In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace. Ephesians 1:7 (ESV)
Recite using the acronym:
I H W H R T H B , T F O O T , A T T R O H G . EPHESIANS 1:7
Read Full Passage HERE
If the need for redemption first implies that without it, we are in a state of slavery or captivity from which we need deliverance, then who are we in bondage to? Sin, Satan, and the law. Therefore, Christ alone has the power to rescue us from this bondage, and He did so by His blood.
With this starting implication, some are led to ask, why can’t an all-loving and sovereign God just forgive our sins? Or why can’t he just overlook them? Why does there need to be a payment, and why did Christ have to die? God is indeed all-loving and all-powerful, but He is also holy and just. Ultimately, it would be out of His character and against His nature to let our sin go unpunished.
Many unbelievers or those who are rebellious don’t like the idea of being held responsible for their sins or the idea of God as a just judge. Yet they are quick to demand justice here on Earth if someone were to wrong them. Perhaps a man stole from such an individual or murdered their relative. This same person would find it repulsive if, in the courtroom, the judge were to overlook the crime and didn’t give the wrong-doer some form of punishment and bring justice. This inward desire for justice when a wrong has been done to you is a reflection of the character of God. For, God could not let sin go unpunished and still be just and holy. Sin needs to be dealt with.
From sin, death entered the world. And by death and Christ’s blood, sin was atoned for and defeated. (Romans 5:12-17)
So, why was Christ’s blood, in particular, the necessary atonement? Why did Jesus need to be the perfect and ultimate sacrifice? Our answer can be found throughout the Old Testament, as we witness the people of Israel perform sacrifices both for themselves as individuals and for the nation. The Old Covenant demanded many types of offerings for the covering of sins. Whether for intentional or unintentional sin. Sacrifice was an act of devotion and covenant to God and also given as a symbol from God of His covenant with them.
These sacrifices and the law in the Old Testament were merely a shadow of the true, perfect, and final sacrifice of Christ which was to come. (These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. Colossians 2:17) Christ’s blood on the cross is our perfect sacrifice, providing us the fullness of redemption through His blood and the forgiveness of our sins, according to His rich grace. We are no longer required to offer physical sacrifices to God, as we recognize that the atoning death of Christ on the cross was holy and complete. Although there is no longer a requirement of burnt offering, faith still produces in the believer a heart of sacrificial praise (something that we’ll unpack next week in Micah 6:8).
He entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.
Ultimately, salvation demands for a sacrifice paid in full by the rich grace and atonement of the cross, but our salvation will still produce a new type of sacrifice in us. A sacrifice of praise. A new type of sacrifice demands us to pick up our cross daily, love our neighbor as ourselves, and ultimately do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God.