One only has to listen to the local or national news to realize we are living in a sin-sick world. In America, those who are caught in major crimes usually face serious jail time. Other countries impose far more severe consequences for sinful behavior. For in- stance, in Saudi Arabia, the death penalty is imposed for “…murder…adultery, drug smuggling, and…under certain conditions [for] rape and armed robbery.” Executions are carried out by beheading, firing squad, or stoning, in order to deter these serious sins.
We agree with A. W. Tozer who once wrote, “No one has ever overstated the seriousness of the sin question.” Throughout Scripture, the Lord continually seeks to impress upon His children how grievously heinous all sin is in the sight of God. After Adam and Eve sinned, they were cast out of the Garden of Eden with the consequences of pain in childbirth, sustenance through the sweat of the brow, and eventual physical death. Later, Israel was given an intricate system of animal sacrifice to temporarily cover sins (Leviticus 4:27-31; 5:7-15). The guilty party laid their hands on the head of an innocent animal-therein symbolically transferring one’s guilt in sin upon the bullock, goat, or turtledove that was to be sacrificed. Its throat was slit, or it’s neck wrung, suffering as it died. Some of the blood of this innocent animal was smeared on the horns of the altar; and the remainder of the blood was poured out at the base of the altar. Then the animal was burnt on an altar with the aroma permeating the area. The animal paid the ultimate price; bearing the consequence of the guilty party’s sin. Only then would the guilty one have his sins “forgiven him.” All of this pictured the Lord Jesus Christ who came to earth for sinful mankind that He might become “the Lamb of God, which taketh way the sin of the world” (John 1:29). As His flesh was torn and His lifeblood was shed for our sins, He became what Isaiah 53:10 describes as “…an offering for [our] sin.”
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