Introduction: Have you ever wondered about the logic, or the
calculus, of salvation? Sin entered our world because of the sin of
Eve and Adam. If sin brings death, why not just kill them and start
new with us? And, by the way, why is it that sin brings death? After
Adam and Eve, we all sinned – at least I know I have. Why is it that
killing God makes up for all of our sins? Why do the penalties for
sin seem to vary? In the range of sin, what Adam and Eve did brought
a lot more misery to humans than what Cain did to his brother. Why
was Cain punished more severely? We are not going to unravel all of
these mysteries this week, but our study explores the logic of the
cross. Let’s dive in and see what we can learn from God’s word!

  1. The Sodom Story

    1. Abraham’s tents are pitched among the great trees of
      Mamre. Three visitors come to see him. It turns out that
      one of those visitors is Jesus. (See Genesis 18:1-15.)
      Read Genesis 18:16-19. What is Jesus’ answer to whether He
      should keep His plans to Himself? (God seems to say that
      Abraham is a true follower who is blessed by God. Bottom
      line: God says Abraham is worthy to be taken into the
      counsels of God.)

      1. What does Jesus mean when He says “all nations will
        be blessed through [Abraham]?” (Read Galatians
        3:8,14. Jesus is telling Abraham that in the future
        He (Jesus) will be born from his line of

        1. Contemplate that for a moment. Jesus tells
          Abraham that He will be born to his descendants.
          The plan of salvation was not a last minute

    2. Read Genesis 18:20-21. Who is making the “outcry” to
      Jesus? (Read Genesis 4:10. This is a common phrase in the
      Bible. God tells us that sin “cries” out to Him. Compare
      James 5:4.)

      1. Let’s continue reading in Genesis 4. Read Genesis
        4:10-12. Why does sin “cry” to God? (This teaches us
        the important concept that God is the solution to
        sin. When sin occurs, God considers it part of His
        job to make things right. Sin is “crying” to be

      2. Why was Cain’s penalty more harsh than the penalty
        imposed on Adam and Eve? (If you look at this from
        the point of view that God seeks to “fix” sin, rather
        than just punish sinners, we can see God’s logic in
        separating Cain from the followers of God. Cain was
        not a good influence.)

    3. Read Genesis 18:22-23. Jesus said nothing about “sweeping”
      away the wicked. Why does Abraham say this? (Jesus had
      just gotten through saying that He was going to confide in
      Abraham because he was a righteous man. Abraham understood
      that Jesus executed judgment on unrighteousness. There is
      a modern heresy which says that God never executes
      judgment on the wicked. Righteous Abraham knew better than

      1. Notice that the two “men” had already set off toward
        Sodom. How do you think Abraham understood their
        leaving? (Read Genesis 19:1 and Psalms 106:21-23.
        Abraham believed they were destroying angels.)

    4. Read Genesis 18:24-25. What do you think about Abraham’s
      argument? What effect can the righteous have on the

      1. Is this true in your home?

    5. Read Genesis 18:26-32. Remember that Abraham is talking to
      Jesus. Is this necessary? Does God have to be “bargained”
      down on the issue of justice and mercy?

      1. What role is Abraham playing? (Intercessor.)

      2. Remember the context to this story. Abraham has been
        promised that the Intercessor (Jesus) will come
        through his line of descendants. Then, Abraham
        intercedes with Jesus not to destroy the wicked. How
        do you understand all of this? (My understanding of
        God does not allow for a man to “bargain” God into
        being merciful. At the end of this story Sodom is
        destroyed. I think Jesus is teaching Abraham a lesson
        about why He destroyed Sodom – its wickedness was
        essentially universal.)

        1. What lessons do you find in this conversation
          between Abraham and Jesus? (1. The righteous can
          save the wicked – at least for the interim. God
          accepts intercessors. 2. The wicked will be
          destroyed by God. 3. The destruction of sin is a
          logical “fix” for it. God weighs how best to
          respond to sin when it can adversely affect the

          1. How do these lessons “fit” or foretell the
            mission of Jesus? (All of these forecast
            the role of Jesus. It shows that Abraham
            is a worthy “ancestor” – which is no doubt
            the reason why his ancestry is flagged in
            the story. It shows that God is will “fix”
            sin by judgment. It shows us that
            sometimes the righteous (in the future,
            Jesus) can suffer as a result of the sins
            of others – but God carefully weighs this
            problem. It also shows that the
            righteousness of one person can spare the
            wicked for at least some period of time.)

          2. How are Abraham and Jesus different in
            their intercessory roles? (Read Genesis
            18:33. It is like the difference between
            steak and eggs. For cows, steak is more
            personal than eggs are for chickens.
            Abraham went home to rest. He did not have
            to lay his life on the line to save

    6. Let’s read Exodus 32:30. What does this suggest about sin?
      (Again, it suggests the idea that something can be worked
      out to “fix” sin.)

  2. The Fix for Sin

    1. We noted that Abraham’s intercession did not involve
      giving up his life. Why couldn’t Jesus intervene for us in
      the same way? Why did Jesus have to give up His life for
      our sins?

      1. Read Ezekiel 18:20. What is the penalty for sin?

        1. Who is required to die for sin? (The person who
          sinned – not someone else.)

      2. Read Leviticus 17:11. Do you see the logic here? If
        so, explain the logic of blood atonement. (If sin
        brings death, God says I will use the symbol of life
        – blood – to “make up” for your death-bringing sin.)

      3. The sacrificed animal was of less value than the
        human. Jesus, who is fully God, is of more value than
        humans. How does the sacrificial system logically
        teach us that Jesus must die? (The logic of blood
        atonement was not complete in the Old Testament
        sacrificial system. The lesson had just begun. God
        was teaching the people that sin could be “fixed” by
        a relevant substitute. That substitute was blood –
        because it gave life.)

        1. How does this modify the lesson of Ezekiel
          18:20? (The punishment for sin is personal, but
          God will accept a substitute.)

    2. Read Matthew 26:28. Why was Jesus’ blood required for the
      forgiveness of our sins? (We started out learning the
      logical link between blood and the sacrifice for deadly
      sin. Since Jesus created us ( John 1:1-4, 14), He is the
      ultimate source of our life. Thus, the shedding of blood
      of the One who gave us life is the ultimate, logical
      “blood” that can fix sin.)

    3. Read Psalms 51:15-17. Were blood sacrifices for sin God’s
      goal? (God wishes that we would not sin. He wants
      obedience, not sacrifice.)

    4. Read Isaiah 53:5. Even though God wants obedience, what
      does sin require? (Sin requires a “fix.” Sin brings death.
      God was willing to take upon Himself the punishment for
      our sins. The amazing news is that God died in our place!
      He took our punishment!)

    5. Read 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11. What is the result of Jesus
      dying in our place for our sins? (That we can have eternal
      life with Him.)

    6. Friend, will you accept the salvation bought at such a
      terrible price for you?

  3. Next week: The Cross and Justification.