The Shedding of Blood

Salvation in Jesus Christ

While God is pleased with human obedience, no amount of good deeds can overcome sin.  In order to forgive our sins, God requires a sacrifice.  No ordinary sacrifice will suffice.  Blood must be shed, and only the blood of Jesus forgives sins.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” says Paul in Romans 3:23.  We all are guilty of wrongdoing and our sins doom us to destruction.  The good news is God loves us and “desires [for] all men to be saved” (1 Timothy 2:4).  He “is not willing for any to perish” (2 Peter 3:9).  Instead of perishing, He commands all of us to repent (Acts 17:30).  Stop living in sin and come to the truth He pleads.  However, a change in behavior is not enough.  Good conduct certainly pleases God, but no amount of good deeds can erase past sins.  According to the writer of Hebrews, without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins (9:22).  In other words, we can correct our conduct, but the forgiveness of sins demands the shedding of blood.

God established blood atonement from the moment Adam committed the first sin.  Adam awakened his conscience and the conscience of his wife when he ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (see Genesis 3).  They first recognized their nakedness.  This realization compelled them to hide when they heard God approach.  When God called out, “Where are you?”  Adam responded, “We’re hiding because we are naked.”  God immediately knew they had disobeyed His command.  God made clothes with animal skins to cover the nakedness of the first man and woman.  Or, to put it another way, blood had to be shed in order to cover humanity’s transgression.

Six chapters later in the book of Genesis, God authorizes Noah to eat freely of all animals.  “But,” the Lord qualifies in Genesis 9:4 , “you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it.”  God commanded man to drain all blood from an animal prior to consumption.  Why could a person eat meat, but not eat the blood with the meat?  What is so special about blood?

The Lord answers these questions in the 17th chapter of Leviticus.  God restates in verse 10 the command He gave to Noah.  He reiterates the command again in verses 12 and 13, directing the Israelites and any foreigner who lives among them to drain the blood of all animals and birds killed for food.  Verse 11 tells us why God sanctified blood:  “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.”  Life is in the blood, and blood makes atonement.  According to His design, God requires life in order to defeat sin which brings about death.

Though God promised to forgive sins with the blood of animals, such sacrifices were insufficient.  The writer of Hebrews says these offerings “cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper” (9:9).  Once worshippers offered the prescribed animal, they remained conscious of their sins.  The sacrifice was offered, but the guilt for sin remained.  Thus the Hebrew writer concludes “it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (10:4).  If only the shedding of blood can forgive sins, and the blood of animals cannot fully cleanse us, then how can we find forgiveness?

Recognizing our desperate state, God devised a way to save all humanity.  He offers His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, as the solution.  The book of Revelation calls Jesus, “the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world” (13:8).  In other words, God appointed Jesus His offering for humanity’s sins before the creation of the world.  The blood He shed on the cross forgives our sins:

·        “In Him [Jesus] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Ephesians 1:7). 

·        Jesus “loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood” (Revelation 1:5).

His blood does more than forgive our sins; it rescues us from destruction.  Paul says in Romans 5:9, “Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!”  By the offering of Jesus’ life, we escape death.

You can live a moral life but still have sin.  No matter how much good you may do, that amount of good cannot take away your wrongs.  Only blood forgives sins, and only the blood of Jesus will suffice.  You cannot escape your sins apart from Jesus Christ.  Jesus did for us what we could not do for ourselves.  If you are not a disciple of Jesus, I encourage you to read the Bible in order to find out how to become a disciple.  If you already believe in Jesus, I encourage you to examine yourself.  Maybe there is an item you have overlooked; maybe you’re missing something important.  Make your call and election sure: diligently investigate the word of God, get to know Jesus more intimately, and examine your life closely.  Salvation is found in no other name but in the name of Jesus.