By Pastor J.D. Link
Ephesians 5:2 says, “And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor.” Two weeks ago we talked about the wonderful fact that Jesus is our intercessor. He stands in the gap for us as Christians. He is our one and only mediator (1Tim 2:5). He is seated at the right hand of The Father in Heaven, and forever lives to make intercession for us. He is a king-priest, after the order of Melchisedec. He is our high priest, greater than any old testament Levitical high priest.
When God looked for an intercessor and found none, He provided One - His Son, Jesus Christ (Isa 59:16). However, an intercessor alone is not enough. There must also with the intercession be a sacrifice. The Bible says without the shedding of blood, there is no remission (pardon, deliverance, forgiveness). Old testament worship forms were all types and shadows of Jesus. The OT high priest was the intercessor for Israel. However, his intercession would be useless without bringing the blood of the sacrifice. Intercessor and sacrifice were both necessary.
Why was the blood sacrifice necessary? Because for righteous judgment to executed, a life had to be given for a life. Why? Because the wages (dues, what is owed) of sin is death. As we learned two weeks ago, God is merciful, kind, gracious, and compassionate. At the same time, He is also righteous, holy, just and the Judge of the universe. This creates a dilemma: His Mercy demands compassion; but his righteousness demands judgment. Therefore, in order to show his mercy and compassion to mankind, a substitute had to be provided that could die for the sins of the people. A life for a life. This is the only way to meet the requirements of both mercy and justice.
The life of the flesh is in the blood (Lev 17:11). Therefore, when the blood (life) of the animal was poured out, it made an atonement (lit. “covering”) for the sins of the person it was slain on behalf of. The problem is, the blood of animals could only temporarily cover - but not take away - the people’s sin. This is why they were offered constantly. If that blood could have actually removed sin, there would be no need to do it over and over. Why? Because there would be no sin to remove any longer. The person would be truly and completely clean.
This is why the old covenant had to be taken away, and the new covenant instituted. We needed a high priest who wasn’t a sinner himself. We needed Jesus to be our high priest. We needed the blood of a sacrifice that was pure and sinless - the blood of God Himself (Acts 20:28). Animal blood was insufficient to permanently cleanse from all sin. We needed a sacrifice that could truly and completely take away all of our sin, and not just cover it up for a moment. This is why Jesus gave Himself. All glory to His name!
Jesus fulfilled both roles: High Priest (intercessor) and Sacrifice. The earthy tabernacle was a type of the true tabernacle in heaven. By some miraculous means, Jesus the High Priest offered Himself as the sacrifice, and then carried His own blood to the heavenly Holy of Holies, and presented it as the eternal satisfactory payment for the sins of the world. This was of course accepted by The Father, and now those who will accept and put faith in Jesus’ sacrifice have eternal redemption. Jesus - One sacrifice; For all sins; For all mankind; Forever. Eternal means forever. Forever redeemed (purchased from Satan, and now property of God). Forever cleansed. Forever free from the curse.
This is why Jesus is the only way to heaven. This is why no other religion or philosophy will save you from eternal damnation. God loves you, and has demonstrated His abundant mercy, grace, and compassion by giving Jesus as the sacrifice for your sins. His life for yours. However, if you choose to reject His payment for your sins, then you will pay for your own sins. Why? Because the wages of sin is death. God will accept one of two things: either Jesus’ death in your place, or your eternal death. One of those things WILL happen.
If you haven’t already, repent today. Turn from darkness to light; from Satan to God; from your ways to God’s ways. From false religions and philosophies, to the truth. Believe on the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. Receive His forgiveness of sins. Ask Him to fill you with His Holy Spirit. Become a student of the Bible, and pray to The Father in Jesus Name every day. Those that humble themselves and come to Him, He will not reject. Run to Jesus today! (read Hebrews chapters 7-10 carefully for a more complete explanation).
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