In the Old testament, animal sacrifices were commanded by God so that the individual could experience forgiveness of sin. The animal served as a substitute—that is, the animal died in place of the sinner, but only temporarily, which is why the sacrifices needed to be offered over and over.
In this age, millions of Christians believe that Jesus Christ died for them. But do they really know why? We must understand that Jesus’s death wasn’t just an act of love, it defines love.
We must also come to appreciate the fact that grace is at the heart of the Christian faith. Nowhere is this more clearly seen than at the cross of Christ. Justification, propitiation, and redemption — all benefits of Christ’s death — have one great purpose: reconciliation. Jesus’s death enables us to have a joy-filled relationship with God, which is the highest good of the cross.
This video on sacrifice and atonement answers the questions: What was the purpose of sacrifice in the Old Testament and what does it mean for us today?