“God set [Christ] forth as an offering for propitiation through faith in his blood. This was in order to exhibit his own righteousness.”—ROM. 3:25.
THE Biblical account about rebellion in the garden of Eden is well-known. All of us feel the effects of Adam’s sin as explained in these words: “Through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned.” (Rom. 5:12) No matter how hard we try to do what is right, we make mistakes, for which we need God’s forgiveness. Even the apostle Paul lamented: “The good that I wish I do not do, but the bad that I do not wish is what I practice. Miserable man that I am!”—Rom. 7:19, 24.
Our sinful nature gives rise to these important questions: How was it possible for Jesus of Nazareth to be born free from inherited sin, and why was he baptized? How did Jesus’ life course magnify Jehovah’s righteousness? Most important, what did Christ’s death accomplish?
Our first parents, Adam and Eve, foolishly rejected God’s sovereignty in favor of being ruled by “the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan.” (Rev. 12:9) Consider how this happened. Satan questioned the righteousness of Jehovah God’s way of ruling. He did so by asking Eve: “Is it really so that God said you must not eat from every tree of the garden?” Eve repeated God’s clear command that one specific tree was not to be touched, on pain of death. Satan then accused God of lying. “You positively will not die,” said the Devil. He went on to deceive Eve into believing that God was withholding something good and that by eating the fruit, she would become like God, having moral independence.—Gen. 3:1-5.
Basically, Satan implied that mankind would be happier following a path of independence from God. Instead of upholding the righteousness of God’s sovereignty, Adam listened to his wife and joined her in eating the forbidden fruit. Thus Adam forfeited his perfect standing with Jehovah and brought us under the cruel yoke of sin and death. At the same time, mankind came under the rival sovereignty of Satan, “the god of this world.”—2 Cor. 4:4, King James Version; Rom. 7:14.
True to his infallible word, Jehovah passed the sentence of death on Adam and Eve. (Gen. 3:16-19) But that did not mean God’s purpose had failed. Far from it! When sentencing Adam and Eve, Jehovah gave their future descendants a bright ray of hope. He did so by announcing his purpose to raise up a “seed” whom Satan would bruise in the heel. That promised Seed, however, would recover from the heel wound and would “bruise [Satan] in the head.” (Gen. 3:15) The Bible elaborates on this theme by stating the following respecting Jesus Christ: “For this purpose the Son of God was made manifest, namely, to break up the works of the Devil.” (1 John 3:8) But how did Jesus’ conduct and death magnify God’s righteousness?