The Cross and the Blood of Jesus
This article has been adapted from Mission Preparation Training
by Mathew Backholer (2006), Section Four.
Jesus shed His blood so that we could be redeemed (Revelation 5:9) and be reconciled back to God. Because He shed His blood there are many other promises and declarations which can be appropriated and outworked in and through our lives (on a day-to-day basis) to include: our position in Christ (Romans 5:9 and Hebrews 13:12), healing (Isaiah 53:5 and Isaiah 53:10) and divine protection (Exodus chapter 12).
Jesus’ blood is imperative for atonement and is a powerful weapon of victory. This was achieved on the victorious cross of Calvary. Jesus’ blood is still as powerful now, as it was two thousand years ago.
If the blood of Jesus had not been shed, mankind would not have been able to enter into a relationship with the living God. The blood is precious. ‘…Almost all things are purged with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no remission [forgiveness]’ Hebrews 9:22.
‘For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God’ 1 Corinthians 1:18.
‘But now in Christ Jesus you who were once far off have been made near by the blood of Christ’ Ephesians 2:13.
“Come now and let us reason together” says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool” Isaiah 1:18.
Animal Sacrifice and the Passover
Animal sacrifice was a ritual through which the Israelites made atonement (payment) for their sins (Exodus 24:6-8), Leviticus chapters 1, 3, 4 and 7 and Leviticus 17:11, which included consecration, expiation (covering of sin) and propitiation (satisfaction of divine anger) and emphasised the importance of blood and its covering.
‘For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool and hyssop and sprinkled the book itself and all the people saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you.” Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. And according to the law almost all things are purged with blood and without the shedding of blood there is no remission…He [Jesus] has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself…So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation’ Hebrews 10:19-22, 26, 28.
Even though Jesus was sinless and without fault He was mocked, whipped, beaten and a crown of thorns was pressed onto His head. Jesus was then led to a place called Calvary (Luke 23:33, also known in Hebrew as Golgotha, John 19:17) and nailed to a cross, then left to die whilst crowds were mocking.
Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost. He conquered sin and defeated death and was the sacrificial ‘Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29). Jesus said, “For even the Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” Mark 10:45.
Exodus chapter 12 speaks of the Passover, when the Israelite slaves were delivered from Egypt and the angel of death passed over those who had applied the blood of the spotless lamb to their doorposts, Exodus 12:1-51 and Exodus 13:1-16. The Passover was a shadow of the things to come, which pointed the way to the Lamb of God who took away the sin of the world.
‘For whatever things were written before were written for our learning…’ Romans 15:4.
We need Jesus, the sacrificed Lamb of God, and His shed blood to cleanse and protect us from the destroyer, the devil, so that we to may have eternal life. For the Egyptians who were not covered by the blood, the firstborn in every household died. Pharaoh then let God’s people, the nation of Israel go. Likewise when we plead the blood over our lives (and we are not living in wilful unrepentant sin, 1 John 1:5-10) then the devil has to let us go as he has no legal right or hold over us (1 John 5:18-19). The Advocate our dear Lord Jesus Christ, pleads our case and is Himself the propitiation for our sins (1 John 2:1-3). See Zechariah 3:1-5 where the Angel of the Lord stand and defends Joshua the High priest against the accuser of the brethren.
‘All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable…’ 2 Timothy 3:16.
For the blood to be effective, it must be applied to the sin or the situation in our lives. If we live in
unrepentant sin, we have no forgiveness. But if we repent, the devil has no legal right over us because the
Advocate pleads our case, see Colossians 1:21-22 and 1 John 5:18-19.
Jesus is the Lamb of God, who was sacrificed (ushering in the new covenant with its better promises),
Matthew 26:28, Galatians 3:10-29, Ephesians 1:7-9, Colossians 1:14, Hebrews 9:6-28 and Hebrews 10:19-20.
Forgiven sins are vanquished, Psalm 103:12 and Micah 7:19.
‘To Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that
of Abel’ Hebrews 12:24.
‘All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the
redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth to be a propitiation by His blood, through faith,
to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that
were previously committed’ Romans 3:23-25.
‘…You were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold…but with the precious blood of Christ
as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the
world, but was manifest in these last times for you’ 1 Peter 1:18-20.
‘And all who dwell on the earth will worship him [the dragon], whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of
the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world’ Revelation 13:8.
Three Effects of the Atonement
1. The atonement gives us redemption from past sin. ‘Add to your faith, virtue…knowledge…self-control…perseverance…to
godliness brotherly kindness…and love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will neither be barren
or unfruitful…[Do not forget that] he was purged from his old sins’ 2 Peter 1:5-9.
There is no need to feel condemned or guilty over past sins which you have repented of. ‘If we confess
our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’ 1 John 1:9.
2. The atonement gives us the ability to live differently from the world. ‘Pure and undefiled religion before God
and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in trouble and to keep oneself unspotted from the world’
3. The atonement gives us a reason to live, other than for self. ‘And He [Jesus] died for all, that
those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again’
2 Corinthians 5:15. ‘I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives
in me…’ Galatians 2:20.
Seven Blood-bought Privileges
1. We are at peace with God having been reconciled. ‘By Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of the cross’ Colossians 1:20. – Note that the devil’s greatest ally is division within the body of Christ as a divided church cannot stand (Mark 3:24).
2. We are brought near to God. ‘In Christ Jesus you who were once far off have been made near by the blood of Christ’ Ephesians 2:13.
3. We can receive forgiveness of our sins. ‘In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace’ Ephesians 1:7.
4. We are sanctified (made holy). ‘Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate’ Hebrews 13:12. ‘…the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin’ 1 John 1:7.
5. We are justified (just as if I never did it, declared not guilty). ‘…having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him’ Romans 5:9.
6. We are righteous. ‘For if by the one man’s offence (Adam) death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ’ Romans 5:17.
7. We have access to the Holy Place, the throne room of God, when in prayer, access to the Father through Jesus the Mediator. ‘Brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus’ Hebrews 10:19.
Jesus said, “Whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me, cannot be My disciple…So likewise whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple” Luke 14:27, 33.
The Cross and its Benefits
• The cross gives us freedom, knowing that in Christ Jesus all confessed sin has been put under the blood and we are forgiven. ‘There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit’ Romans 8:1.
• The cross gives us an understanding of a covenant. The sins of the world were placed upon Jesus at the cruel cross of Calvary. Jesus took the punishment that we deserved so that we could go free and enter into a covenant relationship with Him. ‘He [God] made Him [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him’ 2 Corinthians 5:21. Read Isaiah chapter 53.
• The cross gives us peace. Jesus is a peace-maker and in Christ we can be at peace. ‘By Him [God] to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him [Jesus], whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross’ Colossians 1:20.
• The cross gives us a positional standing in Christ Jesus. I am a new creation, justified, sanctified, made righteous, a child of God, a son and a co-heir in Christ and part of a holy priesthood (John 1:12, Romans 3:24, Romans 5:19, Romans 8:17, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Hebrews 10:10, 1 Peter 2:9 and Revelation 1:5-6).
• The cross aids development of character. True character is only inwardly changed by embracing the cross; knowing Jesus better which will then produces outward fruit. Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery, “…Go and sin no more” John 8:11. The apostle Paul stated, ‘I count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish that I might gain Christ [be more like Him]’ Philippians 3:8.
• The cross gives us victory. There is victory in Christ Jesus over death and Hades, 1 Corinthians 15:55-56. ‘Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ’ 1 Corinthians 15:57. ‘They [the believers] overcame him [the devil] by the blood of the Lamb [Jesus] and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death’ Revelation 12:11.
All believers have a testimony that they have been forgiven and cleansed by the blood of Jesus and because of this satan’s accusation cannot stand against them as God is faithful to forgive them of all confessed sin. See, also 1 John 5:18.
• The cross when embraced assures us of eternal life in heaven. ‘…God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life’ 1 John 5:11-12. ‘We know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life’ 1 John 5:20.
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