Shedding of Blood
Hebrews 9:15-22 – “The Shedding of Blood”
Intro: This morning I want to talk about “forgiveness.”
- How meaningful it truly is to be “forgiven!”
- Forgiveness comes at great cost and when meaningful depth of forgiveness is felt (whether interpersonally or with the Lord), we know it!
- This is exhilarating!
“How bold are you concerning your forgiveness?”
- Martin Luther was outspoken and sometimes caviler about grace!
- In fact, he was labeled an antinomian.
- “Against biblical law!”
- All grace with zero accountability to obey.
- An “anti-obedience Gospel” is incorrect assessment of Luther’s teachings but Not his zeal for Grace!
- “Are you there?” “Have you fully tapped your fully forgiven status?”
Romans 6:1ff asks:
ESV Romans 6:1-2 What shall we say then? aAre we to continue in sin that grace may abound?
2 By no means! How can awe who died to sin still live in it?
Paul smokes out the temptation the Romans faced, being so inflamed by grace!
- Romans 8:1 says, “There is…no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
- No condemnation ever! Forever!
- Not to be cavalier but also never condemned!
- You are not only saved from sin’s penalty, but also its dominion!
- In other words, full forgiveness also means heart change!
- Buried into Christ’s death and raised to walk in newness of life (cf. Rom. 6:4).
- You know Christ cares about your daily decisions!
- GRACE never means LICENSE to Sin!
Back to my first question, “How bold are you concerning forgiveness?”
- “How confident are you regarding full forgiveness?”
- This practical question in reverse is, “Are you worried about some sin in your past?”
Our culture states, “You need to be able to forgive yourself!”
- In fact, it is unhealthy to say or believe, “I could never forgive myself for what I did!”
- The culture says back, “Of course you can, if you will ever be free or ever heal!”
- God’s Word retorts saying, “No, actually, you cannot forgive yourself!”
- You have no ability, no power, no authority, no right, and no basis to forgive yourself.
- But, the good news is, Someone else can!
- And, for every Christian, He has!
Look at the end verse 22.
ESV Hebrews 9:22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and awithout the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
This is a dogmatic verse stating, without this your will not have that!
- At the same time, this verse is equally dogmatic to say with equal definiteness!
- “With the shedding of blood there is forgiveness of sins!”
“Do you still worry about your sins in general?” “Are you worrying about some past sin?”
- Your Bible says, “You do not need to!”
- Cares you should let go!
- Freedoms you should now enjoy. Full forgiveness!
“My chains are gone, I am set free, my God my Savior has ransomed me…” [Thomlin]
“When will Christ’s blood-shedding become meaningful to you?”
Prop: Being fully forgiven applies when you understand:
Christ’s blood-shedding is retroactive (v. 15)
Christ’s blood-shedding covers your past haunts (sins!).
- On the face, reading this paragraph is extremely difficult to understand.
- It is important to read this through the eyes of a first Century Jewish Christian.
- These new Christians NEED to CROSS a threshold in terms of what they have gained.
- They have immediate and direct access with God.
- Foreign to the mind of the religious.
- Especially to a Jew, schooled under the Old Covenant.
- God was barred, under threat to death, if approach in the wrong spirit.
- This barrier runs deeper than religion.
- Into a person’s conscience.
Sins committed in the Old Covenant were inoperable.
- Diseases weighing someone down with guilt.
- Issues of the heart the Law had no power to atone for on that depth level.
The question for an early church Jewish Christian:
“Christ is my Savior and He only answered the Law’s demands! I know the Law is ineffective to make me right with God, however, what am I supposed to do with my former life?”
“How can I overcome my past haunts where I over and over again flew in the face of God and disobeyed the Law!”
Men and women were coming to Christ stained with past sin seemingly with no place to put it!
This is the same question today’s Christians ask themselves! We do this in a similar way!
- The Holy Spirit reveals the violent sinner you once were!
- How unholy you were in view this new understanding of God’s holiness!
- It is natural to be horrified by your past!
The closer you move to this kind of Light, the more blemishes are uncovered!
The key is understanding that the Cross is retroactive!
- The Cross covers all of our sins!
Jesus is the “mediator” - “arbitrator” of this “new covenant.”
- Believers then and now are “called [to] receive the promised eternal inheritance” (v. 15).
- Being “called” is not a general call but efficacious call to regeneration.
- Being “called” is being “drawn” on a heart level at conversion!
Christ is “the mediator” of what is “New!”
- Though we are talking about a New Covenant the emphasis here is on “death” (repeated consecutively).
- “Since a death occurred” the “transgressions” (legal violations under Torah) are “redeemed!”
- Literally, “Released from the obligation to pay back!”
- Your debt was bought out by a payment through a “death.”
- This verse targets their direct need, addressing this assumed sin baggage!
- Your sins are paid for.
- “Called” believers should turn from looking back to looking forward.
- From their past to their future.
- They have “the promised eternal inheritance” (v. 15).
- There not only is past grace but also future grace.
- The Old Testament saint had the same remedy. Looking toward future grace.
Skipping ahead to Hebrews 11.
ESV Hebrews 11:1-16 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of athings not seen.
2 For by it the people of old received their commendation.3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by athe word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of bthings that are visible.4 By faith aAbel offered to God ba more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And cthrough his faith, though he died, he dstill speaks.5 By faith aEnoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God.6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God amust believe that he exists and athat he rewards those who seek him.7 By faith aNoah, being warned by God concerning bevents as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of cthe righteousness that comes by faith.8 By faith aAbraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place bthat he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.9 By faith he went to live in athe land of promise, as in a foreign land, bliving in tents cwith Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise.10 For he was looking forward to athe city that has bfoundations, cwhose designer and builder is God.11 By faith aSarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered bhim faithful who had promised.
12 Therefore from one man, and ahim as good as dead, were born descendants bas many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.13 These all died in faith, anot having received the things promised, but bhaving seen them and greeted them from afar, and chaving acknowledged that they were dstrangers and exiles on the earth.14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, athey would have had opportunity to return.16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed ato be called their God, for bhe has prepared for them a city.
Every Old Testament saint was looking future to God’s promise.
- Their acts of faith connected with the Revelation they had at the time, looking toward the atoning Cross.
Old Testament faith acts like a credit card that is paid ahead.
The Cross being the credit that paid against an Old Testament believer’s sins.
This is why the Old Testament sacrifices were pictures of a future credit – future grace that applied to them then!
This, in reverse, is no different from faith exercised by New Testament Christians.
- Jesus’ righteous life and sacrificial death is credited to our account, in our case, the past work of the Cross applied to our past, present, and future.
- As New Covenant believers we see this past sacrifice applying forward but as with the believers of Hebrews 11, we too look future, for us in light of the Cross.
Jesus’ “death” on the Cross transcends time! Past, present, future.
ESV Acts 2:23 this Jesus, adelivered up according to bthe definite plan and cforeknowledge of God, dyou crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.
ESV Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, ayet he opened not his mouth; blike a clamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.
ESV John 1:29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold, athe Lamb of God, who btakes away the sin cof the world!
ESV John 1:36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, "Behold, athe Lamb of God!"
ESV 1 Peter 1:18-20 knowing that you awere ransomed from bthe futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but awith the precious blood of Christ, like that of ba lamb cwithout blemish or spot.20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but awas made manifest bin the last times for the sake of you
ESV Revelation 5:9 And they sang aa new song, saying, "Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for byou were slain, and by your blood cyou ransomed people for God from devery tribe and language and people and nation
ESV Revelation 5:12 saying with a loud voice, a"Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!"
ESV Revelation 13:8 and all awho dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in bthe book of life of cthe Lamb dwho was slain.
- This means your sins are covered past, present, and future!
Past and present.
ESV Colossians 2:12-15 ahaving been buried with him in baptism, in which byou were also raised with him through faith in cthe powerful working of God, cwho raised him from the dead. 13 aAnd you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God bmade alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,14 by acanceling bthe record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.15 aHe disarmed the rulers and authorities1 and iput them to open shame, by btriumphing over them in him.
Present and future.
ESV Ephesians 2:5-6 even awhen we were dead in our trespasses, bmade us alive together with Christ--cby grace you have been saved 6 and raised us up with him and aseated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus
Christ’s “blood-shedding” is significant!
- Beyond time and space in its effect!
- Your Forgiveness was Always in the Mind of God!
- The Cross transcends our forgiveness transcends!
Practically, verse 15 states the question of past sins! And the answer!
The Blood of Christ is retroactive!
- To grasp this TRUTH where it becomes meaningful you need to understand this in terms of its cost!
- If you have ever had to “forgive” someone, you understand this comes with a great emotional “cost!”
Christ’s blood-shedding was costly
a. His death is certain (vv. 16-17)
Here is a play on words not uncommon for Hebrews.
- “Covenant” [diathnkn] also used for the concept - “will.”
- A last will and testament.
- As modern day “wills” when someone dies.
- This is a cause and effect argument.
- Illustrating the Cross – cause and effect.
All prior “blood-shedding” meaningful but mere “pictures” of a “death” that counts!
Christ made this “will” so accordingly Christ’s “death”’ had to be “established” to Count!
- “Established” [Phero] “bear” - Christ’s “death” was “born out!”
- Has come into “force!” (v. 17).
Christ’s death for the Old Covenant believer served as a credit (paid forward) in the transcendent plan of God. And Christ’s death is paid retroactively for New Covenant believers because your name was in Christ’s will all along!
Our names are written in the Lamb’s book of life!
- “These benefits from Christ’s death are in effect!”
- The “promised inheritance” of “forever forgiveness” are accounted to you!
I remember a dear family member gave us a loan in a time of need. She became sick and was dying.
Our concern was to pay it back immediately.
Assuming this and knowing she would die, she wrote us a note with the words, “Your debt is paid in full!”
In her death, she released us not only from the physical obligation but also the conscientious obligation.
Our “inheritance” is not only in terms of what we receive but also what we no longer owe!
He paid a debt He did not owe
I owed a debt I could not pay
I needed someone to wash my sins away
And now I sing a brand new song
Amazing Grace all day long
Christ Jesus paid a debt that I could never pay
Expanding the theme of this Cost we have to explore the reality of our sins being completely Cleansed!
b. His death is cleansing
Verse 18 introduces the idea of sacrifice and cost.
Recognize the significance of “blood” in this first Century world!
- Sacrificial system was still active.
- The term “Blood” used six times here.
- “Blood” is viewed in terms of cost!
- When something “bleeds out” it is dead.
- Meaning its value is being spent!
- The animal’s “death” does not mean dinner but sacrifice.
- “Blood” here means cost.
In Leviticus 17 this concept is clear.
ESV Leviticus 17:11 aFor the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar bto make atonement for your souls, cfor it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.
“Life” is not synonymous for forgiveness or “atonement.”
- “Life” is what’s lost not gained – in this context!
- “Blood-Life” is running out.
My Dad just here retold to his grandsons the story about how his mother (my Memaw) used to rearrange the house furniture (“regularly”).
My father, in college, came home late one night hit a coffee table wobbling a vase which smashed against his arm.
All he heard was rhythmic splashing sounds echoing off the ceiling. His artery had been cut. His life was spraying out on the ceiling! Can you say tourniquet?
The Old Covenant was considered a “slaughterhouse religion.”
“During the thousand-plus years of the old covenant, there were more than a million animal sacrifices. So considering that each bull’s sacrifice spilled a gallon or two of blood, and each goat a quart, the old covenant truly rested on a sea of blood. During the Passover…a trough was constructed from the temple down into the Kidron Valley for the disposal of blood-a sacrificial plumbing system! [Hughes]
Blood meant “cost!” Verses 18-21.
- Israel’s relationship with God was always bathed in blood because there always had to be a sacrificial payment for sins!
- When God’s Law was disobeyed sacrifices were demanded, there would have to be cost!
- Payment because God is holy!
- These payments were symbols.
- On the face, they represent obedience but were never going to be efficacious to atone!
- However, the reality of a COST or PRICE being PAID was always at the forefront!
These verses point back to when the Law (which established “blood sacrifices” was inaugurated with blood!)
ESV Exodus 24:5-8 And he sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the LORD. 6 And aMoses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against the altar.7 Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, a"All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient."
8 aAnd Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, "Behold the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words."
The writer of Hebrews adds that blood sprinkled on “almost everything” (v. 22).
- On the altar, the garments of the high priests, before the tent of meeting, the veil of the sanctuary, the mercy seat once a year, the doorposts of the temple (cff. Ex 29, Lev 8, 16, Ezk. 45).
None of what is mentioned in verse 19 (“water, scarlet wool, and hyssop” were present in Exodus 24 but all mentioned in the ceremony of heifer (Num. 19:6, 18).
- The text states, blood was everywhere!
Back to verse 18, the tabernacle, all tapestries, and sparkling furniture all was dripping in blood! Why? To make the point of the need for sacrifice! The price for sin!
Sin always means death! This is what sin brings! There had to be a costly payment for sin!
ESV Romans 6:23 aFor the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord
People intuitively know there needs to be a payment. The Jew’s Torah proves this.
“Why aren’t the Jews offering physical sacrifices now?”
They believe their Messiah has not yet come.
“What are they doing with their sin, their guilt?”
Their Torah 101 – Qorbanot (Korban - Matthew and Mark’s Gospel means, “a gift consecrated to God”). they have an answer.
Qorbanot: Sacrifices and Offerings
Frequently Asked Questions: Do Jews offer sacrifices today?
No. No Jews today are known to publicly offer any kind of animal sacrifice or offerings, nor have Jews offered sacrifices since the second century C.E. There are Orthodox Jews in Israel who practice the techniques of ritual sacrifice, so that the knowledge will not be lost; a remembrance of the Pesach sacrifice was slaughtered in 5760 (2000 C.E.), within sight of the Temple Mount. But this is not at all the same thing as offering a sacrifice.
When did Jews stop offering sacrifices, and why?
For the most part, the practice of sacrifice stopped in the year 70 C.E., (instead of AD – “Common Era”) when the Roman army destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem, the place where sacrifices were offered.
The practice was briefly resumed during the Jewish War of 132-135 C.E., but was ended permanently after that war was lost. There were also a few communities that continued sacrifices for a while after that time.
We stopped offering sacrifices because we do not have a proper place to offer them. The Torah specifically commands us not to offer sacrifices wherever we feel like it; we are only permitted to offer sacrifices in the place that God has chosen for that purpose (Deuteronomy 12,13-14).
It would be a sin to offer sacrifices in any other place.
The last place appointed by God for this purpose was the Temple in Jerusalem; but the Temple has been destroyed, and a mosque has been erected in the place where it stood. Until we observant Jews recapture the Temple Mount and rebuild the Temple, we cannot offer sacrifices.
Orthodox Jews believe that when the Mashiach comes, sacrifices will be renewed. Some of us think it better not to wait for him, but to be about the business of rebuilding the Temple and reinstituting the sacrifices; in any event, it is permitted to bring all of the regular order of sacrifices today on the Temple Mount at the place where the altar was, even now when the Temple is no longer standing.
Our own Brian and Elizabeth Overholtzer when taking a college semester in Israel observed Jews who were under obligation to pray during their entire flight (crossing the Atlantic) to Israel.
This was their religious sacrifice to cover their sins! To make themselves right with God to thus secure their safety.
This misses the point of Old Testament sacrifice altogether. Let alone the Cross!
Jews missed the point of Blood meaning Cost! --- Obedience meant Cost! “My “Performance is my Sacrifice.” Modern day Pharisee-ism!
Finally, verse 22 says, “Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood…”
- The words, “almost everything” (v. 22) points to grace in the Law.
- All sacrifices were not bloody.
- Grain offerings were not (Lev. 2:1-16).
- Provision made for the poor, not required to offer an animal they could not afford.
The Law was never meant to be the sufficient payment for sins. It could never be! - Most everything in the Law required a victim! HOWEVER – Those victims were never enough!
Remember Paul’s inspired words from 1 Corinthians!
ESV 1 Corinthians 6:20 afor you were bought with a price. bSo glorify God in your body. (1Co 6:20 ESV)
ESV 1 Corinthians 7:23 aYou were bought with a price; bdo not become slaves of men. (1Co 7:23 ESV)
- “Why glorify God in your body!?!”
- “Why are we NOT ‘slaves of men!’”
- “Because we can forgive ourselves?” “Because we are significant in Christ?” NO!
Because an infinitely costly price was made on your behalf!
- A price and a cost that transcends time and eternity!
- Your debt was paid unto eternity!
- You were a beneficiary and NOT Benefactor!
- Only Jesus could do this for you! And He DID!
At the end of the summer, my kids went fishing several times at Bird Creek.
All Salmon were virtually all dead (at summer’s end) - carcasses everywhere.
One of my boys managed to land one fish deemed worthy to keep.
Put in our cooler on ice. After a long day of fishing we all came home (separate cars).
A few days later after an elder’s meeting (Thursday night), I discovered the cooler in my driveway.
I lifted up one side, to put it away.
Blood and fish stench was everywhere, all over my driveway.
Being late at night and I basically felt like I was live bear bait!
I wanted to get to sleep so I tried to quadruple bagged the cooler and put it in my garage but the stench of blood was too strong to leave alone.
Ultimately, it was going to take more from me before I could leave this alone!
I had to take out my hose and bleach and completely soak-wash every pool of blood away!
It took a full commitment, once and for all, to saturate the driveway and garage.
[Point] When we were lost, our sins were this same foul and abhorrent stench in God’s nostrils.
We could try and cover and cover and cover our sins with trash bag “works” to contain the smell!
“Works don’t work!”
Only a full and final “once and for all” saturation of Christ’s life-giving blood could cleanse our sins!
“How is Christ’s blood life-giving?”
Have you ever had blood cut off from your arm?
Have you ever woken up from sleeping on your arm, where it is asleep?
Your arm is lifeless. You can barely throw it from one side of your body to the other.
It may be in distress or swollen!
“How do you revive your arm?” Blood flow!
At first, there are pins and needles!
Through the pain, blood rushes back in offering a sense of relief soothing the muscles.
Actually, underneath the skin, without blood your muscles are forced to keep working, converting oxygen into energy, and while doing so, producing waste (metabolites) that are normally flushed away through the bloodstream.
The constricted blood flow accumulates metabolite waste that pools in the cells. Not being cleansed by the swirling stream of blood and the arm pain is the agony of retained toxins!
When the blood does flow these toxins cleansed and washed away! This is a common physiological experience where are physical bodies are cleansed by our blood!
Are you still in agony? Has the blood flow of Christ washed your Sin toxins away?
He breaks the power of cancelled sin, He sets the prisoner free; His blood can make the foulest clean; His blood availed for me - Charles Wesley