It is important that we pay attention to this matter as it affects the way we live and the way we die. When we talk about the blood of Jesus, it offends some people, but we make no apologies because we are fully persuaded that the blood of Jesus is the determinant on which our whole eternal future depends.
Now, I have no doubt in my mind that most of us have heard so many messages on this subject, but the Lord impressed it in my heart that you hear it again. It is at the heart of what we believe about the gospel. By believing the gospel, it means believing in God
What does the scripture teach us about blood?
The importance of blood to God remains unchanged even when the dispensation changes. It only carries a greater mandate, a greater significance in our current dispensation of Grace than it did during or even before the law. Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin. To understand this declaration, let us look at what blood meant before the law, during the law and now.
The Old Testament.
Before the law
The issue of blood was first recorded in the Old Testament in the garden of Eden. When Adam and Eve fell and discovered they were naked, they made for themselves clothes of leaves. However, God made them a covering from the skin of an animal. Now the bible does not specifically say how but most scholars believe he must have killed an animal first. If we go over to the covenant between God and Abraham, Isaac was meant to be the sacrifice, surrendered wholly to God by death to seal the deal. Abraham must offer Isaac on the altar, that was not an arbitrary command. Only through death that life truly consecrated to God is possible but instead, God made provision for a ram to take his place. So not only did Abraham’s act of obedience confirm his faith in God, the covenant was then established through it.
During the time of the law
400 years had passed and the descendants of Abraham found themselves slaves in Egypt and in Exo 12:12-13 during the Passover, an enduring ordinance was established with the words … “and when I see the blood, I will pass over you”. This was a demonstration to the people that life can be preserved only by the death of a substitute. 50 days later, this lesson was enforced in a spectacular manner on Mount Sinai as recorded in Hebrew 9:19-22. Take note of verse 22 in particular… some versions say purify, cleansing (for purge).
The New Testament (Dispensation of Grace)
Some people believe the statement “not without blood” only referred to the Old Testament but let’s see how it was revealed to John in Rev 5: 5-6, 11-12. Now! This is the blood of the New Covenant, The Blood of Jesus- an amazing combination of power and meekness.
Why then a new covenant?
Jesus Christ himself declared that his death on the Cross was the purpose for which He came to this world; to establish a new covenant, to redeem us to the father. For this to be made possible, the shedding of His blood was a necessity.
The Old Covenant was established through the blood of animals, the sacrifices were made with the blood of animals….. that the sacrifice will reach God as a sweet-smelling savour (Lev 3: 16). Now, let us see how that relates to John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son (THE SACRIFICE) that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life”.
The hallmark of the Old Covenant was that it was established with the blood of animals which was weak, deficient, had by no means had the power to make man perfect or to forgive sin. There was no perfection by the Levitical priesthood; it became necessary that another priest should arise, of another order. Hebrews 8:7- FOR IF THAT FIRST COVENANT HAD BEEN FAULTLESS THEN SHOULD NO PLACE HAVE BEEN SOUGHT FOR THE SECOND. Hebrew 10: 4-6 shows the weakness and imperfection of the Levitical priesthood and the excellency of Christ’s. The blood of animals only covered sin but could not pardon sin. This was why they made annual sacrifices for their sins. As a matter of fact, Job did it even more frequently. Whenever his children had a party, he offered sacrifices on their behalf just in case they sinned against God.
Now going back to our comparisons of the sacrifices mentioned in Leviticus, and there were loads of them, but particularly the thought of the sacrifice going up to God as a sweet smelling savour and that of John 3:16 there are some vary stack differences;
- The Levitical sacrifices were of animals v the sacrifice of the blood of Jesus
- The Old Testament sacrifices had blemishes v the Lamb of God was without blemish
- The Old Testament sacrifices could not forgive sins v the Blood of The Lamb has the power to forgive sins
- The priest offered the sacrifice on behalf of the people v God himself offered His Son as the sacrifice of the New Covenant. Notice that in John 20: 11-18 when Mary Magdalene saw Jesus after the resurrection and she wanted to run and embrace him and he said in verse 17 “Touch me not for I have not yet ascended to my Father”… meaning just as a sweet smelling savour, he had to present to perfect sacrifice to God in other to fully accomplish his assignment. This is the sacrifice that bridged the gap between a sinful man and a Holy God to bring about salvation and fellowship.
The Blood of The New Covenant
Having established the New Covenant by the blood of Jesus, the Salvation of a believer is encapsulated in these four words, and we shall look at them in more details;
We are redeemed once
We are reconciled once
We are justified once
We are sanctified but it is also a continuing process
Redeem is wider in its application than ransom, and means to buy back, regain possession of, or exchange for money, goods, etc.: to redeem one’s property. To ransom is to redeem a person from captivity by paying a stipulated price, or to redeem from sin by sacrifice.
1 Peter 1; 18-19
The blood of Jesus redeems us from the law. He paid the ransom price in full and we are no longer slaves to sin. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law being made a curse for us and for that reason, we are no longer under the law but under the grace, and as a consequence, we have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but we have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry Abba Father(Rom 8:15). Happy is that man who knows his full redemption from the law.
Have you ever been in debt?
How did you feel when you were debt-free?
Or perhaps you are in debt right now?
How would you feel if your debts were written off?
In God’s plan of redemption, blood acts as the atonement for the souls of mankind. The shedding of blood on the altar maintained the connection to God when sin had been committed by the people. This points to the night when Jesus said: “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (Matthew 26:28). The blood on the altar only covered the sins of the people. It did not take away their sins; neither did it enable them to conquer sin in their lives (Hebrews 10:3-4). “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:14).
By His stripes, we are healed. “Stripes,” (Isaiah 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24) in the language of the King James Version of the Bible, and in some others, means “wounds,” as seen in more modern translations such as the New International Version. These stripes were administered by whipping the bare backs of prisoners whose hands and feet were bound, rendering them helpless. The phrase “by His stripes we are healed” refers to the punishment Jesus Christ suffered—floggings and beatings with fists that were followed by His agonizing death on a cross—to take upon Himself all of the sins of all people who believe Jesus Christ is Lord and Saviour. “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
The whips used were made of braided leather, with pottery shards and sharp stones affixed to the ends, which tore open the flesh of the prisoner with each cruel swing of the whip. When we picture this terrible, inhumane form of physical punishment we recoil in horror. Yet the physical pain and agony were not all Jesus suffered. He also had to undergo the mental anguish brought on by the wrath of His Father, who punished Him for the sinfulness of mankind—sin carried out in spite of God’s repeated warnings, the sin that Jesus willingly took upon Himself. He paid the total price for all of our transgressions.
Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the apostle Peter wrote, “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness; by His wounds, you have been healed.” In Isaiah 53, Jesus’ future life on earth was foretold in the clearest of terms, to include his eventual torture and death: “But He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds (stripes) we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24).
Although these two verses are central to the topic of healing, they are often misunderstood and misapplied. The word “healed” as translated from both Hebrew and Greek can mean either spiritual or physical healing. However, the contexts of Isaiah 53 and 1 Peter 2 make it clear that they are referring to spiritual healing, not physical. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds, you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24). The verse is referring to sin and righteousness, not sickness and disease. Therefore, being “healed” in both these verses is speaking of being forgiven and saved, not being physically healed.
Col 1: 19-21
Reconciliation involves a change in the relationship between God and man or man and man. It assumes there has been a breakdown in the relationship, but now there has been a change from a state of enmity and fragmentation to one of harmony and fellowship. In Romans 5:6-11, Paul says that before reconciliation we were powerless, ungodly, sinners, and enemies; we were under God’s wrath (v. 9). Because of change or reconciliation, we become new creatures. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Cor 5:17). When Christ died on the cross of Calvary, the veil of the temple was split into two which clearly pointed out, that the way to the holiest of all, to heaven, of which this was a figure, was now made manifest; and was plain and accessible, as it was, first to Christ, who entered by his own blood, as the forerunner; and also to his people, who likewise have boldness to enter by the same. Access to the holy of holies was an exclusive preserve of the priests but Hebrew 10:19 says “Having, therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus. We that were once far off have been made near by the blood of Jesus and we now have a Father-Son relationship with Him. Our reconciliation was brought about by the forgiveness of our sins for without the forgiveness of sin; there will be no reconciliation between a sinful man and a Holy God. If a person is about to offer a gift at the altar and remembers that he has something against his brother he should leave his gift and be reconciled first to his brother and then come and offer his gift.
Forgiveness is crucial to reconciliation. Forgiveness is beneficial to both the offender and the offended because it liberates both of them. As men on earth, there is simply no way we would not offend someone. Jesus Christ himself told His disciples that offence will come (Luke 17:1). How you deal with an offence is greater than the offence itself. When Jesus was teaching His disciples how to pray, in Matt 6, v 12 says “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors”. If you cannot forgive your brother or sister how do you expect God’s forgiveness? We often times hear “forgive and forget”. How possible is that? There are offences that no matter how hard you try, you would not be able to forget, that’s just human nature. However, God is the only one with the ability and capability of forgetting anything He chooses to forget that is why in Isaiah 43: 25 it says “I and even I, am he who blots out your transgressions for my name’s sake and remembers them not. Whilst at secondary school in Nigeria many years ago, the Arch Bishop of the Diocese came to our school and he addressed us. I have forgotten a lot of what he said but the one thing that still stays with me is that he said that true forgiveness comes when even when you remember an offence, you are not bitter about it.
“Justification.” This is more than pardon, for a man may be pardoned — and yet not justified. To justify is to pronounce a man guiltlessly, to acquit him of all charges brought against him, and to declare him to be a righteous person. Justification is a legal declaration by God of your innocence. Even though the Bible says that all have sinned and have come short of the glory of God, justification by the blood washes away all records of sins committed. The justified man is freed from all condemnation; no one can lay anything to his charge in the court of divine justice. He is delivered from the law — being dead to it. He is placed under grace — or admitted into the free, full, and unmerited favour of God. He is admitted into friendship with God, who holds free and familiar fellowship with him. He is entitled to participate in, and enjoy, all the blessings of the new and better covenant — such as . . .
peace with God,
liberty and freedom of access to God,
safety through life, and
the glorious inheritance when life is ended.
On what ground does he justify? On the ground of the death of Christ, who shed his precious blood — or laid down his life as their substitute to atone for their offences, and satisfy all the claims of the divine law for them. Or, on the ground of his perfect atoning work, which was finished when he shed his blood on the tree; which work is placed to the account of everyone who believes on his name. The whole work of Christ is imputed to the believer and is as much his own to plead before God for his acquittal — as if he had wrought it himself, through the free gift of God. It is reckoned ours as believers and is acknowledged at God’s throne when we plead it. Jesus was made sin for us, having all our sins placed to his account, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him (2 Cor 5:21).
Once we were guilty and sentenced to death; now we are not guilty and saved from the wrath to come.
Once we were unrighteous sinners; now we are saved saints.
Once we were utterly condemned, now we are not condemned
“Being now justified by his blood.” There is therefore now no condemnation, to those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:1). It is wholly on account of what Christ has done. The works of man are not taken into account at all. There isn’t enough virtue in our good works to justify us.
1 John 1:6-10
Sanctification is the setting apart or being made holy by and for God through the blood of Jesus and it is a continuing process. It is the everyday movement of our lives away from sin, Satan, and this world toward the light and glory of God in Christ Jesus. It is having our minds renewed (Rom. 12:2) even as we are being conformed to the image of Christ (Rom 8:29). The blood of Jesus Christ has secured our holiness in the sight of God. (1 Cor. 1:30).
Nevertheless, there is the on-going work of the blood of Jesus in making us practically what we have become positionally, namely, holy. In other words, there will be times in our lives when we do not feel the ongoing, progressive nature of our sanctification but the blood of Jesus cleanses us all to keep us in a healthy spiritual state.
LEVITICUS 17:11 says: “For the life of the flesh is in the blood…” so also the life of the soul of man is in the blood of Jesus. Jesus said: “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (Matthew 26:28).
Viewed under a microscope, the blood cells reflect the body’s state of health. In a healthy body, the blood cells have to exist in the correct number, structure, and colour. The blood conveys nutrition to all parts of the body, and millions of cells clean the body from metabolic products 2-3 times per minute. There are different kinds of blood cells, each with its own purpose. One type protects the body from bacteria, the other removes damaged tissue and helps the thickening of the blood so that in case of an accident it minimises the loss of blood. The blood carries nutrients from the digestive organs and oxygen from the lungs to the cells in the body.
You can find bacteria everywhere; on the skin, in the nose, in the throat and in the mouth. In the event of an accident, bacteria will enter the body through the broken skin or tissue. This leads to infection and poisonous toxins entering into the body, which can damage many of the life-essential organs. Then only the cleansing power of the blood can save us.
If human blood is so wonderful, how much more wonderful will the Blood of Jesus Christ be, which cleanses every second of the day!
Sin is an illness of the soul, attacking the thoughts and imaginations of man, contaminating the mind, weakening the will (Rom 7: 17- Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me), hardening one’s conscience, and stopping the spiritual activity. “For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord GOD.” (JEREMIAH 2:22)
Christ said he did not come to destroy the law but that it be fulfilled. Christ is the end of the law for righteousness; our Passover is slain, our righteousness is finished, for we are complete in Him. Our victim is slain, our priest has gone within the veil, the blood sprinkled; we are clean and beyond defilement as long as we walk according to his will. He has perfected forever those He has set apart. Value this precious blood, my beloved that ye may have eternal life.
The sermon was delivered on March 17, 2019.