Leviticus 17:11, "For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul."
This morning, much ado is made about the state of man and how to fix different problems that he has. In the realm of politics, people on different sides of the aisle have various and sundry ideas about how to fix problems from financial to social to international relations. In the realm of family units, people of all stripes have differing opinions on the idea of correcting children to managing a cohesive and nurturing family environment. In the realm of religion and spirituality, many different denominational bodies have all kinds of ideas about what the Bible means about how to help people in this world and solve many of the problems that leave people with aching and sorrowing souls. However, in one realm particularly, there should be absolutely no qualms – though there are – about the solution to a certain problem that plagues this old world. That realm is the subject of solving the problem of man's blackness and depravity to have reconciliation between God and men.
Earlier in the week, I had the opportunity to do what I do every 56 days. For years, I have tried to regularly and consistently give blood donations to the groups that keep blood funds to help those in need. As I was in the chair, this verse came to mind and caused me to reflect some on the importance of blood from a natural and spiritual perspective. Naturally speaking, the hope when you give blood is that someone's life can be benefited or spared by gaining access to the blood that is donated. As a regular donor, my hope is that my blood has helped someone in a dire need or situation. Still though, my blood can only do so much, and it can only help specific individuals.
Blood types are an interesting study. My particular type is O positive which is termed the "universal donor." In other words, though it best matches with someone that also has O positive blood, it can be used in a pinch to help people of all different blood types whether they are A, B, AB, etc. On the other hand, my blood cannot help a nonhuman life form such as a dog, cat, etc. So, even in the natural realm, we see that all blood is not equal, nor is all blood compatible. However, natural blood can be used to help specific people in the preservation of natural life. As our study verse says, the life is in the blood, and blood donations can help sustain life in that way.
Carrying these natural principles to the spiritual realm, let us consider how they "map over" from one plane to the other. The Lord declared that not only is the life in the blood but blood is also the form of "currency" to use in the matter of atonement. Therefore, when considering what God would require to atone for sins, blood is the only suitable form of currency to make that payment. Payment is required for atonement since God has been offended by sin and the disgusting nature of man's depravity. When considering all the "solutions" that people posit to "get man right with God," it is always amazing to me how counterfeits are substituted for the only suitable currency payment.
Consider all the ways in which man has been told he can do this or do that to earn God's favor and blessing to enter heaven's pure world. How many of them require blood? Unless I am mistaken, the overwhelming majority of ideas are bloodless solutions. Whether the answer given is baptism, belief, repentance, confession, acceptance, etc. they are all bloodless. How can atonement possibly come without the right currency? If God has required blood for atonement, He will not change His mind later and accept something else. (Malachi 3:6) Furthermore, only the right kind of blood would suffice to make the transfusion of life acceptable.
Just as my blood donations cannot help dogs, cats, and other animals, their blood cannot help me either. Therefore, a sacrifice of any animal would never be sufficient to gain eternal justification and atonement with God. Paul's very point in Hebrews 10 shows that all the slaughtered animals under the old law service could never put away one single sin. This is not to say that the Israelites of old were mistaken in their worship – for it was prescribed by God – but its purpose was simply to point to the day of the perfect sacrifice that would put away sins. A lamb, ram, goat, or heifer's blood could not redeem or atone for man since those beasts are not men. Man's atonement requires man's blood. Only man's blood could suffice to redeem men just as my blood could not help anything other than another man.
However, consider also that many parade the idea that Christ's blood was sufficient and given for all of mankind. In other words, the idea is put forth that Christ's blood is available for the taking for any man to claim and receive to gain atonement. Well, naturally speaking, if a man is laying in the hospital in dire need of a blood transfusion but his blood type is B negative, can he use the blood there if all the blood on hand is A positive blood? No, as much as he would like to use the blood that on hand and available, that blood – though the blood of man – would not and could not help him. In all actuality, if that blood was infused into him, his situation would be worsened rather than improved.
Taking this natural thought and mapping it to the spiritual plane, Christ's sacrificial and atoning blood cannot help someone of a different blood type. Now, while all of us are of the race of Adam, not all of humanity is related to Christ in His family. As Paul eloquently describes, Christ family was placed into Him in covenant before time and then redeemed by His blood when He appeared on this earth and shed that precious blood. (Ephesians 1:3-7) To say that Christ shed His blood for everybody to claim fails even the natural test that shows not all human blood is compatible.
So, even though God's children are related to Christ from before the foundation of the world, we all stood in need of a blood transfusion since our blood was polluted with death and sin. But, Christ's blood is a suitable currency since it was shed by a Man for men. (Hebrews 2:14-16) It was also a perfect match in blood type since God's people were already related to Him by covenant and adoption. So, our death was overwhelmed by the life that His blood brought to us. One of the primary beneficiaries of natural blood donations are family members. For as long as I am a regular donor, my family is supposed to be covered for any needs they have that require blood. As Christ's family, our needs were met and supplied by the donation of Christ to us in the form of atonement blood by the perfect Son of God.
One final point about atonement in blood is simply this. Nobody that stands at the precipice of death and in need of physical blood has any ability to give themselves the transfusion. They stand in need of another agent to supply it, infuse it, and bring them back physically. What picture could be more fitting of our needs and eventual supply? Laying there polluted in our blood of death, we were unable to help ourselves or even infuse Christ's blood into us were it laying right beside us. (Ezekiel 16) If we are the blessed recipients of His blood, it is not only done so because we are His kin but also because the Divine Agent has infused it to us to bring us back from the death of the depravity we were steeped in.
Therefore, knowing these things, let us always remember that we were blessed when we could not help ourselves, blessed because of who we are and not because of what we have done, and blessed because the only thing suitable to bring us to God was poured forth willingly by the hand of Christ to redeem us by His own blood. While I have no idea generally who my blood goes to, my hope is that not only is their life preserved and spared for a season but that they also have many moments they would not have had to enjoy the fruits of life. Christ does know who His blood was shed for, and He knows fully what it has blessed them to (eternity in heaven). However, may our lives show forth fruit and the enjoyment of that fruit in service to the One that has not only preserved us by His sacrifice but given us the ability by that blood to praise Him and show forth that life while we journey here below.