“Do not bring anything with a defect, because it will not be accepted on your behalf.” (Leviticus 22:20 NIV)
“Move to the back of the bus!” The demand came from the municipal bus driver to Rosa Parks, a black woman in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955. In a segregated America at that time, blacks were not accepted on the front seats of a bus. After paying for their ticket, African Americans had to disembark and re-enter through the back door. While racism was prevalent in the western world, the eastern hemisphere dealt with untouchability. In India, during the early 20th century, more than 100 million people were considered ‘untouchable’, a position acquired at birth based on a caste system that appraised citizens as impure and less than human. Sadly, both racism and untouchability, display works of a sinful man.
Now, does the God of the Bible have conditions for acceptance? He certainly does not discriminate, so why couldn’t the Israelites come and offer worship just as they are? God was very particular about what the worshipper offered as a sacrifice. God even demanded that a third party, the Levite priests offer sacrifices on the people’s behalf. God commanded, “Do not bring anything with a defect, because it will not be accepted on your behalf.” No defect meant, “you must present a male without defect from the cattle, sheep or goats.” God demanded perfection in worship.
God so loved the world that He gave us Jesus Christ, the perfect and spotless lamb of God, to save us.
God represented holiness in the purest form. Man, just as he is, characterized sin and ungodliness. James M. Boice frames God’s holiness as an, “active, dynamic character of God at work to punish rebellion and establish righteousness, the experience of confronting the holy God is profoundly threatening…we are in danger of being undone, and we fear being undone, by the resulting confrontation.” So, if God’s appeasement requires a male goat, He should get exactly that and nothing less or different.
A perfect sacrifice had to be offered for our right standing with God because without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins. While God’s attributes of holiness and righteousness seek to punish sin, God also happens to be love and the love of God is the reason that we have an offering with no defect. God so loved the world that He gave us Jesus Christ, the perfect and spotless lamb of God, to save us. God’s love has no boundaries and it covers all variations of color, caste and creed. We are redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.
While God’s holiness seeks to punish rebellion, God’s love seeks to make His creation right, perfect, and holy just as He is. We can choose to take the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord or continue in the downward spiral of ungodliness which will eventually meet the wrath of God. The love of God allows us to come near God just as we are because Christ covers our multitude of sins and shame and mediates for us as He took upon the wrath of God on Himself. As the hymn goes, “Just as I am, and waiting not, to rid my soul of one dark blot, to thee whose blood can cleanse each spot, O Lamb of God, I come, I come.”
George John resides in Hawthorne, New Jersey with his wife Eirene and four children. He is in active fellowship with the believers in Elmwood Park Bible Chapel, New Jersey and serves as the Sunday School Principal. George is also a pharmacist by trade.