On April 15th, 2013, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother perpetrated a devastating bombing attack during the running of the Boston Marathon. Three people were killed and 264 people were seriously injured. Once captured, Tsranaev was easily proven guilty. For many of the families of those terrorized or killed, the only just punishment would be a death for such a heinous, heartless, and unprovoked crime.
Hebrews 9:22 defines the just consequences for sins required for Jews under the Law of Moses: “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without [the] shedding of blood is no remission [of sin].” There were two exceptions. When Aaron symbolically placed the sins of Israel on the “scapegoat” and released it into the wilderness, he had to thoroughly wash, or cleanse, his body before reentering the camp (Leviticus16:21-26). By association with sin, he was unclean. When Israel returned with spoils from battle, they had to purify their bounty of gold and silver with fire, then wash themselves and women captives “with the water of separation” before reentering the camp (Numbers 31:13-24). Here too, contact with sin required cleansing. In all other instances, a perfect animal sacrifice had to suffer and die. Then its blood had to be offered before one’s sins would be covered and the individual made acceptable to God. This blood shed on behalf of the guilty party was “…sprinkled both [on] the book [of the law], and all the people…and all the vessels of the ministry” (Hebrews 9:19-21). Ultimately, these animal sacrifices represented and looked forward to the Lord Jesus, whose blood would permanently cover sins. But why did God require the death and blood of an innocent victim to atone for sin? This writer believes it is in part, to convey to everyone the wretchedness of sin before THE Holy God and the seriousness of sin’s consequences.
Those who have been “justified by His blood” (Romans 5:9), and have received “…the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7), should be forever grateful for the supreme sacrifice of our Savior. Moreover, we should always remember: “…Ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (I Corinthians 6:20). We must never allow ourselves to callously practice the wretchedness of any sinful behavior. Instead, by God’s grace, we must seek to live apart from sin and unto the one who died for us and rose again.
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