With the Tabernacle finished and God living there, the people begin to make sacrifices for their sins. The first part of Leviticus is an instruction manual for how to make each kind of sacrifice.
“Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. When you present an animal as an offering to the Lord, you may take it from your herd of cattle or your flock of sheep and goats.”
When God taught his people to worship him, he placed great emphasis on sacrifices. Why? Since Creation, God has made it clear that sin separates people from him and that those who sin deserve to die. Because “everyone has sinned” (Romans 3:23), God designed sacrifices to reconcile and restore their relationships with him.
Animal sacrifice accomplished this in two ways. First, the animal symbolically took the sinner’s place and paid the penalty for sin. Second, the animal’s death represented one life given so another life could be saved. Animal sacrifices continued throughout Old Testament times.
But animal sacrifices served another purpose too. They pointed to Christ, whose sacrifice would do completely what the animal sacrifices could only do in part. They held Christ’s place until Christ could come and fill it.
God had decided from the very first that he would come into our world and die to pay the penalty for all humans. He took our punishment once and for all. Animal sacrifices are no longer required. For any person who desires to be reconciled to God, the sacrifice has already been made. When we place our sins upon Christ, our lives are saved because Christ gave his.
Are you still trying to earn God’s favor or win his approval? Jesus did away with that kind of striving just as he did with the animal sacrifices. You don’t have to strive to please God; he already loves you. Instead, live in freedom, and learn to love God. As you do, you’ll discover that God gives you the desire and power to obey him (Philippians 2:13).