Regarding salvation, I was always under the impression a sacrifice had to be made (and as Christians we know Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice for all sins), but looking through the Bible I see instances of God forgiving sins without requiring a sacrifice..

2 Chronicles 7:14 God forgave without a sacrifice. In Matthew 9:5 Jesus forgave without a sacrifice.

I'm used to hearing the judge analogy which states "A good judge can't dismiss sin, there has to be a punishment". According to Scripture, if God is righteous/a good judge, how can he forgive sins without a punishment/sacrifice?

  • 1
    Can you please explain your question a little more fully. What is the 'judge analogy'? Also 'requirement for salvation' - what Christianity is this? Oct 18, 2014 at 19:04

8 Answers 8


What is salvation according to Scripture?

The OP has the right understanding. People are saved from their sins by Jesus

Matt 1:21 (RSVCE) 21 she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

Why is a sacrifice required?

Again OP has a right understanding. God is good, merciful and just. In justice, atonement for sin needs to be made, in his mercy, he has provided for forgiveness of sin. He has required sacrifice to achieve both ends. Saint Paul explains in Roman 5:1-10

5 For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2 He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness. 3 Because of this he is bound to offer sacrifice for his own sins as well as for those of the people. 4 And one does not take the honor upon himself, but he is called by God, just as Aaron was.

5 So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him,

“Thou art my Son, today I have begotten thee”;[a] 6 as he says also in another place,

“Thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchiz′edek.” 7 In the days of his flesh, Jesus[b] offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard for his godly fear. 8 Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; 9 and being made perfect he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, 10 being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchiz′edek.

a. If Jesus was to be mediator, he had to have a human nature like ours, and, moreover, he could not appoint himself, but had to be appointed by God.
b. Greek he

What is sacrifice?

SACRIFICE The highest form of adoration, in which a duly authorized priest in the name of the people offers a victim in acknowledgment of God's supreme dominion and of total human dependence on God. The victim is at least partially removed from human use and to that extent more or less destroyed as an act of submission to the divine majesty. Thus a sacrifice is not only an oblation. Where an oblation offers something to God, a sacrifice immolates or gives up what is offered. In sacrifice the gift offered is something precious completely surrendered by the one making the sacrifice as a token of humble recognition of God's sovereignty. (Etym. Latin sacrum, holy, sacred + facere, to make, do.) - Dictionary: SACRIFICE | Catholic Culture

All the acceptable sacrifices in the Old testament were a type of Jesus' sacrifice. Jesus' sacrifice is the one that actually effects forgiveness of sins past, present and future.

Matt (RSVCE) 28 for this is my blood of the [new] covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

  • This doesn't address the apparent contradictions pointed out in the question at all Aug 8, 2020 at 6:32

David was forgiven his sin without sacrifice, and became a type of those who are now justified by faith without works. See Psalm 32.5 and 1-2, the latter two verses being quoted in Romans 4.7-8 to this effect.

  • Although David was healed prior to Jesus sacrifice, His salvation was based on his faith in God, and as is all salvation covered by Jesus sacrifice. We need remember that in God's heaven there is no time, thus no past and no future. This because Heaven (The Spiritual World) has no beginning and no end, that is the meaning of eternal.
    – BYE
    Aug 13, 2020 at 15:18

Hebrews 9:22 says:

Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

This establishes that yes, sacrifice is indeed required for forgiveness.

But, just before this, the author of Hebrews wrote:

But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.

For those whose sins are forgiven, Christ is the attendent sacrifice, satisfying the sacrificial requirement on their behalf.

Addressing the texts mentioned in OP, first in Matthew 9:6 we see,

But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.”

Christ has authority to forgive sins because he himself would shed the blood necessary for that forgiveness.

And in 2 Chronicles 7:14, we see:

if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

How can God forgive here without a sacrifice? This is explained by Paul in Romans 3:25-26:

whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.

God withheld his wrath from the sins of his people until Christ, then Christ propitiated them or satisfied God's wrath on their behalf - making the necessary blood sacrifice for their forgiveness.


Perhaps you underestimating Jesus’ Sacrifice. Jesus’ Sacrifice is just as applicable to past sins as it is to future sins. In other words Jesus sacrifice was a one time sacrifice for sin of all times.

I apologize for the length of my answer, but every point seemed necessary to convey the message.

If Jesus sacrifice can extend into the future and atone for our sins today why should it not extend into the past to atone for their sins?

The true key to understanding Jesus sacrifice is in the application of faith. Sins are forgiven through Jesus Christ in reward for faith in the ability of God to forgive our sins. Since the Cross that has been enumerated as faith in Jesus as the only propitiation for sin, but prior to the cross it was based on the belief that God could forgive sin through belief that a blood sacrifice was necessary for the forgiveness of sin, thus the sacrifices of unblemished animals was substitution for the future sacrifice of Jesus.

In all cases whether prior to the cross; or post cross having faith that our sins will be forgiven in return for our trust in the sacrifice of Jesus.

Let's trace sin and its punishment in part of the Bible and see if we can determine how it is attributed, to both us, and our sins to Jesus; and how it is forgiven.

Since almost everyone is familiar with the story of the fall of mankind; I will only point out a couple of things about it.

God had told Adam that when he ate of the tree he would surely die; and yet they succumbed to the lie of Satan that they would not die.

All scripture is quoted from the New King James translation, unless otherwise noted.

Genesis 3:4 Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die.

and sadly all generations after them have fallen for the same lie. That then is the first breech of faith.

Genesis 6:5 through 7 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. 7 So the LORD said, "I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them."

Sin is so abhorrent to God, that he decided to obliterate his whole creation and the thing that saved mankind was the faith of one man Noah. And even though he has promised not to destroy the world again with water he has not promised not to do so with fire.

Genesis 8:21 and 22 And the LORD smelled a soothing aroma. Then the LORD said in His heart, "I will never again curse the ground for man's sake, although the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done. 22 "While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, Cold and heat, Winter and summer, And day and night Shall not cease."

Genesis 13:13 But the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the LORD.

Genesis 19:24 and 25 Then the LORD rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the LORD out of the heavens. 25 So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.

And in this same story he:

Genesis 19:17 So it came to pass, when they had brought them outside, that he said, "Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed."

Genesis 19:26 But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.

At this point we have established three things:

  1. God so hates sin that he is willing to destroy his creations in order to eradicate it.

  2. God does and will hold each of us accountable for our sins.

  3. God will punish sin with death and he is willing to use fire to cleanse sin from his creation which includes mankind.

Knowing this it is not that hard to accept:

Revelation 20:14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.


Revelation 21:8 But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."

Thankfully though that is not the end of the Story.

John 3:16 and 17 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

The question now becomes why he loves us so much and exactly how does Jesus death on the cross and his resurrection atone for our sins.

To answer these questions it is necessary to understand what death really refers to and just how they are attributed to Jesus.

So let's start with death and see if we can determine what God considers death to be.

We have already determined that there are two deaths, since if there is a second death there must therefore be a first death.

The first death is a physical death which has to do with the physical body only.

Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

Genesis 2:7 KJV And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Although the King James translation and the New King James version differ in that the NKJV says being and the KJV says Soul, they are both correct in that man became both

The difference here is that being refers to man's perishable body and soul refers to his in non-perishable eternal personage.

The physical body suffers the first death and the non-perishable Soul suffers the second death.

God in his omniscience knew before he created the Universe, that man would not be able to not sin; but God had a reason for creating the Universe of which we remain ignorant to this day. But apparently God had a specific reason for creating man in their image. So if man was ever to be able to fulfill those exaptation's he therefore had to improvise some form of redemption for man. According to the words of Jesus in John 3:16 the reason was his great love for us.

God could have just as easily created man without free will, but if we have learned anything about love it is that it must be freely given; and that goes both ways; not only our love for God but his love for us. That is the reason Salvation is God's grace and cannot be earned. As an example how many people have tried in vain to cause someone to love them.

So now we get down to the hardest part of what Jesus said in John 3:16 for man to accept.

That being that God loved us enough that he gave his only son (Jesus) that our sins be forgiven, based on faith. We must realize two things if we are to ever understand God's great love for us.

  1. We are incapable of ever comprehending God's ways:

Isaiah 55:8 and 9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

  1. God as creator of the Universe retains all power. And therefore has the power to do with any portion of his creation as he sees fit; and he sees fit to forgive our sins, even though he maintains the punishment that he proclaimed in Genesis, that being death is the reward for sin.

So how does Jesus death on the cross pay our sin debt?

  1. If Jesus was to be our propitiation for sin it meant that he must die sinless himself, otherwise his death would be punishment for his sins.

  2. There has to be a way of transferring our sins to Jesus in order that they be atoned for, and that is where Faith enters the picture.

Matthew 9:2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.

Matthew 9:22 But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.

Matthew 9:29 Then He touched their eyes, saying, "According to your faith let it be to you."

Notice that in each of these cases it is faith which allowed them to be healed. but in verse 9:2 Jesus said that his sins were forgiven, which is different than healing although he was healed at the same time.

So we see that the key to forgiveness of sin lies in faith, but faith in what way? So let's take a little bit longer look at Matthew chapter 9 verses 27 through 29

Matthew 9:27 through 29 And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us. 28 And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord. 29 Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.

So here we see that healing which seems to be much the same as forgiving sins is tied to our faith that Jesus is able to do exactly as he says he can do, which can also be extended to be understood as Salvation is directly tied to our faith that Jesus death on the cross paid our sin debt in full, and that his resurrection from the dead is proof of his power over the second death which is the death of the Soul, or eternal punishment in the lake of fire.

hope this helps.


Question : Is sacrifice a requirement for salvation?

  • Answer : Yes.

In Scripture instead of using scapegoats for "burnt offerings", King David in [Psalm 51:18-19] & Prophet Yechezkel in [Ezekiel 18:4-9] and Yeshua of Nazareth our anointed High Priest in [ Mark 10:17-31 ] seem to affirm self-sacrifice ("repentant" behavior through impoverished charity that glorifies YHVH) will atone for sins.

[Psalm 51:18-19] "You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; You do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. ( כִּ֚י | לֹא־תַחְפֹּ֣ץ זֶ֣בַח וְאֶתֵּ֑נָה ע֜וֹלָ֗ה לֹ֣א תִרְצֶֽה)

My sacrifice, God, is a broken spirit. You will not despise a broken and crushed heart." (זִֽבְחֵ֣י אֱלֹהִים֘ ר֪וּחַ נִשְׁבָּ֫רָ֥ה לֵב־נִשְׁבָּ֥ר וְנִדְכֶּ֑ה אֱ֜לֹהִ֗ים לֹ֣א תִבְזֶֽה )

[ Mark 10:17-31 ] "As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’[a]”

20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”

21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

  • We must Sacrifice our ego, our desires, our wealth to support your family & the poor in honor of God.

Not anymore, God doesn't want your sacrifice because Jesus already done a great sacrifice for us in Calvary, our sacrifice for salvation is useless because we can't surpass what He did "He died and rose again the third day" (1 Corinthians 15:4). Remember one of the criminals crucified with Jesus (Luke 23:38-43) on how did he get the assurance of salvation and paradise with Jesus, that man did nothing, he can't move, sacrifice or do anything just to be saved because he's already crucified, but he admit that he's sinner, faith that Jesus Christ is a savior and all the sins of the man sins are forgiven.

Sometimes its really hard to think that God can do that, because He's different from us, our thoughts are not His thoughts and our works are not His works(Isaiah 55:8-11).

It's all about Faith and faith alone.

Ephesians 2:8-9 " 8. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast."

Hebrews 11:6

"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."

  • 1
    I believe that most Protestants would agree with your answer, but most Catholics would disagree with faith alone. Mar 23, 2015 at 15:58
  • Catholic doesn't study the bible I have friends Catholic every Sunday they go to catholic church but when you ask them what verse they know they will say nothing. Also they fail in (Exodus 20:3-5) about idols, now how can you say that the truth is in them? They just like Pharisees in the times of Jesus. Ephesians 2:8-9 are clear verses even first level children can understand and explain it. Mar 23, 2015 at 23:49
  • I do not disagree with your assertions. However the question needs to be framed by the denomination or at least your answer needs to. Mar 25, 2015 at 3:19

You say "regarding salvation" you see that a sacrifice has to be made.
This is not actually correct.

Salvation has nothing to do with sacrifice. A sacrifice was something that you did in order to "atone" for having sinned. A sacrifice involved the killing of something that belonged to you and that had worth and was precious to you. This is why an animal sacrifice was not allowed to be lame or diseased, because then you are not sacrificing anything that is of worth to you, you are just getting rid of something that you would have anyway.

Sacrifice was something that was supposed to bring you "closer" to God, and the Hebrew word for it even means "drawing near".

Before Jesus there was no such thing as "forgiveness of sin" or "salvation from sin" - if you acquired sin, you atoned for it and there were sins for which there was no possible atonement. Sacrifice was a thing designed specifically for the benefit of humans. God has no desire for sacrifice and Jesus even says

Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy, not sacrifice. (Matthew 9:13)

Jesus as the "Lamb of God" and the "Son of Man", the most precious thing "belonging" to both God and man, was therefore the only sacrifice sufficient to atone for the entirety of humankind's acquired sins: past and future. God did not require Abraham to sacrifice his son(Isaac) as that would be cruel, yet he allowed us to sacrifice his/our son.

"Salvation" means salvation from sin and refers to Jesus having already paid our "ransom" with his sacrifice. It is said that God is the only judge and while sin before Jesus was a sort-of "automated" method of judgement instituted by God, after Jesus it is said that God will basically examine every one of us on an individual basis and then pass judgement.

There are two options available; one can live as before Jesus with any acquired sin necessitating atonement via sacrifice, yet now there is no method of sacrifice available so one would have to completely avoid sin. Which is possible to do, as God showed us when he lived a sinless life as Jesus.

The other option is to eat the flesh and blood of Jesus which would then make him your sacrifice, circumventing the automatic method of sin but also requiring that God examine your life individually and determine whether or not your sins are to be forgiven.

All we are really told with regards to what will make him forgive our sins is that if were are truly sorry for having sinned and have faith in God and in Jesus, they will be forgiven.

To answer you question directly: there has never been any requirement for "salvation" beyond not having sin upon death and sacrifice has never forgiven sin. Only God has the authority to do that.

Your "judge argument" just illustrates exactly why only God has the authority to judge because the statement "a good judge cannot dismiss sin, there has to be a punishment" is something only a human would say. God is the only judge and we are warned to refrain for judging others at ALL. God has to be a "good" judge, because God is the only one. God defines what a judge is.

Once again-

Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy, not sacrifice. Matthew 9:13)

(I do hope everyone will not be too harsh with my answer :)

  • WOW, thank you KorvinStarmast for the editing. I came back to do just that since I knew, among other things, I had been inconsistent with my capitalizations of God. You did a wonderful job; not to mention you made me realize I should be using italics instead of upper-case for emphasis.
    – Ron Kyle
    Aug 10, 2020 at 21:34

God can forgive sin without sacrifice. Psalm 40:6 .....'Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required."

Jesus said that if we forgive those who trespass against us, our Father in heaven will forgive us. If we do not, then neither will our Father in heaven forgive us. (Matthew 6) VERY SIMPLE. Believe - trust - obey. And we are taught we must turn our hearts from our evil ways (the world) and towards Him (the Father), repent, forgive our fellow man, and then will God forgive us. No need for sacrifice. As even before Christ, blood sacrifice only atoned for unintentional sins, and were not required for gentiles. And after all, if the wages of sin is eternal death, and Jesus has risen (that is the truth), then he didn't pay the wages for our sin as he is obviously NOT eternally dead! And if the wages of sin is only physical death, then we all pay that debt on the day we die. Also, if our sins have been payed for already, there would be no need to repent, or change our ways, since no matter how much we sin, we're simply saved for believing so. Yet Jesus emphasized obedience to the will of the Father, and giving to the poor and needy.

As for how can God forgive sins without sacrifice? Well, he is God, and is loving, and just, and good. He also wishes that no one perish, but that all be saved, and is a merciful God. He is our Father, and we his children, and all he wants is for us to come back home (FOLLOW HIM - turn our hearts from the world, to Him). If we do that, then he will forgive us. That is how he can forgive men their sins. MERCY. LOVE. GOODNESS. The same way he forgave King David without a sacrifice is the exact way he can forgive you without a sacrifice! He does demand a sacrifice, just not blood. He demands that we forsake this world (Satan, evil, deception) and turn to him and follow him (God, Righteousness, Truth). That is the sacrifice - being willing to give our earthly life (if he so demands) for him, so as to save our soul for eternity. Jesus sums this up perfectly when he states that he who loves his life will lose it, but he who hates his life will have life eternal.

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