There is a popular concept among Christians that there is some inherent power in the blood of Jesus. We see this idea frequently coming up in hymns, praise songs and prayers too. Is there really some intrinsic power in Jesus blood? What is the truth of the blood of Jesus?
From a biblical perspective, there are some fundamental misunderstanding of the concept of the blood of Jesus in relation to the atonement. The basic question is: “Why Jesus had to shed His blood? If we are saved by the blood of Christ, and if there is some inherent saving power in the blood of Christ, why He didn’t come on to earth from heaven just for a day, and scratch His finger on a nail, shed few drops of blood; wouldn’t that be sufficient to redeem us?”
Life of the flesh is in the blood
The Old Testament repeatedly tells us that the life of the flesh is in the blood. “For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life – (Lev 17:11). The significance of blood is that it represents life. Therefore, when the blood is poured out, the life is poured out. We see in Genesis 2:17, the penalty declared for the disobedience in the garden is death. Sin is an offence to the Holy God. God required death, a shedding of blood, as a payment for the sin. When the blood is poured out the life is poured out, and the penalty is paid.
The blood sacrifices seen through the redemptive history were foreshadowing the true, once-for-all-time sacrifice of Christ on Calvary. The whole sacrificial system in the Old Testament ultimately points to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. This shedding of blood is a substitutionary act. Jesus made an atonement on behalf of us satisfying God for the offense we committed. Hebrews 9:12 says that, the Old Testament blood sacrifices were temporary and only atoned for sin partially and for a short time, hence the need to repeat the sacrifices yearly. The bulls and goats couldn’t pay the ransom demanded by God, for God needs a perfect sacrifice, a perfect sinless life on this earth to shed his blood. That is why Jesus had to die to accomplish the atonement. When Christ made that sacrifice on the cross, He did so for once for all time, making future sacrifices unnecessary. This is what Jesus meant by His dying words on the cross: “It is finished” (John 19:30). Never again would the blood of bulls and goats cleanse men from their sin. The sacrificial system is over! “Nor did He [Jesus Christ] enter heaven to offer himself again and again…” – Hebrews 9:25
There is more to the shedding of the blood
Now, there is more to the shedding of the blood in relation to the perfect atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ. There is a crucial truth of this redemption act that we must fully understand: that is not only did Jesus die for us, He lived for us. Jesus not only died for our sins, He also lived for us to earn the merit of righteousness at the bar of justice. It is not only the death of Christ that saved us, but also the life of Christ. The truth of the gospel in biblical term is the Good News of the PERSON and the WORK of Jesus Christ. Gospel is about WHO Jesus is and WHAT Jesus did. Jesus had to live a life of obedience, before His death could mean anything. Without His life of obedience -His sinless living on earth for thirty-three years, Jesus’ atonement would have had no value at all. The important of the Gospel message is that God laid our sins on Christ and transferred His righteousness to us. This great exchange took place when He shed His blood on the Calvary in our place and bore our condemnation. “By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, God condemned sin in the flesh” (Romans 8:3). This is the great exchange. Christ became of our legal substitute. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
So, what is it about His BLOOD that makes it so precious?
- His blood redeems us: 1 Peter 1:18-19 – “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”
- His blood brought forgiveness of sins (justification): Matthew 26:28 – “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
- His blood cleanses from sin (process of sanctification): 1 John 1:7 – “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”
- His blood makes peace with God: Colossians 1:20 – “And through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”
- His blood brings us into fellowship with God: Ephesians 2:13 – “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”
- His blood purifies our conscience: Hebrews 9:14 – “How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!”
- His blood gives power over the devil: Revelation 12:11 – “They triumphed over him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb.”
The Crux of Christianity
The cross is the culmination of Jesus’ earthly ministry, and the crux of the biblical Christianity. In 1 Cor 2:1-2, Paul makes an important declaration of Christian faith: “I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” The focal point of his preaching and teaching was “Jesus Christ and His Crucifixion.” If the cross is of central importance to biblical Christianity, isn’t it essential for Christians to have some understanding of its meaning? Do we not want to know about the depths and the riches of the atonement of Christ?
If you read the teaching of Jesus, one of the things that comes through His teaching again and again is that someday every human being would be called before the tribunal of God, that every one of us will have to give an account before the Holy God. Jesus said, on that day every idle word that we have ever spoken will be brought in to the judgment, that everything we have ever done, everything we have ever said, every promise we made and broken, every blasphemes statement came to our mouth, every slanderous word that we made toward our neighbor, will be brought up on the table.
The Mercy and the Wrath of God
God is loving and merciful, and His perfect Holy character maintains justice and righteousness. Sin is an abomination to God. He hates it because it is offensive to Him and His character. Though God pardons sinners and makes great provision for expressing His mercy, He will never negotiate His justice. He won’t let go anyone unpunished. The punishment for the sin is death and the horrible, unimaginable suffering in the hell for eternity. Romans 3:10 tells us, “There is none righteous, no, not one.” All men have offended God’s justice and deserve His judgment. Every sin, no matter how seemingly insignificant, is truly an act of treason against the cosmic King. Even the slightest sin does violence to His holiness, to His glory, and to His righteousness.
The only thing that can save anyone from going to hell is the provision of the atonement of Christ. The atonement of Christ satisfied the demand of God’s justice with regard to our sins. Christ functions as the Substitute, the one who stands in the place of the true criminals. Christ is the only substitute God accepts as a satisfactory ransom for our sin. It’s Christ’s righteousness that makes me just. His death, shedding of blood has taken care of my punishment, and His sinless living has taken care of my merit. So, my justice is completely tied up in the Person of Christ and the Work of Christ. All who are justified experience reconciliation with the Father, full remission of sins, and entrance to the eternal life. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:12).
The Good News of the Cross
The truth of the cross which is the heart of the gospel is that our sins are laid on Christ, and His righteousness is laid on us, and that this great exchange becomes ours not by works but by faith alone. “By grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). No one can earn this free Gift from God by doing good works. It is a free gift that we have to receive from God without any merit from our part. When you believe from your heart and confess that you are a hopeless sinner who can do nothing to free yourself from the punishment of God, and that Jesus came and lived a sinless life and offered Himself as a sacrifice to God on behalf of us, and God is fully satisfied, and believe that God is willing to grant the forgiveness for all my past, present, and future sins, and believe that you do not have to do anything else to receive this forgiveness but accept as a Free Gift from God, you will be saved from the punishment of eternal death.
If we chose to accept this gift or not, one thing should happen; one day we all will die. If we had put our trust in Jesus for our salvation, we will go to heaven to live with God forever. In contrast, if we try to be good enough on our own and reject God’s gift we will be condemned and will be separated from God forever. In the final analysis, the sinner has only two options: Make the wrong one, eternal hell waits; Make the right one, eternal heaven waits. Forgiveness of sin available through His death on the cross. Eternal life available through His resurrection. The choice you make about Jesus Christ is the only choice that matters forever.