Today’s devotional is fitting for this week as Friday marks the day devout Jews observe the Passover and Christians reflect on Christ’s death on the Cross and His victorious resurrection from the tomb on Sunday.
Proverbs 16:6 – “By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.”
The problem and curse of sin began in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve disobeyed God, eating forbidden fruit symbolized by the “tree of knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:9, 16-17). Satan, coming in the form of a serpent, appealed to Eve by questioning and contradicting God’s command (Genesis 3:1, 4-5). He insinuated the benefit of the fruit would be “ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5). Eve not only took the forbidden fruit, but also gave it to her husband who “did eat”. Realizing the shame of their sin (Genesis 3:6-7), Adam and Eve feared and fled from the presence of God (Genesis 3:8).
Sin and its consequences had separated man from his Creator Who is Holy and Just. Man was unable to bridge the gulf of sin that divided him from his God. Nevertheless, God’s love moved Him to pursue Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:9) and in mercy invite them to confess their sin (Genesis 3:11, 13). God’s Justice demanded that man bear the consequences of his sin (Genesis 3:14-15, 16-19); however, His Grace moved Him to promise a Redeemer—a promise fulfilled in Christ’s death on the cross (Genesis 3:15b; Isaiah 53:4-6). To appease His Justice and provide a covering for their nakedness, God made Adam and Eve coats of skin from animals He sacrificed (Genesis 3:21).
The reality of sin and the necessity of a blood sacrifice are found throughout the scriptures. Time and space prevent me from doing an exhaustive study of God’s Holiness, Justice, Love, Grace and Mercy; however, the reality of those great Truths climaxes with Christ’s suffering and death on the cross.
Animal sacrifices could not atone for man’s sin; they were types, symbols of the perfect atoning sacrifice God alone could supply. God required more than the ritualism of animal sacrifices; He desired the heart of man. The prophet Micah wrote:
Micah 6:6-8 – “Wherewith [With what] shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? 7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? 8 He [God] hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”
Solomon taught his son that same truth in Proverbs 16:6.
Proverbs 16:6 – “By [God’s] mercy [lovingkindness; steadfast love] and truth iniquity [sin] is purged [atoned; covered as with the blood of a sacrifice]: and by the fear of the LORD men depart [put away; remove] from evil [sin; wickedness].”
My friend, the sin of man could never be atoned by the sacrifice of animals. For this cause, Jesus Christ, the Only begotten Son of God was born of the virgin Mary, lived a perfect, sinless life and became the perfect sacrifice for sin. Jesus is the Perfect Lamb of God (John 1:29).
1 Peter 1:18-21 – “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.”