under a special agreement with
presents Best Friends Series 2
under a special agreement with
Series 2 Lesson 3
God created man for His glory. God wanted people who would love Him, obey Him, and bring glory to His name. But God's first man, Adam, rebelled against Him and brought sin and death into the world.
Think of what it meant to God when sin came into the world. Sin ruined His beautiful creation. Think of how it grieved God in His heart. The Bible says, "God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth…and it grieved Him at His heart" (Genesis 6:5-6).
From the beginning, God taught His people that they must offer an innocent animal, usually a lamb, as a sacrifice for their sins. A person who wanted to be forgiven of his sins would take a lamb to the priest. The person would lay his hand on the lamb and say something like this, "I have sinned, but God has allowed this lamb to die in my place so that I can be forgiven of my sins."
The lamb had to be killed in such a way that its blood was poured out. God had said, "…it is the blood that makes an atonement [a payment for a person's sins]…" (Leviticus 17:11).
What was God teaching the people? He was teaching them that sin is a terrible thing in His sight. It is so terrible that the blood of an innocent animal must be shed [poured out] for sins. The Bible says, "…without the shedding [pouring out] of blood, there is no remission [no forgiveness of sins]" (Hebrews 9:22).
Can the blood of an animal take away our sins? No, it cannot. But, when a lamb was sacrificed, it was a "picture" of how God's Son would, one day, die on the cross to take away our sins.
For thousands of years, people sacrificed lambs as God had taught them to do. God accepted these sacrifices as a "covering" for their sins until Jesus came. When John the Baptist first saw Jesus, he cried out, "Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).
What does the name, "the Lamb of God," mean? It means that God's Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the perfect and complete sacrifice for our sins. There is no need now for anyone ever to offer an animal as a sacrifice for his sins. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died for the sins of all people, for all time.
Because He was the sinless Son of God, Jesus could die for the sins of the whole world. He died for my sins, and He died for your sins.
Many people do not understand why Jesus died on the cross. They say, "Why couldn't God just forgive us? Why did Jesus have to die?"
God could not "just forgive us" because He is holy and righteous. He must punish sin. The Bible says, "The Lord is righteous in all His ways, and holy in all His works" (Psalm 145:17).
God could not overlook our sins or pretend that He did not know about them. We have sinned, and we deserve to be punished. God loves us and wants to save us, but He cannot be unrighteous. How did God solve this problem? He solved it by paying the penalty of our sins Himself in the person of His Son. The following story will illustrate this.
Grandmother's Knitting Needle
Tommy lived with his grandmother. Tommy loved His grandmother and she loved him. But Tommy had a bad habit of stealing. Tommy's grandmother punished him again and again for stealing, but he did not stop stealing.
One day Grandmother said, "Tommy, I love you too much to let you continue doing this. The next time you come home with things that do not belong to you, I am going to take one of these knitting needles and heat it real hot in the fire. Then I am going to burn your hand so badly that you will never forget it."
Did Grandmother hate Tommy or did she love him? She loved him! Tommy didn't steal anything for a long time. He knew his grandmother meant what she said.
But one day Tommy began stealing again. He came home with his pockets stuffed with things he had stolen. He tried to hide his stolen goods, but his grandmother saw him.
"Where did you get those things?" demanded Grandmother. No answer. "Tell me, Tommy, where did you get those things?" asked Grandmother again. Still no answer.
"You have been stealing again," said Grandmother. "You know what I told you. You know that I always keep my word." Grandmother got the metal knitting needle and put it into the fire. When it was red hot, she called Tommy to her and said, "Son, hold out your hand."
Tommy was trembling as he held out his hand, but he knew he was wrong. He knew that he deserved to be punished. Grandmother paused a moment and said, "Son, I want you to see the seriousness of your stealing. You deserve this punishment, but I love you so much that I am going to take your punishment for you."
With that she dropped Tommy's hand. Taking the red-hot knitting needle, she burned her own hand very badly. Holding out her burned hand, she said, "Look at my hand, Tommy. Don't take your eyes from it. This is what your stealing cost me."
Tommy said, "That ended my stealing. I saw how much Grandmother loved me, and I saw what my sin cost her."
What caused Grandmother to suffer so much? It was Tommy's sins. What caused the Lord Jesus to suffer and die on the cross? It was OUR sins—my sins and your sins. Each one of us can say, "It was my sins that put Jesus on the cross."
The death of Christ on the cross shows us that God is righteous. God did not overlook our sins. He paid the penalty of our sins Himself in the Person of His Son.
The death of Christ on the cross shows us that God is love. In giving His Son to die for us, God has made the greatest sacrifice possible that we might know how much He loves us.
God is saying to us, "I have given My Son to you to be your 'Lamb'—the One who died for all your sins. The moment you take Him as your Savior, I will forgive you of all your sins forever!"
I am saved by believing on the Lord Jesus and receiving Him as my Savior. When I take Jesus as my Savior, He becomes my "Lamb"—the One who died for my sins. I do not have to beg God to forgive me; He loves to forgive me! He forgives me the moment I take Jesus as my Savior. God forgives me of all my sins!
3 Great Facts
Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins. In the Old Testament, God taught His people to offer a lamb as a sacrifice for their sins.
Jesus is "the Lamb of God" who shed His precious blood on the cross for the sins of every person.
When I take Jesus as my Savior, God forgives me of all my sins.
The story so far…
Maria and Susan were camp contest winners. Susan’s mother must decide if Susan can go to camp.
The First Day
Maria and Susan went to Maria's home after school. They laughed and giggled as Susan tried on Maria's clothes. Most of them were a perfect fit.
Later, Mrs. Ortega and Maria took Susan home. The two mothers had a long talk and Maria and Susan were overjoyed to hear Mrs. Blake say that Susan could go to camp.
The next few days were very busy. All Maria and Susan could talk about was camp. Steven and Randy were just as excited as the girls.
At last, the big day came. All the campers met in the parking lot of the church. The packed bags were quickly loaded onto the bus. The children said good-byes to their parents. The crowded bus was filled with excited children, singing and laughing during the two-hour trip.
Finally, the bus came to a stop in front of the large dining hall. The campers were told to leave their things on the bus and go inside as lunch was ready for them.
They were all very hungry! As the boys began to eat their lunch the girls joined them at the large table where they were eating.
Soon the camp director, Mr. Douglas, made an announcement over the loudspeaker: "Welcome, campers. As soon as you finish your lunch, counselors will be waiting by the buses to take you to your cabins. Please take your bags to your cabins quickly. Then come to the main building at the center of the camp for orientation."
The children soon finished eating and were taken to their cabins.
"Oh, Susan! I am so excited that we are in the same cabin," Maria said, unpacking her suitcase.
"So am I!" Susan answered, "And we even have beds close together! We had better hurry, or we will be late."
Inside the main building the girls sat down and looked around. They waved at Steven and Randy sitting across the aisle. The building was filled with boys and girls as Mr. Douglas stood up to speak.
"Welcome to Camp Good Hope," Mr. Douglas began. "I am very glad to see you all. If you are glad to be here, clap your hands."
The clapping started slowly at first but grew louder and louder until finally Mr. Douglas had to cover his ears. Then he laughed and waved for them to be quiet.
"Thank you, boys and girls," he said. "I can see we are all going to have a good time this week. Now I want to tell you what is expected of each of you this week."
After Mr. Douglas explained the rules at Camp Good Hope, he told them about the points which would be given for clean cabins, good behavior, crafts, and sports. He also said they would each be assigned a camp buddy.
"I want you to help your buddies. Be kind to them and be sure they are not left out of activities or feel lonely. I hope your buddy will soon become a good friend."
Mr. Douglas then turned and pointed to a Bible verse written on the wall. He asked everyone to read the verse with him: "That you might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God" Colossians 1:10.
"This will be our golden verse for camp this week," he said. "It means that we are to live every day in a way that will be pleasing to the Lord Jesus.
"First of all, we must accept Him as our Savior. Then we can please Him by doing kind deeds and being helpful and obedient.
"As we study God's Word, we will learn more about the Lord Jesus and how we can grow to be more like Him. I want all of you to memorize this verse before you leave camp. Now, I am going to tell you who your buddy for the week will be."
"Oh," Susan whispered, "I am afraid I will get someone I don't like."
"Me, too," Maria murmured. "I hope you will be my buddy because I want to spend this week with you."
Maria glanced at Steven and Randy. They looked doubtful, too. Suddenly, Steven smiled and pointed to their verse. Maria smiled back and felt better.
She knew Jesus would help them all to love and accept their camp buddies. With all her heart, Maria wanted to please the Lord Jesus and grow to be like Him. Mr. Douglas began reading the names of each pair of buddies for the week. As their names were called, the camp buddies went to the front and then sat down together.
Steven's name was called with a boy named Pete Brown. Maria watched in dismay as she saw a stocky, messy-haired boy shuffle his way to the front. His jeans were big and baggy and he had a frown on his face. A warm feeling rose up in Maria's heart as she watched her brother reach out to shake Pete's hand.
"Oh," thought Maria, "Steven is starting to grow already." She glanced at the verse once again. Maria began to pray in her heart, "Help me to grow to be like You, Lord Jesus. I want to grow very fast." Maria could hardly wait for her name to be called.
Who will be Maria's camp buddy? Will Steven and Pete be good friends?
Don't miss the next exciting camp adventures.