If you are a nurse or a doctor (something I would never choose to be), then this subject probably doesn’t bother you. But when a scene comes on a television program that involves blood, I turn away and close my eyes. I don’t faint at the sight of blood, but I am squeamish. So today’s subject isn’t a pleasant one, but an important one.
God had a lot to say about blood. He designed our bodies so that the heart and the blood that it pumps to all parts of our bodies are the basis of life. Leviticus 17:11: “the life of the body is in its blood.” And God determined that blood must be shed to atone for sin. That started way back in the Garden of Eden when God killed an animal and made clothing from its skin for Adam and Eve.
Our Bible study group has been taking a close look at the book of Hebrews. It reminds us that all of the sacrifices made throughout Old Testament Jewish history were ordained by God. But they were just a shadow, a picture, of the better, more sufficient sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. It was God’s decree that “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22, NIV).
Why would God design such a gory religion? I don’t really like it, but who am I to question a perfect, wise, loving God? The Father didn’t like watching His Son die a horrible, bloody death. But He knew that once and for all judgment for sin must be taken care of. And the Father and the Son both knew that death wasn’t permanent. Praise God that we can see all of that from this side of the cross and resurrection.
The bottom line is that Jesus’ blood was necessary for our forgiveness and right relationship with God. “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” ( I John 1:7). “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed… but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (I Peter 1:18-19).
So we treasure the blood. We remember it every time we take communion. We praise God when we sing songs about the blood. Some editors have removed them from their hymnals, but we reverently sing with gratitude the old and new songs. “There Is a fountain filled with blood.” “The blood will never lose its power.” “There is power in the blood.” “Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?” “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”
Some of my favorite lyrics are found in “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded.” The end of the first verse says: “O sacred Head, what glory, what bliss till now was thine! Yet, though despised and gory, I joy to call thee mine.”
It’s important for us to claim forgiveness through the blood of Christ, not only when we first become God’s children, but each day of our lives. Could you take a few minutes to ponder the message of the cross in this old song? How does it apply to you?
“I Hear Thy Welcome Voice” from the album “Singing On.”
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