Understanding Sacrifice

Sin introduced evil into God’s perfect creation

  • We commit evil against one another & against God
  1. Stealing, lying, murder, adultery, coveting, etc….
  • Evil contaminates and causes the foundation of relationship to be unclean.
  1. Loss of trust and emotional damage

The evil in the world is also within each unsaved person and it continues, as a lifestyle, in word, thought and deed.

What is God to do with the introduction of evil into His perfect creation?  Get rid of us?

  • Animal sacrifice was a powerful symbol of God’s justice and grace.
  • God is allowing the animal to be a substitute – symbolically dying in our place. (ATONEMENT)
  • The blood represents life and the sprinkling of blood symbolically purifies us of our sin.
  • God is first & foremost concerned with the heart – Romans 10:10 with the heart one believes unto righteousness. The deep inward feelings of sacrificing the animal was to also “penetrate” the heart to genuine repentance before the Lord.
  • The ritual of animal sacrifice provided a pathway for humans to be acceptable before God and to experience His love & grace.

Leviticus 17:11 - For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.

The hope was that mankind would live out the love and grace of God and extend this to one another.  This didn’t happen.

Isaiah chapter 1 expresses God’s disappointment and anger at how hard their hearts had become…just as they once were.

  • “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?”
  • “I have had enough…I do not delight in the blood of bulls….”
  • “Bring no more futile sacrifices; incense is an abomination to Me.”

Then Jesus enters the picture:

Mark 10:45 - For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom (sacrifice for atonement) for many.”

Hebrews 9:

  • Christ is our high priest
  • Christ is the mediator of a new covenant
  • Through Christ we have eternal redemption
  • Jesus’ blood purifies us
  • His resurrection broke the power of death & evil
  • He was the perfect sinless sacrifice – the fulfillment of what the OT pointed to all along
  • With animal sacrifice no longer needed in the new covenant we now have the rituals of water baptism and the eucharist
  • These rituals remind us and helps us to participate in the power of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
  • Through Jesus, we have new desires and a new life source that transforms us to live from His love and His peace.