Summary: “God said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me”.”
The best introduction to any book of all the books ever written in the world are found in the simple words “In the beginning God”. Everything begins with God. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”. God created everything that man would ever need before He created man. He crowned him with honour and glory and gave him authority and dominion over the earth. When man rebelled against God he lost his glory and his authority and Satan became the ruler of this world. The only way for man to regain his authority was for someone to die as payment for sin “for the wages of sin is death”. Since God had given authority to man on earth only a man could pay the penalty for sin but in their sinful state no man qualified to pay the price. God therefore had to become a man to pay the penalty for sin and His sacrifice restored our authority and dominion and showed us the immense blessings of a sacrificial life.
Step One: The Old Covenant
a) The Law
The sacrificial life is only possible because of the grace of God that is made available to us under the New covenant. Under the Old Covenant, God’s people were given the Law on Mount Sinai. The Law was holy and perfect but it required that should keep it. This was impossible for sinful man. The purpose of the Law was to reveal sin and man’s need for a Saviour.
b) The sacrifice of animals
All of us have inherited Adams sinful nature for in Adam “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”. (Rom 3:23) “The Law is the ministry of death carved in letters on stone” (2 Cor. 3:7) confirming that we all deserve to die “For the wages of sin is death”. (Rom 6:23) God instituted the sacrifice of animals, the shedding of innocent blood, to deal with sin.
c) The covering of sin
The animal to be sacrificed was without blemish and the person who had sinned would lay his hands on the animal and the priest would pray and the sin of the person would supernaturally be transferred to the animal that would then be offered as a sacrifice.
The animal sacrifice was completely burnt to signify the fire of God’s judgement on sin. It was also an indication that the judgement of God was far greater than the sacrifice. This is the reason why the sacrifice had to be offered over and over again. In the case of the sacrifice of Christ He endured the full judgement of God and was not consumed till He cried out “it is finished”. This is an indication that the sacrifice of Christ was far greater than the judgement of God and therefore did not need to be ever repeated again.
Christ has paid the full price for the forgiveness of sin. It is a price we could never pay but is made available to us by grace. Our part is to accept what God has made available by faith when we put our trust in Christ.
Step Two: The New Covenant
a) A new nature
The New Covenant succeeded where the Old Covenant failed because the new relied on Christ whereas the old relied on man. Christ fulfilled the Law. He was tempted in all ways as we are yet did not sin. Under the New Covenant, Christ is our sacrifice. He took our sin and became sin to pay the penalty for sin. When we identify with Christ we share in His sacrifice and receive a new nature.