From Yesterday: The first passage is Romans 5 where the Apostle Paul identifies Jesus as a second Adam. In the Garden of Eden, Adam disobeyed God and brought sin into the world. We know Eve sinned as well, but Paul uses Adam to make his point, and to represent the entire human race. Adam’s sin was devastating. It ruined the perfect life God planned for His creation, gave Satan a foothold in our hearts, and introduced death and decay everywhere (Romans 5:12).
Since Adam’s sin tainted all humanity it was necessary, in God’s system of justice, for another man to shed his blood as payment. Jesus was that man! “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!” (Roman 5:8-9)
Because Jesus was perfect (Hebrews 4:15) He was able to assume the role of justifier and reverse the unrighteous act of Adam with His own righteous act on Calvary (Romans 5:18-19).
Therefore, as our second Adam, our sinless Redeemer Jesus made us just by paying our debt on the cross. Was it possible for Jesus to sin? The answer to this question must be “yes” or His temptation in the wilderness after His baptism was nothing but an interesting story. This gives us another reason to praise our Savior as we imagine Him battling Satan on every turn in order to remain sinless for our sakes. The first Adam sinned to satisfy his personal appetite, but Jesus refused sin to satisfy righteousness and save us from eternal separation from the Father. We would expect this from Him, but it is still astonishing to know He pulled it off while living in human flesh…
The second scripture relates more to the nature of a sacrifice under the Law. The writer of Hebrews reminds his readers, “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22). This role blood played in the Old Testament sacrificial system was one reason God’s people were prohibited from including it in their diet. Blood was viewed as a cleansing agent, and when offered with the right heart, a means of being made righteous before God.
In Leviticus we read, “For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life” (Leviticus 17:11). It was relationally important for God to come in human flesh to show us He wanted to share with us on our level. But it was absolutely critical that He exist in a body capable of shedding human blood to make Him an adequately atone for our sins.
When we put the Romans and Hebrews passages together we discover a very simple, yet profound rationale for the incarnation. God needed to come in human flesh to counter the actions of the first Adam, and to shed innocent blood as a means of satisfying God’s system of justice. Neither of these could have been accomplished without a human body, or without the appearance of the One who was “fully God” and “fully man.” It was necessary for God Himself to make the sacrifice we were incapable of making, and that the sacrifice involve human blood which only the flesh could supply.