The cross, which I recently discussed as penal and substitutionary was also sacrificial. The idea of sacrifice, of course, is one aspect of substitution. The sins of the people were laid upon the head of the sacrificial animal signifying the transfer of the sins of the guilty to the innocent animal whose blood was shed (i.e., whose life was forfeited) in the place of the repentant sinners who offered it.
The shedding of blood, which a biblical, animal sacrifice required for the taking of its life, foreshadowed the bloody death of “the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world.” A “savior” who did not die a bloody death is no Savior. Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. It is the shed blood of Jesus Christ that propitiates God; nothing else could have done so.
Mary, Baker, Glover, Patterson Eddy (I hope I skipped none of her husbands’ names) said that the blood of Jesus Christ was no more able to propitiate God when it was shed on the cross than when it was “running through His veins.” That is a blasphemous, heretical statement. But it vividly points out the importance of sacrificial death to genuine Christianity.
The Scriptures observe that “the life is in the blood.” This is, therefore, the form of death (not strangling, suffocating, or any other unbloody sort of death would do) that God required because it showed forth most clearly the giving up of one’s life for another in a sacrificial manner.
Preaching the anemic, contentless message of our time, “Take Jesus as your Savior” is not enough. Let’s never forget all that the cross meant (and should mean} to those who tell others about it.