The Need for a Sacrifice

The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.
–Genesis 3:21

Because we are sinners and God is holy, we need a sacrifice for our sin. We see that in Genesis 3:7 after Adam and Eve rebelled against God: “The eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.” Sin always produces guilt, and guilt produces a desire to cover over our guilt. That’s what Adam and Eve did. They tried to sew their own cover to hide their nakedness. But notice what happened in Genesis 3:8: “They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God.” In the coolest part of the day, Adam and Eve started to feel a little drafty. They were aware of how inadequate their covering was. That is the moment God confronted them, and only after God confronted them were they in a position to receive the covering He had made. “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them” (v. 21). The very first recorded death in the Bible was an animal God killed to provide a covering for Adam and Eve. God was teaching them the most important lesson we can learn, and that is: something innocent must die for the guilty to cover our sin, and God is the one who provides the sacrifice.

We see that theme over and over throughout the Old Testament. For example, the Mosaic Law required all kinds of sacrifices. And the highest day on the Jewish calendar was the Day of Atonement. On that day, according to Leviticus 16, the high priest would first make a sacrifice for his own sins. And after he offered this sacrifice for his own sins, he killed the goat, took its blood, and entered the holy of holies, where God was thought to dwell. He placed that blood on top of the mercy seat. And the picture was that God no longer saw the broken law; He saw the blood that covered over (or, atoned for) the sins of the people. That was the lesson God was teaching. Something innocent had to die for the guilty. Leviticus 17:11 says, “The life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make an atonement for your souls.”

In Genesis 22:2, God said to Abraham, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.” Abraham obeyed God. He went to Moriah and put Isaac as an offering on the altar. As Abraham raised his knife, God stopped him, saying, “Now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me” (v. 12). Abraham saw a ram caught in the thicket. God said, “This is the sacrifice.” And Abraham offered the ram that God had provided as an atonement for sin. It is no accident that in that same region called Moriah–literally “God will provide”—two thousand years later, another sacrifice was offered on that old rugged cross, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. God was teaching us the lesson: someone innocent must die for those of us who are guilty, and God is the one who provides the sacrifice.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Avoiding The Way Of Cain” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2015.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

 

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