Jesus Came for the Remission of Our Sins so That We Could Go to Heaven. Does That Mean That All Sinners Before Christ Were Lost?

From Issue: Discovery 4/1/2011

Dear Sean,

That is a great question, and the answer is, “No.” The Old Testament is full of faithful men and women who lived faithful lives and will be in heaven. Even in the New Testament, before Christ’s death, we read the story of Lazarus, who died and was carried by angels to Abraham’s bosom (Luke 16:22).

If our sins are only forgiven through the blood of Jesus, how were sins forgiven before Jesus’ blood was shed? Before Jesus died, people offered animal sacrifices. The blood of these animals was atonement for their souls (Leviticus 17:11). However, this was not enough to get rid of their sins. It was only to remind them of their sins, for the blood of animals could never take their sins away (Hebrews 10:4). They did this while they waited for the ultimate sacrifice, which was Jesus. When Jesus died on the cross, His blood covered our sins (if we obey Him), and the sins of the faithful followers of God who lived before He came to Earth.

Imagine you are in line at a buffet. When it is time for you to pay, you tell the cashier, “My friend who is behind me is going to pay for me.” As your friend comes up to the cashier he says, “Yes, I am going to pay for my friend who is in front of me as well as for my two friends behind me.” Just as the friend took care of those who were in front of him and behind him, Jesus also took care of those who came before His death on the cross, and after it.


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