I've been reading the comments at the website for Revolution, Jay Bakker's church. Because of the very controversial stand he's made during the documentary One Punk Under God, the site has been getting a lot of attention and much of it is harshly judgmental.
Jay's chuch is "about grace" and while all the Christians who show up at the site to attack Jay say that they believe in grace, I wonder if they do. I wonder what they think that Jesus' sacrifice was for. What did it redeem?
Before Christ there was the Law. And since no one could follow the law absolutely (or was really expected to) there was Sin and Sacrifice. A good Jew brought an offering, generally a sheep or some doves, for sacrifice to God to cover his sins.
Then Christ came and died to offer Himself as a sacrifice.
But what does this mean in a practical sense? To many conservative Christians, the Law is still in effect and so is Sin. The only difference - from a practical point of view - is that they no longer have to bring a sheep. They can just pray instead.
But that seems odd to me. If that's all he came for, Jesus didn't die for men at all, just for the population of rams and ewes. Christ's sacrifice brought ovine salvation.
I think there must be more. I think Jesus must have finalized and accomplished the whole Sin and Sacrifice equation. He pushed aside the Law of Sin and Death that Moses had put in place and gave us direct access to the Creator. His sacrifice was for the human race and benefits us. And not just by the price of a sheep.