In the Old Testament, God established a system of sacrifices. Two of the described sacrifices, the Sin Offering and the Trespass Offering, were compulsory, or required by law. When an Israelite sinned by breaking the commandment of God, they were required to offer either a Sin Offering or Trespass Offering, depending on the nature of the committed sin.
To avoid confusion, sacrifices did not literally forgive sins. Sacrifices were the symbolic, outward expressions of an Israelite’s inner repentance of sin, and God’s gracious forgiveness. The symbolic nature of sacrifices, however, did not excuse the Israelites to neglect the Sin and Trespass Offerings when they sinned. Both types of sacrifices were still required by God’s law, and an Israelite would follow God’s law as a response of faith.
Now you may be wandering, why don’t we still do sacrifices today?
Read Hebrews 10:1-25.
- How are the OT sacrifices and Jesus’ sacrifice contrasted?
- What do you think it means when it says, “Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins” in Hebrews 10:12?
- Hebrews 10:19-25 describe some effects of Christ’s permanent sacrifice for sin, what are they?