dead vs living sacrifices

Indeed, according to the Law ... sins are forgiven only if blood is poured out. ... Christ also was offered in sacrifice once to take away the sins of many. [Hebrews 9:22,28 GNT]

In a spiritual sense, I find these to be odd verses. They surface a few questions:
  • Were the death of sacrificed animals required for God to forgive sin?
  • Was it necessary for Jesus to die in order for God to forgive?
  • Did Jesus die because of our sinful actions or to forgive those same sins?
When the writer of Hebrews compares Jesus death to that of sacrificial animals he does with a certain paradigm in mind. To the Jews God had to be appeased before he could forgive sins. The temple system embraced such sacrifices. Yet is that a really valid concept and image of God?

I suggest that the sacrifices that God requires are living ones. Paul says as much in his letter to the Romans. In a very real sense Jesus birth and ministry were such a sacrifices. His death on the cross was a living sacrifice. Dead sacrifices cost us very little while living ones cost us much.

Afresh dear Lord, I offer myself to your service.

... this devotion is part of a series from the book of Hebrews.

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