“Without the Shedding of Blood…” :: By Gene Lawley

The scarlet thread that reaches from Genesis to Revelation is a consistent, never contradicted plan of God for the redemption of mankind. It is the foundation of what Jesus came to do, as Luke proclaims in Luke 19:10: “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Hebrews 9:22 establishes that truth: “Without shedding of blood there is no remission [of sin].” It is the “scarlet thread” from the covering of the skins of animals God provided Adam and Eve, thus the shedding of blood of those animals.

When Adam and Eve knew they had sinned, they covered themselves with fig leaves. They “covered themselves,” an acknowledgment that mankind has been making since then to attempt to avoid facing God. Over the centuries, that denial of God has reached depths of rebellion that now, today, we are seeing a wholesale turning to such more degradation worldwide that out-shames that of ancient Sodom. (See Romans 1:18-32.)

Leviticus 17:11 gives judicial relevance to that first claim of a blood sacrifice requirement for salvation from sin: “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.” Note two things in that law—God makes the provision, and that it involves a death of the blood-giver.

That brings up a question about a related situation: Why was Jesus tortured, beaten, scourged, and humiliated over the time of His ministry, especially at His trial? Could it be that as Jesus was replacing mankind in his lifetime of struggle with sin and all of its negative effect on his life, these tortures were representative of His “Son of man” likeness yet without sin?

The record of His suffering experience is detailed in Isaiah 53 where it says, in part, “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement for our peace was upon Him; and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:4-6).

That reality is borne out in other references, such as Hebrews 2:17-18, which says: “Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.”

Then, Hebrews 4:15-16: “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Another verse that capsulizes this thought into a simple statement is Hebrews 12:2: “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

He is the “originator” and “perfecter” of our faith in His faithfulness to be the total representative of each sinner in the whole world, yet not guilty of any of our sins. When a sinner accepts His gift of this faith, the sinner is “complete in Him.”

In His crucifixion, you have noted that He did not say, “It is finished,” until next He gave up His spirit and breathed His last: “So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit” (John 19:30).

This was the reality that was foreshadowed over the centuries by the offering of animals with their blood that only covered the people’s sins for a year and had to be repeated again and again. It was the provision or gift of a sacrifice like that of the one made for Adam and Eve and their own offer of fig leaves. Hebrews 10:1 tells of that temporary provision:

“For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.”

But in Christ, “we are complete,” so says Colossians 2:10. So how can those prior to Christ’s sacrifice on the cross claim salvation, even though they are only covered year by year? It is by faith in the temporary provision from God, founded on His eternal sovereignty. (See the last two verses of Hebrews 11.)

It is interesting, as well as very important, that God made His plan of man’s redemption prior to the beginning of time, as Titus 1:2 declares: “In hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began.”

There was a conversation between God the Father and God the Son about the role He was to perform that would be different than what had been the plan: “Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: ‘Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me'” (Hebrews 10:5). That body was the physical body of Jesus of Nazareth, born of the Virgin Mary. That body was to be the total representation of every person born of Adam in the world for all time, suffering every agony of Adam’s heritage without sinning.

“He has made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

This background blossoms into a greater understanding of the ordinance of communion in the manner which Jesus presented it at that last supper at Passover time: “Then Jesus took bread. He gave thanks and broke it. He handed it to them and said, ‘This is my body. It is given for you. Every time you eat it, do this in memory of me.’ In the same way, after the supper, He took the cup. He said, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. It is poured out for you.'”

He broke the bread just as His body had been broken by suffering for our sins, then He spilled His life blood to seal our redemption. “Do this in remembrance of Me, He says.” May we never forget!

Here is how God sums up His redemption of plan for those who believe: “He who spared not His own Son but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).

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