The blood of Jesus should cause the Christian’s mind to focus on His “incarnation” (Philippians 2:8; cf. Hebrews 2:14-18; Hebrews 4:14-15). In thinking of Christ’s death, Christians should be motivated to (1) think about the atonement Christ made for all mankind through the shedding of His blood at the cross (cf. Hebrews 9:12-14) and (2) to reflect upon the suffering and death of the sinless Son of God (1 Peter 2:24).
The phrase, “the blood of Christ”, appears verbatim in the New Testament (KJV) in four verses. With each reference, one finds important lessons about the function and significance of the blood of Jesus. Christ’s blood is central in the Father’s plan of salvation and spiritual life. In this article, let us ask this question, “How important is the blood of Jesus to mankind?”
1) The Blood Of Jesus Brings Redemption (1 Peter 1:19)
In 1 Peter 1, we see the inspired apostle speaking to (1) persecuted, (2) predestined, (3) purified, and (4) obedient people of God. What would cause a Christian to suffer wrong for doing right? What would cause a Christian to search out from the scriptures the terms of election, accept the terms of pardon, and follow the terms of Christian living? Simply, an understanding of redemption. Perhaps the verse most loved and quoted is John 3:16. In this verse, Jesus, with His divine foreknowledge, foretells the act of redemption. Christ understood that the gift of the Father’s only begotten Son (Himself) meant the shedding of His blood at Calvary. The purpose of that shed blood, He knew, was to “redeem” the lost race of man from the power and hopelessness of sin. Paul says, “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Gal. 4:4-5). Paul reinforces this idea of redemption in Titus 2:14.
2) The Blood Of Jesus Brings The Removal Of Sin (Hebrews 9:14)
The Hebrew writer explains to his readers the effect of the blood of Jesus upon the conscience of one to whom that blood is applied. Thayer shows the original word translated “purge” in Hebrews 9:14 means “free from the guilt of sin” (The New Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon, 312). Mankind needed some agent to remove the guilt of sin (“dead works”) from their lives. The blood of Christ was that agent. For the agent to be effective, one must come in contact with it. Where does one come in contact with the blood of Christ? Jesus shed His blood when He died (John 19:34). Paul explains “that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death” (Romans 6:3). One cannot literally go over to Jerusalem to a hill called Matthew Calvary and find the man Jesus bleeding to death on a cross. Furthermore, because one cannot do this, one cannot in some literal way reach up to Christ and take some of His shed blood and apply it to himself. Thus, there is no literal, physical way for today’s man or woman to contact the actual, shed blood of our Lord.
John tells us in Revelation 1:5, that the crucified Christ “washed us from our sins in His own blood.” God would not allow His Son to shed His life-blood and then provide no means for mankind to contact that blood in some way. There is a way and only one way. Acts 22:16 says that baptism “washes away sins”. Summarizing, we see that (1) Christ shed His blood in His death; (2) we are buried with Christ in baptism; (3) Christ washed our sins with His blood; (4) We wash away our sins in the act of baptism. Thus, the blood of Christ and baptism, inseparably joined, removes the sins of those who recognize and submit to the authority of Christ in being baptized “for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38; cf. 1 Peter 3:21).
3) The Blood Of Jesus Brings Back Man’s Return (Ephesians 2:12-13)
The idea in Ephesians 2:12-13 is that the Gentiles were “far off” from a right relationship with God. How could they come back to God? Paul stresses the fact that Christ’s blood was the only means whereby reconciliation could be made (Colossians 1:20). How did Christ effect this return with His blood? (1) He took the Old Covenant God made with Moses and Israel out of the way by dying on the cross (Ephesians2:12; Ephesians 2:14-15); (2) He placed all believers in the faith into “one body”, i.e. the church (Ephesians 2:14-16; Ephesians 4:4); (3) He provided the message of reconciliation in commissioning the preached word to all men (Ephesians 2:17; Acts 1:8); (4) He opened the avenue of prayer by His death on the cross, encouraging petitioning the Father to enhance our relationship with Him (Ephesians 2:18); (5) He set aside a place in His kingdom [the church] for all the faithful obedient into which all spiritual blessings flow (Matthew 16:18-19; Ephesians 2:19-22; Ephesians 1:3). To all who obey the commandments of God relative to entrance into His church, reconciliation and return to God are provided.
4) The Blood Of Jesus Brings “Communion” (1 Corinthians 10:16)
In 1 Corinthians 10:16, Paul stresses that there is “communion”. The original Greek word from which it is translated is “koinonia”. This term is also translated “fellowship.” Fellowship is also employed by the inspired New Testament writers to make reference to the Lord’s Supper. The apostles and early Christians continued steadfastly in the “fellowship” of the Lord’s Supper (Acts 2:42). That “fellowship” is with the blood of Christ, which suggests that the blood of Christ places one into the one body, the church (Colossians 1:18; Acts 20:28). The fellowship of the Lord’s Supper involves corporate (collective) activity. Together, children of God are drawn closer to one another remembering the Savior whose blood purchased them from sin (Acts 20:28). This communion, then, is a means of expressing encouragement and thanksgiving together as the redeemed. The Lord’s Supper provides a “communion” between the individual Christian and his or her Lord. Thus, Paul instructs each to “examine himself” (1 Corinthians 11:28). None other can obey the command of self-examination and remembrance for another in the Lord’s Supper or in any spiritual matter. Yet, the Lord’s Supper is special because of both the sharing with others and the individual responsibility. As an institution, the Lord’s Supper is, in both regards, a crucial means whereby Christians “remember” the sacrifice, suffering, and death of Christ in shedding His blood on the tree.
To summarize the importance of the blood of Jesus, we see that, (1) The blood of Christ purchased man’s pardon (1 Peter 1:19); (2) The blood of Christ purges man’s conscience (Hebrews 9:14); (3) The blood of Christ brings man closer to God (Ephesians 2:13); (4) The blood of Christ provides recollection of atonement (1 Corinthians 10:16; cf. Romans 5:8-11); (5) Christ’s blood was important in prophesy (Isaiah 53:3-5); (6) Christ’s blood was important [physically] (John 19:34); (7) Christ’s blood is important in personal examination (1 Corinthians 11:28; Matthew 26:28). As Christians, let us never forget the importance of the blood that was shed by our Lord and Savior on our behalf.