The great cost of forgiveness

Dealing with sin back in Old Testament days was a time consuming, expensive and bloody affair. Whenever someone sinned, in order to receive forgiveness and re-consecrate themselves to God, they were required to experience up close and personal the consequence of their sin. They had to take one of the best animals from their own flock and parade it through their neighborhood to a place of worship, while bearing the embarrassment and shame of their sin. Before the priest, they were to lay one hand upon the head of the animal thereby transferring their sins to it, and with the other hand slit its throat and kill it. The priest would then collect the blood, place some on the horns of the altar and pour the rest out at the altar’s base. Then the animal had to be skinned, the fat removed and burned on the altar. Now tell me, if that is not a deterrent to sin what is? Sin directly affected not only the pocketbook and the conscience, but cost an animal its life while creating a gory mess. The writer of Hebrews puts it succinctly: “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” (Hebrews 9:22)