by Pr. Dave Mann
The laws in the Old Testament are very clear. If your sin is done unintentionally, you are still accountable for the consequences. There are specific offerings that are required to be performed in the temple so that you can be cleansed of guilt.
If you sin intentionally – by deceiving, cheating, lying, swearing falsely, etc. – there are specific offerings that are required. There is also financial restitution required along with a 1/5 addition.
Aren’t you glad that the Old Testament code is no longer binding? But wait a minute! That is not entirely true. The moral law found in the Old Testament has largely been reiterated in the New Testament. Jesus even enhanced the moral code by emphasizing that the self-centered attitude that is the root of sin in action is also sin. "You have heard it said, ‘Do not murder,’ but I say to you, he who is angry with his brother is already guilty." (cf. Matthew 5) There are still moral guidelines for what is against God’s will. These are laid out in both the Old and New Testaments.
Nevertheless, the method of reconciliation for the disregard of God’s good and perfect will has changed. The sacrificial law system has been superseded by the New Covenant. We no longer need to bring a ram, slaughter it, and present it in the temple. No longer are the sacrifices of animals used. We now have the once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus upon the cross (Hebrews 9-10) that intentionally and thoroughly cleanses us from sin. We do not bring a sacrifice to a priest to slay. We simply return to the perfect sacrifice that God has brought on our behalf.
In Holy Communion, Jesus established the New Covenant in his body and in his blood. In this sacred meal, we not only remember Jesus’ selfless act on Calvary, but we also join with him, with his real presence, as we partake of the bread and wine.
As it says in Hebrews 10:22: "Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water."
Lord Jesus, thank you for providing the perfect once-for-all sacrifice for my sin. I am forever grateful that I can connect with you in the meal that you established for the New Covenant. Amen.