Are People Really Sinners...or Just Victims?

Written by Jeff Carlson on .

ScapegoatThis past Monday was Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement. The Day of Atonement is outlined in Leviticus 16 and has always been considered to be the most holy day for Jews during the year. It was the Day when the High Priest made a sacrifice or atonement for the people before God to symbolically have their sins forgiven. Part of that special ceremony involved the High Priest selecting a scapegoat and placing ALL the sins of the people on it and sending it out into the wilderness to take those sins away from the nation.

Wonderfully, the Lord Jesus Christ fulfills all of these sacrificial issues from the Old Testament. Our Lord is our High Priest AND our Scapegoat...all in one amazing Lord. Our Lord presented Himself to God as our sacrifice and atonement so that we could be forgiven and have our sins removed from our lives. In Hebrews 9:11-12, the Bible explains our Lord's work for us as the final sacrifice on Yom Kippur,
But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.
But one of the unspoken lessons from Yom Kippur is the important principle that is at the heart of much of the dramatic things unfolding in America right now. Our society is racked with sins of every kind, but people don't know what to do about them, so they try to get rid of them one way or another. Every person ends up making a choice about what to do with their sins. That choice comes down to this. We can either accept the Lord Jesus Christ as our Scapegoat for our sin and be forgiven...OR we can blame others for our sins and try to make them our scapegoats. One choice leads to joy, peace and hope for the future with the Lord. The other choice leads to anger, blaming others and all the chaos we are seeing being unleashed in America today as people are in search for some illusive thing called "social justice."

America has increasingly moved away from the Christian worldview outlined above for a long time. As a result, people can't accept the fact that they are sinners in need of the Lord and His forgiving grace. If you doubt that, just mention sin with someone and see what happens. That even happens in churches, so sin has vanished from much of the preaching we are hearing today. Instead, our society has convinced people they are "victims" of some sort of social injustice. People see themselves as the real "victims" of life. The world owes them something because sin has been directed against them...not the Lord. We see this pattern everywhere today and it is destroying our society. The poor need more and more money from the government to solve poverty. Poverty is never connected to our behavior at any level. Women are being taken advantage of by men and the work place, so women must be "liberated" from this societal tyranny and sexism. Certain racial groups need to be paid reparations for past sins to stop supposed systemic racism from going on. Our corporations and businesses need to pay everyone back because they have been treated unfairly in the workplace. The list of grievances and injustices people are feeling today is just endless. The media has whipped the public into frenzy about these issues and the anger and rage we are seeing today is shocking. Few seem happy and content.

It seems everyone is so sensitive today about their rights and so many are easily offended about seemingly everything. People go to court over the smallest item or riot in the streets if they feel they weren't treated right. People act and feel entirely justified to do this without any accountability, so a spirit of lawlessness is exploding in America. Much of this attempt to move toward some idea of "social justice" for the slightest wrong has now become the foundation of what is being called "identity politics." Identity politics has fractured the Nation into warring tribes and competing interests that is destroying us from within. Our political process is now being directly to making life "fair" because all these people are supposed "victims" of our society and these issues must be addressed using the power of government to fix it.

This leads us to the great question of the hour: Are people primarily sinners before a holy God or just victims of other's sins against them? Now if the Lord is not in the mix here regarding real justice, and all sin against God is gone, there will never be any objective way to find justice or measure it. After all, if God's justice system is either forgotten or outright rejected, who determines when we finally achieve or arrive at "social justice"...or any kind of justice? But should our justice system and laws be left in the hands of groups like Black Lives Matter or Antifa? And if people reject God's need for justice God's way, have we left God out of life entirely and become "gods' ourselves? These are some of the questions Americans need to be asking.

But IF people do not see themselves as sinners first and foremost, there is no need for a Savior... and Jesus died for nothing. The Bible tells us in Romans 3:23-24 that ALL of us have sinned. There are NO exceptions. The Apostle Paul tells us,
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Every one of us, all the members of Black Lives Matter, Antifa and all those interested and pushing for "social justice" are sinners...NO exceptions. All of us need a Savior from the penalty of sin, no matter what anyone has supposed done against them. Paul explains that very thing in verse 24, that Jesus is the heart of God's justice system whereby sinners become just or justified and forgiven. Sadly, we never hear this discussion anywhere in the media. Even sadder, we sometimes don't hear this message in some of our churches that seem to be committed to "social justice" but have somehow forgotten the Cross and the Gospel message of God's justice.

But IF people reject the Lord's Scapegoat and His amazing grace they end up blaming everyone else in life and our society will be angry, fractured and divided as others are made to be scapegoats that often don't deserve it. Those scapegoats might include the wealthy, whites, men, corporations or any group that is seen as being guilty of some offense against others. But when you blame or scapegoat whole groups of people for anything you create injustice and even racism, classism, sexism...the very things you thought were done against you. So, this approach of seeking "social justice" by blaming and scapegoating others is doomed to fail. Not only will it fail, it will destroy any society sooner or later. We are currently seeing that very possibility here in America before our eyes.

Now, the Bible is very clear that injustice is always going on because of sin in the world. But if sin is not dealt with by the Lord first of all, there will never be any answer to the sins and problems of our fallen world. In the end, the only real Victim in life is the Lord Himself, who suffered the penalty of our sin...not His own. Our Lord was the one that was sinned against by all of us. Our Lord gave Himself for us, as our Scapegoat, to free us from finding other scapegoats to fulfill that need to deal with sin. When we finally realize that we are sinners that need a Savior we are free to be at peace with God and others. When we are saved from our sins through our Lord's atonement, we know that real justice does exist, and we don't have to take out our issues or concerns on others. We don't have to riot or burn things down to make a point in a vain attempt to find "justice." We can trust that the Lord of all justice in the Cross will make all things right one day. We can seek to bring justice to our world in God's Name, but we don't have to create injustice to do it. We never sin to punish sins against us. That freedom and peace is the answer for everyone today in our troubled world.

The hour is late for America. May our Lord help us to share this Gospel truth with everyone we can. May we also rejoice that we have a Savior for our sins and may we leave our victim status in life at the foot of the Cross where it belongs. We are NOT victims. We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us (Romans 8:36-39).

Pass this article on to others...every American needs to hear this message in this important hour.