Have you ever wondered why we need Jesus when the saints of the Old Testament sacrificed animals? Could we not do that today? If not, why not? Was it simply to keep us from having to continue that practice, or was it more? What does that mean for the saints of the Old Testament?
Although animal sacrifices served a purpose, they were neither permanent nor adequate. They had to continue on and on for each person. They seem, by the following passage, to have served more as a foreshadowing of Jesus than anything close to what was really needed.
For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.
If the blood of bulls and goats could not take away sins, then we needed the blood of a Savior. Only Jesus’ blood could fulfill the need and be a permanent solution.
Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.
It says, “we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” This offering, the blood of Jesus – our Lord and Savior – is the only complete and permanent sacrifice for our sins – past, present, and future.
What about the saints that passed before that?
And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
The saints of the Old Testament enjoyed the same benefit. Their righteousness was imputed to them because of their faith.
Today’s challenge is to understand that no sacrifice you make can save you. No sacrifice by a sinful individual is able to remove sin. Even the sacrifice of a perfect unblemished bull or goat is not sufficient to take away sin. Only Jesus’ blood is the perfect and complete sacrifice. Only Jesus’ blood can take away sin and take it away permanently. As with the Old Testament saints, faith is required. When you accept Jesus as your Savior, your sin debt – past, present, and future – is paid in full.