Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Sin and Sacrifice (Hebrews 9:15-28)

I was reading Hebrews 9:15-28 and as I read about the sprinkling of blood in the OT sacrificial system and how it symbolizes the need for a perfect sacrifice, I was reminded of how this offends so many non-believers. Often this is hard for believers to defend or have an answer for as even for us it is a little grotesque.

The answer is we are not to defend it since it is meant to be grotesque. If we truly comprehended the amount of blood that would stream out of the temple and the ensuing stench during sacrifices, as the readers of Hebrews would recall, we are meant to see it, the sacrifices, as vile and uncomfortable. The reason is to remind us of our sin and the vileness of it. The death of Christ for that sin is to be remembered that way as well. All too often we see grace as the “Get Out of Jail Card” and in doing so neglect to see the darkness of our sin. The same sin Christ had to die for.

It is healthy to see our sin for what it is as this is what God uses to remind us of what we are not to be and to remind us of the changed hearts of the New Covenant that Christ ushered in at his death, burial, resurrection and ascension. We do need to glory in the grace of God but in doing so not neglect to see sin for what it is. Read Hebrews 9 and reflect on what the original sacrifices were to symbolize and how Christ fulfilling those symbols does not negate the vileness of the sin. Sin under the Old Covenant is no different than under the New as they are both to be cleansed by the death and shed blood of Christ, however, the cleansing of the Old Covenant sacrificial system was only a symbol of what was to come. That is why Hebrews lets us see that the sacrifices had to keep being offered until the perfect sacrifice, Christ Jesus, came. His sacrifice was a one time sacrifice and is not to be recreated over and over again or we miss the point of the perfect sacrifice.

So, when someone is offended by the whole issue of sacrifice for sin and the whole issue of blood help them see that this should remind us of what sin really is. I do not say they will buy the answer but if God is working on their heart they will come to see what their sin really is and repent.

1 comment:

RevyRev said...

For a long time i've wondered what would modern-day-equivalent of the sacrificial system would look like. Between the grain offering, peace offerings, sin offerings, guilt offerings, and the sacrifices at the day of atonement.

Imagine the church bulletin:
Today we will celebrate and worship our God. Bob will burn paycheck, Dave will smash his iPod, Phil will donate his car for the yearly car burning.

Don't forget next week we will celebrate the day of Atonement. Don't forget to bring your pet dog, lay our hands fido, confess our sins, then slit his throat and burn the carcass.

And then all of us bloody and iPodless will be so happy and thankful that God has given us a way to have our sins covered. Only to be told later that all the iPods, paychecks, and sacrificed animals in the world can't really clean us.

Makes you see the worth of Christ's sacrifice does it not?

Puts a new spin worship perspective. Thank God i do not need to smash iPods, burn cars, and kill my pet in a continual insufficient symbol of my need for a sin bearing substitute.

Take all that sacrifice for millions of redeemed and translate it to Christ's perfected and infinitly valuable blood sacrifice. Wow.