5 - God's Love Provides Mercy
Fortunately, God loves His creation and decided to help pay this price even though it was undeserved. This is called GRACE (God gives us what we don‘t deserve -life). He showed His MERCY (God does not give us what we do deserve: death) by having the price paid by an innocent representative. This was the purpose of animal sacrifice. God made provision (or atonement) for sin by an innocent life. This is described in Leviticus 17:11, ”For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.” The life of the animal atones for (pays the price for) and cleanses the sins of the sinner(Leviticus 16:30).By removing sin, we are made holy (sanctified). As a result, the judicial price of death is paid and removed (justification), we are declared righteous, and our spiritual relationship with a holy God is restored (reconciliation). Blood (which represents life) is the ONLY thing that will pay the price for, remove, or atone for sin (Hebrews 9:22)– not good works, good beliefs, good morals, or good intentions! God does not have a blood lust, He just hates sin, and blood (life) represents the highest price possible
Notice some things we learn from animal sacrifice:
- the animal was innocent of sin—it was amoral, it couldn't sin. If an animal could have sinned it would have been liable for its own sin! Sinlessness was required for it to provide a representative death.
- the animal had to be perfect, spotless, unblemished, see Leviticus 22:21-27.
- In the single act of animal sacrifice we see both God‘s justice (death was paid) and His mercy (the sinner was allowed to live).