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We have noted that grace is free to us, but it cost Jesus so very much to bring us forgiveness.    Before the cross, what had God-fearing people done about their sin?   

Check it out:

In the Old Testament, when a person sinned, he was required to take the very best, blue-ribbon lamb he could find, one without any spots or blemishes, to the priest at the temple.  There, in front of the priest, the sinner would grasp the lamb with both hands and confess his sin.  His guilt was transferred to the lamb as though it had traveled through his arms and hands to the terrified little creature.  The priest would then hand the sinner a knife, and the sinner would kill the lamb so that it was obvious the lamb had died as a result of the sinner’s action.  Then the priest would take the blood of the lamb and sprinkle it on the altar to make atonement for the man’s sin.

  Throughout the years, rivers of blood flowed from the temple altar as God’s children sought his forgiveness for their sin.  Yet when they walked away from such a sacrifice, their hearts must have remained heavy as the burden of guilt clung like river slime to their souls.  The writer to the Hebrews put it bluntly: “it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats [and lambs] to take away sins.”1  So why the sacrificial slaughter?

  The entire bloody ritual was like an IOU note that bought the sinner temporary atonement until a perfect sacrifice would come and pay it off.  And the perfect Sacrifice did come.

  One day as John the Baptist was standing beside the River Jordan, a rather ordinary-looking man walked past.  John recognized him as his cousin, Jesus of Nazareth.  But John didn’t call him by his given name.  Instead, John pointed and identified him as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”2  John was making the most remarkable announcement since the angels had heralded the birth of the Baby in Bethlehem.  With razorlike perception, he recognized that Jesus himself would be the perfect Lamb who would pay off all those IOU notes with the sacrifice of himself.

  The pervasive misconception today is that since Jesus died as a sacrifice for the sins of the world, then we are all automatically forgiven.  But we overlook the vital truth that we must grasp the Lamb with our hands of faith and confess our sins.  We then must acknowledge that he was slain for our sins as surely as if we had plunged the knife into his heart.  At that moment, the Lamb becomes our High Priest and offers his own blood on the altar of the cross on our behalf.  And, wonder of wonders!  God accepts the sacrifice and we are forgiven!  God makes sin forgivable for everyone.3

Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.4  And so Paul explains that Jesus, being the perfect sacrifice, defeated the power of sin in our lives, when we apprehend his grace, and set our course to follow him.  He writes:

“We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.  For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.  And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him.  We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him.  When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God.  So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.”  Romans 6.6-11

After roughly 1500 years of animal sacrifices, the Jewish people’s Messiah freed them from the practice—once and for all.  As a result, you and I will never know what it is to have to hold a little lamb, name our sins, and then kill it.  Phew!

Christine

podcast:

 Of lambs and knives.  Romans 6.6-11

We have noted that grace is free to us, but it cost Jesus so very much to bring us forgiveness.    Before the cross, what had God-fearing people done about their sin?   

 

Check it out:

In the Old Testament, when a person sinned, he was required to take the very best, blue-ribbon lamb he could find, one without any spots or blemishes, to the priest at the temple.  There, in front of the priest, the sinner would grasp the lamb with both hands and confess his sin.  His guilt was transferred to the lamb as though it had traveled through his arms and hands to the terrified little creature.  The priest would then hand the sinner a knife, and the sinner would kill the lamb so that it was obvious the lamb had died as a result of the sinner’s action.  Then the priest would take the blood of the lamb and sprinkle it on the altar to make atonement for the man’s sin.

  Throughout the years, rivers of blood flowed from the temple altar as God’s children sought his forgiveness for their sin.  Yet when they walked away from such a sacrifice, their hearts must have remained heavy as the burden of guilt clung like river slime to their souls.  The writer to the Hebrews put it bluntly: “it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats [and lambs] to take away sins.”1  So why the sacrificial slaughter?

  The entire bloody ritual was like an IOU note that bought the sinner temporary atonement until a perfect sacrifice would come and pay it off.  And the perfect Sacrifice did come.

  One day as John the Baptist was standing beside the River Jordan, a rather ordinary-looking man walked past.  John recognized him as his cousin, Jesus of Nazareth.  But John didn’t call him by his given name.  Instead, John pointed and identified him as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”2  John was making the most remarkable announcement since the angels had heralded the birth of the Baby in Bethlehem.  With razorlike perception, he recognized that Jesus himself would be the perfect Lamb who would pay off all those IOU notes with the sacrifice of himself.

  The pervasive misconception today is that since Jesus died as a sacrifice for the sins of the world, then we are all automatically forgiven.  But we overlook the vital truth that we must grasp the Lamb with our hands of faith and confess our sins.  We then must acknowledge that he was slain for our sins as surely as if we had plunged the knife into his heart.  At that moment, the Lamb becomes our High Priest and offers his own blood on the altar of the cross on our behalf.  And, wonder of wonders!  God accepts the sacrifice and we are forgiven!  God makes sin forgivable for everyone.3

Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.4  And so Paul explains that Jesus, being the perfect sacrifice, defeated the power of sin in our lives, when we apprehend his grace, and set our course to follow him.  He writes:

“We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.  For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.  And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him.  We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him.  When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God.  So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.”  Romans 6.6-11

 

After roughly 1500 years of animal sacrifices, the Jewish people’s Messiah freed them from the practice—once and for all.  As a result, you and I will never know what it is to have to hold a little lamb, name our sins, and then kill it.  Phew!

Christine

podcast:


 

1       Hebrews 10.24

2      2        John 1.29

3      3        Anne Graham Lotz, Just Give Me Jesus

4      4         Hebrews 9.22

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