“Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” Hebrews 9:22
Recently I received a couple of questions from a young adult about why a loving God would require the blood of His own son in order to accomplish His purpose. Here was my response.
It is critical in thinking about Christ’s sacrifice that we leave behind the puny reasoning of man and seek to humbly enter into the thoughts of God. When Jesus was explaining the need for His crucifixion, Peter rebuked Him, and then Jesus said, “Get behind Me Satan for you do not have in mind the things of God but the things of men.” (Matthew 16:33)
The things of God. The unfathomable depths of the wisdom of God; who can possibly grasp the fullness of His ways or fully understand His paths? (Romans 11:33) Yet in the cross we see a partial revelation of three important truths:
- The Holiness of God. God is way more holy than you and I could ever grasp. The idea that God should just forgive on the basis of His loving us would deny His holiness. Because He is love and loves us, He gave His Son to die in our place so that justice for sin would be upheld.
- The sinfulness of man. We don’t realize how sinful we are in the sight of God because we compare ourselves to other people. Jesus called His own disciples “evil” and told the self-righteous rich young ruler that there is no such thing as a good person, only a good God. Satan is the one who tells us we’re good people and accuses God of being unjust for calling us guilty.
- The love of God. “This is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and gave His Son to be a propitiation for our sins.” (1John 4:10) We will unpack this amazing truth for all eternity!
As far as “why blood.” God declares that the life of anything is in its blood and therefore there can be no forgiveness without the shedding of innocent blood on behalf of the guilty. (Hebrews 9:22) In the Old Testament it was the blood of innocent animals that God chose to use to cover over sins from year to year. But all of these sacrifices were only pointing to the Lamb of God whose blood alone could actually take away the sins of the world.