But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off
have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
In reference to my previous post, whatever one might understand or believe about the Atonement of Christ, I think we can all agree that there is no atonement without the shedding of blood. And from the beginning of the Bible, in Genesis, it is obvious that blood has great significance to God.
In Scripture, Blood is associated with the mysterious sacredness which belongs to life, and God reserved it to Himself (as having great significance to Him) when He allowed man the dominion over, and the use of the lower animals for food. We see how important Blood is, as a life force, when God exclaims to Cain (in Genesis) 4:10, "What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground". And God gives clear instructions to Noah, after the Flood, "you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it" (Genesis 9:4).
Then God seals the deal, so to speak, in Leviticus 17:11, when He gives instructions to Moses for Aaron and the priests in regards to His sacrificial system, "For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement."
By now, we should understand just how important Blood is to the Father. It was blood that was applied to the doorposts and lintels of the houses that saved the Israelites from the Angel of Death ... During the sacrifices in the Temple, the blood of animals was caught by the priest in a basin, and then sprinkled seven times on the altar ... At the giving of the Law, the blood of the sacrifices was sprinkled on the people, as well as on the altar, and thus the people were consecrated to God, or entered into covenant with Him. This consecration would amount to a blood covenant forevermore between God and His people.
This blood covenant would include the forgiveness of sins, as Jesus states in Matthew 26:28, This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. But I would submit to you that it is much more! The rite of circumcision in the Old Testament was a form of blood ceremony. Apart from the probable sanitary importance of the act is the deeper meaning in the establishment of a bond of friendship between the one upon whom the act is performed and Yahweh Himself. In order that Abraham might become "the friend of God", he was commanded that he should be circumcised as a token of the covenant between him and God (Genesis 17:10-11). In Abraham's covenant, his own blood has to be shed to establish this friendship, or relationship with God. Later, animals would be substituted, and their blood covered the sins of the people, which in the simplest of interpretations, shows us that sin is the violation of that relationship or friendship with God -- a breaking of that pledge of eternal friendship between man and God.
And these two concepts [1) that Blood needs to be offered for forgiveness of sin and 2) it represents our eternal friendship/relationship with God] is never made more clear than, here in Hebrews 10:29: How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?
That's why I love this verse in Ephesians ... it beautifully illustrates that the blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, was the final shedding of Blood that God required for the forgiveness of our sins; for our breach of the eternal friendship He desires with each of His created human beings. And it is the Mercy and Grace of the God we serve that after warning us (in Hebrews 10:29) of the punishment we deserve for trampling on that friendship, He gives us the exhortation and encouragement of Hebrews 13:20-21, Now may the God of peace [the source of serenity and spiritual well-being] who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood that sealed and ratified the eternal covenant, equip you with every good thing to carry out His will and strengthen you [making you complete and perfect as you ought to be], accomplishing in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
May we each carry deep within our hearts, the significance of the sacrifice and the love that God, our Father, holds for each of us. He not only offered His Son, as the blood sacrifice He demands for the forgiveness of our sins, He offered a part of Himself. And it's all because it is His heart's desire to never abolish that loving friendship He wants with us, now and for eternity. How blessed are we?
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