Saved By The Blood Of Christ

Saved By The Blood Of Christ

The Bible clearly teaches that salvation is made possible through the blood of Jesus Christ.   We sing songs stating this truth over and over.   Some titles, among many I could choose, are: “Power In The Blood” and “Nothing But The Blood Of Jesus.”  The opening words of this latter song are, “What can wash away my sins?  Nothing but the blood of Jesus.  What can make me whole again?  Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”   Both water baptism (see Romans 6:3-5) and the Lord’s supper (1 Cor. 11:23-26) are based upon the facts and meaning of the death of Jesus Christ.

The death of Christ is part of the plan of God from eternity whereby men and women could be saved.  “knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers,  but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.  For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God” (1 Pet. 1:18-21).  The evidence of God’s long range purpose is seen in God’s statement to the serpent in Genesis 3:15, in the law of Moses containing many types and figures, and especially the sacrificial system, all pointing to the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ (see Heb. 10:1-9).  It is seen in the words of Jesus as he prayed and submitted to the will of the Father in the shadow of the cross (see Matt. 26:42).

The importance of the death of Christ (symbolized by the word cross or crucifixion) is seen in gospel accounts of the life of Christ.   There is a total of thirteen chapters describing the trials, crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ found in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.   The awful ordeals of the cross are described in great detail.  Every time Christians observe the memorial feast (Lord’s Supper), these details are remembered with gratitude and thankfulness.  Every one who is scripturally baptized in water acknowledges the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ and is committed to pattern his life after that of Jesus (see Romans 6:3-5).  

  The Death of Christ is the Heart of the Gospel Message

It carries such importance that the entire gospel or means of God saving man is summed up by focusing on the cross.   Paul wrote: “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.   For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness,  but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:21-24).    Again Paul wrote: “For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2).  Whenever the gospel was preached throughout the world, as recorded in the book of Acts, both the death of Christ and the resurrection constituted the heart of the message.  See Acts 2:23-24; 3:14-15; 4:2, 10, 27, 33; 5:28-32; 10:39-40; 13:28-30, 32-37; 17:3; etc.

The Death of Christ is the Basis of Discipleship

Jesus explains the terms of what it means to be a disciple in these words:  “Then Jesus said to His disciples, 'If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.  For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it'” (See also Mark 8:34 and Luke 9:23).   So the cross is at the heart of discipleship.  After Paul was converted, he wrote of these objectives:  "that I may know Him and the power of His resur-rection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead” (Phil. 3:10-11).  In fact, every real Christian share in the sufferings of Christ as they commit their lives to His service.

The apostle Paul urges Christians to imitate the attitude of Christ with these words:
“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,  who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,  but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,  and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:5-11).

The apostle Peter sets forth the suffering of Jesus Christ as the reason why many are attracted to Him and are willing to follow in His footsteps:   “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,  WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH;  and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously;  and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.  For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls” (1 Pet. 3:21-25).  What kind of world would this be if all truly followed in the footsteps of Jesus in every area of life?

Jesus Himself said:  ‘And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.’  But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die” (John 12:32-33).   Yes, we are drawn to Jesus through the cross.  Jesus accomplished in his life and death more than the most powerful dictator.

The Death Of Christ is the Payment For Sin

The redemption price for sin is the death of Christ.   There is no other way for God to be just and justify the ungodly.   The price for sin was paid in full.  If there were any other way, then we must conclude that God was cruel in allowing His son to be tortured and die needlessly.  Paul sums it up this way (and especially read verses 24-26):  “because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.  But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,  even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;  whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;  for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:20-26).

Paul had previously stated that it was through the gospel that the righteousness of God (that is, God’s way of making men righteous) was revealed.   “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.  For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH” (Romans 1:16-17).

The Death of Christ is the Motive for Faithfulness and Growth

Those who turn their back on Christ through willful sin are described in Hebrews 10:26-29:  “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,  but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES.  Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.  How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?”  I would not want to face Christ in judgment having stomped on Him, regarding his blood as unclean and insulted the Holy Spirit.  But this is what we do when we turn away from him in disobedience.

Also, if you as a Christian are not growing in faith, moral excellence (courage), knowledge, self-control, perseverance, brotherly kindness and love then this is how such a one is described:  “For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.”   In short, we have forgotten the meaning of Christ dying for us.

The death of Jesus is the ultimate sacrifice for sin.   Since it required the blood of Christ to make atonement for sin, this shows the awfulness of sin.   Also the death of Christ is the ultimate motivation for Christian living.   “For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf” (2 Cor. 5:14-15).  His willing sacrifice reaches our hearts as nothing else can and causes us to want to live for Him.  His resurrection made all of this possible.     Paul’s letter to the Romans is the greatest thesis on this subject, but it is talked about all through the epistles, and even all through the Bible.  

Since salvation is made possible through the blood of Christ, no one should conclude from this that it is unnecessary for the gospel to be preached.  Nor should it be thought that discipleship requires little or nothing on the part of man or that it is not necessary for us to turn away from our sins and be baptized into Jesus Christ.   Neither should it be thought that growth in Christ is an optional matter of small importance.  In fact, the blood of Christ embraces and strengthens all of these concepts.  My friend, I pray that you will appreciate what Christ did, and is now doing, at the right hand of God and be able to say like Paul: “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Gal. 2:20).

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