The writer of the chorus was correct when he penned the words, Thank God for the blood. The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son is the avenue to redemption, forgiveness, restored fellowship, eternal life, and the initiation of a heart-transforming covenant.
The question could be asked as to why all this could only happen by the shedding of blood. First it must be remembered that sin is a terrible afront to God’s holiness, something He cannot countenance. Isaiah comes to the heart of the issue in Isaiah 59:2. But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear. Adam and Eve experienced this after they had rebelled against God’s command in the Garden of Eden. When God appeared, they tried to disappear. They could not abide the pure light of His holiness. What good was the Garden without God? As a matter of fact what good was life without the Life-Giver?
The Bible makes it clear that God was not particularly pleased with their coverings and so had to provide them with coats of animal skins. There was more involved here than the simple cover-up. Man had to see that the only way he could approach God was for blood to be shed. A life had to be offered up. How serious, then, is sin in the eyes of God? No greater sacrifice can be given and while the blood of an animal would never completely cleanse from sin, it prefigured a Sacrifice that would when God’s Son would shed His own blood on the cross for man’s sin. This would substitute for man’s death. Thankfully although The wages of sin is death, the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
Of course man would try to come to God some other way so we see a rather gruesome scene early on in man’s first family. The first record of Cain and Able’s worship life is recorded in Genesis 4:3 and 4. And in the process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Able, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Able and to his offering. Cain brought a sacrifice from the fruit of the ground, something that did not cost the life blood so necessary in making a propitiation for sin. Sin was serious and could not be atoned for by anything less costly. If Cain did not grasp this fact before he and his brother came to worship the Lord, he should have been able to figure it out afterward instead of becoming so angry and jealous. How God showed the brothers that Able’s offering was more acceptable is difficult to say. It may have been that the fire of God descended on Able’s lamb. At that point Cain could have repented and made the suitable sacrifice but he chose rather to continue his rebellion which led him to commit the first recorded murder in human history. This led to terrible consequences for him and his family, God does not tolerate the trivialization of sin.
Again during the institution of the first Passover under Moses , the importance of blood sacrifice was emphasized. A number of verses describe the Passover in some detail.
Speak ye unto the congregation of Israel, saying, in the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their father, a lamb for a house.And ye shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel, shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door of the post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.
And the blood shall shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. (Exodus 12: 3,6,7, 13)
Furthermore, this was to be the beginning of Israel’s year since it signalled the commencement of a new life subsequent to atonement. Exodus 12:2 states, This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. What a celebration as God’s people were delivered from the bondage and slavery of Egypt. What a picture this is of the Christians deliverance through the blood of Jesus, God’s special Pascal Lamb!
Not only was blood associated with cleansing, deliverance, and freedom from sin but it was an essential part of the process of covenant-making. This occurred at the initiation of the Noahic Covenant but it is most vividly drawn in the covenant that God made with Abraham. In those days animals and birds were slain and then divided in two and placed in such a way that the covenanting parties could pass between the two halves of each sacrificed victim. The sealing of the covenant in this way indicated that if either participant reneged and failed to keep his part of the covenant, he would face the same fate as the slain birds and, or animals. It is interesting to note that Abraham did not actively participate in this covenant but God Himself, represented by the burning lamp, was obligated to keep this covenant regardless of Abraham. The Scriptures record it as follows:
And He said, take Me a heifer of three years old, and a ram of three years old , and a turtledove and a young pigeon.
And He took unto him all of these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another but the birds he divided not.
And it came to pass, that when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between the pieces.
In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates. (Genesis 15: 9,10,17,18)
Then He states in Genesis 16:4, As for Me, behold My covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.
On Mount Sinai, in the days of Moses, God firmly established His redemptive covenant with Israel as He initiated the Old Testament Law. In Exodus 19:5 God states, Now therefore, if ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for all the earth is mine. The unfortunate thing was that the people could not keep the law. Furthermore the blood of animals could never completely deliver from sin. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, He saith, Behold the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: (Hebrews 8: 7 and 8)
Actually the old law and the old covenant were only a shadow of what was to come in Christ. For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
For then would they not have ceased to be offered? Because the worshippers once purged have no more conscience of sins. (Hebrews 10: 1 and 2) Christ’s blood was more efficacious. Hebrews 9:12-14 states,
Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
For if the blood of bulls and goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:
How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
Furthermore Christ was a greater high priest, having no sins of His own, and carrying His efficacious blood into the Holy of Holies, was the first priest who was able to sit down, His work complete. Hebrews 1:3 expresses this so well.
Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
It is also the blood of Christ that allows the Christian to have victory over sin. Revelation 12:11 states, And they overcame him (the accuser of the brethren) by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto death.
Israel will too be saved when it finally acknowledges that it is His blood that brings them salvation as well.
And I will pour upon the house of David , and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon Him whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for His first-born. (Zechariah 12:10)
Further, Zechariah 13:1 states, In that day there shall be a fountain opened in the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.
Finally the Blood of the Everlasting covenant will be responsible for the salvation of those from around the world..
And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book and open the seals thereof: for Thou wast slain, and hath redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation. (Revelation 5:7)
The blood then, shed for sin shows us the incredible cost of forgiveness. It is the surety of the new transforming covenant, reconciliation with God, and it is the guarantee for overcoming the enemy of our souls. Thank God for the Blood!