As I was reading Hebrews chapter 9 this morning, three things came to mind: 1- How important it is for us to understand the importance of the Blood, 2- How little I have heard about the Blood from preachers, 3- How some may let their confusion of the need for the Blood be a stumbling block when they need to start from the premise that God makes the rules, not us.
The writer of Hebrews has spent much time recapping the sacrificial system as it relates to the high priest and the tabernacle. He has also made the crucial point that there is no remission without the shedding of Blood:
Hebrews 9:22 And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.
Here's how the ESV translates Hebrews 9:22:
Hebrews 9:22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
Leviticus 17:11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.
To the recipients of this letter, it would not have been confusing to them to talk about blood sacrifice; they have been taught this their entire life. What they are hearing for the first time is that Jesus made the Final Sacrifice establishing the New Covenant:
Hebrews 9:18 Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood.
Ephesians 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,
1Peter 2:24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
1Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
Matthew 26:28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
The Letter of Hebrews clearly establishes the New Covenant and the need for Blood sacrifice to save us. In addition, it puts to rest any silliness about purgatory or second chances after we die. These 16 words are as clear as it gets:
Hebrews 9:27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,
Once we have been convicted of the Truth, what then? The answer is the same now as it has been since the beginning and is covered in the pages of Scripture, repent and put your faith in Jesus. Trust in the New Covenant, be washed clean in the Blood of Christ. Walk in fellowship and obedience to Jesus Christ. Do not be confused in to thinking that you can deliberately continue in sin and have fellowship with Him:
1John 1:6-10 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
Our marching orders are outlined throughout The Word and 1 Peter chapter 1 makes it as clear as any other text:
1Peter 1:13-19 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy." 17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, 18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.