“…without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” (Hebrews 9:22b NIV)
In Romans chapter 3, the apostle Paul declared:
(25) God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—(26) he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.Romans 3:25-26 NIV
God set forth his own sinless Son as a sacrifice for sin. As the perfect, unblemished Lamb of God, Jesus made a sacrifice that would be effective for all time, and efficacious for people of all generations of humanity, from the creation of the world to the end of this present age.
However, Christ did not only die as a sacrificial offering for sin (specifically as a sacrifice designed to make atonement for sin). He died not only to take away sin by the sacrifice of himself, but also to turn away the just wrath of God from the sinner (bearing that wrath upon himself), and to reconcile the redeemed and forgiven sinner to God. (1 John 2:2; 4:10)
This atonement was effected through the shedding of Christ’s blood—i.e., the yielding up of his perfect and righteous life on the sinner’s behalf. It was, therefore, a vicarious or substitutionary atonement—one made voluntarily on behalf of others.
All those who believe on Christ’s person and work on their behalf, receive all the benefits of that atonement. His blood cleanses them from all sin. Through their faith, they are reckoned to be righteous in the eyes of the Lord. They have been clothed with Christ’s perfect righteousness. This is the righteousness that God imputes to them as a gift of his grace—through faith in his Son.
By thus providing a sacrifice of atonement for sinners, God has provided a perfect satisfaction to the demands of his righteous justice. He has not overlooked the demands of his law concerning sin: but by yielding up his own Son as a substitute for sinners, he has fulfilled or paid every demand of his just and holy law. (Rom. 5:9-11)
This also satisfies the demands of justice in respect of all those whom God forgave and justified before the coming of Christ: i.e. all those who lived under the Old Testament era. During that time, atonement was typified through regular animal sacrifices. However, the shedding of the blood of bulls and goats could never take away sin. They merely covered it until the time when God would provide an ultimate and perfect sacrifice. (Heb. 10:1-4)
When Christ came, however, the sacrifice he made on the cross, fully atoned for all the sins committed in these past ages by all those whom God would redeem, as well as for all the sins committed at the present and in the future by all those who would be redeemed. Thus, again, the demands of the law upon sinners of the Old Testament era have been fully met in Christ. Thus, too, God’s forbearance in passing over punishment until Christ came is vindicated fully. For he himself bore that punishment in his own body on the tree. (1 Pet. 2:24)
…without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness [of sin]. But since Christ died for sinners at Calvary, and rose again for their justification, all those who receive him as their Saviour and Lord receive the full forgiveness of their many sins – and no-one is excluded.
(Modified extract from Gordon Lyons’ Expository Notes: Romans, chapter 3 verse 25. Full PDF document available to read or download free of charge from this website. See above under NT Commentaries – Expository Notes: Romans.)