Hebrews 10:5, 6, 8
Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:
“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me;
with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased.
First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them” (although the law required them to be made).
If God was not pleased with Old Testament sacrifices why did he command they be made? Why did hundreds of thousands of animals have to die if it meant nothing to God?
We see the answer to that question in verse 3 where it says they were an annual reminder of sin. Those sacrifices were for us, to remind us of our sin. But why was so much blood, death and gore necessary? Why not just have an annual remembrance day without all the blood?
Of course it was necessary as a picture of the coming death of Jesus and that blood covered sin though it could not take it away but I think there is also another reason.
A simple day of remembrance would involve no loss, no sacrifice, no pain. It would minimize the vileness of our sin. As people we already tend to underestimate the horror of our sin. We tend to think sin isn’t nearly as serious as it really is. We admit we were a little naughty, certainly not perfect, but also certainly not deserving of eternal damnation or hell. We fail to see our sin as the gross darkness that it truly is.
In this world nothing we see or experience is completely holy, righteous and pure so we compare our sin to those things we have experienced, not to total Godly purity. Therefore, our sin may seem dingy but certainly not putrid, vile and thoroughly disgusting.
The horror, blood and gore of the sacrifices showed the recompense that we have so rightfully earned by our rebellion and sin. Sin is not just naughty versus nice. Sin is horrific, vile, an aweful stench on the earth and worthy of great punishment, the kind inflicted on Jesus on the cross but without end.
I know sometimes I need to be reminded of how vile my sin is. Otherwise I have a tendency to toy with it, befriend it and let it hang around in my life. If I could see it for the wretched enemy it is I would surely run from it and fight tirelessly to rid my life of it. I have to look regularly to the cross to be reminded of the great price that Jesus paid to make me holy and righteous before God. Unlike the sacrifices of animals, His is the one sacrifice that really did make a difference.
Sin is a monster of such awful mein
That to be hated needs but to be seen.
But seen too oft and familiar of face
It first is endured, then pitied then embraced.
– Alexander Pope