SIN’S STAIN AND SHAME
‘Just as I am, and waiting not / To rid my soul of one dark blot; / To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot, / O Lamb of God, I come.’1
Read Hebrews 9:11–22
The Blood of Christ
11 But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here,[a] he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. 12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining[b] eternal redemption. 13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death,[c] so that we may serve the living God!
15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.
16 In the case of a will,[d] it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, 17 because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living. 18 This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood. 19 When Moses had proclaimed every command of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves, together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people. 20 He said, “This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep.”[e] 21 In the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and everything used in its ceremonies. 22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHas someone ever helped or saved you - at risk to themselves? What was the situation? How did you feel?
Blood – on our person, our clothes, or at a crime scene – is something we would try to scrub off as quickly as possible. But although we regard blood as something that soils and stains, today’s passage presents it as a cleansing (14,22) and redeeming (12) agent.
The word ‘blood’ occurs ten times in just 12 verses. The tabernacle is associated with God’s glory, but was also a place of blood and gore. Cleansing from sin, breaking a covenant (18–21) and consecration in God’s service (22) were all marked by the sprinkling of blood on the altar, and even on God’s people. Every day, hundreds of animals were slaughtered as sin-offerings and the priests would pour out this blood on the altar. Picture the bloodstains! Imagine the stench!
Sin is deadly (14b) – ‘The wages of sin is death’ (Romans 6:23, NIV) – and forgiveness is both painful and messy. The first blood-sacrifice at Eden, which provided coverings for Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:21), foreshadowed the final blood-sacrifice at Calvary, where the Lamb of God was slain to provide a permanent ‘covering’ for humanity’s sin.
1‘Just as I am,’ Charlotte Elliott, 1835.
Will you allow the remembrance of the horrific price of redemption – ‘the precious blood of Christ’ (1 Peter 1:19, NIV) – to re-awaken you to the horror of your sin and the magnitude of His love?
My Jesus, Your never-ending love is so precious to me. You gave Your all… for me. Help me to live out my gratitude to You.