Bible Study

1 John Bible Study, Day 14: Jesus Takes Away Our Sins

Today’s passage: 1 John 3:4–5

Focus verse: But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. (1 John 3:5)

John reminds us that anyone who sins breaks the law. He’s talking about the law of Moses. Sin is something we all do. We’re all guilty of breaking God’s law.

The Old Testament of the Bible—especially the first five books—tells us in immense detail what to do and what not to do.

A failure to follow these rules is a sin, be it a sin of commission (doing the wrong thing) or a sin of omission (not doing the right thing).

No one can obey every one of these Old Testament rules. This means that everyone has sinned and falls short of meeting God’s expectations (Romans 3:22–24). 

To address this, God gave them an annual rite, a ceremony to symbolically take away the people’s sins. This solution was temporary; it needed to be repeated each year.

As such, the annual animal sacrifice gave only a partial response to take away the people’s sins—to make atonement (amends) for their mistakes (Leviticus 16:34).

Each year the people sinned—every one of them—whether in big ways or small. Even the tiniest slipup made them guilty of breaking the entire law (James 2:10).

Each year, everyone fell short of what the law decreed. Each year the annual sacrifice would cleanse them from their sins for the prior twelve months.

Then they’d repeat the process one year later. This continued year after year, throughout their entire lives, giving them only brief reprieves from the guilt of their sins.

This is why Jesus arrived here on our planet over two thousand years ago. Our Savior lowered himself to come to earth and walk among us, his creation. He became God in flesh and lived among us (John 1:14).

He did this to offer a permanent solution to the problem of our sins. He died as the ultimate sin sacrifice—not an animal sacrifice, but a far pricier human one.

In this way Jesus permanently took away our sins. It served as a final act, a conclusive sacrifice for our sins.

Jesus came to earth so that he could die in our place to take away our sins. His once-and-for-all sacrifice removes all our guilt, both past and present—the mistakes we have committed and the mistakes we will commit. 


  1. What is your attitude toward sin?
  2. When we see someone else sin, how well do we do at offering them the grace and mercy that Jesus gives us?
  3. How should we act, knowing that Jesus took away our sins? 
  4. Although Jesus freed us from our sins, in what ways do we let them continue to weigh us down?
  5. How can we better thank Jesus for taking away our sins?

Discover more about the law and sacrifice for our sins in Romans 5:20–21 and Hebrews 10:1–18.

Tips: Check out our tips to use this online Bible study for your church, small group, Sunday school class, or family discussion. It’s also ideal for personal study. Come back each Monday for a new lesson.

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Discover practical, insightful, and encouraging truths in Love One Another, a devotional Bible study to foster a deeper appreciation for the two greatest commandments: To love God and to love others.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

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