"And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. (Hebrews 9:22)
For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls: For it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul."
Perhaps you ask the question to yourself when pondering these verses, why is the blood important? That's a good question. To those who are not familiar with the Scriptures the shedding of blood appears to be cruel and inhuman. But there is a reason why God requires the shedding of blood in order to take away sin.
Even before the beginning of creation God had a plan. It's called the plan of the ages and it takes into consideration everything that would or could happen. When He created man He knew that man could fall because he was given a free will. Having a free will means that there is a potential to make wrong choices. God created man perfect and also planned for the occasion when man might fall. Much confusion surrounds this idea of predestination or pre-determination; included in this is the word election. God never pre-determined anyone to fall. It was not part of his overall purpose but having a free will presupposes that man might exercise that free will for selfish purposes. Before man ever fell and committed sin God provided a plan to bring him back. Sin means to miss the Mark or to fall short. It is like shooting at a target that is too far away or not having enough strength to pull back the bow. Sin causes death. If man had not sinned he would not die. From the very outset when men chose to disobey God, coats of skin were provided to cover Adam’s sin. In order to provide these coats of skin something had to die (an animal) God chose the death of an innocent animal as a substitute to die in the place of man. It was God who instituted the shedding of blood as the payment for sin. In the verses quoted above we talked about the life of the flesh being in the blood. And God chose blood which represented life as a substitute for man's sin which equaled death: Life for death. God pardoned man’s sin and accepted the blood as payment. It all makes sense when we see it from God's point of view.
Some might charge God with cruelty for killing an innocent animal, however there is a bigger picture here. God in love accepted the death of an innocent animal so man could live. It was a demonstration of the great love of God for man. Jesus is called the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world in revelation 13:7. This means the plan was in place even before man was created. God planned somewhere down the road that a perfect Lamb, a man named Jesus Christ, would offer himself to die for the sin of the world. This perfect Lamb would be the only offering that could satisfy the anger of this holy God. God's holiness demanded a perfect sacrifice and Jesus, on his own volition became that Lamb.
The next thing we need to consider about the blood is that it was ordained by God. That means that is the way, God meant for it to happen. Man, because of inherent sin, can never work his way out of his lost condition. God has provided for man's salvation so that he never needs to wonder if he's doing well enough. Man must come in penitence to God on the grounds of Christ's shed blood. The blood was sprinkled on the altar and that means that man has found acceptance with God. God said “it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.”
Perhaps we might gain clearer understanding by considering the purpose for the blood.
The first purpose for the blood is for protection. You may ask “protection from what? In Romans 1: 18, we are told “that the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all unrighteousness and ungodliness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” This helps us to see that without the blood men are exposed to the wrath of God. It’s like having no protection against a storm. The blood is given by God as the only protection against His holy wrath. God knows what will protect men from His wrath and He has provided the blood as our only protection.
The second purpose for the blood is identification. During the times when God was pouring out His wrath upon the Egyptians, Moses was commanded to cover the doorposts of the Israelites, This served as a means of identification of those who were to be saved from the judgment that was to continue. Sometimes Christians use the term that they are “under the blood” .That means that they are known by God as His children, Incidentally, Satan also knows who we are and constantly demeans us before God.
This brings us to the third reason for the blood. It is for the purpose of covering. Satan’s darts of accusation fall short of His target because God no longer sees our sins. They are forgiven, forgotten, removed as far as the east is from the west. Psalm 103, gives us a list that is comprehensive about how our great God finds us blameless against Satan’s charges. Revelation chapter 12 verse 11 tells us “that they overcame him (Satan the accuser of our brethren)by the blood of the Lamb” The overcoming was by believing what God said (that they are gone) when Satan tries to tell us that they are not. That is the battle that Satan never wants to end, but our confidence rests in what God has said and done. That is what the term “under the blood” means.
Finally the blood is a reminder that there is no other way to approach God. Hebrews 9: 22, is like flashing sign that tells us that “without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.” It is natural for men to think that they can work their way to heaven by performing enough good works. But the sign hangs over the door in flashing red lights that entry is impossible without the blood of Jesus. The blood reminds us that to try another way is to miss the target completely (Romans 3:23) “For all have sinned (missed the mark) and have fallen short of the glory of God.” (that means God’s perfection as manifested by the ten commandments.. That is the target that men have missed. The target is too perfect and the men are too weak to reach it.
With this explanation we have covered the essentials of why the blood is important. As we continue we will discover further truth on this.
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