Why the Lamb Was Spotless

Gerald Bray:

The lamb that was sacrificed for the sins of the people became sin for them, but it was not covered in blotches representing sins. On the contrary, it had to be completely free of blemish in order to be able to bear the burden of the people’s sins [Exodus 12:5]. If the lamb were less than perfect, someone might say that it was being sacrificed because of its own defects, but that was not true. It was not the lamb that was the problem but those for whom the lamb was dying. Exactly the same principle applies in the case of Jesus. He was not put to death for anything he had done wrong, but for the sins of those for whom he died [1 Peter 3:18]. His sinlessness exempted him from death and therefore made him suitable to be a sacrifice for the sins of others [Hebrews 10:11–14].

Gerald Bray, God Is Love: A Biblical and Systematic Theology (Wheaton: Crossway, March, 31, 2012), 586.


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Tony Reinke is a staff writer for Desiring God and the author of three books: Lit! A Christian Guide to Reading Books (2011), Newton on the Christian Life: To Live Is Christ (2015), and The Joy Project: A True Story of Inescapable Happiness (2015). He hosts the popular Ask Pastor John podcast, and lives in the Twin Cities with his wife and their three children. He also blogs at tonyreinke.com.