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 blood? Because blood represents life. God says mankind is spiritually dead and in need of new life. God is holy and we are unholy. We are guilty and in need of redemption. God cannot just overlook sin and there is nothing we can do to “pay God back,” to make ourselves righteous in His sight.
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 and bringing it before the presence of the LORD.
Do you ever wonder ... could they have known? Could they have possibly known the depth of what was happening 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. Many in the church today say that God is love and believe that sin, if there is such a thing, is not that serious. In the thinking of most people, all people are God’s children and everybody goes to heaven (if there is a heaven) … except maybe really bad people. Neither the holiness of God, nor our sinful rebellion against Him seem to matter to most people, but the people of Israel were guilty before God and so are we! The principle God revealed to the people of Israel pointed to the need for a perfect sacrifice to be offered to atone for our sin and only the sacrifice of the perfect Lamb of God, Jesus, the Christ, would do. 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 the sin of anyone else. 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! “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
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 the blood of the animals being sacrificed on the altar at the tabernacle could not and did not satisfy God’s justice. They only pointed to another sacrifice that would be made later. God provided a way, the ONLY way, for sinful people to receive forgiveness, by sending Jesus, the perfect Son of God, to pay our debt, to satisfy God’s justice. As Adam was our first representative, bringing about the sinful nature that was passed on to all of mankind, so Jesus is our second representative, bringing salvation to all who would put their hope in Him. "God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in His blood!" (Romans 3:25). JESUS was the perfect offering because of who He is. His sacrifice 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"