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Christian people talk a good deal about blood. What do they mean? Why is it they take such delight in singing and speaking about blood?
Go into some religious meetings, and presently you hear some one get up and tell that he is saved by the blood; and then another one says that he rejoices to know he is living under the blood, and another says that the blood cleanses him from all sin; and so they continue all through the meeting; and they really seem to enjoy it. Whenever any one mentions the blood, you see the faces of the others light up with joyful emotion, and hear words of gladness come from their lips. What is it all about? Are they lunatics? No; on the contrary, they are the most sensible and moral people in the community, whose testimony would be received as good in any court of justice. Then surely they must have some reason for their language about the blood. Let us ask one of them about it.
Friend, will you explain why you people are always talking about blood and seem to find so much comfort in doing so? Yes, gladly; it is the precious blood of Christ, the Son of God, who is called the Lamb of God, about which we talk and sing. But why is that blood so precious to you? Because it continually reminds us that our sins are all forgiven and put away, in perfect accordance with God’s infinite justice and righteousness, as well as mercy; so that trusting in the blood we have actually no more consciousness of sins.
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But how does Christ’s blood do away with your sinfulness? I can best answer you by pointing you to the record of Scripture concerning the penalty of sin, which is everywhere declared to be death. Under the Mosaic and Patriarchal dispensations this was also taught by a series of object lessons. Animals were killed, and their blood was carried in by the priest and presented before God as the evidence that death had really taken place, as the broken law required. In accordance with this God told the Israelites, “The blood is the life … and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls, for it is the blood which maketh an atonement for the soul.” The blood, being no longer in the victim’s veins, was the positive evidence that the life was taken.
But could the life blood of animals satisfy divine justice on behalf of sinful man? No; “the blood of bulls and goats could never take away sins,” but it could shadow forth the truth that if human guilt was ever removed, some way must be found by which divine justice as well as mercy could be magnified, and sin be seen in all its awfulness through the terrible consequences it entailed. The doctrine of Scripture is, that Christ, by offering up himself, or shedding his life’s blood, or pouring out his soul unto death, put away our sins. We read that “he died for our sins”—”put away sin by the sacrifice of himself”—”offered one sacrifice for sins forever:” in fact, did what the Levitical sacrifices had pointed to but never accomplished. But how could Christ become legally responsible for the guilt of others, so that his death would meet the requirements of justice on their behalf? By identifying himself with them, and offering himself as a sacrifice for their redemption, he became a new federal head to the human race, with power and authority to bestow upon those previously under sentence of death a new life from himself, over which death should have no power. Making himself thus a shelter for sinners, he became responsible for their sins. Justice, being unable to reach the sinner, demanded and received satisfaction at the place where the sinner thus legally escaped it.
Adam, the old life-giving head, entailed death on his seed. Christ, the new life-giving head, undertook to carry the race safely through the death which otherwise would have completely and eternally overwhelmed it. So in order to make a way out of death, he was obliged to go down into death, bearing in his own person the legal responsibility for the sins of the world; and so the shedding of his blood became the evidence that he really and truly died. By offering new life to man he burdened himself with the debt which attached to the old life, and therefore he laid down forever the natural or creature life, that he might rise again in the divine, spiritual life, and become the source of life to all who would come into union with himself. Thus, the blood of Christ, his death, stands as an evidence before God and before the conscience of believers that the law’s demands have been met and fully satisfied by our great federal Head. Do you wonder that we make much of the precious blood of Christ; and that we feel and know that it cleanseth us from all sin? —Selected.
— December, 1890 —