Life and Blood – The Connection
"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." -- Leviticus 17:11
“The life of the flesh is in the blood…It is the blood that maketh atonement for the soul.” The picture given in the Old Testament sacrifices is that of blood atonement. Atonement could not be made, but by the shedding of blood. As the life of the animal was sacrificed in the shedding of its blood, the life of the worshipper was spared by the blood shed. So it is with us. When our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, poured out his life’s blood unto death as our sin-atoning Substitute, he obtained eternal life for us (Heb. 9:12). His life was sacrificed in the shedding of his precious blood. Our eternal life was thereby obtained.
None of the sacrifices in the Old Testament were ever resurrected. In fact, there is no reference to the resurrection in any of the sacrifices. Why? Because the resurrection of our Substitute, and all that flows from it, has nothing to do with the accomplishment of atonement, redemption, or justification. All that is needed for a sinner's pardon, justification, cleansing, and peace with God is fully set forth symbolically in the death of the innocent victim at God’s altar.
The Old Testament sacrifices are a symbolic exposition of the way sinners approach God and find acceptance with him. – Blood Atonement! Justification is not found in the experience of grace, but in the sacrifice of Christ. Justification is not found in our sacrifices to God, but in God’s sacrifice for us. Justification is not even found in the risen Christ, but in the crucified Christ. Christ in us is not our justification before God, but the assurance of it. Christ crucified for us is our justification.
The ordinances of the gospel in the New Testament point back to the finished work of Christ by which we are justified, in much the same way (though for different reasons) as the sacrifices of the Old Testament pointed unto it. In believer’s baptism, there is reference to both death and resurrection because in baptism the believer confesses both his faith in Christ’s accomplished redemption by his death for the fulfilment of all righteousness and his own consecration to God in Christ, being raised from spiritual death to spiritual life by the power of his grace. Therefore, in baptism, we are both buried (immersed) with Christ and raised from the watery grave to walk with him in the newness of life.
In the Lord's Supper, however, (as in the passover) there is no reference to resurrection. The entire ordinance speaks of death. The broken body and the shed blood, the bread and the wine, are reminders of him who is our crucified Substitute, ever putting us in remembrance of him. At the Lord’s Table we have communion (not with Christ as risen and glorified, but) with the body of Christ and the blood of Christ (1 Cor 10:16), with “Christ crucified.” The only object of justifying faith is “Christ crucified.” We have life, eternal life, through his blood. AMEN.