“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.”
Romans 3:23-26 NLT
Paul wrote “people are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood“. We know of course of the historical fact that Jesus was crucified on a Roman cross at a place called Calvary, just outside Jerusalem. And we know as well that although Jesus could have called upon sufficient forces to save Him, He instead chose to die in that way, sacrificing Himself for the benefit of mankind. But why this mention of His blood? To find out more about this we have to turn to Hebrews 9, which clearly explains the importance of blood. In Hebrews 9:22, we read, “In fact, according to the law of Moses, nearly everything was purified with blood. For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness”. Of course, we can claim that we are living in a new dispensation, the New Covenant through Jesus. But there is still an important connection with the Old Covenant emphasis on blood.
For the High Priest to be able to attain God’s presence, blood had to be offered for the forgiveness of sins. We read in Hebrews 9:7, “But only the high priest ever entered the Most Holy Place, and only once a year. And he always offered blood for his own sins and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance”. Something significant had to happen to allow the contact with God, and this was the shedding of an animal’s blood.
We read in Hebrews 9:11-12 that Jesus is now our High Priest. “So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever“. But we can’t stop there. The writer to the Hebrews continued, “Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer could cleanse people’s bodies from ceremonial impurity. Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins” (Hebrews 9:13-14).
Jesus willingly offered Himself at Calvary, so that His blood could once and for all time, become the offering that God demands for our redemption. Through Jesus’ blood we can attain the righteousness that meets “God’s glorious standard“. And through faith in God’s free gift of grace, sealed for all eternity by Jesus’ blood, we have our salvation to look forward to on the day that Jesus returns. “God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus”.
We pilgrims, of course, believe in Jesus. It is more than believing that Jesus came to this world. The devil and his minions all believe that. It is the belief that Jesus not only came to this planet to die at Calvary. It is believing that through His shed blood there we have redemption for our sins. Such a belief is life-changing. But what do those in our families believe? Or our friends and neighbours? once again, I encourage us all to share what Jesus did for us at Calvary. It’s too important a gift not to.
Dear Lord. How can we thank You enough. You faced into a terrible death for me and my fellow pilgrim brothers and sisters. We are so grateful. Amen.