Leviticus 3, Peace Offerings
This peace or fellowship offering is often voluntary and seems to be accompanied by a sacrificial meal (cf. Deut. 12:7). These sacrifices are very similar to the burnt offerings in ch. 1. Also, like the burnt offerings, the animals are to be offered without blemish. However, peace offerings are not restricted to male animals. Whereas burnt offerings had in mind the removal of sin, these peace offerings we learn from ch. 7, had in mind the people’s thanksgiving, their fellowship with God and their vows and oaths.
The procedure in sacrificing is the same as the burnt offerings of Lev. 1 except only specified parts of the animal are offered in the peace offering. All the fat from the entrails are offered to the Lord since “fat” is considered the best part of the animal while the liver and kidneys were the choice organs of the animal. The purpose was not necessarily to protect the people from heart disease and to lower their cholesterol. Rather, God was to be given the best of the offering. In verse 16 we read, “All fat is the Lord’s.”
The phrase “it is a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the Lord” (v. 5) does not mean God is actually being fed by these offerings and that He needed them to live on. God provides them to his people — remember Acts 17:25, “…nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.” This offering is figurative and it symbolizes the fellowship they have with God in a meal – as if God were eating with them as they ate before him. In Deut. 27:7 (cf. Deut. 12:12-19; 1 K. 8:64-65), we learn that they were to sacrifice their peace offering and then eat it and rejoice before the Lord their God (Deut. 27:7). Their meal indicated the peace they had with their God. God, the priests, and the offerers all ate a portion of the peace offering.
For us, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:1). His sacrifice brought peace and as a result, we have fellowship with God. Even in the Old Covenant, the idea of having peace with God and fellowship with Him was the pinnacle of OT religion. We have that peace and fellowship permanently secured through the once for all sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ergo, this peace is a gift received by faith — we can’t affect it by our works, by our tears, by our resolutions, by our own righteousness, by our religion, by our effort — “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Rom. 5:1) If we receive Christ by faith, we will be declared righteous and in turn have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.