My last article was about the problem of sin. In today’s article, we’ll begin unpacking God’s wonderful solution. The remedy lies in His character.
God’s justice demands death as payment for sin; His love provides a way to pay the price. Divine love has two parts…
- Mercy: when God withholds what we deserve—death.
- Grace: when He grants we do not deserve—life!
In the Old Testament, God extended mercy to the Israelites through animal blood. The people sacrificed animals as substitutes for their own deaths, making atonement possible. On the annual Day of Atonement, God forgave Israel’s sins.
Atonement is a compound word: at + one + ment. The Hebrew word translated atonement means appeasement. When the price of sin was paid through animal sacrifice, God was appeased, leading to oneness between God and the sinner.
Blood was key in this process.
Let’s put this all together.
Take a sinner in the Old Testament. He deserved death, but an animal was sacrificed in his place. It was unblemished, healthy, and the firstborn. It bore his sins, paying the price he deserved to pay. This was the judicial death God required.
The individual died representatively through the animal’s death. As a result, he was sanctified—made holy—and united with our holy God. In this process, we see God’s justice, because a death occurred; we also see God’s love, because God spared the sinner.
All of this points to Jesus Christ, as I’ll explain another time. In my next article, we’ll learn about the role of faith in the sanctification process.