Throughout the ages, wherever the Gospel has been welcomed, Christians have sung with deep joy and gratitude about what the Apostle Peter calls “the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:19). But why this emphasis?
Because the Bible teaches us that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin (Hebrews 9:22). The blood is not incidental to the Bible’s message–something that can be put to one side without affecting the heart of the Gospel. It is the heart of the Gospel!
Here are some of the passages that make this clear. In each instance, blood refers to the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross.
Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 26:28 that the New Covenant, prophesied in Jeremiah 31:31-34, was being forged in His blood. Paul told the elders of the church in Ephesus that the church had been purchased by the blood of the Lord (Acts 20:28). He wrote that the redemption of sinful men and women depends on the propitiation Jesus made when He shed His blood (Romans 3:25). To propitiate means to satisfy or to appease.
According to God’s law, the penalty for sin is death. When Christ died on the cross, He satisfied God’s wrath against our sin.
Here is the amazing truth of the Gospel: Out of sheer unmerited love for us, the Father and the Son, with the Spirit, devised a stunning plan for our salvation. The Father would pour out His judgment against our sins on His Son, who in loving faithfulness to His Father and out of love for us was willing to die on the cross.
He took our sin so that we might be clothed in His righteousness. Through faith we can stand before God’s holy throne as righteous as Jesus himself–because the righteousness in which we stand clothed there is Jesus’ righteousness!
That is the liberating, transforming, glorious truth of justification by faith that brings us peace with God (Romans 5:1). By Christ’s shed blood we are redeemed, ransomed and set free from our sins (Ephesians 1:7, 1 Peter 1:18-19, Revelation 1:5). And by that blood we can overcome the evil one (Revelation 12:11), since none of his accusations against us can condemn us (Romans 8:33-34).
On the cross, Christ’s blood was shed as a sacrifice–His death for our death, His life for our life.
This is why the Apostle John tells us that when we sin as Christians we do not despair. We do not immediately fear we have lost our salvation. No! Instead we confess our sins, return to the light and have the assurance that the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7) daily.
Since His one sacrifice is sufficient to pardon all the sins of all of God’s people, it is as powerful to pardon us today as it was when He shed His blood on the cross!
Will you pause to thank the Lord Jesus again for shedding His precious blood for you?