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!

  1. Blood: The Necessary Ingredient.

    1. 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?

    2. 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
      religious service.)

      1. What logical sense do you see in killing animals to
        appease a god?

      2. Does this text ( Hebrews 10:4) admit that there is no
        logical sense in killing animals?

    3. 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.)

      1. 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

        1. If they do not contradict each other, why not?

    4. What logic do you see in the Leviticus 17:11 statement
      that the blood of the animal makes atonement for sin?

    5. According to Leviticus 17:11, what does blood represent?
      (The life of the animal.)

    6. 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.)

      1. 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.)

        1. 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.)

    7. If blood represents life, what does spilled blood
      represent? (Death.)

    8. 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

  2. Blood: The Cleaner.

    1. 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
      were clean.)

      1. 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.)

      2. 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?

        1. 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
          sinful acts.)

        2. 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

  3. Jesus: The Inspiration.

    1. Read Hebrews 12:2. Why did Jesus suffer torture and death
      on the cross? (“For the joy set before Him.”)

      1. What joy was that? (The defeat of sin, the proof that
        God’s law could be obeyed, the rescue of humanity
        from death.)

      2. Why would we fix our eyes on Jesus? What is being
        suggested here?

    2. 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.)

      1. 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.)

        1. Does this encourage you?

    3. 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”
      our faith.)

    4. 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.

  4. Next Week: Jesus, Our Assurance.