The nature of redemptive sacrifice is violence. It is violent and harsh and graphic and offensive to our sensibilities. We must understand, however, that sacrifice, as it is measured, must be all of these things – it must be an “eye for an eye” if it is to be offered in redemption of human sin for sin is violent; it is harsh and graphic and offensive. Do we understand, however, can we fathom even, the nature of Jesus’ sacrifice? His treatment was brutal, to be sure. The Messiah was beaten, scourged, tortured and ultimately, literally, hung on a piece of wood with long metal spikes. His body was broken, sacrificed as punishment for us – and the blood flowed.
It is through the blood of Jesus that the remission of our sin, what we call the ‘propitiation’ for our sin, was made. Not the blood of a pigeon; not the blood of a ram; not the blood of a goat or a bull – the blood of the perfect God-man Jesus, who was and is the Christ of God – given as a sacrifice so that not only the punishment of our sin would be satisfied, but the forgiveness of those sin – and future sin – would be brought to fruition. We are saved by the blood of Jesus. We are forgiven and able now to be in the presence of the Most High God. We are Holy, set apart by God, for God.
This is why we come to the altar when we profess our faith and belief in Jesus Christ; and it is why we say that we ‘give our lives’ to Jesus. You see, it is at that time that we do what little we can to return good-for-good and offer ourselves as a living sacrifice to Jesus Christ and His church. As we are taught in Romans 12:1-2 (NLT) 1And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.