Beckett: Pastor’s Thoughts – God Requires Blood (Genesis 9:5-6)

God says to Noah, “And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in His own image” (Genesis 9:5-6).

Let’s get right to it, shall we? In these two verses we have two significant things. First, reiterating the curse of the Fall of Man, God requires blood from man from hereon out because of the evil that is within his heart because death is the result of the knowledge of good and evil. Second, God does not take murder lightly. And guess what? It’s our own fault!

Here, we have the answer to the age-old question, “Why does God allow evil,” as if it’s His fault. We forget—quite conveniently—that we are entirely to blame. God warned Adam and Eve not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, lest they die. Yet, believing the words of the serpent Satan over the Word of God, they are deceived and see that it is “good” for eating and eat of it, thus beginning the perennial curse of man who is doomed to death since birth. This is original sin—the persistent, natural evil within our heart that is preternaturally disposed toward rebelling against God and killing our fellow man in word and deed. For this, God requires blood (v. 5). To make the curse worse, when we kill one another, God requires that the murderer’s blood be shed by man (v. 6) because of the sanctity of life—that is, because man is created in God’s image.

So, why do we keep committing evil acts against one another? Because we decided this for ourselves and we can’t help but kill one another. Why does God allow it to continue? Because He is gracious and merciful.

“What?” you might be thinking. “God is gracious and merciful because He allows evil to continue?” That might sound crazy, but it’s true. Consider a couple things. First, consider God’s own mind in His Word (rather than assuming you know God’s mind since God is God and you are not), “Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live” (Ezekiel 18:23)?

And, “Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel” (Ezekiel 33:11)?

Finally, “This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4).

Second, consider also what you’re asking for when you demand that God put a final end to evil. The final end of evil—and the final end of all people who do evil, which in God’s eyes are unbelievers—will come when Jesus returns, and it is quite bloody. “So the angel swung his sickle across the earth and gathered the grape harvest of the earth and threw it into the great winepress of God. And the winepress was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress, as high as a horse’s bride [6 feet or 2 metres], for 1,600 stadia [about 184 miles or 296 km]” (Revelation 14:19-20). This is not a literal description of its intended referent, but it does depict how severe God’s destructive wrath against evil will be. So, when you demand God put a final end to evil, this is what you’re asking for, which is really stupid to do if you’re an unbeliever. Be careful what you wish for.

Lastly, there is Good News. The blood God requires has been spilled in Jesus. God desires that all people come to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. Therefore, St. Paul continues, “there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time” (1 Timothy 2:5). God requires blood, and Jesus fulfilled the requirement on the cross. The cross is God’s testimony of what He’s done with evil: Jesus paid the price.

Therefore, because you believe in Jesus, you have been spared from God’s wrath. As Jesus says, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.” And He warns, “Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because He has not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (John 3:14-18).

And He reiterates a little later, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears My Word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life. He does not come into judgement, but has passed from death to life” (John 5:24).

If you believe in Jesus, He has already paid the blood price required of you. If you do not believe by the time He comes again, you yourself will pay the price on your head. The Good News is that the price on your head has already been paid in Jesus’ blood, and this redemption is totally free. Nothing is required of you. If you do not believe, I pray the Holy Spirit humble your heart to, in the Lord’s words, “turn back,” which literally means to repent, that He may “gather, enlighten, and sanctify you and keep you in Jesus Christ in the one true faith” and “on the Last Day raise you and all the dead, and give eternal life to you and to all believers in Christ” (SC II, The Creed, The Third Article).

Theology Terms Used

  • Good News: a.k.a, the Gospel; the announcement that God, in Jesus Christ, paid the price for the punishment you deserve and, therefore, freely gives you forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation.
  • Original Sin: the persistent, natural evil within our heart that is preternaturally disposed toward rebelling against God and killing our fellow man in word and deed. Defined another way: man’s natural inclination toward living in sin rather than original righteousness.

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