Atonement and Holiness

One of the other great things about breaks is the extra time to read more of the bible. I just finished reading Leviticus this morning. I usually find it a hard read, but this time, for different reasons.
I’ve been reading the OT for my quiet times, trying to see different themes that come out. I went in hoping to see God’s righteousness in the OT laws and history.
I think I’m beginning to understand a little bit more. There are many references in Leviticus, and Exodus, really, to God’s holiness and righteousness (which I think are closely related, though not the same thing). Certain phrases are repeated, like, “Be holy, because I, the LORD, am holy,” I am the LORD your God,” “as God commanded Moses,” “I am the LORD your God who brought you up out of Egypt…” I’m quite okay with God not needing much explanation for the expectations of holiness for his people.
It’s always hard reading the laws, I think, because it’s so hard to see the good in the punishments, and the relevance for today. One of my other purposes is to see how Jesus fulfills the OT law, because I sound rather pathetic when I try to answer my family about why the bible is “contradictory,” simply saying, “Jesus fulfills it.”
So, in my search for explanations, I think I can see that Jesus takes away the need for the sacrifice of Atonement and the need for the temple and priesthood, because He is our perfect High Priest who has “died once for all”. But there are quite a few sins that don’t have an outline for the type of offering required to make atonement so that they can be forgiven, e.g. Murdering someone (where the punishment is death).
Does this mean that these sins are unforgiveable (as in, the “unforgiveable sin” in 1 John)? Or are they covered in the sacrifices on the Day of Atonement? Or is it just a matter of God demonstrating that he hates sin, and in his righteousness needs to deal with it harshly (particularly when a life is taken away, or people perform “detestable/dishonourable” acts)? He knows that the punishments will be necessary, but if they are so harsh, surely people will refrain from committing the “indecent” sins?
I’m going to keep thinking about this. Hopefully I’ll one day have a “part 2”.

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