Lifting Sin’s Burden
Are you weary, beleaguered, and weighed down today by the burden of your sin? Do you lack assurance of your forgiveness before God? If so, there is only one sure antidote: to fix your gaze humbly and believingly on the Lord Jesus Christ. Anyone or anything else is insufficient to deal with the oppressive weight of sin.
In reading the Old Testament, we discover that the substitution of the innocent for the guilty is the divine principle of dealing with sin. The sacrificial system and its requirements were put in place by God in order to address His people’s disobedience. But as the story of God’s people unfolds, it becomes apparent that the sacrificial system was not sufficient in and of itself. Neither the priests nor the animals were enough. They couldn’t take away sin. They couldn’t save. They couldn’t justify. And they couldn’t make the people holy.
But the sacrificial system was absolutely necessary, in one important respect: it anticipated and explained the arrival of the perfect Lamb. As the writer to the Hebrews explains, “If that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second” (Hebrews 8:7). So when John the Baptist saw Jesus and declared, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” he was proclaiming the truth that Jesus was the one who had come to offer His very life for sin, once and for all, for anyone who might believe.
In Jesus we have not only this willing and spotless sacrificial Lamb but also a perfect “high priest” who “entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption” (Hebrews 9:11, 12). In contrast to the priests of old, who could never sit down on account of the fact that their work was never done, Jesus was able to say “It is finished” and sit down at God’s right hand (John 19:30; Hebrews 10:12).
Oh, the joy and freedom that are ours when we place our trust in Jesus as the final sacrifice for our sin! What peace and rest for our weary souls! In Him our burden is lifted and we are forgiven, freeing us to sing forever:
I need no other argument,
I need no other plea,
It is enough that Jesus died,
And that He died for me.
How is God calling me to think differently?
How is God reordering my heart’s affections — what I love?
What is God calling me to do as I go about my day today?
The Day of Atonement
1The Lord spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they drew near before the Lord and died, 2and the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron your brother not to come at any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the mercy seat that is on the ark, so that he may not die. For I will appear in the cloud over the mercy seat. 3But in this way Aaron shall come into the Holy Place: with a bull from the herd for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. 4He shall put on the holy linen coat and shall have the linen undergarment on his body, and he shall tie the linen sash around his waist, and wear the linen turban; these are the holy garments. He shall bathe his body in water and then put them on. 5And he shall take from the congregation of the people of Israel two male goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering.
6“Aaron shall offer the bull as a sin offering for himself and shall make atonement for himself and for his house. 7Then he shall take the two goats and set them before the Lord at the entrance of the tent of meeting. 8And Aaron shall cast lots over the two goats, one lot for the Lord and the other lot for Azazel.1 9And Aaron shall present the goat on which the lot fell for the Lord and use it as a sin offering, 10but the goat on which the lot fell for Azazel shall be presented alive before the Lord to make atonement over it, that it may be sent away into the wilderness to Azazel.
11“Aaron shall present the bull as a sin offering for himself, and shall make atonement for himself and for his house. He shall kill the bull as a sin offering for himself. 12And he shall take a censer full of coals of fire from the altar before the Lord, and two handfuls of sweet incense beaten small, and he shall bring it inside the veil 13and put the incense on the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is over the testimony, so that he does not die. 14And he shall take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger on the front of the mercy seat on the east side, and in front of the mercy seat he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times.
15“Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering that is for the people and bring its blood inside the veil and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, sprinkling it over the mercy seat and in front of the mercy seat. 16Thus he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleannesses of the people of Israel and because of their transgressions, all their sins. And so he shall do for the tent of meeting, which dwells with them in the midst of their uncleannesses. 17No one may be in the tent of meeting from the time he enters to make atonement in the Holy Place until he comes out and has made atonement for himself and for his house and for all the assembly of Israel. 18Then he shall go out to the altar that is before the Lord and make atonement for it, and shall take some of the blood of the bull and some of the blood of the goat, and put it on the horns of the altar all around. 19And he shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it and consecrate it from the uncleannesses of the people of Israel.
20“And when he has made an end of atoning for the Holy Place and the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall present the live goat. 21And Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the people of Israel, and all their transgressions, all their sins. And he shall put them on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who is in readiness. 22The goat shall bear all their iniquities on itself to a remote area, and he shall let the goat go free in the wilderness.
23“Then Aaron shall come into the tent of meeting and shall take off the linen garments that he put on when he went into the Holy Place and shall leave them there. 24And he shall bathe his body in water in a holy place and put on his garments and come out and offer his burnt offering and the burnt offering of the people and make atonement for himself and for the people. 25And the fat of the sin offering he shall burn on the altar. 26And he who lets the goat go to Azazel shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward he may come into the camp. 27And the bull for the sin offering and the goat for the sin offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the Holy Place, shall be carried outside the camp. Their skin and their flesh and their dung shall be burned up with fire. 28And he who burns them shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward he may come into the camp.
29“And it shall be a statute to you forever that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict yourselves2 and shall do no work, either the native or the stranger who sojourns among you. 30For on this day shall atonement be made for you to cleanse you. You shall be clean before the Lord from all your sins. 31It is a Sabbath of solemn rest to you, and you shall afflict yourselves; it is a statute forever. 32And the priest who is anointed and consecrated as priest in his father's place shall make atonement, wearing the holy linen garments. 33He shall make atonement for the holy sanctuary, and he shall make atonement for the tent of meeting and for the altar, and he shall make atonement for the priests and for all the people of the assembly. 34And this shall be a statute forever for you, that atonement may be made for the people of Israel once in the year because of all their sins.” And Aaron3 did as the Lord commanded Moses.
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