Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Cost of Grace

Leviticus 9:7-9 (New Living Translation)
New Living Translation (NLT)
Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.
7Then Moses said to Aaron, "Approach the altar and present your sin offering and your whole burnt offering to make atonement for yourself. Then present the offerings to make atonement for the people, just as the LORD has commanded."
8So Aaron went to the altar and slaughtered the calf as a sin offering for himself. 9 His sons brought him the blood, and he dipped his finger into it and put it on the horns of the altar. He poured out the rest of the blood at the base of the altar.

Verse 5 of chapter 9 of Leviticus says that "the entire assembly came near and stood before the Lord," (N.I.V.) and then the chapter goes on to describe the slaughtering of the calf, lamb, goat, ox and ram, as sin and burnt offerings.

Slaughtering animals, blood being sprinkled and poured on various parts of the altar, and the various parts of the animals' bodies being used in the ceremony; pretty gruesome stuff, and yet nothing God does or asks of us is without purpose. The blood and death was in atonement for the sin of the people of Israel.

The law required constant sacrifices; great effort and work, to maintain relationship - fellowship - between man and God. While this was an imperfect system, it demonstrated that sin matters and it has a cost; a cost payable in death and blood.

All along, even before the creation of man, God knew that to dignify man with free will, was to make him vulnerable to sin. He demonstrated that the law and sacrifice would only bridge the resulting chasm between God and man imperfectly. So he planned a Perfect Sacrifice who would one day come and open up the way of grace; his own beloved Son. This is the Rock that many stumble over; the fact that there is no other way to God but by confessing our need of his grace and mercy and accepting the free gift of forgiveness of sin.


I am not skilled to understand
What God has willed, what God has planned;
I only know at his right hand
Stands one who is my Saviour.

I take God at his word and deed;
Christ died to save me, this I read;
And in my heart I find a need
Of him to be my Saviour.

And was there then no other way
For God to take? I cannot say;
I only bless him, day by day,
Who saved me through my Saviour.

Dora Greenwell (1821-82)

Hebrews 10:8-10 (New Living Translation)
New Living Translation (NLT)
Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.
8Christ said, "You did not want animal sacrifices or grain offerings or animals burned on the altar or other offerings for sin, nor were you pleased with them" (though they are required by the law of Moses). 9Then he added, "Look, I have come to do your will." He cancels the first covenant in order to establish the second. 10And what God wants is for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all time.

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