As I said in my sermon on December 30th, my focus in my Bible read-through this year is looking for what Dr. W.A. Criswell called the “Scarlet Thread of Redemption.” The Bible-Eater reading plan helps because it highlights chapters in red that are particularly significant in the Bible’s unfolding of God’s plan of redemption. What does it mean to “look for the Scarlet Thread’? It means to look for everything that God reveals that is in some way a picture of what all God’s revelation ultimately leads us to: the Blood of Jesus Christ, shed on the Cross to wash away sin.
Here’s just one small example in Genesis 8. After the flood subsides, the first thing Noah did was to offer a blood sacrifice. Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood.” (Gen 8:20-21 NIV)
Just as Abel brought a blood sacrifice, so did Noah. Notice that God accepted this offering and future judgment of this type was averted. In that way this sacrifice was an ‘atoning’ sacrifice. This is all part of the scarlet line of blood that points us to the ultimate atoning sacrifice at the Cross.
Notice too the clear indication of our universal human need for salvation. God gives us a clear picture of our human hearts: “every inclination of [man’s] heart is evil from childhood.” Not one of us is righteous. Not one of us can save ourselves. We all need a Savior.