THE POWER IN THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST
A SERMON DELIVERED AT
THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF ATHENS
American Baptist - United Methodist
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
2 November 1997
Genesis 2:7, 3:21
Leviticus 17:l l
1 John 2:16
During our Monday evening Bible Study, this past week, we discussed briefly the mystery of the blood covenant between God and us.
It's a mystery, because the Bible doesn't fully tell us why there needed to be a blood covenant.
Why couldn't God, who knows every intent of our heart and soul, just forgive us when He knows we're truly repentant?
Why did there need to be the shedding of the blood of the innocent to pay for the sins of the guilty?
I personally believe it has to do with God's method of creation of human and animal life, and because of the Fall.
We get the hint in the name "Adam" which implies that he was ruddy, or composed of blood.
Let's look at what we are told in Genesis 2:7.
7. Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being [or soul].
And we know that when Adam and Eve sinned against God, by disobeying Him, they lost their status of eternal life, for up to that time there was no death.
In essence, Adam and Eve sold their souls and their inheritance, the earth and their eternal life, to the devil, which is evident by the fact that death became present.
Note what we are told in Genesis 3:21.
21. And the Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.
Even though it doesn't specifically say so, the traditional interpretation of this verse says that for there to be skins, the animals had to die; thus, this is the first evidence of the shedding of blood, and the skins are the evidence of the covering of the sin.
So let's pursue this thought process and think of how casually we we approach sin and death, and repentance and forgiveness.
They wore their sin covering as a reminder, that they brought death into the world.
And the death came to two of their friends, whom Adam personally named, and who had become members of their family, just as we have non-humans as members of our families.
There was now by necessity, the shedding of the blood of the innocent for the soul of the guilty.
And the physical way in which God presented this, was to bring great shame and remorse upon Adam and Eve, so that they wouldn't sin again.
Do we feel this way when we wear an animal product such as leather or fur?
If we don't, we should!
And how does this blood covenant work?
Let' s look at Leviticus 17:11.
11. 'For the life [or soul] 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 [or soul] that makes atonement.'
God tells us that this in necessary, but it still remains a mystery as to why it is necessary for the soul of the innocent to pay the price of the soul of the guilty.
All we can do is accept it on faith, because this is the way God created life.
God created the animals and us with a blood covenant relationship between Him and us.
With this background in mind, let's turn to Hebrews 9:11-22.
11. But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation;
12. and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
Let's stop here for a minute.
If Jesus Christ is perfect, then why would He need to be redeemed?
Because He took upon Himself the sins of the world.
But since His blood and soul are perfect, He has brought eternal redemption to all who will receive it.
Thus He ushered in the good things to come, a death free eternal life with Him.
How does this work?
Listen to what we are told next.
13. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh,
14. how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
So now there is no longer the need of shed animal blood, or for a human priest to offer it.
Now the atoning blood has been shed for the last time, and all we need to do is go to the Great High Priest, Jesus Christ.
15. And for this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant [which is love, without additional death], in order that since a death has taken place [Jesus' death, the last death necessary] for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
Those who are called are those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, and have received God's forgiveness through the power of His shed blood.
And this is exactly what Jesus said at the Last Supper when He picked up the cup (Mark 14:24), "This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many."
16. For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it.
17. For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives.
This is Jesus' last will and testament.
It's our inheritance, too, and like any inheritance, it doesn't pass to the receiver until the death of the one who made the will, or covenant.
Our inheritance of forgiveness and eternal life is brought about through the power of the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
18. Therefore even the first covenant was not inaugurated without blood.
19. For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people,
20. saying, "This is the blood of the covenant which God commanded you."
21. And in the same way he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry with the blood.
22. And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
But now the last blood has been shed.
There is no longer a need to shed any other blood; it has all been done.
Thus, any further desire to shed the blood or another human, or an animal is because of the lust of the eye, or the lust of the flesh, or the boastful pride of life, all of which are sinful reasons.
Think about this as we enter into our celebration of the Lord's supper.
All we need is in the cup that Jesus offers us.
Receive it and all His love and compassion.
Let us pray...
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