January 6, 2017

Without the blood . . .

Does the sight of blood make some people queasy? One of my children fainted when a lab tech took his blood. I turn my face away if a TV show is gory. Blood signifies pain, suffering, and death, but without blood, no one would be alive, and without the shedding of blood God does not forgive sin.

The story of God’s redemptive work using shed blood includes the exodus of His people from their bondage as slaves in Egypt. This historical situation depicts the wrath of God on sin and the provision of God for deliverance.

The people were about to leave under the leadership of Moses and Aaron, but first the final plague of death would strike the firstborn of every living creature. God told each household to take a lamb without blemish and on a certain day they were to kill it . . . 

“Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted, its head with its legs and its inner parts. And you shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord’s Passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt. This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast.” (Exodus 12:1–14)

Those who mock this practice and say it is barbaric have little understanding of the seriousness of sin. God is holy and sin must be punished by death. Nothing else will do, but in mercy He told His people He would send a Savior, and in the meantime, He would accept a perfect lamb as their substitute, an atoning sacrifice that bore their guilt and saved them from God’s wrath on sin.

In the fullness of time, the Savior came and was put to death, shedding His blood to atone for human sin. Mock it, dismiss it, laugh at it, but to our own peril . . .

“Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” (Hebrews 9:22) (‘Almost everything is forgiven except the rejection of God’s saving plan!)

I don’t like to think about His blood. First, it reminds me that my sin is a serious matter, and that God the Son had to come here, suffer, and be put to death because of it. Yet I have peace with God and my conscience is purged from guilt because of the blood of the Lamb, His sinless sacrifice. . .

“For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” (Colossians 1:19–20)
“He entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” (Hebrews 9:12–14)

These and many other verses speak of the power of His blood. Through it I have access to God and a secure victory over my spiritual enemies, death, hell and the grave. I will stand wholly pure before God, and praise Him for saving me from sin by the blood of Christ.

“Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation . . . .” (Revelation 5:9)

The second reason that I don’t like to think about His blood is what He suffered. This is the Creator of the universe put to death by mere mortals who think our way is better than His. We are fools — He humbled Himself for billions of fools, many of whom ignore Him, shake their fists at Him, curse Him, and make fun of a faith that requires blood. Yet He died asking the Father for our forgiveness.

Jesus, what can I say? You died, shedding your precious blood to release me from the bondage of sin and to continually cleanse me from sin’s power. Forgive us for our lack of response and consideration for the redeeming blood You poured out on our behalf.

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