Sunday, June 15, 2014

"His blood purchased forgiveness for all who believe. Believe it ... or not ..."

Day #170:  Daily Bible Reading Plan - June 16th

Scripture Reading: Leviticus 4 - 6 ...

Over and over and over again God makes His point ... not to simply "make a point," but to teach His people the necessity of a "blood atonement" in order to obtain forgiveness for their sins.  As God would reveal to Moses later, "The life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life" (Leviticus 17:11).  God says that He has given BLOOD to make atonement ... payment for sin.  Why?  Because sinners are guilty!

Chapters 4 through 6 talk about a variety of sins, from unintentional sins to intentional false witness.  We like to categorize sins and consider some worse than others, but God says all sin makes us guilty before God and in need of atonement ... payment.  God instituted the sacrifices of the Old Testament to show His people that they needed a Savior.  They brought sacrifices to the priests and the priests carefully followed God's instructions, taking the blood of the offering to the altar, before the presence of the LORD.

Do you ever wonder ... could they have known?  Could they have possibly known the depth of what was going on as they brought their sacrifices to the tabernacle?  At this point, they didn't even realize the depth of their SIN before a holy God.  One could hardly blame them, except that they had gone through the plagues in Egypt, passed miraculously through the Red Sea, saw the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire and stood before the mountain of the Lord as the ground trembled at the voice of the LORD.  Who WAS this God?

This was and is the God who created the world and who sent the flood to destroy all of mankind except Noah and his family because of their sin against Him.  Today, some 3,400 years after these words were written by Moses, most people are pitifully ignorant of the one true God ... but just as guilty as the people of Israel were.  The principle God reveals to the people of Israel pointed to the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.  God cannot ignore or overlook our sin.  Sin against God requires death!

How many, or should I say, how few people really believe this?  I could wish that every person on earth believed this ... for unless you know you are a sinner you will not seek forgiveness in the only way God says you can receive it:  through the blood of the Savior!  Listen to the words God spoke to the people through Moses:

"If a person sins and does what is forbidden in any of the LORD's commands, even though he does not know it, he is guilty and will be held responsible.  He is to bring to the priest as a guilt offering a ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value.  In this way the priest will make atonement for him for the wrong he has committed unintentionally, and he will be forgiven" (5:17-18).  And again in Chapter 6, verse 7:  "In this way the priest will make atonement for him before the LORD, and he will be forgiven for any of these things he did that made him guilty."

"Forgiveness" is just a word to most people ... but forgiveness is the difference between eternal life and eternal death!  "Forgiveness" is the difference between heaven and hell!  "Forgiveness" is ... necessary if you are going to escape the just consequences of YOUR sin.  You won't be judged for someone's else's sin.  No one is responsible for another person's sin.  But you ARE responsible for your own.  And there is nothing you can do about it!

Once again, the writer of Hebrews explains:  "In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living.  This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood. ... In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness" (Hebrews 9:16-18, 22).

No forgiveness!  Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness ... for anyone ... ever!  But God provided a way, the ONLY way, to receive forgiveness, by sending Jesus.  "God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in His blood!" (Romans 3:25).  JESUS was the perfect offering for He has infinite value!  There IS forgiveness for all who confess their sin and claim the blood of Jesus as their offering to God.  Jesus Himself is the High Priest who carries His own blood before the presence of the Father and through faith in His blood all who believe HAVE the forgiveness of their sins.

That's the point God was making in Leviticus ... that's the point we need to grasp today.  "Forgiveness" doesn't come easy, and you can't earn it.  Jesus paid the penalty and offered His blood.  Believe it ... or not!

"Father in heaven, You sent Your Son to be the payment for my sin and through the shedding of HIS blood my debt was paid and Your justice was satisfied.  I DO believe and I praise You with all that is in me for Your grace and the forgiveness that is mine through faith in the blood of my Savior, Jesus.  Let my life show my thankfulness as I live it to glorify You, my Savior and my God.  In Jesus' name, Amen"

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