The Levitical offerings are divided into two groups. One group, the sin and trespass offerings, were obligatory. The benefit derived was the forgiveness of sins and reconciliation for the sinner, both to God, and to his fellow man. The animal died instead of the person because death is the universal punishment for sin. This was established in the Garden of Eden. All the offerings for sin in the Old Testament look forward to the Lord Jesus, who ultimately ‘died for us’, Rom. 5. 8, for we had all sinned, Rom. 3. 23.
But there is an aspect of Christ’s death we sometimes overlook. His death was a sacrifice to God in which God found an odour of a sweet smell. First and foremost is the pleasure God finds in the sacrifice of His Son. In the Old Testament there are three offerings that point to the satisfaction, pleasure, and acceptability God found in His Son. Unless God is satisfied there can be nothing for us in the death of His Son.
The first group of Levitical offerings show what brought pleasure to the heart of God. In the burnt offering, God found pleasure in the acceptability of all that the Son is. The whole of the animal was burnt and God smelled a sweet savour. In the meal offering, God found pleasure in the fragrance of His Son’s life and character. In the peace offering, God found pleasure in the inward life - its affections and walk. The sweetness of the inner life, the fragrance of life lived in absolute purity, and the entirety of His Son’s being was a sweet savour to God.
But our text is practical in nature. We are to walk in love as Christ also has loved us. As the Lord lived amongst us He demonstrated God’s love for us. And never was His love demonstrated more fully than when Christ offered Himself for us, Rom. 5. 8. His attitudes and walk toward us were always a reflection of, and motivated by, His supreme love for God. Thus, as we view the life and death of Christ we see in that the demonstration of God’s love for us. For He perfectly fulfilled the Father’s will in all He did and said. As we seek to please Him in all we do, we will be a demonstration to others of His great love and we can walk in love as Christ also hath loved us, Eph. 5. 2.