The concept of redemptive blood pervades the entire Bible.
Starting from the earliest sacrifices after Adam and Eve sinned, blood was always present when animal sacrifices occurred. Blood rituals characterized the Israelite sacrificial system in order to illustrate the crucial truth that, without blood, we would not have any chance to be forgiven our sins and to enter into the presence of God. Blood was the only way to receive God’s mercy and to have community with Him.
Read the following passages in Hebrews about Christ’s blood and the blood of the Old Testament sacrifices. What do they teach us about the blood?
Christ’s blood does not refer to His life but is a symbol of His substitutionary death, and as such it describes the functional aspect of that death. Christ’s shed blood is amazingly multifunctional. Christ’s blood obtains eternal Redemption, provides cleansing from sin, provides forgiveness, sanctification, and is the reason for the resurrection.
In Hebrews there is a powerful contrast: Christ’s blood is better than any other blood. In fact, no other blood can really provide forgiveness; Christ’s death is the only reason why sins are forgiven, before and after the Cross (Heb. 9:15). The shedding of Christ’s blood, and its effects, are clear evidence that Christ’s death was substitionary, which means that He took the penalty that we deserve.
How should an understanding of Christ’s death help to free us from any notion that our own works can save us?