“Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” (Hebrews 9:22, ESV)
Imagine for a second that you committed a crime and in a court of law, the judge pronounced a judgement that you had to pay a million dollars or spend the rest of your life in jail in miserable hard labor. Yet, you did not have a million dollars and there was no way in jail that you could get a million dollars. You would be doomed. So, they cart you away in chains. But then, something miraculous happens. A man to whom you never paid any attention, paid your fine for you. This would be quite a miracle indeed. This is what happened for every believer in Jesus regarding sin.
The Scripture teaches us that “The wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23). This was not a new concept to the author’s Jewish audience. In the Old Testament we read, “the soul who sins shall die” (Eze 18:4). Sin demanded death. God established this principle in the beginning when He commanded Adam and Eve not to partake of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and told them that the penalty for violating His command would be death (Gen 2:17). So, for transgressions of God’s holy ordinances, that is sin, the penalty is death.
In this famous verse, the author writes that forgiveness of sins requires the shedding of blood. When we look back to the law, we understand something that is very important. The mention of blood is symbolic of death. Blood letting without death would not be acceptable. Another interesting thing we see in the law is that if a very poor person could not bring an animal for sacrifice, he was permitted to bring a grain offering to cover his sin (Lev 5:11). In this case, the man’s sin was symbolically covered also. All this system of sacrifice and offerings according to the law, pointed to the sacrificial death of Jesus.
It is in Jesus’ death that we can find forgiveness of sin. When Jesus died on the cross, He paid the penalty of sin. He took our judgment upon Himself and died. He shed His blood for us. The reference to His shed blood speaks of His perfect atoning sacrifice for sin.
Yet, while He died for the sins of all, only those who trust in Him and His sacrifice for sin experience the forgiveness from the guilt of sin. You and I could never pay for our own debt of sin, for the penalty for sin is eternal death. Jesus paid the penalty of sin for all who will trust in Him. If you have not trusted in Jesus, recognize that you are a sinner, that He died for you and offers you forgiveness of sin and a place in Heaven as a free gift. Yet, you must receive the gift of eternal life by faith in Christ alone.