And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness
In the Old Testament, God required the sacrifice of a goat to provide the blood needed for forgiveness of sin. He also required each person to confess his sins to the high priest, who placed his hand on a second goat—the scapegoat—to transfer the nation’s sin to the goat. A “fit man” took the scapegoat to the wilderness and left it there. Jesus Christ became all three: the blood sacrifice, the scapegoat, and the fit man. Because of Jesus we are not only forgiven of sin, but also able to live free from the bondage of sin.
Everyone sins and deserves eternal separation from God. In the Old Testament, the Lord’s goat, the scapegoat, and the fit man were all part of bringing forgiveness of sins to the people of Israel. For sin to be forgiven and removed from the children of Israel, one goat must die and one goat must live. The fit man was required to take the scapegoat deep into the wilderness, so far away it did not return to the people. The forgiveness was only temporary and the process had to be repeated year after year. Jesus’ death and resurrection takes the place of the Lord’s goat, the scapegoat, and the fit man. Salvation means forgiveness of sin, but it also means separation from sin and living a holy life.
1. Describe the role of the Lord’s goat, the scapegoat, and the fit man.
2. Why is the sacrifice of Jesus superior to the sacrifice of goats in the Old Testament?
3. What is the difference between being forgiven of sin and being separated from sin?
4. When Jesus forgives our sins and comes into our hearts, He expects us to make changes in our lives. What are some changes you think you need to make now?
5. What advice would you give someone who wants to be free from a habit, sin, or attitude in his or her life?
Jesus came to earth, died, and rose again so our sins could be forgiven and we could be reconciled to God. But the work He wants to do in our lives doesn’t stop with forgiveness. He also wants us to turn away from sin and turn toward good works and right living. Let’s stop making excuses for immorality and sin and wickedness. Let’s live like we are who we say we are. If you’re a horse, you run like a horse. If you’re a fish, you swim like a fish. And if you’re a Christian, for heaven’s sake, walk like a Christian. Live like a Christian. Say no to sin and yes to Jesus.