Bible Basics (5th edition): A study manual revealing the joy and peace of true Christianity

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9.2 The Blood Of Jesus

It is very often stated in the New Testament that our justification and salvation is through the blood of Jesus (e.g. 1 John 1:7; Rev. 5:9; 12:11; Rom. 5:9). To appreciate the significance of Christ's blood, we must understand that it is a Biblical principle that "the life of every creature is its blood" (Lev. 17:14 NIV). Without blood a body cannot live; it is therefore symbolic of life. This explains the aptness of Christ's words, "Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you" (John 6:53).

Sin results in death (Rom. 6:23),i.e. a pouring out of the blood, which carries the life. For this reason the Israelites were expected to pour out blood each time they sinned, to remind them that sin resulted in death. "... according to the law (of Moses) almost all things are purged (cleansed mg.) with blood, and without shedding of blood is no remission (forgiveness mg.)" (Heb. 9:22). Because of this, Adam and Eve's covering of themselves with fig leaves was unacceptable; instead, God killed a lamb to provide skins to cover their sin (Gen. 3:7,21). Similarly, Abel's sacrifice of animals was accepted rather than Cain's offering of vegetables, because he appreciated this principle that without shedding blood there could be no forgiveness and acceptable approach to God (Gen. 4:3-5). Not only did he appreciate it, he had faith in that blood, and on this basis God accepted his offering (Heb. 11:4).

These incidents point forward to the supreme importance of the blood of Christ. This was especially foreshadowed in the events of the Passover, at which God's people had to place the blood of a lamb on their doorposts to gain salvation from death. This blood pointed forward to that of Jesus, with which we must cover ourselves. Before the time of Christ the Jews had to offer animal sacrifices for their sins, according to God's law through Moses. However, this shedding of animal blood was only for teaching purposes. Sin is punishable by death (Rom. 6:23); it was not possible that a human being could kill an animal as a substitute for his own death or as a true representative of himself. The animal he offered had no appreciation of right or wrong;  it was not fully representative of him: "It is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins" (Heb. 10:4).

The question therefore arises, Why did the Jews have to sacrifice animals when they sinned? Paul sums up the various answers to this question in Gal. 3:24: "The law was our tutor to bring us to Christ." The animals which they killed as offerings for sin had to be spotless - without blemish (Ex. 12:5; Lev. 1:3,10 etc.). These pointed forward to Christ, "a lamb without blemish" (1 Peter 1:19). The blood of those animals therefore represented that of Christ. They were accepted as sacrifices for sin insofar as they pointed forward to Christ's perfect sacrifice, which God knew he would make. On account of this, God was able to forgive the sins of His people who lived before the time of Christ. His death was "a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant" (Heb. 9:15 NIV), i.e. the law of Moses (Heb. 8:5-9). All the sacrifices offered under the law pointed forward to Christ, the perfect sin offering, who "put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself" (Heb. 9:26; 13:11,12;  Rom. 8:3 NIV cp. 2 Cor. 5:21).

We explained in Section 7.3 how the whole of the Old Testament, particularly the Law of Moses, pointed forward to Christ. Under that Law the way of approach to God was through the High Priest; he was the mediator between God and men under the Old Covenant as Christ is under the New Covenant (Heb. 9:15). "... the law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the oath ... appointed the Son, who has been made perfect for ever" (Heb. 7:28 NIV). Because they themselves were sinners, these men were not in a position to gain true forgiveness for men. The animals which they sacrificed for sin were not truly representative of the sinners. What was required was a perfect human being, who was in every way representative of sinful man, who would make an acceptable sacrifice for sin which men could benefit from by associating themselves with that sacrifice. In a similar way, a perfect High Priest was required who could sympathize with the sinful men for whom he mediated , having been tempted just like them (Heb. 2:14-18).

Jesus fits this requirement perfectly - "Such a high priest meets our need – one who is holy, blameless, pure ..." (Heb. 7:26 NIV). He does not need to continually sacrifice for his own sins, nor is he liable to death any more (Heb. 7:23,27)  In the light of this, the Scripture comments upon Christ as our priest:  "Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them" (Heb. 7:25 NIV).  Because he had human nature, Christ, as our ideal High Priest, “can have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray, since he himself is  (was) also  beset by weakness” (Heb. 5:2). This recalls the statement regarding Christ, “He Himself likewise" shared in our human nature (Heb. 2:14).

As the Jewish high priests mediated for God's people, Israel, so Christ is a Priest for spiritual Israel - those who have been baptized into Christ, having understood the true Gospel. He is “a high priest over the house of God ” (Heb. 10:21), which is comprised of those who have been born again by baptism (1 Peter 2:2-5), having the true hope of the Gospel (Heb. 3:6). Appreciating the marvellous benefits of Christ's priesthood should therefore encourage us to be baptized into him; for we must enter into His “house” or family if He is to be our High Priest.

Having been baptized into Christ, we should eagerly make full use of Christ's priesthood; indeed, we have certain responsibilities with regard to this which we must live up to. "By Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God " (Heb. 13:15). God's plan of providing Christ as our priest was in order that we should glorify Him; we should therefore make constant use of our access to God through Christ in order to praise Him. Heb. 10:21-25 (NIV) lists a number of responsibilities which we have on account of Christ being our High Priest: "We have a great priest over the house of God:

1. Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water". Understanding Christ's priesthood means that we should be baptized into him ("our bodies washed"), and we should never let a bad conscience develop in our minds. If we believe in Christ's atonement, we are made at one with God ('AT-ONE-MENT') by his sacrifice.

2.  "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess...” We should not deviate from the true doctrines which have brought about our understanding of Christ's priesthood.

3.  "Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together". We should be lovingly bound together with others who understand and benefit from Christ's priesthood;  this is particularly through meeting together for the communion service, by which we remember Christ's sacrifice (see Section 11.3.5).

Appreciating these things should fill us with humble confidence that we really will reach salvation, if we are baptized and abide in Christ: "Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy, and find grace to help us in our time of need" (Heb. 4:16 NIV).

Bible Basics: Contents

Part 1: "The things concerning the Kingdom of God" Study 1: God 1.1  The Existence Of God || 1.2  The Personality Of God || Belief In Practice 1: Knowing God || 1.3  God's Name And Character || Belief In Practice 2: Grace (John Parkes) || Belief In Practice 3: The All Seeing God || Belief In Practice 4: God Is Omnipotent || Belief In Practice 5: Responding To The One God || 1.4     The Angels || Belief In Practice 6: God As Creator || Digression 1: God Manifestation || Digression 2:  Why The Trinity Was Accepted || Study 1: Questions Study 2: The Spirit Of God 2.1  Definition || 2.2  Inspiration || 2.3  Gifts Of The Holy Spirit || 2.4  The Withdrawal Of The Gifts || 2.5  The Bible The Only Authority || Digression 3: Is The Holy Spirit A Person? || Digression 4: The Principle Of Personification || Belief In Practice 7: The Implications Of Inspiration || Study 2: Questions Study 3: The Promises Of God 3.1  Introduction || 3.2  The Promise In Eden || 3.3  The Promise To Noah || 3.4  The Promise To Abraham || 3.5  The Promise To David || Belief In Practice 8: Covenant Relationship With God || Study 3: Questions Study 4: God And Death 4.1  The Nature Of Man || 4.2  The Soul || 4.3  The Spirit || 4.4  Death Is Unconsciousness || 4.5  The Resurrection || 4.6  The Judgment || Belief In Practice 9: Judgment Now || 4.7  The Place Of Reward: Heaven Or Earth?|| 4.8  Responsibility To God || 4.9  Hell || Digression 5: Purgatory || Digression 6: Ghosts And Reincarnation || Digression 7: The 'Rapture' || Belief In Practice 10: The Motivational Power Of Understanding Death || Study 4: Questions Study 5: The Kingdom Of God 5.1  Defining The Kingdom || 5.2  The Kingdom Is Not Now Established || 5.3  The Kingdom Of God In The Past || 5.4  The Kingdom Of God In The Future || 5.5  The Millennium || Digression 8: The Kingdom Of God Now (Graham Bacon) || Belief In Practice 11: What The Kingdom Of God Means Today || Study 5: QuestionsStudy 6: God And Evil 6.1  God And Evil || 6.2  The Devil And Satan || 6.3  Demons || Digression 9: The Implications And Origin Of The Belief In A Personal Satan || Digression 10: Witchcraft || Digression 11: What Happened In Eden? || Digression 12: Lucifer || Belief In Practice 12: Battle For The Mind || Study 6: Questions

Part 2: "The things concerning...the name of Jesus Christ" (Acts 8:12) Study 7: The Origin Of Jesus. 7.1  Old Testament Prophecies Of Jesus || 7.2  The Virgin Birth || 7.3  Christ's Place In God's Plan || 7.4  "In the beginning was the word" || Digression 13: Jesus The Son Of God (Michael Gates) || Digression 14: Did Jesus Create The Earth? || Belief In Practice 13: Jesus Didn’t Pre-exist: And So What? || Study 7: Questions Study 8: The Nature Of Jesus 8.1  Introduction || 8.2  Differences Between God And Jesus || 8.3  The Nature Of Jesus || 8.4  The Humanity Of Jesus || 8.5  The Relationship Of God With Jesus || Belief In Practice 14: The Real Christ || Digression 15: How The Real Christ Was Lost || Digression 16: The Divine Side Of Jesus || Study 8: Questions Study 9: The Work Of Jesus 9.1  The Victory Of Jesus || 9.2  The Blood Of Jesus || 9.3  Jesus As Our Representative || 9.4  Jesus And The Law Of Moses || 9.5  The Sabbath || Digression 17 The Crucifix || Digression 18: Was Jesus Born On Dec. 25th? || Belief In Practice 15: The Meaning Of Christ’s Resurrection For Us || Belief In Practice 16: Christ Died For Me- So What Should I Do? || Belief In Practice 17: The Real Cross || Belief In Practice 18: The Inspiration Of The Cross || Study 9: Questions || Study 10: Baptism Into Jesus 10.1  The Vital Importance Of Baptism || 10.2  How Should We Be Baptized? || 10.3  The Meaning Of Baptism || 10.4  Baptism And Salvation || Digression 19: Re-baptism || Digression 20 The Thief On The Cross || Belief In Practice 19: The Certainty Of Salvation || Study 10: Questions Study 11: Life In Christ 11.1  Introduction || 11.2  Holiness || 11.2.1  The Use Of Force || 11.2.2  Politics || 11.2.3  Worldly Pleasures || 11.3  Practical Christian Life || 11.3.1  Bible Study || 11.3.2  Prayer || 11.3.3  Preaching || 11.3.4  Ecclesial Life || 11.3.5  The Breaking Of Bread || 11.4  Marriage || 11.5  Fellowship || Study 11: Questions ||