Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | February 17, 2023

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls”

Today’s devotion comes from Leviticus 17:10-16.  Here is a link to this Scripture –

I quote only the following verses.

“‘And any man from the house of Israel, or from the aliens who sojourn among them, who eats any blood, I will set My face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from among his people.  For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls;  for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.’  Therefore I said to the sons of Israel, ‘No person among you may eat blood, nor may any alien who sojourns among you eat blood.’  So when any man from the sons of Israel, or from the aliens who sojourn among them, in hunting catches a beast or a bird which may be eaten, he shall pour out its blood and cover it with earth.

“For as for the life of all flesh, its blood is identified with its life.  Therefore I said to the sons of Israel, ‘You are not to eat the blood of any flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood;  whoever eats it shall be cut off.’”   Leviticus 17:10-14. 


“How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?  For we know Him who said: “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY.”  And again, THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE.”  It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”  Hebrews 10:29-31.

Other doctrine teaches that God loves everybody, and Christ shed His blood for everybody.  In a sense, by how they treat the blood of Christ for their own purpose, they are eating it up or trampling it, not in the sense of being hateful to it but in the sense of treating it as ineffective by itself, like the description in Matthew 5: 13:  “…  but if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again?  It is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.” 

Their doctrine forces them to conclude that Christ’s blood (as they claim, shed for everyone) by itself did not save, “purchase”, nor “redeem” anyone, because they admit that most people (or at least many) are not saved.  They claim that it is up to man to generate his own faith through his own wisdom and his own free will in order to make Christ’s blood effective to save.  Thereby, they believe that the life is not in the blood, but they believe that the life is in their own wisdom and free-will. 

In sharp contrast, Reformed Doctrine teaches that God only loves His elect, and Christ only shed His blood for God’s elect.  Reformed Doctrine believes that truly the life is in Christ’s blood.  Everyone for whom Christ’s blood was shed will be saved.

Consider the following from the Canons of Dordt in the section titled SECOND HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of the Death of Christ, and the Redemption of Men Thereby. 

Article 8.  For this was the sovereign counsel, and most gracious will and purpose of God the Father, that the quickening and saving efficacy of the most precious death of his Son should extend to all the elect, for bestowing upon them alone the gift of justifying faith, thereby to bring them infallibly to salvation:  that is, it was the will of God, that Christ by the blood of the cross, whereby he confirmed the new covenant, should effectually redeem out of every people, tribe, nation, and language, all those, and those only, who were from eternity chosen to salvation, and given to him by the Father;  that he should confer upon them faith, which together with all the other saving gifts of the Holy Spirit, he purchased for them by his death;  should purge them from all sin, both original and actual, whether committed before or after believing;  and having faithfully preserved them even to the end, should at last bring them free from every spot and blemish to the enjoyment of glory in his own presence forever.

Christ shed His blood for only God’s elect, not for everyone in the world.  But, as stated above, “the quickening and saving efficacy of the most precious death of his Son should extend to all the elect, for bestowing upon them alone the gift of justifying faith, thereby to bring them infallibly to salvation”.

This is Christ’s specific love just for His bride, the church.  Just as a husband should not love and give himself up for all women, but only for his own wife, “…  Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing;  but that she would be holy and blameless.”   Ephesians 5:25-26.  

Christ laid down His life for only His sheep.  “I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father;  and I lay down My life for the sheep.”  John 10:14-15.

In Christ’s intercessory prayer in John 17:9, we see Christ praying for only those whom God gave Him, not for the world: “I ask on their behalf;  I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom Thou hast given Me; for they are Thine;”.

Redemption is always for specific objects that we own, never for everything.  For example, when we redeem something from the pawn shop, we do not redeem everything in the store, but we only redeem our specific items that we own and left at the pawn shop as collateral for a loan.

Christ’s death redeemed all of God’s elect, but only them alone, not for everyone in the world. Christ’s death did not just possibly take away our sins depending on our own wisdom and free-will to choose Christ nor depending on our alleged free-will whether or not we get and keep faith till our death.

Salvation is not dependent on our sinful flesh, neither by our works nor even by as little as our will.

Reformed Doctrine teaches us that man’s condition corrupted by the fall of Adam (through Adam’s sin) is a condition of “Total Depravity”, the “T” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism.

We were “dead” in sin. Ephesians 2:1-5. We were hostile to God. Romans 8:7 and Colossians 1:21. We were in bondage to sin. Romans 7:14-15.

“10 as it is written,

THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE.” Romans 3:10-12.

God’s sovereignty rules over even salvation. Throughout Scripture, we see that “Salvation belongs to the LORD”. Psalm 3:8. 

“The LORD has established His throne in the heavens,
And His sovereignty rules over all.” Psalm 103:19.

“For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.”  So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.”  Romans 9:15-16.

This point is summarized by “Limited Atonement”, the “L” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.

“just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.  In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.  In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace”  Ephesians 1:4-7.

“This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.”  John 6:39.


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