The Sacrificial Lamb
God’s grace has no limits. His mercy can reach the darkest part of our heart. What’s more, the forgiveness Jesus offered on the cross stretches back to earth’s first day and forward to its last. Christ not only erased our past, present, and future sin; He also paid for the wrongs of every generation.
When the Israelites brought a goat or a lamb to the temple for a sacrifice, they placed their hands on its head and confessed their sins. The priest then killed the animal and sprinkled some of its blood on the altar of atonement. The ritual symbolized a confessor’s payment for sin. But the lamb could not actually take on the sin and die in place of the Israelite (Heb. 10:4).
If an animal’s blood could actually erase a sin-debt, we’d still be offering those frequent sacrifices and Jesus’ death would have been unnecessary. Yet we must remember that though the act itself had no saving power, the ritual of sacrifice was God’s idea (Lev. 4:1-35). He established such offerings as a powerful illustration of the seriousness and penalty of sin. The practice also pointed to Christ’s perfect sacrificial death on our behalf and the salvation He offers. To use a modern metaphor, sacrifice can be thought of as similar to a credit card. God accepted the lamb’s blood as temporary payment. When the bill came due, Jesus Christ paid the sin-debt in full.
Modern believers do practice certain biblical rituals, but we are not pardoned through prayer, Bible reading, or even the act of confession. Like the Israelites, we must also look to a lamb—the Lamb of God. When we receive Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins, we are forgiven forever.