Why does a blood sacrifice pay for sins? When one opens their Bible to Hebrews 9:22 and reads
Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
the natural inclination is to think about how different this is from our own personal experience and ask, “Hey, what’s with this blood business? WHY does blood pay for sins?”
Well… For that matter why does $4 pay for a bratwurst?
It’s not like they are the equivalent value. I could not take my recently purchased bratwurst to a bank and exchange it again for $4. Even if you factor in depreciation (because obviously once you drive it off the lot it’s worth a little bit less than you paid for it) you’ll find that the bank doesn’t accept the bratwurst because to a bank a bratwurst is not worth $4.
So how is it that the Bratwurst vendor has decided that 4 pieces of green paper with pictures of President George on them is worth a bratwurst with everything? I don’t know. Ultimately what is money and what is decided when it’s exchanged?
To bring it back around, what was special about the blood of Jesus that it pays for our sins?
Theologians have been trying to explain this for centuries, and for all I know several of them have already explained it accurately. My point here is not to answer the question, but rather to examine the question. CS Lewis makes the following metaphor: How does eating good food make us healthy? Modern science has said a great many things about this, but the simple fact is that you don’t need to know any of those things in order to benefit from a healthy diet. People who know nothing of vitamins and proteins and calories have been benefiting from good food since long before scientists started trying to explain why.
Similarly, Christians are made right with God through Jesus, who shed his blood on the cross to pay for our sins. Maybe someone knows exactly why this works, but even if you don’t, Jesus blood can still pay for your sins.
Why a man will give me a bratwurst for $4 when no bank will give me $4 for a bratwurst is a bit of a mystery, but at the end of the day I still get to have lunch. I don’t know how my body deals with a bratwurst with everything, but at the end of the day, I am still better off having eaten than had I gone hungry. I don’t fully understand why the blood of Jesus covers my sin, but at the end of the day he is willing to let you give him your sin, and in exchange he gives you his righteousness. And that’s pretty great.
Something to think about.