A Study of: Genesis 15:6
This Bible study series looks at three instances where a person's faith was all that was needed to forgive their sins. There was no need to sacrifice an animal. Forgiveness was given by God as a gift of grace. The first instance occurs in Genesis 15.
More than 400 years before the Biblical account of the handing down of the laws affecting the sacrifice of an animal as a means of receiving forgiveness, Abram (Abraham) was forgiven. He had been troubled that he had no offspring. When God told him that he would, he believed God. In Genesis 15:6 we are told:
6 Then he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.
Righteousness is a state free of sin. God granted it to Abraham simply because he believed.
It was only when Abraham began to doubt the second part of the promise, of possessing the land, that God allowed him to return to his former pagan ways of sacrificing animals. However, it is clear from Genesis 15:6 that Abram was forgiven and considered as being righteous before his doubt set in.
Furthermore, the only result of the animal sacrifices (Genesis 15:8-21) was the confirmation that Abram (Abraham) would possess the land. If he had believed this portion of God's promise, too, it would still have come to pass without the animal sacrifices.