You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness instead of crying out for vengeance like the blood of Abel. Hebrews 12:24 NLT
This is a wonderful truth and the knowledge of it truly sets you free! Unfortunately, not everyone knows about this truth or doesn’t understand it. Take me as an example: Even though I used to go to a catholic church and visited religion class every week, I didn’t get the full meaning behind the sprinkling of Jesus’ blood. Instead, I always felt terrible when we spoke about the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ. The happy ending and purpose of it just never got through to me.
To change that, I want to share what I found about the meaning of blood and how all of this points to and confirms us being forgiven through the blood of Christ. And it is also a perfect display of The Mercy of God.
In scripture there are three basic roles of blood, which I have all experienced personally. Those are 1. blood contains life, 2. blood can make atonement for sins and 3. blood signs a covenant. All of them apply to the blood of Jesus as well. They are the key to understand how the sprinkling of his holy blood is connected to God’s perfect providence and love for us.
Blood Contains Life
Right in the beginning of the Bible, we are told that the life of each creature is in its blood:
“But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.” Genesis 9:4 ESV
This might sound confusing to some because in our modern culture the source of life is thought to be in our heart and soul and not in the blood. And indeed, there is a soul in our bodies. Jesus himself tells us how precious it is when he says,
“For whoever wants to save their life (or soul) will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” Matthew 16:25-26 NIV
How Blood And Soul Work Together
God’s word does not contradict itself, which means that there is a connection, yet distinction between our blood and our soul. A great visualization of this connection is found in Endnote 77 of “The Doctrines of Grace from the Lips of Our Lord: A Study in the Gospel of John” by J. D. Watson. It is a quote from the French zoologist Milne Edwards and reads,
“If an animal be bled until it falls into a state of syncope, and the further loss of blood is not prevented, all muscular motion quickly ceases, respiration is suspended, the heart pauses from its action, life is no longer manifested by any outward sign, and death soon becomes inevitable; but if, in this state, the blood of another animal of the same species be injected into the veins of the one to all appearance dead, we see with amazement its inanimate body return to life, gaining accessions of vitality with each new quantity of blood that is introduced, eventually beginning to breathe freely, moving with ease, and finally walking as it was wont to do, and recovering completely.”
Milne Edwards (1800-1885)
Hence, blood is the vessel for our soul and with that for our life. When our blood stops circulating, our soul is trapped somewhere in unconsciousness. There it has no control over the body and cannot call attention to itself. Even time seems to stop then, which I have experienced personally.
My Experiences With Blood And Life
There were two incidents in my life which showed me how the loss of blood and/or the decrease of your blood pressure can cause your system to collapse.
The first incident happened was when I didn’t eat for a day. At night, on my way back from the bathroom, my blood pressure dropped by a lot and before I knew what was happening, I lay on the floor unconscious. It was kind of scary, because I can’t remember how I fell or landed on the ground. The only thing I remember is my mother being next to me when I opened my eyes again. To me, all of this happened in just an instant, but in reality it must have been at least 15 seconds before I regained consciousness!
Thanks to God, my second experience wasn’t as dramatic. It took place when I donated blood for the first time. I had underestimated the effect this could have on my body. As a result, when I had given about 200-250 ml (6,76-8,45 fl oz) of blood, I started feeling dizzy. At the same time, my vision began to black out on the edges and I knew I was about to faint again. Luckily, the doctors quickly reacted and gave me something to drink as well as some medication to get my blood pressure up again. That way, I remained conscious.
Both situations taught me how important blood is. It keeps our organs working by providing oxygen and energy, defends our body against sicknesses and is the dwelling for our soul. Without blood, our flesh dies and without our body in turn, our soul doesn’t have a tent to live in. For that reason, you can definitely say that blood contains life. And this nature of blood plays a significant role in us being forgiven through the blood of Christ.
Blood Can Make Atonement For Sins
Knowing that blood contains life in the form of our soul is crucial to understand how blood can make atonement for sins. The second foundation that is needed for this understanding is that “the wages of sin is death” (compare Romans 6:23a). This means that whoever sins must die. However, God is gracious and He doesn’t want all of us to die. Therefore, He told Moses,
“For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.” Leviticus 17:11 NIV
An alternate reading of “atonement for one’s life” is “atonement by the life of the blood“. This means that the death penalty for the sin of the human could be paid with the life of an animal. In Leviticus 4 it is further described how the guilty person would lay his hands on the animal to symbolically transfer his sins to it. That way, he could slaughter it in his stead. Thus, instead of dying themselves for their trespasses, the Israelites were allowed to give one of their animals to save their own life!
This is a wonderful display of God’s love and grace towards his people, because He allowed them to live on even though their sins would have required them to die. And through the solution of having an animal pay for the sins of the people, God maintained his divine and perfect justice. Such displays of God’s character are the reason why I love Leviticus. Yes, it might be a little dry here and there, but when you read it attentively, you will find revelations of God’s amazing personality everywhere!
However, the blood of animals was not good enough. Otherwise there wouldn’t have been a need of us being forgiven through the blood of Christ.
The Deficiency of the Blood of Animals
The life of an animal couldn’t fully compensate for the sins it was sacrificed for. That is why Israel had to present sin offerings over and over again. Every year, in addition to the normal sin offerings, there was the Day of Atonement (see Leviticus 16) on which the whole congregation of Israel had to be cleansed from their wickedness. And still, the cleansing wasn’t perfect, because it only lasted for a year. This is described in the following verses:
The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship. If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared.
But instead, those sacrifices actually reminded them of their sins year after year. For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Hebrews 10:1-4 NLT
As mentioned in this quote of scripture, the sacrifice of animals was like a placeholder until the final redemption was accomplished. Why and how Jesus was able to achieve such a full and perfect purification of our souls is described below.
Forever Forgiven Through the Blood of Christ
The main difference between Jesus and the animals is pretty obvious: Jesus was a human and his life therefore more valuable than that of animals. That this is true is confirmed by Jesus himself when he says,
“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? ” Matthew 6:26 ESV
The key to how we were forgiven through the blood of Christ once and for all is much more profound though: Jesus was the only one without sin. And just like the Israelites transferred their sins to the animals through the laying on of hands, so our sins were laid upon Jesus. By giving his perfect life through the shedding of his blood, He paid the full price for all of our sins. That way, He redeemed us from eternal punishment, once and for all. All of this is wonderfully described by Paul and in Hebrews and reads,
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV
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 ESV
For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. Hebrews 9:24-26 ESV
How I Was Forgiven Through the Blood of Christ
Just like the Israelites, I have sinned as well. Throughout my childhood and teens I have lied, spoken harshly to and bad about my parents and defiled myself in many ways. In contrast to the Israelits though, I have never even tried to present a sin offering to make atonement for what I have done. I just didn’t care back then. As a result, I should have definitely died!
However, through the blood Jesus shedded when He gave his life, He allowed me to experience forgiveness for all I had done! He called me, pulled me out of the pit of darkness in which I was hiding and gave me a new hope. Only because of God’s forgiveness am I still here! Without the shedding of Jesus’ blood, I probably would have been destroyed by my sins, the world and Satan…
For a more detailed description on how I got saved, you can read my Being Born Again post. It further contains two other stories where God’s forgiveness has saved and changed lives.
Blood Confirms A Covenant
With his blood, Jesus didn’t just pay for our sins. He also confirmed a whole new covenant. That, He explained to his disciples during the Last Supper:
And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. Matthew 26:27-28 ESV
This covenant is not just a covenant. It is a covenant of blood with three breathtaking attributes that show how perfect God’s providence for us is.
The Covenant as the Will of God
In the Greek, there is an ambiguity of the word that was translated to “of the covenant“. According to biblehub.com, the Greek word is διαθήκης (diathēkēs) which could also be rendered as “of the will ” or “testamential “. This alternate translation is fitting, too, because Jesus himself said,
“But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” John 16:7 NIV
For a will to be put into effect, the person who drew it up must be dead. Likewise, Jesus had to die for us to experience the forgiveness of God and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. In that case, it also makes sense that the covenant (or will) was signed with blood.
Furthermore, Jesus came to the earth with the purpose to set us free. It was God’s will that we should be forgiven through the blood of Christ because he loved us so much! As a result, Jesus left us with the inheritance of forgiveness and a place in the glorious kingdom of God. We are the righteous heirs of God! This is further confirmed with the following scripture:
For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance — now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. Hebrews 9:15 NIV
The Covenant That Lasts Forever
As mentioned in the scripture above, the covenant Jesus obtained is an eternal one. Consequently, his sacrifice covered all of our sins and gives those who believe the power to resist future temptations. Furthermore, if you fall into a trap of the devil again, you don’t have to fear punishment because
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 10:9 ESV
If you want to know more about this, feel free to read my post about God’s Unfailing Faithfulness.
Through this covenant, we are truly set free! Free from the burden of the law, free from the chains of the world and free from God’s wrath and eternal destruction! That is what being forgiven through the blood of Christ means. And even more than that, God sees us as perfect and doesn’t require any sin offerings anymore! This amazing truth is found here:
For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,
“This is the covenant that I will make with them
after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws on their hearts,
and write them on their minds,”
then he adds,
“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”
Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin. Hebrews 10:14-18 ESV
The Covenant of Eternal Life
As if us inheriting the kingdom of God and being ransomed from all of our sins isn’t enough, there is another promise for us: Through this covenant, we will also live forever! Seriously, FOREVER! I can’t even fathom what that means, but Jesus is clear on this when he says,
“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” John 10:28-30 NIV
Thus, just like the blood contains and represents life, so this covenant also stands for life. And just like blood is vital for us, so this covenant, too, is the only way for us to survive. That is why
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. John 14:6 NLT
The Effect of the Covenant of Blood in My Life
Through the rebirth in the Holy Spirit, which is the effect of believing in Jesus’ sacrifice, I have changed a lot. My former self is now dead and I have experienced true love, true faithfulness and true freedom.
See, I didn’t feel captivated before I knew God, yet as soon as He opened my eyes, I realized how thick the chain around my neck was. And once I was included into this amazing covenant, this chain broke. I have never felt so alive, loved, protected, cared for and free before. Now, I have no idea how I lived without God and am still in awe about the fact that He will be by my side for all eternity! And all of this is the result of me being forgiven through the blood of Christ, my Lord and Savior.
Forgiven Through The Blood Of Christ — What Now?
If you’re still with me and not on the floor, worshiping God yet or anymore, I want to mention one more thing. Well, actually I will yield to Paul explaining this.
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:! ESV
You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12 NLT
For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. Romans 14:7-8 NKJV
May God bless you!