Since God does not desire any sacrifice, Jesus cannot be a sacrifice for sins.
Quoting Hosea, Jesus says: “Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’” (Matthew 9:13). One of the tragedies of contemporary Christianity is that Christians have refused to follow this injunction of Jesus. If we did, we would understand that God desires our love and not our sacrifice and we would not insist that Jesus was sacrificed for our sins.
When the Israelites sinned, they made sacrifices to atone for their sins. As long as they made these sacrifices, they believed they were pleasing God and that their sins were forgiven. This became a routine formula. It led to a situation where instead of endeavouring not to sin, they simply made sure they sacrificed to cover their sins. Instead of obeying God’s commandments, they simply offered ritual sacrifices. This showed they really did not love God.
Jesus says: “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” (John 14:15). If we truly love God we would not even get to the situation of having to offer any sacrifices whatsoever because we would not disobey God. He who truly loves never has to make a sacrifice. He who sacrifices does not really love. He who truly loves God, does not sin.
John says: “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.” (1 John 3:9). The psalmist echoes this: “You who love the LORD, hate evil!” (Psalm 97:10). If we hate evil, we would not sin.
As a result, God sent his prophets to tell the Israelites he was not interested in their ritual sacrifices. He was far more interested in them obeying his commandments and not committing sin. Thus Samuel said to Saul: “What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Obedience is far better than sacrifice. Listening to him is much better than offering the fat of rams.” (1 Samuel 15:22).
The same applies to us today. God is far more interested in our not sinning than in our repenting of sin. Some people foolishly put their trust in the alleged human sacrifice of Jesus Christ, when all God asks is that we obey him. In all cases, prevention is better than cure. It is better not to sin than to repent of sin.
Therefore, God maintained that the whole sacrificial system was not his idea: “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Add your burnt offerings to your sacrifices and eat meat. For I did not speak to your fathers, or command them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices. But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people.” (Jeremiah 7:21-22).
Since God does not desire any sacrifice, Jesus cannot be a sacrifice for sins. Speaking through David, Jesus said to God: “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” (Psalm 40:6-8). God really needs to open our ears the same way he opened that of David. Since God does not desire any sacrifice, Jesus will not offer to God what he neither desires nor requires.
Every time a wife caught her husband in the act of adultery with his mistress, the husband went home with sacrificial flowers for his wife. Does his wife desire the flowers? Does she require them? The answer is NO. She neither desires nor requires flowers. She desires a faithful husband. She is likely to throw his flowers in the dustbin. What she needs and wants is a husband who will be faithful to her. Sacrifices are brought after a man has sinned. God has no use for them. God wants children who don’t sin.
New Covenant love
Instead of looking for people who rely on sacrifices, Jesus says God is looking for people who love God and delight in doing his will. These people will be distinguished by having the law of God inscribed in their heart. In this manner, they would fulfil God’s promise of the New Covenant (Testament):
“Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah- not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD.”
“But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No more shall every man teach his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” (Jeremiah 31:31-34).
Holy Spirit bible
This promise is fulfilled today through the process whereby the Holy Spirit in-dwells believers. Instead of the earlier reliance on laws written on tablets of stone or even today’s reliance on laws written in the bible; the Holy Spirit writes the laws of God in the hearts and minds of children of God on a daily systematic basis. We no longer need a high priest offering vain sacrifices. Neither should we continue to fool ourselves that we are made righteous by the sacrifices of Jesus Christ. We are only made righteous by obeying the voice of the Lord.
Jesus says: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27). The voice of the Lord we hear is the voice of the Holy Spirit which comes from within. In this way, the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled: “(The Lord) will be with you to teach you- with your own eyes you will see your Teacher. And if you leave God’s paths and go astray, you will hear a Voice behind you say, ‘No, this is the way; walk here.’ And you will destroy all your silver idols and gold images and cast them out like filthy things you hate to touch. ‘Ugh!’ you’ll say to them. ‘Be gone!’” (Isaiah 30:20-22).
Therefore, we no longer need human pastors like those still populating the churches; distorting the word of God. Jesus says: “There shall be one flock and one pastor.” (John 10:16). That one pastor is the Spirit of the Lord. (John 14:26). This is what David declares in his most famous psalm: “The LORD is my pastor; I have everything I need.” (Psalm 23:1).