I struggle so much with letting go of the past. The good, the bad—it doesn’t matter. All of it hangs off my soul like a dead weight. There’s nothing that sabotages my future like my hanging on to the past. Whether it’s regret or nostalgia, I carry it around like too much baggage that should have been checked at the gate. I will be thankful to let it go.
One of the reasons for the sacrificial system of the Old Testament was to give people a tangible access point for dealing with their past. There were five kinds of offerings (burnt offering, meal offering, peace offering, sin offering and trespass offering), but we’re going to look specifically at three of them.
Let’s look first at the burnt offering. (See Lev. 1:4-9) This was to take care of the lingering guilt. The person had to lay his hand on the animal and present it for a burnt offering. Why was a burnt offering a pleasing aroma to the Lord? Because He knew that His people were letting go of the guilt of things past.
Then there is the sin offering. (see Lev. 4:1-4) The purpose of the peace offering was to take care of feelings of regret. We will make mistakes, yes, but there’s still a way to let go of all that regret. There was a sliding scale fee on this offering so that anyone could participate. Regret hinders us from service unto the Lord and unto each other, mainly because we continually second-guess ourselves.
Then there’s the peace offering, which some translations call the fellowship offering. This offering was for the purpose of dealing with nostalgia. It reminded the worshiper that no matter where they were, they could still have fellowship with God. (See Lev. 7:23) The peace offering was a very costly offering: there had to be two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs a year old. Peace with God isn’t easy, it was very costly, but it was possible.
Today, we can encounter God and let go of the past all at the same time, and in one incredible moment.
At the cross.
Jesus was the perfect sacrifice for all time and in all ways.
Through Him, we can let go of the guilt. For our sake, He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Through Him, we can let go of all regret. If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)
Through Him, we have permanent peace with God. Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:1)
Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God…and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who He has given us. (Romans 5:2,5)
For while we were still weak, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly. (Romans 5:6)
For by a single offering, He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. (Hebrews 10:14)
If you’re still hanging on to any of the past, whether it’s through guilt, regret, or nostalgia, join me today in letting go of that at the foot of the cross. And letting go of all that dead weight is something we can truly be thankful for!
God bless you!