Hebrews 9:12. [Christ] 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.
“There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Immanuel’s veins. And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.”
These are the lyrics to a great hymn of the faith that has been sung innumerable times in churches for decades. You’ve probably sung it many times yourself. But have you ever thought about how strange, or even gruesome, this song must sound to someone who is not a Christian? Doesn’t it just affirm what many people believe about God – that he is a bloodthirsty deity, demanding his pound of flesh?
Is God bloodthirsty? Why does he have to demand death? Why did Jesus have to shed his blood and die? Can’t God just choose to forgive us without something or someone having to die?
God isn’t bloodthirsty. He is just and loving. He is gracious and kind. When we see God as simply a bloodthirsty tyrant it is because we fail to understand our sin. Sin is a debt owed to God, and sin is a disease that is destroying us from the inside out.
How is our debt paid and our disease cured? By the life (the blood) of Jesus.
Hebrews 9:12. By means of his own blood Christ secured our eternal redemption.
Redemption is a concept that goes all the way back to the Exodus. As God is preparing the Hebrews for the Passover, he reminds them that they are no more innocent than the Egyptians. And just like the Egyptians they will owe God the life of their firstborn sons. Each firstborn son, as the representative of the whole family, would be sacrificed to God.
Exodus 13:2. The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Consecrate to me all the firstborn. Whatever is the first to open the womb among the people of Israel, both of man and of beast, is mine.”
But is God bloodthirsty? Will he require that these baby boys be slaughtered to appease his wrath? No. Our rescuing God would instruct the Hebrews of old to offer a lamb in their son’s place as a redeeming sacrifice (like Abraham and Isaac).
Exodus 13:15. Therefore I sacrifice to the Lord all the males that first open the womb, but all the firstborn of my sons I redeem.
So for the next 1500 years, lamb after lamb was slain for the redemption of the firstborn sons, the representatives of the entire family. Even baby boy Jesus was redeemed with two doves. But does each dead lamb (or bird) point to a bloodthirsty God? Or might these lambs point to a God that would one day become the Lamb in our place?
This is the result of the cross – eternal redemption. All who are in Christ will live every day, forever, in the glory of Christ’s freeing sacrifice for sins. Every debt paid. The disease of sin cured. Christ’s own blood redeeming us unto “to live is Christ.”
Do you see God as bloodthirsty or as your blood sacrifice?
You in Christ
What are the implications of Christ’s sacrifice being “once for all time?”
Christ in you
How can you live differently today knowing that every sin debt has been paid?
Playlist: Blood of Christ.
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