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4 minutes reading time (867 words)

"Once and For All, Loved, Accepted, Forgiven"


"If his offering is a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish; he shall offer it of his own free will at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the Lord. Then he shall put his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him."

Leviticus 1:3-4

Reading the book of Leviticus along with the men of our church tonight I am reminded of how good it feels to take a nice long bath or shower and how you feel so clean and refreshed when you get out. The sacrificial system in the Old Testament was meant to provide cleaning and refreshment for our soul. In the book of Leviticus we see that God has called His people to holiness, to wholeness. Sin has a way of making us less than whole. The major theme of the book is holiness and the laws established within the book set forth the "way" that every person, rich or poor could enjoy communion with God.

Because of sin, the breaking of Gods commandments there was a need for constant sacrifices to be made so that the children of Israel could be made pure and holiness to be reestablished. Many of the laws and sacrifices in Leviticus relate to the removal of the defilement brought about by the breaking of the law, which is sin. The call of God in the book of Leviticus is to holiness. Leviticus 19:2 makes clear God's intentions when it states, "Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them: 'You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy."

Whats important to know is that holiness always begins with God not with man. We can't make ourselves holy. Holiness here in Leviticus is achieved by the removal of the sin by the blood of a sacrifice. In verse 4 we read that the person offering the sacrifice must identify with it and does so by the laying on of the hands. This act symbolizes that the innocent animal was taking the place of the sinner making the sacrifice, that a substitution was taking place. The guilt and the condemnation of sin were being transferred from one to another, removing the sin from the guilty and laying it onto the innocent. This ceremony pointed to the true sacrifice that Jesus Christ would make once and for all upon the Cross when, He, the Lamb of God would take away the sins of the world.

Here in Leviticus the only way a sacrifice could be accepted is to lay hands upon it. The laying on of the hands or identifying with the sacrifice was to recognize the need of forgiveness. Only a person who sinned needed a sacrifice for sin. The laying upon of hands upon the innocent sacrifice took place after confession was made. Once confession was made the transfer of the sins of the sinner to the innocent sacrifice took place by the laying on of hands upon the head of the innocent. At this transfer guilt and condemnation were removed and communion was established once again. What a beautiful picture we have of the sacrifice of the Cross. Jesus, the unblemished Lamb of God came and took on the sins of all who would come to Him by faith, confessing their sins to Him, transferring the death penalty over to Him so that fellowship and communion with God could be restored.

Don't miss the beauty of the Cross revealed here in the book of Leviticus, loved one. Jesus, our Savior, willingly took our place, became our substitute as the perfect sacrifice when He died once and for all. Isaiah 53:5 says it all, "But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed". The book of 2 Corinthians reminds us of this perfect sacrifice, "For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him". I love Hebrews 7:27 where it says speaking of the sacrifice of Christ, "who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people's, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself."

Once and for all, friend, Jesus died for you and me. We have no need to go back to symbolism to remove our guilt and our shame. Go to the Cross instead, where our sins were paid up in full by one sacrifice, once and for all, the just for the unjust, the righteous for the unrighteous, the sinless for the sinner. In Jesus, we have been set free! We are now free to worship God, to live in holiness before Him each and every day of our lives because we are accepted in Christ because of what Jesus has done for us not what we do for Him.

"I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name's sake."

1 John 2:12


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Tuesday, 22 January 2019