The Atoning Blood


      Beloved, God's way has always been the way of blood. "And almost all things are by the law purged with blood, " declared the writer of Hebrews, "and without shedding of blood is no remission" (Heb. 9: 22). The highly sophisticated are offended at the thought of requisite blood and the modernist denies the necessity of blood in man's salvation. Nevertheless, the scriptures are replete with teaching concerning the atoning blood. The writer of Hebrews went on to say, "So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many…" (Heb. 9: 28, see more later).

     The blood of the Covenants. The scriptures inform us that the first covenant (the Mosaic) was dedicated by blood. The writer succinctly penned, "Whereupon neither the first testament ("covenant," dm) was dedicated without blood" (Heb. 9: 18). The blood of animals, however, did not permanently suffice (Heb. 10: 1-4). This temporary arrangement was removed and gave place to a greater system (Heb. 10: 9).

     The second covenant was dedicated not by the blood of animals, but by Jesus' own blood (Heb. 9: 18-28). Jesus' effective blood benefited those before his death and those who would follow (Heb. 9: 15). Jesus' covenant is "everlasting" (Heb. 13: 20, 10: 9, 10, in regards to Jesus' covenant, notice the expression "once for all," Heb. 10: 10, 9: 28).

     Facts to be faced. In a biblical study of the atoning blood, there are some permanent facts that must be faced. For instance, sin universally exists (Eccl. 7: 20, Rom. 3: 10, 23). Sin, according to the scriptures, does not cure itself and will result in spiritual death and separation from God (Ezek. 18: 20; Isa. 59: 1, 2). The only hope man has is the blood of Jesus. Hear Jesus: "For this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins" (Matt. 26: 28).

     What sin does for man. Sin estranges from God (Isa. 59: 1, 2). God can not abide sin; hence, when man persists in sin, God must remove himself. This is the meaning of the biblical rule that when man forsakes God, God forsakes man (2 Chronicles 15: 2). Sin has the ability to enslave man (Rom. 6: 16, 17). Sin, if unchecked, brings about spiritual alienation (Rom. 6: 16, 23, Jas. 1: 13 ff.).

     The accomplishments of the blood of Jesus. The scriptures often refer to the death of Jesus. When you encounter such references, appreciate the fact that the blood of Jesus is particularly being emphasized. "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall by saved by his life," Paul wrote (Rom. 5: 10). Hence, reconciliation is made possible by Jesus' blood. Man is "made alive" by and through Christ (Eph. 2: 1). Moreover, redemption is a product of the atoning blood: "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace" (Eph. 1: 7).

     How man contacts the blood of Jesus. Jesus died for all men (Heb. 2: 9). However, there must be means of appropriating Jesus' blood. I know this for a fact because the scriptures do not teach universal salvation (Matt. 7: 13, 14). Since Jesus shed his blood "for the remission of sins," we need to establish when man has remission of sins. When we achieve this task, we will have established how man accesses the atoning blood. "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2: 38). Hence, repentance and water baptism are for the remission of sins.

     Often the objection is made, "but Peter taught, '…whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins'" (Acts 10: 43). Since belief precedes baptism, they conclude remission of sins is experienced before baptism. Beloved, if this reasoning is correct, you are faced with a contradiction. The inspired Peter said that repentance and baptism are for the remission of sins. The simple truth of the matter is, the belief of Acts 10: 43 is not the single or isolated act of believing. The belief is active and fully viewed, or put another way, the belief is comprehensive, including all that is required to have remission of sins. Therefore, baptism is necessary in order to experience the remission of sins. Since remission of sin is enjoyed upon the completion of primary obedience (belief, repentance, confession of Jesus' deity, and baptism), it is in the act of initial or primary obedience that the atoning blood of Jesus is experienced. (The child of God accesses Jesus' blood by confession of sin, I Jn. 1: 7 ff.).

     In closing, without Jesus we are lost (Jn. 6: 67, 68). Without Jesus' atoning blood, we have no remission of sins (Matt. 26: 28).