A Once-And-For-All Sacrifice

Blood is the life of the human creation.  Life is taken when blood is shed.  Modern medicine acknowledges the truth about life being in the blood.  They often require blood transfusion to sustain the life of a very sick person, especially one who had recently lost lots of blood.

Jesus the lamb of GodSince the Bible teaches us “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23 NIV), every sin has to be reconciled by the death of something or someone.  Throughout the Old Testament teachings, this was typically the blood of a sacrificial animal, often an unblemished lamb.  At the end of the Old Testament, the practice of animal sacrifice was ended by the shedding of another’s blood, but this time, one that would be the final sacrifice for all.  John 1:29 (NLT) records John the Baptist saying about Jesus, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

On the cross, Jesus Christ paid for our sins by His own life.  He gave His life by shedding His blood.  We can have life not only today, but eternally, by that blood which He willingly shed for us.  It’s not the physical act of shedding blood that is significant.  If so, Jesus could have just had a laceration somewhere on his body that shed blood for us all.  No, shedding blood is a metaphor referring to the fact that without death, there is no forgiveness of sins.

So, our true transformation – a profound change from the inside out – is made possible only through the perfect sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.  Here are several important elements of this gift that God offers us:

  • Jesus’s shed blood provides complete forgiveness. Within the Christian belief system, there is no forgiveness without the shedding of blood.  An atonement is a payment, made on behalf of the one who has sinned, in order to redeem them from the penalty of their sins.  This payment could not be made in any other way than the shedding of blood.  We cannot replace this blood with our good works, praying without ceasing, helping and loving others, or even giving more money.
  • Only Jesus could die for our sin. Romans 3:23 (NIV) says, “all have sinned.”  Because every human being has come short of the glory of God, none is capable of atoning for his or her own sin or the sins of others. Therefore, there has to be Someone blameless who must do the job.  He must be a human since He will atone for the sins of humans.  He must also be God because that is the only way He would be the mediator between God and mankind.  Jesus Christ is the only one who fits this description.
  • Shedding of blood was necessary. Jesus Christ could have been drowned in water, He could have died of strangling, He could have died of a severe sickness, starvation, or any other means of death.  None of these include the physical shedding of blood, though. That would not have been an acceptable atonement because the shedding of blood was required for the forgiveness of sin.
  • Redemption is possible only through Jesus Christ. Redemption can only be attained through the blood of Jesus Christ.  The blood of a lamb or goat or calf is no longer acceptable by God for the forgiveness of sins as it was prior to Jesus presence on the earth.  The sacrifices of the Old Testament (which ended at the cross) were merely a foreshadowing of the cross.  The animals that were sacrificed were symbolic of Christ to come.
  • Redemption was planned from the beginning. That Christ will shed His blood and die for the sin of the world was planned by God “from the foundation of the world.”  He has always had this as part of His plan.  It wasn’t what some have attempted to explain as God’s “Plan B.”
  • God’s plan had not been known by the world. Although the cross was unknown to the world before it happened, the plan has always existed with God.
  • We must trust in the blood of Jesus. From the day that Christ shed His blood on the cross, there came an end to any other sacrificial blood shed for sin.  Therefore, any of us who has not put our faith in the blood (sacrificial death) of Jesus is yet to receive the forgiveness of our sin. Regardless of how religious or righteous we might be today, if we have not trusted in Christ’s shed blood for the forgiveness of our sins, we’re still an unforgiven sinner.  What it means to trust in the blood is to admit we’re a sinner who cannot save ourselves; believe that Christ has died in our place, shed His blood to fully pay the penalty of our sins; and that He was buried, and He rose again that we may be made right before God.
  • Christ purchased us by His blood. Christ redeemed us from being the deserving of punishment to receiving the power to become the children of God.  The price that He paid to accomplish this was His blood.  Christ is to us the only source of righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.
  • A sacrifice was made once and forever. Christ’s atonement is the only and last acceptable atonement (payment) for sin. It is referred to in the Bible as “one sacrifice forever.”  Once we’re washed in the blood of Jesus, we’re cleansed and forgiven once and for all – forever.

Although God is certainly able to protect and heal His people physically, the blood of Jesus Christ was not shed merely to ensure our material prosperity or to miraculously remove our health conditions here on earth.  His love for us is much, much greater than that.

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