Sunday, October 2, 2011

Musings on Sacrifice

We observed the Lord’s Supper this morning in church and I got to thinking about sacrifice. Jesus paid the sacrifice for our sins once and for all. I think because we don’t have to sacrifice any more, we miss the significance of His sacrifice.
In Old Testament times, each person had to offer a sacrifice for his/her sins. There was a schedule of sins and the required sacrifice. Most times it was an animal sacrifice and the animal died. The animal (let’s use lamb for our example) was not one that was sick or lame. It had to be a PERFECT lamb. The best of the flock.
If you were a storekeeper and didn’t keep sheep, you could buy a lamb. But not from a discount store and there were no Lamb Coupons. You had to purchase a perfect spotless lamb and those didn’t come cheap.
So when you brought your own spotless lamb or the spotless lamb that you had paid your hard-earned cash for, what happened to than animal? It was sacrificed….for your sins. It died! And most of the time, the offerer did the sacrificing. So not only did you bring your perfect, spotless lamb to the altar, you had to the one to kill it. And it died not because of its sins. No, it was blameless. It died for your sins.
However, when Jesus came, He was the Lamb of God. He gave His life and died, for our sins. We no longer have to bring a lamb to the altar. We no longer have to buy a lamb to sacrifice. We no longer have to slay the lamb to atone for our sins.
Sin was a serious matter in the Old Testament. It had to be atoned for by blood. “Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission for sin.” Heb. 9:22. Sin could not be overlooked or forgotten. The cleansing of sin took the sacrifice (death) of an animal (and probably not a willing animal at that!)
But Christ willingly was our sacrifice and laid down His life, so that we might receive the forgiveness of our sins, be reconciled to God and be saved.
But Christ’s sacrifice has to be received. We have to accept Christ and thereby Christ’s sacrifice for our sins. It’s a free gift but we must accept it. Just like the Christmas gift under the tree with our name on it. It’s there. It has our name on it. But it doesn’t become ours until we take it and receive it.
The Old Testament required a sacrifice and if the sacrifice wasn’t done, the person’s sins weren’t forgiven. We have to accept Christ’s payment (sacrifice) for our sins or our sins aren’t forgiven.
Heb. 2:2 says “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?”
Simply put, we won’t. If we neglect so great a salvation, if we don’t accept Christ and His sacrifice for our sins, we are still in our sins and there is no forgiveness and if there is no forgiveness, there is no escape.