I’ve been told that I am making a fundamental error in my sacramentology by conflating the original Passover with its memorial reiterations; that sure, children received saving benefits without needing to be conscious in the first Passover, but we are not at liberty to assume the same thing about the memorial feasts thereafter.
In my view, this is a pretty weak objection, especially since there is no description of the mechanics of the invisible aspects of subsequent Passovers, that we should be able to say that there is a difference from the original one concerning whether their benefits can be received without tracking and attention.
But let’s examine a different sacrifice and the mechanics of its benefits:
‘So it was, when the days of (his sons’) feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did regularly.’ (Job 1:5 NKJV)
I find this passage fascinating. What is Job doing? If Job’s sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts, what good will sin offerings do for them? Either they have faith and are regenerate, or not. Right?
Or perhaps we need to think again about how things worked in the Old Testament.
To forestall one obvious objection: it is obviously true that if Job’s sons were wicked and never repented, they would eventually have born the consequences of that wickedness and suffered God’s wrath. But it would be a mistake (a rather hyper-Calvinistic mistake) to conclude that Job’s offerings did nothing for them in the meantime, or that “God spared them by Job’s sacrifices because He intended to kill them”, and that this was not really gracious of God. Still less can we conclude that Job was doing wrong by offering sacrifices for his sons, since God plainly holds him up as an outstanding moral example for Satan to contemplate.
So we should ask, “How did the OT sacrifices work?” And then we should ask, “Are our theories of the mechanics of the New Testament sacrifice (and the rituals that apply it) consistent with that?”