A Greater Sacrifice
“Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; My ears You have opened. Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require. Then I said, ‘Behold, I come; in the scroll of the book it is written of Me.’ I delight to do Your will, O my God, and your law is within my heart.” (Psalms 40:6-8)
In this psalm, David was inspired to write about the Messiah. The best interpretation of this passage is found in the words of the Holy Spirit to Paul in the book of Hebrews where he shows that the countless sacrifices of animals could never take away sin. Without doubt, these were required under the Old Testament law, but they would never be complete without the once-and-for-all sacrifice of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ.
Another reason why the New Testament (or New Covenant) is vastly superior to the Old because the Old Testament writings (the scroll of the book) were not an end in itself, with its many precepts and commandments. Instead, they pointed to the New Testament. The Old Testament Jews were known as “the people of the book.” New Testament Christians have the law of the Lord written within our hearts! We do not just rely on outward obedience to a long list of commands, but the law of Christ is the perfect law of liberty (James 1:25; 2:12). “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ has made me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2).
The freedom that we now have in Christ is not a license to commit sin. Nor is it an excuse to neglect to do our duty to Christ. That includes meeting around the Lord’s table on the first day of the week. It includes Christian service, giving our offerings, learning and growing in our knowledge and understanding. It is freedom from fear of losing our reward because we inadvertently erred in some small command. We live by faith, walking in the light (I John 1:7), and delight in the grace of our Lord.
When the law of the Lord is written on our hearts, it will change us from the inside out. Our motive is now to live in a way that seeks what pleases the Lord, instead of pleasing ourselves (Ephesians 5:17). The words that we speak are filled with grace, rather than the perverse speech of hate, evil, and jealously. Our words show our hearts (Matthew 12:34). We are to obey the Lord our hearts of loving submission, not just fear of punishment (Romans 6:17,18). “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23).
While the Old Testament centered around the animal sacrifices that were made both daily and on the special feast days, none of them were adequate to take away sin. The law contained in ordinances could never make one righteous. These all pointed to the perfect and complete sacrifice of Christ and the law of the New Covenant that is written on our hearts, leading to eternal life in Jesus.