The Bible clearly teaches that the fruit of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus. Jesus went to the cross to pay the penalty for our sins, taking upon Himself a brutal death in our place so that we may enjoy a blameless life with Him into eternity.
Long before Jesus was born to His appointed hour, sin sacrifices were spelled out in the Old Testament law to point towards Christ’s ultimate sacrifice. Without the shedding of blood, there could be no remission of sins.
19 For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God commanded you.” 21 And in the same way he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry with the blood. 22 And almost all things are cleansed with blood, according to the Law, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. Hebrews 9:19-21 (NASB)
As scripture later clarifies, the blood of lambs, bulls, and goats could never truly atone for the sins of people. These observances were necessary in God’s eyes until the purifying sacrifice of Christ could satisfy heavenly accounts, wiping clean all of our sin once and for all.
Insufficient as they were, these sin sacrifices prescribed by God were still vital to purify people in His eyes and to establish a holy covenant between Himself and people of faith. These sacrifices must be done with all reverence and respect, and through the prophet Malachi, God let the people of Judah know that He was having an issue with their approach.
After assuring them that God really does love them, the prophet Malachi shared some stiff correction from the Lord on how the people were conducting their sacred sacrifices.
6 “‘A son honors his father, and a servant his master. Then if I am a father, where is My honor? And if I am a master, where is My respect?’ says the Lord of armies to you, the priests who despise My name! But you say, ‘How have we despised Your name?’ 7 You are presenting defiled food upon My altar. But you say, ‘How have we defiled You?’ In that you say, ‘The table of the Lord is to be despised.’ 8 And when you present a blind animal for sacrifice, is it not evil? Or when you present a lame or sick animal, is it not evil? So offer it to your governor! Would he be pleased with you, or would he receive you kindly?” says the Lord of armies. Malachi 1:6-8 (NASB)
The people were selling off their best animals for personal profit and using the less saleable ones for their sacrifices to the Lord. As God the Father would one day offer His most precious Son for the eternal benefit of believers, it is understandable that He would be strongly displeased by these half-hearted offerings to Him.
The Lord continued to speak through Malachi to open the eyes of the people and to convict them in their hearts for these actions.
11 “For My name will be great among the nations, from the rising of the sun to its setting. Incense and pure offerings will be presented in My name in every place because My name will be great among the nations,” says Yahweh of Hosts.
12 But you are profaning it when you say: “The Lord’s table is defiled, and its product, its food, is contemptible.” 13 You also say: “Look, what a nuisance!” “And you scorn it,” says the Lord of Hosts. “You bring stolen, lame, or sick animals. You bring this as an offering! Am I to accept that from your hands?” asks the Lord.
14 “The deceiver is cursed who has an acceptable male in his flock and makes a vow but sacrifices a defective animal to the Lord. For I am a great King,” says Yahweh of Hosts, “and My name will be feared among the nations. Malachi 1:11-14 (HCSB)
Jesus will one day return to reign as King over the entire earth. In that day, He will be worshiped by every tongue and nation everywhere. By the blood of Christ, He is extending grace, mercy, and forgiveness to all who will open their hearts to Him today.
17 If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. 1 Peter 1:17-19 (NASB)
May you have an encounter of peace and joy with the spotless Lamb of God, a lamb without blemish.
How can I give my best to God? What am I holding back on?
Lord, show us the things in our lives that we are holding back from You. Help us to surrender them so that they may be multiplied in fruitfulness to the glory of God. We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.