The writer of Hebrews tells us that everything associated with the sacrificial system had to be purified with blood. It’s on the basis of the blood of the sacrifice that forgiveness can be extended. Without blood there can be no forgiveness. Hebrews 9:21-22 says, “And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” A lamb was sacrificed after the first sin from which God made clothes for Adam and Eve. Sheep had become the standard sacrificial animal in the Old Testament. This is why shepherds were involved at the pronouncement of Jesus’ birth. They were not ordinary shepherds but the ones who watched over the sheep that were raised for sacrifices. When a new born lamb passed inspection as an acceptable offering, it was wrapped in swaddling cloth to protect it. That was a sign that Jesus would be what John the Baptist said he was, “The lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.”

Peter explained that the forgiveness of sin had a price. It was a price that none of us could pay simply because we did not qualify. It had to be a perfect sacrifice. He calls Jesus’ blood precious. In 1 Peter 1:19 he says our forgiveness was purchased at great cost but it wasn’t silver or gold. Instead it was “…with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” Christ’s blood is so precious because of all that it accomplishes on our behalf. Notice these things: 1) Our redemption (Ephesians 1:7), 2) Reconciliation with God (Romans 3:25), 3) It pays our ransom (1 Peter 1:18-19), 4) It washes away our sin (1 John 1:7), 5) It makes forgiveness possible (Hebrews 9:22), 6) It sets us free (Revelation 1:5), 7) It justifies us in spite of our sin (Romans 5:9), 8) It cleanses our consciences (Hebrews 9:13-14), 9) It sets us apart as holy (Hebrews 13:12), 10) Opens the way for us to God (Ephesians 2:13), 11) Gives us peace with God (Colossians 1:19-20), 12) Provides power to live by (Revelation 12:11) and many more as well.

Guzik says, “The shedding of blood was absolutely essential for the remission of sin. Guzik writes, “This is a foundational principle of God’s dealings with men. Modern people think that sin is remitted (forgiven) by time, by our good works, by our decent lives, or by simply death. But there is no forgiveness without the shedding of blood, and there is no perfect forgiveness without a perfect sacrifice.”[1]  In conclusion, Hughes writes, “The blood of Christ makes us acceptable to God and makes our presence and praise more acceptable than that of the angels! No angel can call God his Father. To address God as “Abba, Father” is the believer’s privilege alone. No angel was ever purchased by the blood of God’s Son either, but we were!”[2]

[1] David Guzik, Hebrews, David Guzik’s Commentaries on the Bible (Santa Barbara, CA: David Guzik, 2013), Heb 9:16–22.

[2] R. Kent Hughes, Hebrews: An Anchor for the Soul, vol. 1, Preaching the Word (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1993), 238.