There is probably nothing in the Bible so incomprehensible to modern Christians as the use of sacrifice in the Old Testament for the worship of God. We struggle with its bloody imagery. Why did God require it? How could people find it meaningful?
Surprisingly, even the New Testament views sacrifice in a positive light. Even after Jesus’ death, Paul and the early church continued to take part in the sacrifices at the Temple. Paul often spoke of them as a beautiful thing, expecting us to understand when he speaks about us as being “living sacrifices” (Rom. 12:1). Paul also writes,
Walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. Ephesians 5:2
What does all of this strange imagery mean? Continue reading