“And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.” Heb. 9:22
Many liberal theologians (and a growing number of evangelicals) argue that references to “the shedding of blood” are merely metaphorical, the essential point being that a sacrificial death has occurred. Thus, they say, it was Christ’s death for our sins that was the redemption price for our salvation, not His blood—which, after all, was just a fluid, no different after being shed than before. The fact is, however, that there are many ways a man (or a sacrificial animal) may die, but mere death is not enough. “The life of the flesh is in the blood” (Lev. 17:11) and “without shedding of blood is no remission.” No other type of death could purchase our salvation. Therefore, “we have redemption through His blood” (Eph. 1:7), He “made peace through the blood” (Col. 1:20), He “washed us from our sins in His own blood” (Rev. 1:5), and we are now justified “through faith in His blood” (Rom. 3:25).
Thus, without the shedding of Christ’s blood, there can be no salvation. It is conceivable that He could have died in other ways, but remission of our sins required not just His death, but death through the shedding of His precious blood (1 Pet. 1:19).
Another way to say is this; redemption is only possible by blood. The writer of the letter to the Hebrews gathered up the whole message of the Levitical economy in the words, "Apart from shedding of blood there is no remission." The shedding of blood is life given up. It is necessary to make this statement emphatically, because it is now sometimes asked whether it is not permissible to say that we are saved by life, rather than by blood, seeing that the old economy declared that "the blood is the life!" While that is perfectly true, it would still be utterly false to say that the teaching of Leviticus is that a man is saved by life. It teaches rather that he can only be saved by life given up, given up through suffering, not by blood, but by blood-shedding. The ancient symbolism was indeed awful and appalling, but the final weight of awe and horror ought to be that of the sin which made such symbolism necessary, in order to teach its real meaning to God. There are those who speak of the doctrine of salvation by the shedding of blood as being objectionable and vulgar. The shedding of blood is objectionable; it is awful, it is dastardly; but it is the ultimate expression of the activity of sin; and the whole meaning of the appalling truth is that sin, in the universe, touches the very life of God with wounding.