The Power of Yeshua’s Sacrifice
Whenever I heard, “Jesus died for your sins,” I often thought, “What sin did I commit that would deserve death?” I’m a good person; I keep the 10 commandments; I try to love God and love my neighbors as myself. Then I heard, “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23). So I asked, “Which sins can I die from?”
For a long time I understood this to mean that if I live sinfully, I will live separate from God, not enjoy His abundant life, and maybe eventually die from a destructive lifestyle. All of those are true, but later I asked, “What did it mean to those who first heard it shortly after Yeshua’s death?” They already had instructions for how to live with God — through sacrifices, cleansing practices, representation by priests, and moral and social laws. So what was the history and understanding of sin and death for those who first heard the good news of Yeshua’s gift?
Their experience was that God is holy and humans can die in his presence.
- We read in Exodus 19 and 20 that they sent Moses to hear God’s message, because they thought they would die if God continued to speak to them.
- Priests had to go to great lengths to obey God’s exact instructions in the temple, or they would literally die on the spot (Lev. 10).
- Even King David, a spiritual giant anointed by God, had to adhere to the rules and go through priests and prophets to enter God’s temple and understand His guidance.
So what changed? Are we now more spiritual than they? Has God’s holiness diminished? Did God change the rules? Did the God of the Old Testament transform in the New Testament? Or did He change the wages of sin?
I realized God has not changed. His holiness is no less now than it was then. The wages of sin is still death. What changed is the great gift God gave us in providing His son as a pure, holy sacrifice, so that we would not die in His presence. Yeshua’s shed blood is the only reason we now enjoy open access to God.
Now I understand:
- When I break a rule from the Old Testament Torah and do not have to perform a cleansing ritual, that’s because Yeshua’s blood covers me.
- When I sin and do not have to present an animal sacrifice on an altar, that’s because of the power of Yeshua’s sacrifice.
- When I enter God’s presence and do not die, that’s Yeshua’s blood at work on my behalf.
- The Holy Spirit speaks directly to me without using a prophet, because of Yeshua’s death and resurrection.
Without His blood, death and resurrection, we would still die when we come into the presence of our holy God. That’s how powerful what Yeshua did was and is in our lives today!
“Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!” Romans 5:9