Bible teaches that the law was given as a mirror
From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
Dear Rev. Graham: Why did God give the law if He knew people couldn’t possibly keep it, and what was the significance of the Old Testament sacrifice? — L.K.
Dear L.K.: The Bible teaches that the law was given as a mirror. When we look into God’s Word, we see what true righteousness is. The Ten Commandments describe the life that pleases God. If we are separated from God by sin, the law exposes our sin and shows us our true spiritual condition. Such a mirror does not reveal a very attractive image!
Sin had to be paid for, so in the beginning God instituted the sacrificial system by which we finally could be brought into a right relationship with God. In Old Testament times, those who had sinned brought sacrifices of animals and offered them to God. This foreshadowed the Great Sacrifice yet to come.
What is the significance? It is an atonement for the man in regard to his sin. In place of a broken relationship between God and the sinner, atonement results and he is forgiven by God.
The sacrifices were visual aids to show sinners that there was hope because the punishment for sin could be transferred to another. However, this symbolically demonstrated that God could forgive them in the light of what He would one day do at the cross. Jesus, “after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God” (Hebrews. 10:12).
God did not initiate the sacrifices because He was bloodthirsty or unjust. He wanted us to zero in on two things: first, the loathsomeness of sin, and second, the cross on which God Himself would satisfy forever the demands of His justice.
When Christ atoned for sin, He stood in the place of guilty men and women — He took our place. This is why Christianity is filled with hope.
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)