Introduction: If you are a Christian, the idea of the blood of Jesus
cleansing you from sin is a familiar concept. Think about this idea
as if you had never heard of it before. The blood cleanses…. Does
that make any sense? Can blood clean anything? Just before I left on
a trip to present a seminar on religious liberty, I decided late in
the day to shave with a new razor. Either something was wrong with
the new razor, or something was wrong with me. I ended up bleeding
heavily almost all the way across my throat. Did I think, “Good, that
will help to keep my white shirt clean and pure?” Of course not. Why
does the Bible say the blood of Jesus cleanses us? Let’s dive into
Hebrews and find out!
- Blood: The Necessary Ingredient.
- Assume that you learned that some local church killed dogs
or cats as part of its religious services every week. What
would be your reaction to that?
- Read Hebrews 10:3-4. To what historical event does this
text refer? (This refers to the Old Testament sanctuary
service in which animals were killed as part of the
- What logical sense do you see in killing animals to
appease a god?
- Does this text ( Hebrews 10:4) admit that there is no
logical sense in killing animals?
- Read Leviticus 17:10-12. The instruction to the Israelites
was to refrain from eating blood. Why? (Verse 11 makes the
connection between animal sacrifices and blood. God said
that the blood of the animal makes atonement for sin.)
- Do Leviticus 17:11 and Hebrews 10:4 contradict each
other? Does Leviticus teach us that animal sacrifice
atones for sin and Hebrews teaches us that it does
- If they do not contradict each other, why not?
- What logic do you see in the Leviticus 17:11 statement
that the blood of the animal makes atonement for sin?
- According to Leviticus 17:11, what does blood represent?
(The life of the animal.)
- What is the penalty for sin? What does God say will result
from sin? ( Genesis 2:15-17 and Romans 6:23 tell us that
sin results in death.)
- Does the statement that blood represents the life of
the animal help to reveal the logical link between
sin and the shedding of the animal’s blood? (God’s
logic seems to be this: sin causes death. To remind
us of that terrible fact, the Old Testament sanctuary
service had the sinner bring an animal which was
killed on the sinner’s behalf. This had nothing to do
with “appeasing” God.)
- Why not just kill the sinner? There are many
today who would say this was “species
discrimination!” Why should that cute, innocent
animal die to help a human? (The “point” of the
sanctuary service was that the sinner was not
being required to pay the penalty for sin. The
whole system was, to some degree, illogical.
But, that was the point. The lesson was that
someone else would end up paying for the sin.)
- If blood represents life, what does spilled blood
- We have learned so far that blood represents or symbolizes
the life of humans and animals. Spilled blood obviously
represents the death of humans and animals. Since sin
causes death, it essentially requires blood to be
- Blood: The Cleaner.
- Read Hebrews 9:13-14. How did the blood of animals make
sinners clean under the Old Testament sanctuary service?
(It made them clean “outside.” It made them feel like they
- How does the blood (death) of Jesus clean us? (This
text tells us that Jesus cleans us from sin in a far
more significant way. Recall that the point of the
Old Testament system of animal sacrifices was that
“someone else” suffered the results of sin. Jesus is
that “someone else.” The natural consequence of our
sin is death. Jesus stepped in and took our place.
He died for us.)
- This still leaves some uncertainty about how this
“cleanses” us. We understand that Jesus’ sacrifice on
our behalf means we are no longer under a death
sentence. But would it be fair to say that this
cleanses us of sin?
- Note especially that Hebrews 9:14 tells us that
Jesus’ blood “cleanses” our conscience? How is
that logically true? (This is at the heart of
practical Christian living. If you truly believe
that Jesus spilled His blood because of your
sins, that should cause you to turn away from
sin. Consider again the lesson from the Old
Testament sanctuary system. Assume you told your
children that you would kill their pet if they
disobeyed you. If they took you seriously, your
kids would surely obey. To a lesser extent, I
imagine that the Israelites who brought an
animal to sacrifice for their sins felt some
remorse over killing the animal (although not
nearly as much remorse as if it were a pet).
Thus, the system tended to deter sin. In the
same way, your knowledge of how Jesus suffered
for your sins should deter you from sin. That
knowledge should tend to “clean you up.”
“Cleanse [y]our consciences” ( Hebrews 9:14) from
- Consider another example: a father encourages
his son to go out drinking with him. They drink
too much, and it is largely the father’s fault.
The son then gets in his car, drives off the
road, and is killed. Would this tend to
discourage the father from drinking in the
- Jesus: The Inspiration.
- Read Hebrews 12:2. Why did Jesus suffer torture and death
on the cross? (“For the joy set before Him.”)
- What joy was that? (The defeat of sin, the proof that
God’s law could be obeyed, the rescue of humanity
- Why would we fix our eyes on Jesus? What is being
- Read Hebrews 12:3-4. Why do these verses suggest that we
should keep our eyes on Jesus? (In the last section, we
learned that contemplating the death of Jesus should cause
us to be reluctant to sin. These verses go beyond that and
suggest that Jesus’ patient endurance of His “enemies”
should inspire us to patiently endure our enemies. Both
Jesus’ life and death inspire us to obey God’s law.)
- How would you restate the point of verse 4?(Be
encouraged, you guys have not had it as bad as Jesus
had it. He was killed.)
- Does this encourage you?
- Let’s jump back to Hebrews 12:2 for just a minute. Read it
again. We are told that Jesus is the “author and perfecter
of our faith.” After having studied this lesson, how do
you understand Jesus to be the author and perfecter of
your faith? (This is a summary of our lesson. Jesus died
in our place. With that Jesus “authored” our salvation.
However, contemplation of His sacrifice tends to “clean”
us from sin because it deters us from sinning. Jesus’ life
inspires us to turn away from sin, to not give into those
people who would cause us to sin. That tends to “perfect”
- Friend, Jesus’ blood will cleanse you from sin. Will you
accept this cleaner? Will you give serious consideration
to what Jesus did on your behalf? If so, repent and ask
Him to clean you from sin today.
- Next Week: Jesus, Our Assurance.