To understand sacrifice, we must understand evil. Despite the fact that most humans long to live in a world where goodness and justice prevail, something always compels us to wreak havoc and destruction.
In the early stories of the Bible, animal sacrifice atoned for man’s sins. Though it was the sinner who deserved to be removed from the world, an animal would take their place. The animal’s blood would then be sprinkled by a priest in a symbolic cleansing of evil’s indirect consequences throughout the community. This process was called purification, and it was able to make things right between the Israelites and God.
These Old Testament sacrifices fell short of atoning for man’s sins. All over the New Testament, we hear how the death of Jesus was an atonement for our sins, covering the debt that humans owe God for contributing to all the evil and death in the world. The New Testament also talks about the atonement of Jesus Christ as a purification.
- Many people feel as if it is God’s responsibility to correct and get rid of the world of evil. However, the same evil that is corrupting relationships and causing damage out in the world is the evil that exists in all of us. To rid the world of evil, God would have to destroy all of mankind.
- The New Testament also talks about the atonement of Jesus Christ as a purification. Like the blood of the animal sacrifices in the Old Testament, it is now Christ’s blood that washes away all of the damage and side-effects of sin, purifying and sanctifying the world.
- Jesus was able to conquer death and rise from the dead, Christ made Himself the perfect sacrifice who now continually offers Himself to anyone who needs Him. Because Christ became the perfect sacrifice, the ritual of animal sacrifice was no longer required.
- Thanks to atonement in Christianity and the rituals that connect us to it, we are able to have our debts forgiven and walk in newness with God.
Talk About It:
- Did you know what sacrifice and atonement was before today’s Table Talk discussion?
- Have you ever blamed the evil of the world on God? When others do, how do you respond?
- What does it mean to have our debts forgiven and walk in newness with God?
- Does anyone want to share their salvation story? (If not, you share yours)
- Who do you need to share you testimony with this week.
The Bible Project: Animal Sacrifice Explained
The Bible Project: Sacrifice & Atonement