March 24, 2015

No more lambs because of one Lamb . . .

Numbers 28:1–31, 1 Corinthians 10:23–11:16, Psalm 23:1–6

Imagine what it would do to life’s routines if God’s people must offer lambs as a sacrifice for sin? Today’s OT reading starts out with a short list of a few sacrifices that were required back in the day.

“The Lord told Moses, ‘Command the people of Israel and say to them, My offering, my food for my food offerings, my pleasing aroma, you shall be careful to offer to me at its appointed time. And you shall say to them, this is the food offering that you shall offer to the Lord: two male lambs a year old without blemish, day by day, as a regular offering. The one lamb you shall offer in the morning and the other lamb you shall offer at twilight . . . .” (Numbers 28:1–4)

The sacrifice list goes on. I’ve looked for a list of just those that were necessary, but not found it yet. It would be a long list and even longer when specific sin meant slaying more animals, more blood. Yet the NT is clear, all of this is but a shadow of the reality to come. In faith, the OT people of faith offered lambs, looking forward to the Lamb who would take away the sin of the world.

The book of Hebrews explains it well: “For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” (Hebrews 10:1–4)

Instead of putting lambs on an altar for sin, it was the will of God to put His Son on a Cross, “And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all . . . For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:10; 14)

The sacrifice of Christ changed everything. Sin is atoned for, forgiven, forever. But even more, because of the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, all who believe are changed. We are given new life, His life, and because of that new life, we have assurance of our eternal destiny and are able to concentrate on a higher calling . . .

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.” (1 Corinthians 10:31–33)

Because “the Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” (Psalm 23:1–3) My life is in His hands. I can speak to Him with utter confidence . . .  “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23:5–6)

No need to sacrifice any lambs. No need to be concerned about what happens when I die. No need to be anxious about anything. I have a Shepherd who fulfilled all of the requirements of the Law, who set me aside and gave me eternal life, and who takes care of all my needs.

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