This is a bit of a “holy cow” for most Christians. Because of the plainness of scripture in talking about the blood of Christ being necessary to make up for sin, there seems no other explanation forthcoming.
But truly I ask you the question. HOW does his blood or ANY blood account for or cancel out the transgressions of people? Do we really have to accept that his LITERAL BLOOD somehow had “magical” properties such as to be able to swallow up sin? And how would this be applied or even explained?
If we move away from the blood, we find another aspect of this, in that the shedding of blood really represents his LIFE that was “shed” for us. After all, if it is eye for eye and tooth for tooth, then it is also life for life. This raises the “The life is in the blood” verse. Well, there you have it surely. If the life is in the blood, then the meaning of the blood is that it shows the loss of LIFE.
What is more important? That Jesus lost his blood, or that he lost his life? The loss of blood then, the blood itself, means that the life was “shed” for us. He DIED for us. He took our DEATH, he did not give us blood back, nor did he take blood away. The blood is simply a recognisable way of saying his death occurred, and it was not by natural causes. [It was not his loss of blood that caused his death anyway, he “gave up his spirit”].
So he substituted his life for ours, a life for a life, a body for a body. His one body for our many bodies. Then again, just like the blood, how can this make sense? How can his one body account for all our bodies, his single death account for all our deaths? The answer lies in that it was not a direct swap of sin for sin, of pain for pain. “One died for all, therefore all died”. How does this work?
Well, having already arrived at the solution, it must be applied, to see if the answer fits with the problem. Firstly, it seems to fit the bill of being a representative situation, IE that he represented us on the cross. How can one represent all? You might say that, well, because he was the son of god, or even God, that his life was worth more than the lot of us put together, after all, he said that “we are of more value than many sparrows”, so the precedent has been set in terms of placing one value against another.
What if it is not like paying for an owed debt at all? What if we cannot understand it because we are looking at it from the totally wrong point of view? What if the reason for it being presented in the way that it is, is BECAUSE we don’t understand, are not capable of understanding the reality of it in the first instance, and that is why it is presented in the way that it is [in the first instance]. The sacrifice of animals was a means of understanding, or at least of conveying some sort of comprehension to the Israelites.
What if it is not a debt balance or ledger kind of thing, but simply an action/reaction kind of thing.
Because God is love, he deals with sin, yes. But he is not interested in PUNISHING people for their individual situations. His interest lies in RECOVERING people from their individual situations. He stands to gain NOTHING for one of his created creatures who ends up in death or in hell.
God’s love addresses sin. His righteousness confronts unrighteousness. Since his sons through creation have run amok, and gone astray, and sin had been introduced to the world, and the only way sin could be removed was by them being sinless for four generations to get the inherited characteristics out of the way, they were all doomed.
But his plan from the beginning was to introduce Jesus into the picture, but how, and what did this mean? The plan was to introduce “stage 2” of the creative process into the scene. By Jesus body being perfected, by Jesus righteousness and perfection of Spirit confronting the indwelling corruption of our nature, he was able to REPAIR or CONVERT that bad nature to good nature, to HEAL his own body so as to eliminate the corruption of those inherited faults handed down from Adam. Note that Jesus Spirit was “pure”, it was his BODY that was the problem. Jesus with his pure Spirit would still have died because of his corrupt flesh. If the flesh was NOT corrupt he would live forever, [and he would not age].
He came in the same body as us, otherwise the saying that he was made in all ways as his brethren, is not true, and that he was tempted in all ways as us, would not be true, since if he were “God” or “God nature”, it says “God cannot be tempted”. So there is no logic to the temptation happening at all if Jesus was unable to be tempted. If he WAS able to be tempted, to be at all “drawn” on something, then he was not God, and not God like. Or if he was, it means that something else in him was, of its own accord, “tempting” him. Since the word says that “every man is tempted when from within, by his own desire, he is led and enticed…..” it means that this desire came from his own flesh, which was the very problem in man that was causing all the trouble. The result of temptation is normally sin, but in Jesus the temptations were denied. It was previously said that “he knew what was IN MAN.”
But however you see the “faulty” nature of man, the fact is he healed it so that the “sick” part of it was no longer active and issuing deviant instructions through “the flesh”.
Through being drawn to him because we recognise our guilt and his loving “sacrifice”, we have “faith” in him [in his “blood”] and accept his cleansing [accept that he loves us] and the reality that he has “died for our sins”. The truth is that this is the only way we would be able to recognise his love and acknowledge that what he did was to remove our sins away from us, by visibly demonstrating what love does, that it removes, sometimes attacks, sin.
But it, He, did not do that directly in OUR bodies, he did it in his own, and then by FAITH we apply his “healing” to ourselves. [“Their hearts were cleansed by faith”] [it is an indication that the heart is where the problem lies] The guarantee of this is by the gift of the Spirit as poured out at Pentecost.
So yes, by all means put faith in the “blood”, but understand that it ultimately means that we are putting faith in his love that put his son on the cross, where we could see the action of love on sin, the action of righteousness on unrighteousness, and the ultimate healing of us by the desecration of him in order to restore humanity to its original condition, plus salvation, its ultimate condition and destination.