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My question arises from my study on the blood of Christ and his sacrificial death on the cross. The scriptures seem to teach that both his death and his shed blood were for the forgiveness of sins. Some say that his shed blood "is" his death because his blood is symbolic of his death. My question is. Is it somehow two things the blood and his death that we are forgiven by? Or are they one and the same? And represent his sacrificial death. There are many scriptures that point to both the blood and his death being for the forgiveness of sins.

Romans 5:8 ESV

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Hebrews 9:22 ESV

Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

I guess I'm trying to understand this paradigm between the blood and how it relates to his death on the cross and forgiveness. I want to be accurate in my proclaiming the gospel.

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    Hello Jamesstas. Welcome to Biblical Hermeneutics Stack Exchange. I hope you enjoy your stay here. I'd like to point out that "shed blood" is an expression that is used to denote death. Dying and having your blood shed are not two separate things, but the same. This can be seen in the first pages of scripture in Genesis 9:4-6. "Shedding blood" = killing, "blood shed" = dying. Hope this helps.
    – Rajesh
    Commented May 26, 2022 at 18:31
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    The sufferings of Christ, in the hours of darkness, were as he bore sins 'in his body on the tree'. The death of Christ (see Galatians and Romans particularly) is a matter of redemption from law, from curse and from the first humanity. Your question is a very valid one - up-voted +1.
    – Nigel J
    Commented May 26, 2022 at 21:20
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    The Bible continually emphasizes the equivalence of "life" and "blood". They are the same thing and often used interchangeably. E.g. "You shall not eat the blood of any flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood", because life belongs to God and must be returned to him, not taken for ourselves. Search Results for "life" AND "blood". Commented May 27, 2022 at 13:22
  • Neither - see links - Lamb redemption of our sin - hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/a/75324/33268 Inherit sin - hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/a/62982/33268 Commented May 27, 2022 at 13:43

2 Answers 2

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Jesus suffered more than mere crucifixion in his hours upon the cross. Obscured by darkness, Matthew 27:45, Mark 15:33, but if we are granted to see it, he suffered for sins not his own, 1 Corinthians 15:3, 1 Peter 2:24. Then he yielded up his life, no man taking it from him, John 10:18. Only after this, was his blood shed, the lance thrust in, releasing both blood and water as witnessed by John the apostle, John 19:34.

That blood was shed, copiously, indicates a death. And that it was shed at all indicates not a peaceful death but one of suffering, and one of sacrifice. Foreshadowed by a multitude of intricate sacrificial rituals ( see all of Leviticus) each of which convey differing aspects of the sufferings and death of the one sent by God so to offer up himself, this momentous event is fully explained in the doctrine of Christ, Romans 6:17, the gospel, Ephesians 1:13, delivered by the chosen apostles of Jesus Christ whom he authorised to express all the truth of it, Matthew 28:19.

It should be noted that the blood itself (in and of its mere organic content) did not purchase anything it was ‘that of his own blood’ which was effectual, namely the worth of the life that was given and the worth of the sufferings suffered by the one living :

the church of God which he possessed for himself with that of his own blood.

[Literal from the interlinear Englishman's Greek New Testament (Stephanus Text) Acts 20:28 and expressing the article as the demonstrative pronoun.]

Many precise words, 2 Timothy 1:13, are used to convey the extent of the sufferings and death and bloodshed of Christ : redemption, remission, reconciliation and justification come immediately to mind but there are more. The epistles are for our learning, Romans 15:4, that we might fully appreciate and understand the offering up of Jesus Christ : his body, his blood, his life, his flesh - his self, 1 Peter 2:24.

And all was necessary to satisfy the righteousness of God, to fulfil all law, to resolve sin itself in its coming into the world, Romans 5:12-21,to resolve a failed humanity which rebelled against its creator, to resolve the matter of law itself since humanity is specifically warned not to partake of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, Genesis 2:17, Galatians 2:20, and to resolve all that the first humanity has done in making a world that is contrary to the will and purpose of God who made all things, 2 Corinthians 5:19.

So yes, both the sufferings of Christ and the death of Christ (both of which are witnessed to by the shedding of his blood) are essential ; for thus, in his sufferings, he bore sins and thus, in his death, he resolved momentous issues of righteousness : and both are absolutely needful for us that we ourselves might be pardoned from all confessed sins, 1 John 1:9, that sins might be remitted, Acts 2:38, that we might be dead to our first humanity and alive to Christ under his headship, Romans 7:4, that we might be delivered from law, Romans 7:6, and that we might walk in the Spirit, Romans 8: 1-4, and that we might have an inheritance in the world to come, Hebrews 9 : 15.

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You ask if the death and blood of Christ "is for our forgiveness". Although you take that phrase as understood, and your question focuses on any distinction between his death and his blood, at the outset I would point out that the purpose is to secure our redemption. This is not to say that it does not enable our forgiveness; it does (Matthew 26:28; Colossians 1:14 A.V.; Ephesians 1:6,7; 1 John 1:7), but redemption goes much further than being pardoned from our sins. Once the immense scope of what Jesus secured for repentant sinners is grasped, then I trust you will see that Christ's death, and Christ's shed blood are all of the one massive 'thing', that cannot be separated.

There could be no shed blood without death, because the Bible never speaks of a temporary hemorrhage in connection with sacrifices to God. Mere 'blood-letting' is not involved. Both animal sacrifices and that of Christ (as the spotless Lamb of God) required death. And, as "the life is in the blood" (Genesis 9:4), so the shed blood of Christ required his life to be given up. This also shows that, in biblical language, shed blood is synonymous with dying. That is why God requires an accounting for innocent blood being shed. That is why the Bible speaks of shed blood "crying out to God from the ground" (Genesis 4:10; Isaiah 26:21; Luke 23:25).

This means that, in the scriptures I now quote it has to be taken as understood that the shedding of his blood required his death. Further, these texts speak of this one event securing redemption:

"Ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." (1 Peter 1:18,19)

"Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us... How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God and for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator... and without shedding of blood is no remission." (Hebrews 9:12-16).

This eternal redemption is a loosing away from all that binds and blinds sinners; a release. It comes from the Greek apolutrosis - 'away from' or 'forth from'. This word has vast doctrinal scope, being applied to the soul, the body, Israel, the ekklesia (Church), the land, the inheritance, and the creation. Sinners have to be released from sin in order to follow Christ. In the proper sense, sins are not forgiven. Sins are remitted. It is sinners that are forgiven. The effect of remitting sins is to ensure the forgiveness of the sinner.

To tie this in with your question about whether it is "Christ's blood or his death that is for our forgiveness, or both somehow" - both Christ's shed blood and his death are part and parcel of the one mighty release, the tremendous loosing, the eternal redemption that took place at the cross. Redemption is rooted and grounded in the shedding of the blood of Christ, who died. With the shedding of his blood, everything else, like believing and receiving, follows from that. Redemption secures the inheritance, pays the price, sounds the jubilee, and ushers into everlasting glory, having given total release from all that keeps sinners out of the Kingdom of God. Redemption was wrought when he died, and sealed when his blood was shed, through the eternal Spirit. At the cross, redemption's discharge was proclaimed.

The death, and shed blood of Christ, is essential to proclaim in the gospel message, but that one act must also lead to proclamation of what was secured by it. That is why I have included scriptures about redemption.

[Much of this answer was based upon an article called "Redeemed with the Precious Blood of Christ" by John Metcalfe in Volume 34 No.3 of The Ministry magazine, autumn 2019, pp27-31]

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