Vol. 11 No. 4 April 2009
The blood of Christ is the central theme of the Scriptures. It is the scarlet thread running from the beginning of time to the present. Jesus Christ is the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8; 1 Peter 1:18-20). Jesus, when He instituted the Supper in His memory, said, “this is my blood of the New Testament, shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28). In spite of all that the Bible has to say about the blood of Christ and the salvation purchased by it, many reject the need for the blood outright or simply see no necessity for it.
To the modernist, the idea of salvation by blood is repulsive. As an example, Today’s English Version, also known as Good News For Modern Man, in 36 passages translated “blood” out of this version. The Greek word for “blood” is haima. Some other word was substituted in these places, 16 of which directly pertain to the blood of Christ. Here is one example of this anti-blood persuasion. In Colossians 1:14 the KJVreads: “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” The TEV reads: “By whom we are set free and our sins are forgiven.” The word “blood,” though in the original text, and essential to the sense of the verse, is left out entirely!
The Jews since the death of Christ on the Cross are depending on the blood of animals for their salvation, not accepting the teaching of the New Testament that “it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins” (Hebrews 10:4). Thus, they reject the efficacy of the saving blood of the Son of God.
Others see no necessity for the cleansing blood of Christ, expressing the idea that as long as they are “good” fathers and mothers, honest in business, good neighbors, etc. they will have nothing to fear at the Judgment, and the blood of Jesus was shed in vain.
Some have taken the opposite extreme saying: “I’m too sinful to ever be saved.” This concept removes the potency of the blood of Christ, making it weak and unable to cover what the individual would conceive of as the really “terrible” sins they commit. Therefore, in response to the question what can wash away my sins, these would reply, “Nothing!”
The thought of salvation from sin by the blood of the Son of God is foreign to the thinking of many. It is repulsive, unnecessary and inadequate.The Universal Need
“And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). God, from the beginning of man’s sin, required a blood sacrifice (Genesis 4:4; Hebrews 9:22). The blood of animals was promissory to the shed blood of Christ. Since the blood of animals was not able to purge the conscience (Hebrews 10:1-4), the blood shed by Jesus looks backward as well as forward (Hebrews 9:15). Whereas the Atonement caused Israel to remember sin (Hebrews 10:3), the blood of Christ purges the conscience, enabling one to forget his sin when he has done what is required by the Gospel to remit sins (Acts 2:38, et al).
The redeeming blood of Jesus saves (Ephesians 1:7) and keeps us saved as we faithfully follow Christ (1 John 1:7). Truly, “without the shedding of blood (Jesus’ blood) there is no remission of sins (Matthew 26:28). What a wonderful Savior whose sacrifice of his blood on the cross washes away our sins and was freely offered for all men (John 3:16; Luke 23:45; Hebrews 9:12). What can wash away my sin? Nothing, but the blood of Jesus!
If any are saved, it will be because they have submitted themselves to obey the terms of pardon given in the New Testament to acquire the benefits of the saving blood of Christ. This is where many of our religious neighbors miss the point. They say there are no terms of pardon, that there are no conditions to be met by the sinner. However, if that is true, then how does one reconcile the question of those Jews who crucified Christ with the response of Peter on Pentecost? “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” they asked. When Peter told them to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins, was he not giving them conditions that must be met if they would have their sins remitted? These conditions do not mitigate against salvation by the blood, but rather tell us how to contact the cleansing blood. The power is in the blood! Yet, we contact the blood by our obedience to the terms of pardon given in the Gospel. Jesus’ blood was shed in his death (John 19:34); “we are buried with him by baptism into death.” When we come forth from the waters of baptism, we are “raised to walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3-4). Those who do this meet the terms of pardon given in the Scriptures, are obedient to the Gospel and are washed in his blood (Revelation 1:5b).
“Happy day! Happy day! When Jesus washed my sins away!”