In the Old Testament, God instructed the Israelites to sacrifice certain animals in order to have their sins covered. However, the blood of these animals was just to cover their sins until Jesus came, whose blood had greater power to deal with sin. Exactly what makes the blood of Jesus so precious?
When we confess our sin and repent, the blood of Jesus cleanses us of all sin (1 John 1:7). The blood of bulls and goats could never take away sins (Hebrews 10:4).
When Jesus shed his blood, he inaugurated a new covenant of faith in his blood, which is based on better promises than the old covenant under the law (Matthew 26:28). The old covenant required animals’ blood to be spilled. In our case, we may confess our sin and believe that Jesus’ blood cleanses us to know its power.
The blood of Jesus gives us peace (Colossians 1:20, Hebrews 9:14). When we trust in Christ’s blood by faith after confessing our sin, we are relieved and no longer have the need to remember it over and over in guilt and shame. (If we believe we must do more to obtain forgiveness, like do more works or be a better person – in effect bargaining with God – then we do not approach forgiveness from faith, so anguish continues over our sin. We are not believing that a loving God readily forgives his children. In this case, we make Christ’s blood less than it really is.)
Our good works could not make us righteous before God because sin is the issue that keeps us from God. Christ’s blood not only takes away our sin, but makes us righteous (Romans 5:9) before God – as though we had never sinned! The slate is wiped clean.
The blood purchases us and we become God’s own children (Acts 20:28, 1 Peter 1:88-19, Revelation 5:9).
When cleansed by the blood, we are sanctified, that is, ready for God to put us into service for him (Hebrews 13:12).
After sacrificing the animals, the people still could not go into the holiest place where God himself dwelt. Even the priest could not enter except once a year after a sacrifice had been acceptably prepared. But through Christ’s blood we may enter God’s presence freely at any time (Ephesians 2:13, Hebrews 10:19).
In the future, the saints will overcome the antichrist figure through the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 12:11). They will continue to believe God and confess their sins while the antichrist figure tells people that sin is not an issue.
Because the blood of Jesus is so important in God’s plan of bringing us to himself, and the spilt blood of Jesus on the cross demonstrates God’s wondrous love toward sinful humanity, those who scoff at the blood will receive greater punishment (Hebrew 10:19).
What Do You Think?
a. Nothing of the blood of the animal sacrifices were enough to forgive sin. Only the blood of the sinless Lamb of God is enough to cleanse us of all sin. What does this say about God’s love when we know that Jesus was treated unfairly by those around him?
b. Since the blood cleanses us of a bad conscience, should we rely on good works to try to erase any guilt we feel after sinning?