Blood Speaks (Fred Zaspel)
Did you know that blood speaks? It is an unusual metaphor but a wonderfully expressive one that we find in Hebrews 12:24. Here we read that we who believe have come “to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.”
The reference, of course, is to Genesis 4:10 where God says to Cain, “The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.” Abel has been murdered, and his blood cries out, as it were, to the all-knowing God. It cries out against his murdering brother, and it cries out for justice, even revenge.
Now the writer of this letter to the Hebrews draws a contrast. The blood of Christ also speaks, but it speaks “better things” than the blood of Abel. What does the blood of Christ say? Well of course this takes us to the heart of the heart of the gospel. The Lord Jesus gave his life in sacrifice to God, in place of his people. His blood made satisfaction to God for us. Very simply, the blood of Jesus speaks of salvation. It does not cry out against us but for us and on our behalf.
Jesus and the New Testament writers fill in the specifics. The blood of Christ secures and therefore cries out for these blessings secured for his people:
whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses
cf. Acts 20:28; 1Pet. 1:18-19; Rev. 1:5; 5:9
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses,
cf. Col. 2:14
1 John 1:7
the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin
Peace & Reconciliation
through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
cf. Eph. 2:13-16
Justification (present and future)
Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.
Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life
So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood
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.
Confident Access to God
we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus
cf. Eph. 2:13
Full Provision for Christian Living
Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen
cf. 1Pet. 1:18-19; Rev. 12:11
Every New Covenant Blessing
This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.
cf. Matt. 26:28; Mark 14:24; 1Cor. 11:25
Christianity has at times been derided as a “bloody religion.” However we may want to clear away any misunderstandings that lurk behind this charge, at the end of the day it is a charge we gladly accept. The blood of Jesus speaks wonderful things, and we want every day of our lives to listen to it speak to us again and again. It is the very heart of the good news. It is our whole hope and our only boast.
“Oh, precious is the flow!”
Fred Zaspel (Ph.D., Free University of Amsterdam) is pastor at the Reformed Baptist Church of Franconia, PA. He is also Adjunct Professor of Bible at Lancaster Bible College – Center for Urban Theological Studies (CUTS) in Philadelphia, PA, and Executive Editor of Books At a Glance. He is the author of The Theology of B.B. Warfield: A Systematic Summary and Warfield on the Christian Life: Living in Light of the Gospel.