Thursday, March 13, 2014

Lenten series part 8: bought with a price

"...and the priest shall offer them up in smoke on the altar, on the offerings by fire to the Lord. Thus the priest shall make atonement for him in regard to his sin which he has committed, and he will be forgiven." (Leviticus 4:35 NASB)

The children of Israel had lived under Egyptian rule and according to Egyptian law for four hundred years. They were accustomed to being slaves, but none of the current Hebrews (other than Moses) had any experience in administration, govenment, or law. God had chosen them to be a nation under God alone. They were not to have a king. Instead, God would be their king and their judge. His plan was for them to police themselves by obeying a clear set of rules.

The law God gave Moses for the people was specific in many areas. There were very clear laws for dealing with intentional sin as well as unintentional sin. All sin, however, was dealt with by a blood offering. An animal would be sacrificed. The blood, fat, kidneys, and liver all belonged to God and were to be offered as a burnt offering. (They were burned completely on the altar) Everything else was taken outside the camp and burned. Through the process, the priest would make atonement for (or cover over) the one who had sinned and he would be forgiven. (Leviticus 4)

Just as in the Garden of Eden, sin was covered over by the blood that was shed, and always resulted in the death of the sacrificial animal. The problem with this plan was that one sacrifice only covered one event of sin. There was always more sin so that more sacrifice was always required. It was a never-ending process. What was needed was a perfect sacrifice that would be a once-and-for-all payment for sin. No animal would be sufficient for this great a payment. Ultimately, only the Spotless Lamb of God (Jesus) would do. 

The reason Jesus became a man and came to earth was so that He could live a perfect life and become the perfect offering for the sin of the world. He would be the final, complete payment for sin. His blood would be the atonement that brought forgiveness. It was a horrible thing to do. It was a dreadful thing to experience. It was a shameful thing that we needed it. It was an astounding thing that our God willingly and freely provided what we could not do for ourselves. 

The blood of Jesus. It is the only thing that can wash away our sin, and, as such, it is the most valuable gift ever given. It is a treasure beyond compare. This payment for our sin is the reason for the birth of Christ as well as the death and resurrection of Christ. 

As we journey through the Lenten season, let us be ever mindful that it was MY sin that required the blood of Jesus to purchase forgiveness. It was YOUR sin for which Jesus died. It was OUR sin for which atonement was purchased with our Lord's lifeblood. That understanding is vital and should influence how we live our lives. It should cause us to live grateful for what was purchased at such a great price and yet freely given to us who were so undeserving. 

During this season of Lent, live grateful. Live free. Live as one who has been redeemed.