The thought of Old Testament sacrifices has bothered me for a long time. Why does God require dead animals to atone for the sins of mankind? Why does the Temple ritual have to be so bloody? Does God really enjoy the smell of burning animal flesh?
I don’t think that I have come up with the most complete answer. But here goes nothing.
The New Testament is clear that sin leads to death and separation from God (Romans 6:23). Jesus takes our place and provides the perfect sacrifice that we can never be (Hebrews 5:9, 10:10-18) .
I believe the sacrifice has to be bloody. Hebrews 9:22 testifies that “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” Jesus by meeting the requirements of the first law established a second, better covenant.
Talking about the blood of Christ offends modern sensibilities. Blood is a cultural taboo. But there may be no better way to understand it. Otherwise, we may forget just how precious is the price that was paid for our freedom.
May Jesus’ death never become ordinary to me. May I never see any sin as worth the price. I need the cross to be bloody so that I will understand just how serious and costly sin is.
Oswald Chambers wrote in My Utmost for His Highest, ” A pitiful, sickly, and self-centered kind of prayer and a determined effort and selfish desire to be right with God are never found in the New Testament. The fact that I am trying to be right with God is actually a sign that I am rebelling against the atonement by the Cross of Christ… I cannot make myself right with God; I cannot make my life perfect. I can only be right with God if I accept the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ as an absolute gift. Am I humble enough to accept it?”
“There is a great deal of prayer that comes from actual disbelief in the atonement. Jesus is not just beginning to save us— He has already saved us completely. It is an accomplished fact, and it is an insult to Him for us to ask Him to do what He has already done.”
I find Chambers’ words an indictment to many of the prayers that I have prayed in my life. Why do I pray for things that God has already done? Why don’t I take hold of these spiritual realities by faith? It can be real easy to thing we are being very spiritual when our petitions before God ring of faithlessness and a lack of godly understanding.
When Jesus said on the cross, “It is finished,” He meant it. These are some of the most profound words ever uttered. The implications change human history. Jesus has already obtained our salvation, freedom and future.
The only barrier we find to these greatest gifts is not God’s willingness to provide them because the real work is already done. The difficult part is accepting the full implications of the cross by faith.
We have to come to the end of ourselves and realize the futility of our works. We have to understand the amazing quality of God’s grace and the fullness of its power to impart reconciliation and transformation. When I come to the reality of what I can’t do on my own, I start to realize the power in what Christ has already done for me.
Posted in Divine Power, Lies, My Depravity, Prayer, Religiosity, Transformation
Tagged amazing grace, Chambers, depravity, Divine Power, Finished, grace, It Is Finished, Jesus, Jesus' atonement, Oswald Chambers, Utmost for His Highest