This is the law of the sin offering: in the place where the burnt offering is slain the sin offering shall be slain before the LORD; it is most holy. The priest who offers it for sin shall eat it. It shall be eaten in a holy place, in the court of the tent of meeting. Anyone who touches its flesh shall become consecrated; and when any of its blood splashes on a garment, in a holy place you shall wash what was splashed on. Also the earthenware vessel in which it was boiled shall be broken; and if it was boiled in a bronze vessel, then it shall be scoured and rinsed in water. Every male among the priests may eat of it; it is most holy. But no sin offering of which any of the blood is brought into the tent of meeting to make atonement in the holy place shall be eaten; it shall be burned with fire. (Cf. 4:1-5:13 where there were two types of sin offerings: The first was for the sins of the annointed priest or the entire community as a whole and was not eaten but burned outside the camp; the second was for individuals within the community and was eaten by the priests.)
Jesus is our sin offering, and He is most holy. The people of God are called a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9) who are to eat his flesh (Jn 6:51-56) in a holy place, i.e., in the kingdom of God where they live by faith. Moreover, those upon whom His blood is spilt are to wash their garments in the water of the word so as to be holy as He is holy (cf. Rev 7:13-15, 15:16, 19:8,14, 22:14). In this way is Christ formed in them, so that the earthenware vessel of their flesh must be broken just like Christ’s (cf. 2 Cor 4:7-15)–they must take up their cross and follow Him “outside the gate” to share in His sufferings so they may also share in His life (cf. Rom 6:1-11, Phil 3:10-11). And it is in this way that a man cleanses himself so as to no longer be an earthenware vessel of dishonor, but a vessel of honor to be scoured with spiritual water, sanctified and made useful to the Master, prepared for every good work (2 Tim 2:20-21). But unlike the imperfect sin offering of the old covenant which the priests could not eat, Jesus is the perfect sacrifice of the new covenant. For although He suffered outside the gate to make atonement in the Holy Place still we have an altar at which to eat and so have communion with our God:
We have an altar, from which those who serve the tabernacle (of the old covenant) have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest as an offering for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Hence, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach. (I.e., Let us bear our own cross to the altar of Calvary where we may eat of his sacrifice in true communion with God by coming to know the fellowship of His suffering and being conformed to His death, if somehow we might attain to the resurrection from the dead.)
The Atonement of Christ's Blood: Understanding How the Blood of Christ Saves and Reconciles us to God
- What is the relationship between Jesus’ sacrifice and our redemption, forgiveness and receiving an inheritance per the terms of the covenant / will that was effected by His death?
- From what, and to what, are we saved? Is it Jesus’ death alone that saves us? What part does His resurrection have in our salvation?
- Does the justice of God demand the satisfaction of blood before He will forgive, similar to what pagans throughout history have believed?
- What was the purpose of the Old Testament sacrifices?
- Does blood alone atone for sin?
- How does Christ’s death render powerless the devil?
- To whom was Christ’s life given as a ransom? From what are we ransomed?
- Why did Jesus not only die, but suffer and die? If all that was necessary was His shed blood, why didn’t God sovereignly ordain a more merciful death for His own dear Son?
- What is the relationship between a will or testament, and a covenant? What was willed to Jesus as an inheritance from His Father, and what was willed to us through the new testament in His blood?