Saturday in the Twenty-Eighth Week of Ordinary Time

Hebrews 9:15-22

Without the Shedding of Blood

We live in a very antiseptic world.  We disinfect everything before we use it.  I’m not complaining; this is good social hygiene and reduces chance of spreading germs and infections.  Our worship spaces too are usually very clean and tidy; after all, we want those visitors to return as well as bring their children back to our deodorized and disinfected nurseries and Sunday Schools.  But this is VERY different from the worship of our Old Testament forebears who were instructed differently by the Lord.  Theirs was a very bloody scene—and graphically so.  The heifer was slain and blood sprinkled on just about everything used for worship, including the people!  It’s laughable to imagine contemporary Americans under such a system.

Of course, we are no longer under that system.  But we must understand the reasons why.  We must understand first that ours is a covenantal religion; that is, we and God are related to one another by covenant which He has initiated with us.  This covenant began with the Abraham and through him to the people of Israel.  The covenant states that God shall be our God and we shall be His people; however, we must obey His commandments that He may continue as our God.  In those days, covenants were sealed in blood usually by sacrifice (Genesis 15:1-21), the sacrifice implying that whoever breaks the covenant shall pay by his own blood.  And this is why Israelite religion was so bloody—as people continue in sin and thereby break their covenant obligations, blood must be spilled to atone for their treachery.  God was gracious to receive the animal in the place of the people.

But now, the Preacher says there has been another death, a wholly different kind of death, not like the death of the heifers before.  Because the covenant was broken, a death has occurred, but not like the ones before.  Now God has taken upon himself the penalty on our behalf without the intervention of bulls and goats.  Again, blood has been spilled, but this time by God Himself, thus securing an eternal redemption (9:12).  And this death, this sacrifice, has superseded the old system as it is far superior, while at the same time inaugurating a new system.  But it was not inaugurated except by blood.

Ours is still a bloody religion; the difference is from whence the blood came.  And God proves His grace and mercy again by receiving His Son’s blood in our place, which those other sacrifices so imperfectly foreshadowed.  We don’t need any more blood, but we must never forget the blood shed for us, no matter how disinfected our sanctuaries may be.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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