Blood Sacrifices and Atonement

When we go back to the Old Testament, we see all kinds of laws and examples where blood sacrifices are made by killing animals and presenting them to God. And some people get confused by the Bible and these sacrifices, and how they relate from old scripture to the new. Why don’t we still perform blood sacrifices today if that was God’s Will? Or why did we even make sacrifices back then? To some it may seem silly.


Image courtesy of: notdavidbrooks

Scripture:
“For 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.” – Lev 17:11

Observation/Application:
The Bible is clear that every person is separated from God because of our sin (Colossians 1:21). Because of our sins, we remain at a distance from him. But Moses is given instruction by God on a variety of laws to follow, the most commonly known are the ten commandments, Further, when he instructs Aaron in this, Moses tells him that “life is in the blood, and by this you will make atonement for one’s life.” So back in the day before Christ, man performed sacrifices to make atonement for sin.

Then came Jesus to die on the cross, to shed his blood for you and for me and for all people for the forgiveness of our sins and for our atonement, just like the Israelites were doing in the old testament with Moses and Aaron. Jesus made himself the sacrificial lamb for all mankind, once and for all, so that we no longer need to make blood sacrifices.
To better understand this, let’s look at the word “atonement”. The English word ‘atonement’ originally meant “at-one-ment”, i.e. being “at one”, in harmony, with someone. It is the “state of a person having been reconciled to God”. In the new testament we understand that this is the saving work that God did, through Jesus Christ, to reconcile the world to himself. Jesus was atonement for our sins, so we no longer have to sacrifice rams, bulls, goats, doves, etc. But in both cases, in both old and new testament, we are reconciled to God by the blood, because life is in the blood. We can close the distance, and draw close to God, by the blood of Jesus.

And by the blood of Jesus, we are given so much. Kevin Halloran wrote a great article on 6 things that we gain by the blood of Jesus and why it holds such a special place in the hearts of believers:

  • We gain bold access to God in worship and prayer – “We have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus” (Hebrews 10:19). “Now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been made near by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13).
  • Forgiveness of sin – “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” – (Ephesians 1:7). “For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:28).
  • Consciences cleansed – “…how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” – (Hebrews 9:14).
  • We are progressively cleansed from more and more sin – “Jesus also suffered…in order to sanctify the people through his own blood” (Hebrews 13:12). “Without holiness, no one will see the Lord” – (Hebrews 12:14).
  • We are able to conquer the accuser of the brethren – “And they have conquered him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” – (Revelation 12:11). Charles Spurgeon, a very prominent and influential preacher from the 1800’s, wrote this: “I know what the devil will say to you.  He will say to you, ‘You are a sinner!’ Tell him you know you are, but that for all that you are justified.  He will tell you of the greatness of your sin.  Tell him of the greatness of Christ’s righteousness.  He will tell you of all your mishaps and your backslidings, of your offences and your wanderings.  Tell him, and tell your own conscience, that you know all that, but that Jesus Christ came to save sinners, and that, although your sin be great, Christ is quite able to put it all away.”
  • Rescued out of a sinful way of life – “…you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot” (1 Peter 1:18-19).

This is just a quick summary. For more detail be sure to check out this amazing article from Kevin here: UnlockingTheBible.org – Kevin Halloran

Blood is currency that Jesus poured out that brings us access to God Himself. Jesus’s blood purchased us complete and gives us total one-ness (at-one-ness) with God, to receive everything our Father has, which is everything. When it really sinks in, it is A-MAZE-ING. How humbled I am to know that Jesus did that for you and me. By the blood of Jesus the old is made new. By the blood of Jesus, there is no distance between us and God. By the blood of Jesus we can walk in boldness and confidence knowing that the same power that rose Jesus from the grave lives in us!

Prayer:
Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your Word today. Help us to be at one with You Lord. Draw us close to you Lord, and make us new. Let your Holy Spirit overflow in us Lord. Let your divine calling be made known to us Lord. Let us hear Your voice, and know Your voice when we hear it. Help us to walk in boldness and confidence with you Lord, and fight the deceptions and lies of the enemy that tell us that we are not good enough or strong enough. Give us wisdom and understanding, peace and joy, and power and strength, and courage, and hope. Fill us with more of You. We receive these blessings, and all of Your Great Promise, in Jesus mighty name. Amen.

Today’s full reading: Lev. 15-17; Acts 18

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