Without the Shedding of Blood
by Henry Morris, Ph.D.
"And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission." (Hebrews 9:22)
It is strange that so many people object to the biblical doctrine of salvation through the shed blood of Christ. Even some evangelicals will argue that the blood is merely a chemical mixture, and that it was the death of Christ that was the price of our redemption.
Chemistry aside, the Bible does indeed stress that "we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins" (Colossians 1:14), that He has "made peace through the blood of his cross" (Colossians 1:20), and that we are "now justified by his blood" (Romans 5:9). We receive His great work of propitiation--that is His sacrificial death for our sins--"through faith in his blood" (Romans 3:25).
Why this emphasis on the shedding of His blood, which seems offensive to so many people? Could He not have been put to death in other ways--drowning, stoning, asphyxiation, etc.--ways not involving the ugliness of bloodshed?
One can speculate with many "what if?" questions, but we must go by the Word of God. It remains true, theologically as well as biologically, that "the life of the flesh is in the blood" (Leviticus 17:11, also Genesis 9:4). The basic rationale of sacrifice--the death of an innocent substitute to provide life for the guilty--has centered from the beginning (when God provided coats of skin for the nakedness of Adam and Eve) on the spilled blood of sacrificial animals to atone for (that is "to cover") the sins of the one bringing the offering, until finally "the Lamb of God" could be offered by God as "one sacrifice for sins for ever" (Hebrews 10:12). When the blood gushed from His pierced side, His spotless life was poured out at the foot of the cross, and the price of our redemption was fully paid. HMM