Christ’s Superior Sacrifice
Text: Heb. 9:11-14 Ref Heb. 9:22
From earliest times people expressed their devotion to God through presentation of offerings and sacrifices. Someone sacrifices expressed thanks, as the person presented to God the best of his crops or animals (Gen. 4:4; 8:20). Others sacrifices were for forgiveness of sins, in which a slaughter animal bearing the penalty of the offerer as a result of his sins (Job. 42:8). Other sacrifice was inform of fellowship both with God and with man, as the offererate part of the sacrifice in a meal with relatives and friends (Gen. 31:54)
These basic elements of the sacrifice were later developed in the ceremonial law of Israel. It should be noted that whether before or after the institution of Israel ceremonial law, the heart attitude of the worshipper was always more important than the gifts. This can be seen in the case of Cain and Abel. Even if Cain’s sacrifice, like Abel’s had involved the shedding of blood, it would still have been unacceptable to God, because Cain himself was ungodly and unrepentant Gen. 4:2-5, 7. The Bible’s first specific statement concerning the particular significance of blood did not come till the time of Noah.
The first clear revelation of the valve of blood for atonement had to wait till the time of Moses Gen. 9:3-6 God revealed his purposes progressively as people were able to understand them; but always his acceptance of the offering depended on the spiritual condition of the offerer.
The sacrificial system of Israel did not ignore this principle; that was why at times when people carried out the rituals mechanically, without corresponding faith and uprightness, the Prophets condemned their sacrifices as worthless (Isa 1:13-20; Amos 5:21-24, Micah 6:6-8). The Passover in Egypt marked an important stage in God’s revelation of the specific significance of blood. Blood was a symbol of life; shed blood was therefore a symbol of death; in particular death through killing.
In the original Passover, on the Day of Atonement, the blood of the lamb was important. The blood around the door showed that an animal had been killed instead of the person under judgment (Exodus 12:13). In Israel’s sacrificial system God provided a way of atonement through the shed of blood of animals.
Through sin man was separated from God and under the penalty of death, and there was nothing man can do to save himself. There could be no forgiveness of his sin, no releasing him from its consequences, a part from death. (Rom. 3:23, 6:23). God, however, provided a way of Salvation through the blood (i.e. death) of a guiltless substitute. It should be noted that escaping of divine punishment was not something man brought about, but has due to God himself.
Although an animal substitute had to bear the death penalty, so that the sinner could be forgiven, the blood of an animal could met itself take away sins (Heb. 10:4) Nevertheless, it enabled the sinner to see that God, in forgiving sins, was not ignoring those sins but dealing with them.
The only blood able to forgive sins completely is the blood of Jesus. His death on the cross. This shows the supremacy of Christ’s sacrifice over all other sacrifices which had been earlier mentioned.
The following’s can be derived as the advantages of Christ’s supreme sacrifice
(1) Atonement forgiveness of sins. Heb. 9:22
(2) Redemption from eternal condemnation and corruption I Peter 1:18-20
(3) Christ offered the perfect, unblemished, acceptable sacrifice through his own body. This was because Jesus was without sin Lev. 1:3,10.
(4) Jesus is the Lamb of God that took away the sins of the world. He is the detergent for our sins Matt. 1:21; John 1:29-30.
(5) The death of Christ brought about eternal life.
The followings should be our responses to His Supreme Sacrifice.
(i). Obedience: Since Christ’s Sacrifice was a willing sacrifice, an act of obedience and love. So God wants his people to show their obedience and love by willingly sacrificing themselves for the sake of others (Eph. 5:2, 25, Heb. 10:7 , 10)
(ii) Total Surrenderedness: (submission) to his will. We as Christians are spiritual sacrifices, which are offered in response to God’s love and mercy. We are to give God quality worship praise and service in appreciation to Christ’s Superior Sacrifice for mankind.
Very Revd Adewale Adebiyi Ph.D