Since before the days of Moses, animal sacrifices and the shedding of blood played an
important role in God’s plan for forgiving man of his sins, (cf. Gen. 4:4; Heb. 11:4). There is
something special about blood, and it is indicative of life. “But flesh with the life thereof, which
is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat,” (Gen. 9:4).
When God arranged to free his people from the physical bondage of Egyptian slavery,
representative of the salvation of man from the spiritual bondage of sin, blood played an
important role. The Passover was instituted, in which man was instructed to shed the blood of a
lamb, and apply it to the side-posts and lintel of the houses where they dwelt. And God said,
“When I see the blood, I will pass over you, and there shall no plague be upon you to destroy you
when I smite the land of Egypt,” (Ex. 12:13).
The “blood of the covenant” was an important part of daily tabernacle worship under the
Mosaic law, (cf. Ex. 24:6-8; 29, 30). And it was central to the annual atonement throughout the
history of Israel, (Ex. 30:10). The offering a blood was strictly regulated by God, and it was to
be kept pure in its use, (Ex. 34:25). The shedding of blood was so central to the plan of salvation,
that the Hebrew writer said, “And according to the law, I may almost say, all things are cleansed
with blood, and apart from shedding of blood there is no remission,” (Heb. 9:22).
It is, perhaps, understandable that the ancients came to believe that blood itself has some type
of mysterious, healing quality. But when we come to the New Testament, we learn that the
healing power was not actually in the blood itself. “For it is impossible that the blood of bulls
and goats should take away sins,” (Heb. 10:4). Forgiveness actually occurs in the mind of God,
and is therefore a spiritual process, as opposed to a physical cleansing by animal blood. When
God’s people throughout past generations obeyed his commands and practiced the specific,
blood-related actions he had directed, he forgave their sins. He did so on the condition that a
perfect sacrifice was coming.
The shedding of Christ’s blood on the cross of Calvary perfectly and completely ended the
need for any further animal sacrifices, or the shedding of the blood of bulls and goats. Christ’s
sacrifice was “once for all,” (Heb. 10:10). “For by one offering he hath perfected forever them
that are sanctified,” (Heb. 10:14). The remission that is in the blood of Christ forever eliminates
the need for further blood sacrifices, because “where remission of these is, there is no more
offering for sin,” (Heb. 10:18).
It therefore becomes imperative that I certify that I am washed in the blood of Jesus Christ. I
must ensure (make certain) that I appropriate its benefits, that I avail myself of this healing, once
and for all. Of all of the benefits and protections otherwise available to me in this life, none can
compare to this in its absolute essentiality. Thus, the supreme question for each of us becomes,
“Am I washed in the blood of the Lamb?”
This question is of paramount importance, because if I am so cleansed, I can approach death
with confidence and peace. I can know that my sins are forgiven, and that my hope is in heaven.
If I am washed in the blood of the Lamb, I can have the assurance of a good and righteous
standing before God, thanks to the selfless, gracious sacrifice of Jesus.
Christians are the peculiar beneficiaries of Christ’s blood. In instituting the Lord supper, the
Lord said, “For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many unto remission of
sins,” (Mt. 26:28). Each of us should certainly strive to ensure that we are among the “many” to
whom Jesus referred. We should make sure that we are “in Christ,” for there is where the benefits
of his blood are found: “In whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of
our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,” (Eph. 1:7).
As E. A. Hoffman (1878) so eloquently put it: “Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing
power? Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb? Are you fully trusting in his grace this hour?
Are you washed in the blood of the lamb?” Seeing that sin is the one thing that can separate us
from God for all eternity, (Is. 59:1-2), there could be no more important question for each of us
to honestly ask and answer.
– by Robert C. Veil, Jr.