Words of Life ~ BLOOD

We are blessed again to have Jim from The Domain for Truth post a special Word of Life. Thank you, Jim. You are a precious example and a great teacher of the Life we have in Christ.

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(All Bible verses are from the NASB with Strong’s definitions)

How rich is the theme that leads us to the blood of Christ – the blood of the everlasting covenant through which His people are united in Him for eternity.

There are 392 references to blood in the Bible (KJV) with meanings.

A study of the meaning of blood shows the wonderful grace of God through Jesus Christ.

The Old Testament lays the foundation.  Starting with the book of Genesis, we see the early use of the term blood testifies of the seriousness of sin.

Old Testament H1818
םדָּ dâm, dawm; from H1826; blood (as that which when shed causes death) of man or an animal; by analogy, the juice of the grape; figuratively (especially in the plural) bloodshed (i.e. drops of blood):—blood(-y, -guiltiness), (-thirsty), + innocent

In Genesis 4:10-11 we find what God says the blood of the innocent did after the matter with Cain murdering Abel:

“He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground.
Now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.

In the Noahic covenant, God established the penalty of blood for blood.

“Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man.” Genesis 9:6

Then there is the extended discussion in the Laws of the Old Testament about the sacrificial system which involves blood.  Why is it a bloody matter?

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” Leviticus 17:11

That is the Old Testament reference from Leviticus the writer of Hebrews uses:

“And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” Hebrews 9:22

This verse states that without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. It is fitting imagery given to show blood is needed for physical life – so in the spiritual realm, the blood of Christ is needed for spiritual life.

The blood of Christ is sufficient for the forgiveness of sins; an accomplishment that is multi-faceted.  We will survey some of these aspects below. We can learn much about the order of salvation from tracing the theme of the blood of Christ.

New Testament G129
αἷμα haîma, hah’-ee-mah; blood, literally (of men or animals), figuratively (the juice of grapes) or specially (the atoning blood of Christ); by implication, bloodshed, also kindred:—blood.

The Blood of Christ Justifies 

God is a Holy and Just Judge. In order for us to be saved from hell, Jesus Christ had to pay the penalty for our sins.  Justification is to be declared legally righteous on the basis of what Christ has done.  Yet Romans 5:8-9 teaches that justification is accomplished by the blood of Christ:

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.”

Verse 8 reveals that God has shown His love to sinners. The means is stated in the second half of the verse – Christ died for us.  Verse 9 unpacks this truth by revealing to us that believers have been justified by His blood.  The effect of being justified by His blood means we are saved from God’s wrath and judgment.  What wonder – that the blood of Christ can declare us legally righteous!

The Blood of Christ Provides Propitiation

Remember Romans 5:9 – the blood of Christ justifies us and therefore we shall be saved from the wrath of God.  To appease the wrath of God against sinners, that is, to have the wrath of God against us satisfied, requires the blood of Christ (Romans 5:9). This is called the doctrine of propitiation.

Those who trust in the atoning work of Christ live in gratitude for His work of grace to and in us.

The Blood of Christ Redeems 

The Bible reveals that as nonbelievers we were at one time slaves to sin.

“For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.” Romans 6:20

In the New Testament era, the purchase of slaves by a new master was called redemption. God uses this motif to say He has paid the cost to make us His people that we may be servants of righteousness (Romans 8:6).

 “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace” Ephesians 1:7

Redemption is only through Christ’s blood. This is not because we deserved it. No – the verse makes it clear – it is because of the riches of God’s grace.

This doctrine has implications and practical application for church members.

“Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” Acts 20:28

The Blood of Christ Provides Communion with God

When I say the blood of Christ provides communion with God, I mean that the blood of Christ brings us close to God.

“Remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:12-13

Verse 12 explains our condition before we became believers – we were separated and far from God.  But in verse 13 we see the opposite for us as believers.  How are we brought near to God?

By what means? – by the blood of Christ. Knowing what it cost should change how we view our time with God and our worship.

The Blood of Christ Sanctifies

The blood of Christ also washes us and changes us in a practical and ethical way.

“Therefore, Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate.” Hebrews 13:12

Christ sanctifies us. That’s amazing, since Christians often think of the Holy Spirit’s sanctification. The truth is that it is both Christ and the Spirit!  Yet what is the means by which Christ sanctifies us? The verse here says, through His own blood.  This is associated with the crucifixion of Christ as the verse references His suffering outside the gate of Jerusalem.

This should change the way we view holiness and sanctification.  It is a privilege to pursue godliness to please God and Christ in light of what Christ has done for us.

The shedding of the blood of Christ is the means God has provided to save us.  Tracing the theme of the blood of Christ reveals the beautiful jewels of Christ’s work of salvation.  His blood has justified us, provided propitiation, redeemed us, draws us near to God, and sanctifies us in Christ, making us His – here, now, and forever.

Have you appreciated these treasured truths of the Gospel to such a point that you are motivated to serve and live for Christ? Let this be our prayer.

“And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb
and because of the word of their testimony,
and they did not love their life even [when faced with death.”
Revelation 12:11

Related Article: A Bloody Crown, A Bloody Cross, A Bloody Sacrifice

 

A Bloody Crown, a Bloody Cross, a Bloody Sacrifice

After posting Three Crosses, Two Crowns, One Sacrifice I  wanted to do this follow-up. In that article, images depicted everything clean as if the cross of Christ was never used. The crowns were those of earthly kings. The precious sweet lamb was untouched, alive in the green grass.

As the church plans to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ next Lord’s Day, I am reminded that we seldom think about the events that led to this celebration. Too often we skip the crucifixion and the tomb, forgetting the suffering and the sacrifice that made our salvation sure. Some people can look at blood and gore and are insensitive to it. I, like others, avoid it at all costs. Even the sounds of violence from a distance make me cringe.

Still others will not consider their need for a bloody Savior. The rich man of the South who said, “I don’t need anyone to die for me,” didn’t know his own heart.

Understanding how we are reconciled to God through the blood of His own Son is necessary ~ if we are to experience the power of His love and grace working in and through us.

Even as I continue to study the humility of Christ, I desire the Lord to give me a deeper understanding of His sacrificial atonement. I pray that you, the reader, will receive something of what He is showing me; to know the love that was in the blood that was shed for us; to let that love fill us so that we love Him even more.

And as Paul spoke to the Roman church, let us pray that we are so humbled by His mercy that we respond by offering ourselves as “a living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1-2) for our God, “who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us.” Ephesians 2:4

A Bloody Crownimages

Charles Spurgeon said in his sermon The Bloody Crown:

Beloved, I always feel as if my tongue were tied when I come to talk of the sufferings of my Master. I can think of them. I can picture them to myself. I can sit down and weep over them, but I know not how to paint them to others! Did you ever know pen or pencil that could? A Michelangelo or a Raphael might well shrink back from attempting to paint this picture! And the tongue of an archangel might be consumed in the effort to sing the griefs of Him who was loaded with shame because of our shameful transgressions.

“Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. John 19:2

And the soldiers led him away into the hall, called Praetorium;
and they call together the whole band.
And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns,
and put it about his head,
And began to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews!
And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him,
and bowing their knees worshipped him.
Mark 15:16-19

Matthew, Mark, and Luke’s Gospels record the scourging and mocking right before Jesus was led away to be crucified. But John’s gospel records (and he was an eye witness) Pilate bringing him before the chief priests, the elders, and the crowd before He was led away.

Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! John 19:5

What did Pilate mean by doing this? He may have thought that all the blood would discourage the Jewish leaders and the crowd, but no ~ they wanted more. What they saw from Jesus’ beating and the thorns on His head was not enough. They must have his life. They must see Him destroyed; no matter how much blood it took.

They could not know how powerful that blood would be to save His people ~ and to condemn them. The envy, the anger, the hatred, the malice from the enemy was the very reason that Jesus had to endure such suffering.   God knew what was needed to accomplish our redemption ~ an innocent Lamb, a holy man, Himself in human form. He knew that in the presence of sinful men He would be massacred.

At any point, amid the pain and the humiliation from Pilate, the soldiers, and the Jews, Jesus could have shown His power and position as God. Even in His physical weakness He could have spoken the word, or called down heaven and destroyed all or part of Jerusalem. (That would happen later.) But, all that happened was part of the plan for our redemption. Jesus could not turn back now. From the sweat drops of blood in the garden, the betrayal of Judas, the forsaking of the disciples, the mocking of the soldiers, and the crown of shame, He was well into fulfilling the new covenant.

He was revealing the necessity for blood, the reality of atonement through His own blood. To endure all for our sake was the true manner of humility revealed to us.

The pain which He had endured from the scourges caused Him to throb with exquisite anguish—but we read neither of tears nor groans—much less of angry complaints or revengeful threats. He does not seek pity, or make one appeal for leniency. He does not ask why they torture or why they mock. Brave Witness! Courageous Martyr! Suffering exquisitely, You also suffered calmly! Such a perfect frame as His—His body being conceived without sin—He must have been capable of tortures which our bodies, corrupted by sin, cannot feel. Charles Spurgeon

Bloody-Cross-600x450A Bloody Cross

For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. Leviticus 17:11

The beatings and the blood on His head did not faze Jesus. He was the central figure in this greatest event in history. It is His story of redemption. The cross, saturated with His blood, is the main scene ~ the turning point for humanity and the gateway leading to eternal life with Him. In the last decade, I have given up watching mere men do this role in plays and movies. It is but an act. No man but Jesus Christ has done this part. It is better to read and meditate on His word for this reality in our own hearts than to see an imitation.

The cross was the means that God had chosen; that Jesus knew He must bear; it was a revelation of God’s love and grace. It is the symbol for us to remember. We wear crosses around our necks.   Most of them are gold and silver. None are bloody. But we must remember the blood of the cross of Christ; His life that was shed for us.

That blood was the blood of the new covenant. The beatings and the bloody crown were only the preludes to our own lifeline. Without the blood of His hands, His feet, and His side, there would have been no reconciliation and peace between God and us. I use the words ‘God and us,’ instead of ‘us and God,’ because He is the initiator and the fulfillment of the covenant. We must see the blood, even as He had to see the blood, and therefore passed over our sins.

He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Isaiah 53:11

Mark his brow-they have put about it a crown of thorns, and the crimson drops of gore are rushing down his cheeks! . . . But turn aside that purple robe for a moment. His back is bleeding. ..They lift up the thongs, still dripping clots of gore; they scourge and tear his flesh, and make a river of blood to run down his shoulders! This is the shedding of blood without which there is no remission…They fling him to the ground; they nail his hands and feet to the transverse wood, they hoist it in the air…Blood from his head, blood from his hands, blood from his feet. . They pierce his side, and forthwith runneth out blood and water.   Charles Spurgeon

A Bloody Sacrificeimages

                “the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin.
1 John 1:7

After that tremendous struggle, the strength of Love mastered the weakness of Manhood—He put that cup to His lips and never shrank—He drank right on till not a drop was left! And now the cup of wrath is empty—no trace of the terrible wine of the wrath of God can be found within it! At one tremendous draught of love, the Lord drank destruction dry, forever, for all His people. Charles Spurgeon

The blood on the crown of thorns and the stain on the cross was the blood of Jesus Christ. The pouring out of His blood on the ground was more than a sprinkling and spoke better things than that of Abel. (Hebrews 13:24) There was life in that blood, the life of the Son of God who lived for one purpose ~ to lay down His life; to shed His blood for us.

“It is finished.” It was done according to His everlasting covenant. He was the bloody sacrifice for His people. We don’t have to look at a bloody cross anymore, but we must remember it. Nor do we need a crucifix with a figure of a man with no bloodstains.

He left us with two ordinances to remember His sacrifice; baptism and the Lord’s Supper. We need but to be baptized into His death once, but His sacrifice is to be remembered when we come together for worship. Blessed are we who celebrate the resurrection and remember His death with the Lord’s Supper every Lord’s Day.

Peace Through His Blood
Jesus is no longer a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger, or a man on a cross, or wrapped in a linen shroud lying in a tomb. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords living today and forever as our merciful and faithful High Priest; sitting at the right hand of God, having offered the oblation of His blood for His people; making reconciliation for us; and now, as our mediator, interceding for us.

We would be blessed today and tomorrow to read and meditate on the crucifixion of our Lord, so as to come to worship and celebrate this Lord’s Day with a deeper sense of His mercy and grace.

Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,
through sanctification of the Spirit,
unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:
Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
1 Peter 1:2

The blood is one of the strangest, the deepest, the mightiest, and the most heavenly of the thoughts of God. It lies at the very root of both Covenants, but specially of the New Covenant. The difference between the two Covenants is the difference between the blood of beasts, and the blood of the Lamb of God! The power of the New Covenant has no lesser measure than the worth of the blood of the Son of God! Your Christian experience ought to know of no standard of peace with God, and purity from sin, and power over the world, than the blood of Christ can give! If we would enter truly and fully into all the New Covenant is meant to be to us, let us beseech God to reveal to us the worth and the power of the blood of the Covenant, the precious blood of Christ!  The Two Covenants Andrew Murray

Dear heavenly Father, just as we cannot paint the picture of Christ, your Son, for others, neither can we put into words our praise and gratitude for so great a salvation, performed as planned and executed in your timing and place.  Let the blood of Christ, that is efficacious, doing all that you planned it to do, work in us the power over sin.  Cleanse us and keep us always looking to Jesus, the author, and finisher of our faith. In Jesus’ name, I pray.  Amen.
Fran

Images: Google

 

Words of Life ~ ATONEMENT

As we discover the centrality of Jesus Christ in all the Bible, atonement is central to the Old and New Testaments and the one subject most important to all who call themselves Christians. No other theme is as important to a believer as this one, therefore, we ought to study to clearly understand its meaning.

As I realized this to be my next word on the list, I knew it would be a most arduous undertaking. It is truly too high for me. To pretend to understand and define this word is not what I want to do, lest I lessen the impact of its true and powerful meaning. My best attempt will be to share my simple understanding and include two links to aid those readers who earnestly want to have a deeper knowledge of the major work of our Lord Jesus Christ. You may have other sources to add in the comment section.

The purpose of publishing Words of Life ~ A to Z ~ The Ordinary Vocabulary of a Christian is to focus on the language of those who are born into God’s kingdom through Jesus Christ.

We can only carry so much from the Old Testament to bring understanding to a Christian vocabulary, so where books have been written on one particular word, we are using more of the references that pertain to our position as a child of God in the New Testament.

Old Testament H3722
Strong’s Concordance defines ATONEMENT kaphar kä·far’ to cover, purge, make an atonement, make reconciliation, cover over with pitch
to cover over, pacify, propitiate
to cover over, atone for sin and persons by legal rites
the same word is used for appease, cleansed, pardon

The Old Testament records the Lord’s commandments for sacrifices to be offered for certain Israelite occasions – for childbirth Leviticus 12; for leprosy Leviticus 14; uncleaness Leviticus 15. These are not relative to a Christian.

We will use the references that relate to the understanding of the sacrifice made as an atonement for the forgiveness of sins – the type and the atonement that foreshadowed the atonement that would be made for us through Jesus’ sacrifice.

Atonement for Forgiveness of Sins

“And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year. And he did as the Lord commanded Moses.” Leviticus 16:34

Leviticus 16  speaks of the many facets of the atonement made by the priests once a year for the nation of Israel. The writer of the letter to the Hebrews compares these to the one sacrificial atonement Jesus made once for all. (Every Christian should study this book for these comparisons.)

The everlasting statute made for the children of Israel was no longer necessary when Jesus died for the sins of His people.

New Testament G2643
Strong’s Concordance defines ATONEMENT, katallagē kä-täl-lä-gā’ adjustment of a difference, reconciliation, restoration to favor,
The same word is used for reconciliation in the N.T. of the restoration of the favor of God to sinners that repent and put their trust in the expiatory death of Christ

For if, when we were enemies,
we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son,
much more, being reconciled,
we shall be saved by his life.”
Romans 5:10

And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
by whom we have now received the atonement.”
Romans 5:11
“And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ,
and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;”
2 Corinthians 5:18

Ephesians 2 is a must read for us to understand how both the nation of Israel and other nations are brought together and reconciled to God.

“And that he might reconcile both unto God
in one body by the cross,
having slain the enmity thereby:”
Ephesians 2:16

Specific Elements
In my meager understanding, there seem to be specific elements relating to Jesus’ atonement: a perfect life, sacrificeblood, death, and resurrection.

 A Perfect Life was required to appease the wrath of God (1 John 4:10).

“But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:” 1 Peter 1:19

Sacrifice in the willingness to give His life (Ephesians 5:2).

“But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;” Hebrews 10:12

Blood is shed on behalf of His people.

“Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. Hebrews 9:12

“And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.” Hebrews 9:22

the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin (1 John 1:7).

Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, (Revelation 1:5)

the blood of the everlasting covenant (Hebrews 13:20).

Death is the result of His sacrifice made for atonement–the finished act on His part to take our punishment upon Himself.

 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight“: Colossians 1:20-22

When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.” John 19:30

Resurrection is the means for His ascension as our High Priest–ever living to make intercession for us, saving to the uttermost those who come to God by faith in Christ (Hebrews 7:25).

How blessed we are to study and meditate on the truths of Jesus’ life and His purpose for being here on earth —to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). I am both amazed and humbled. The power of His holy will to secure a people for Himself by providing all that is needed for our salvation is incomprehensible. To believe that He included me in this covenant of redemption can only be a work of His Holy Spirit within me. I am powerless to do anything in this atoning work. Atonement planned and executed by a Triune God leaves nothing to the imagination of man nor of his will to help or add anything to it. Atonement in the life and work of Jesus Christ is the only means to obtain at-one-ment with God our heavenly Father.

Dear Father, we can only know the power of your love that secured a new life for us through the atoning work of your Son, except as you work it in each of us. Continue to show us, teach us, and lead us as the God of our salvation. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Fran

What is Atonement?
The Day of Atonement Charles Spurgeon

The Pink Kwansan Cherry

This month the Kwansan Cherry tree is taking the spotlight from the prickly Bradford Pear.  Like the Bradford Pear the Kwansan Cherry is an ornamental (no fruit), a hybrid planted only for its showy pink blooms. It grows 30-40 feet high and wide . Growers say that it is worth the display if only for its 15-20 year life span.

Pink is the color for April and one of my favorites, not just for landscaping, but overall.

DSC03195

Blue is my other favorite because of the blue sky. It is a canopy over all the earth reminding me of God’s grace. The dogwoods are also blooming this month in Georgia.

DSC03186

Pink has been a mystery, though. I do not know why it became my favorite color; except that it is derived from a combination of white and red. I have decided that God spotlights the pink trees in the landscape at this time of year that we might think of His purity and the blood of His dear Son given for us for our redemption.

 “ Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”     Hebrews 13:21-21

Related Article:  Grace ~The Sky’s the Limit