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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

How important is it for Christians to "abstain from blood"?

"God and men view things in very different lights. What appears important in our eye is very often of no account in the estimation of infinite wisdom; and what appears trifling to us is often of very great importance with God. It was so from the beginning."—An Enquiry Into the Lawfulness of Eating Blood, Alexander Pirie, 1787.
The above quote can be well illustrated by the opinions of millions of churchgoers. They would probably agree that Christian ethics involves not venerating idols and not sharing in gross immorality. Yet, the apostles put avoiding blood on the same high moral level as avoiding those wrongs.

Also, a closer examination of the wording used at Acts 15:28, 29 shows how important it is for Christians to "abstain from blood":

"For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials ['these necessary things' - RSV]: that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well. Farewell." [emphasis added] -Acts 15:28, 29 (NASB)

The wording of the scriptures here does not indicate that this is a relatively unimportant commandment. It says it is "essential".

Many view the use of blood essentially as a matter of medical judgment, and there is an increasing number who are concluding that there is much less risk to their health by accepting bloodless medicine and surgery. Yet the stand taken by Christians who are true followers of God is above all a religious one; it is a position based on what the Bible says..."abstain from...blood." (Acts 15:28, 29)

People who recognize their dependence on the Creator and Life-Giver should be determined to obey His commands:

"O man, who, then, really are you to be answering back to God? Shall the thing molded say to him that molded it, "Why did you make me this way?" What? Does not the potter have authority over the clay?" - Rom. 9:20, 21

Christians who are true followers of God are fully convinced that it is right to comply with God’s law commanding abstention from blood even when tested to the limit. They want to live, but they will not try to save their life by breaking God’s laws:
"For whoever wants to save his soul will lose it; but whoever loses his soul for my sake will find it." - Matthew 16:25

Jesus said: "I am the resurrection and the life. He that exercises faith in me, even though he dies, will come to life." - John 11:25

"The judicial decisions of Jehovah are true; they have proved altogether righteous. . . . In the keeping of them there is a large reward." - Psalm 19:9, 11

For more, see
God's View of Blood