stated repeatedly. We read again and again, “this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God” (v.12). “By one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified” (v.14). “Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin” (v.18). You can even go to the verse preceding this section and find it once again stated, “we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (v.10). 

If this Gospel declaration is so clear, why the need to say it repeatedly in such a short span in the Bible? This is due in part to the denseness of mankind’s sin-darkened mind, and also his tendency to think that he can contribute to his own salvation.

Consider the following example. While the Roman Catholic Church teaches that Jesus is our Savior from sin, nevertheless they erroneously hold that Jesus’ one sacrifice didn’t atone for all our sins. Because of this faulty belief, they have manufactured so-called meritorious deeds for sinners to do in order to absolve them of those extra sins. These include repetitiously praying the Lord’s Prayer, idolatrously saying the Rosary, and vainly offering up  a supposed bloodless sacrifice of Jesus in the Mass (Lord’s Supper).

Contrary to these empty practices, the Holy Spirit clearly presents throughout Holy Scripture the case for Jesus’ satisfactory payment for all sins through His one sacrifice. The apostle John testified repeatedly both in his gospel and epistle of Jesus’ one sacrifice atoning for all our sins. In his inspired record of John the Baptist’s ministry, he quotes the Baptizer declaring concerning Jesus, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (1:29). Also in his epistle, the apostle made it crystal clear that God’s one sacrifice of His precious Lamb washed us completely clean of all our sins, saying, “the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

Thank God He is abundantly clear in His holy Word that by Jesus’ one sacrifice on the cross, He has made full satisfaction for all the sins of the world!

Mark Gullerud is pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Bowdle, South Dakota, and Zion Lutheran Church in Ipswich, South Dakota.