The Precious Blood of Jesus
By Dr. Charles Stanley
Unless you work in a medical field or a related profession, you probably aren’t very comfortable around blood. Perhaps for that reason, many churches have erased any mention of Jesus’ crucifixion from their worship. But the shedding of blood is essential to the Christian faith—without a sacrifice, no person can have a relationship with God.
In Jesus’ day, the presence of blood was common to daily life. For one thing, if the family served meat, meal preparation often included the slaughter of a live animal. In addition, blood was an integral aspect of sacrificial worship; God made the redemption system explicit so that even small children could understand the connection between shed blood and freedom from sin. According to Mosaic law, for God’s holiness to be satisfied, the blood of an unblemished animal was required as the atonement—or payment for a person’s sin.
God also wanted His followers to understand that sin brought terrible consequences and resulted in death. The first fatality in Scripture was the beast whose skin covered Adam and Eve’s nakedness
(Gen. 3:21). In later times, whenever an Israelite brought the priests a lamb or a pair of doves, he recognized that “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). Since the death of one animal did not pay for all sins, the system of sacrifice was continual.
What Jesus did on the cross, however, was a once-and-for-all blood sacrifice (1 Peter 3:18). No doubt that was a new and difficult concept for the disciples to grasp, and Jesus’ words at their last Passover meal together were critical for their understanding of the crucifixion.
To some, the cross may seem like an odd religious symbol. It does, after all, carry the same meaning as an electric chair or a hangman’s noose—death. Yet this gruesome form of Roman torture stands at the heart of Christianity. It is an authentic badge of our faith.
You, see, the Father so loved you that His Son Jesus died on your behalf (John 3:16). Sin had carved an abyss between God and man that nothing but the cross could traverse. Man could not save himself from wrongdoing, and our heavenly Father could not condone sin. The wonder of the cross is that it displayed both His love and His holiness. At one moment in time, the Father’s hatred of sin and His unfailing compassion for sinners blended together in the blood of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
When you contemplate the cross and the pain that accompanied it—from nails, thorns, whips, and bloodshed to ridicule—think of the overwhelming love of God. Because the Father loves you, Christ died for you and rose again. He saves all who trust Him for forgiveness of sin and reserves a place in eternity for every believer. That is the love of God displayed through the cross.
How We Benefit
Because of the blood Christ shed at Calvary, believers enjoy the eternal rewards of these central truths:
Propitiation. This word means an atoning sacrifice—specifically, the influence or effects of the death of Christ in appeasing divine justice and gaining divine favor. Our sin is forgiven, as the wrath of God was fully vented on His own Son at the cross. Even God’s chastisement for sinful behavior is motivated by compassion.
Redemption. Literally, this refers to a transaction in which some item or person is exchanged for payment on a debt. Spiritually, it indicates the price that Jesus paid on the cross to free every person from slavery to sin. To “redeem” us, Christ paid the debt we owed—His shed blood paid the penalty of death and ransomed us from sin and evil. We have been delivered from the kingdom of Satan and placed into the kingdom of God.
Justification. This term, which means the act of declaring someone righteous in the eyes of God, is made possible only by the crucifixion. Through Jesus, the believer’s past, present, and future sins are totally washed away (Eph. 1:7-8). What’s more, all guilt is removed and replaced with the righteousness of the Savior. Christ’s death released us from the sentence of death, and by God’s grace, we are no longer guilty before Him.
Reconciliation. This describes the act of restoring harmony between humanity and the Father. The cross made a permanent change possible between a holy God and formerly alienated, sinful humanity. Once enemies, God and man are now friends.
Sanctification. This word is defined as the life-long maturing process that begins when a person trusts in the Savior (Heb. 13:12). A believer is set apart from the rest of humanity for the purpose of becoming Christlike. Through discipleship, testing, and teaching, God “drains out” our old selves and pumps the life of Jesus into our hearts and lives.
As grateful as we are for the blood Christ shed on the cross, you and I can be even more thankful that our Savior didn’t stay there. He not only paid the price for our transgressions—He rose again! Jesus’ sacrifice made it possible for us to enjoy the exquisite delight of union with Christ and also to experience the abundant life He promised.
Adapted from “On Holy Ground” (1999).
- How do I accept Jesus as my Savior?
- Why should I believe in Jesus?
- Why is Jesus’ death on the cross necessary for my salvation?
- What does it mean to have saving faith?
- How can I be sure to go to heaven when I die?
The Precious Blood of Jesus
Apart from the blood of Christ, you and I could not have a relationship with our heavenly Father. Jesus’ sacrificial death made it possible for sinful man to approach holy God. Because of His blood, believers are redeemed, forgiven, justified, and sanctified, and they have access to their Creator. No wonder we call it the precious blood of Jesus. (Watch The Precious Blood of Jesus.)
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