OH! THAT PRECIOUS BLOOD
BY: DEAN FINNESTAD
WHAT IS BLOOD?
GOD’S PURPOSE FOR BLOOD
TWO KINDS OF REDEMPTION
ENTER JESUS CHRIST!
The Bible says that in order to know eternal life we must drink blood (John 6:54). That sounds gruesome. If it were not meant in a symbolic sense it would be unthinkable. In order to understand the symbolism in this concept we must understand the properties of blood.
WHAT IS BLOOD?
Physical blood is physical life. This is made evident when a body loses its blood. What happens? It dies. What does that mean? It means the body can no longer function. Walking and talking, thinking and touching, smelling and tasting, seeing and hearing; these abilities cease and the body begins to decay. A body cannot live without blood.
Blood also represents spiritual life. In the context of John 6:52-59 Jesus explains that He is spiritual life; that without union with Him men cannot experience true spiritual life; that this union comes by “eating His flesh” and “drinking His blood”; and that this results in men dwelling in Him and Jesus dwelling in men. Without this kind of communion and unity in and with Jesus men cannot know true life in the spirit.
Blood also represents another kind of life, that of the soul. Matthew 20:28 tells us that Jesus gave His LIFE as a ransom for many. This word for life comes from the Greek word “psyche” and it pertains to the soul.
The soul is made up of the heart (emotions), the mind (reason), and the will (making decisions). These three things give men the ability to appreciate life in all of its many forms. When God created Adam He brought heaven (the spiritual world) and earth (the material world) together to create a “living soul.“
(There is a false teaching circulating among members of the Body of Christ that the soul is feminine because the Greek noun for the word soul is feminine. While this is true it does NOT mean that men have “feminine” souls. This is a misapplication of gender. Linguistic gender has nothing to do with sex. If this were the case ALL people would be females and there would be no difference between men and women. The structure or nature of the soul is the same for all – heart, mind and will. The soul of a women is centered upon the heart or emotions while the soul of a man is centered upon the mind or reason.)
The above referenced verse (Matthew 20:28 and others) shows us that Jesus has a soul and Hebrews 10:38 reveals that God also has a soul. The soul is what separates men from all other creatures and is the key to reflecting God’s image.
GOD’S PURPOSE FOR BLOOD
Blood, then, represents life – physical, soulish and spiritual. The shedding or loss of blood represents death. Because blood involves both life and death, God has chosen blood for a special purpose — to seal the covenants or agreements He makes with man.
We use “seals” every day to validate contracts. A signature is the most common method. Sometimes our signature must be legally validated, then we must have it notarized. A notarized signature is witnessed by a licensed representative of government (a notary public) and then stamped with a special seal. This seal guarantees our signature (seal) and binds us to a contract.
In this same way God binds Himself to contracts – using blood as His seal (Hebrews 9:18-20). Every major covenant that God has initiated with man is sealed with blood. God seals His covenants with the agent that represents life and death.
Why does He do this? Because to God there is nothing more precious than life. He created life. He is life. Sacrificing life to bind Himself to a contract is the strongest form of commitment that God can make. He can give no more than what He is! God’s ultimate covenant began when He came to earth as a man with a body limited to the same flesh and blood that we possess. God not only created life as we know it; He became life as we know it. Why did He come in this manner? He came to provide a new covenant and to provide a seal to that new covenant that was perfect.
Prior to coming to earth as a man, however, God had entered into a covenant with Israel through Moses. This covenant introduced Law, i.e. the Ten Commandments. The Law laid down the conditions necessary for man to return to his perfect state of being – represented by Adam before he sinned. If men could obey the Law then they would be righteous and holy in the eyes of God and the fellowship that God had previously enjoyed with a righteous Adam would be restored.
The problem with the Law was that no man could fulfill the contractual requirement, i.e. a life without sin. And the penalty for sin under the Law was death. What is death? Death is essentially separation from God. If God is life, then death represents loss of life. Where do we find life? In the blood, Law demanded that blood be shed to pay for sin.
TWO KINDS OF REDEMPTION
One of the big problems with English translations of the Bible is that, due to a limited grammar structure, English fails to adequately translate many Greek words and often translates two or three or even more Greek words into the same English word. The word “redemption” falls into this category.
When you go to the store you exchange money for food. Money represents work or effort on your part. Since its difficult to trade hours of effort, money is used to represent those hours of effort. Money you receive for work represents part of your life. You trade life for money.
This is one concept of redemption and comes from a Greek word “agora” which means marketplace. How does this form of redemption relate to the work of Christ? The Law was the store. It had men for sale. The men were in the store waiting to die because of sin. If you paid for sin you could have the men. The only currency Law recognized was blood. If you did not have blood to pay for sin, the Law said the men must die.
So that God would not have to put all men (especially His people) to death, He allowed the sacrifice of animals to provide the blood to pay for sin. This innocent blood provided a covering for sin, which we call atonement. Atonement is imperfect. Atonement only COVERS sin and this covering is only temporary because sin offerings using animal blood had to be offered continually, and yearly by the High Priest for the whole nation.
References for redemption related to this concept of purchasing men from the Law include:
I Corinthians 6:20 “For ye ARE BOUGHT with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
I Corinthians 7:23 “Ye ARE BOUGHT with a price; be not ye the servants of men.”
Galatians 3:13 “Christ HATH REDEEMED us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:”
Galatians 4:4,5 “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5) TO REDEEM them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”
II Peter 2:1 “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord THAT BOUGHT them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.”
Revelation 5:9 “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and HAST REDEEMED us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;”
Revelation 14:3, 4 “And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which WERE REDEEMED from the earth. 4) These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These WERE REDEEMED from among men, being the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb.”
The other Greek word for redemption comes from the root word “luo” which means to loosen, nullify, make void or cancel. The word for divorce comes from this same root word. How does this word apply to the work of Jesus Christ? Jesus came to redeem us in the sense of freeing us from the contract, which the Law had over men. Jesus’ death makes the sin/law/death contract null and void. Men are no longer subject to death because of sin. Men are severed or removed or released from this contract.
References which refer to this concept of redemption include:
Matthew 20:20 “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a RANSOM for many.”
Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a RANSOM for many.
Luke 1:68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and REDEEMED his people,”
Luke 2:38 “And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for REDEMPTION in Jerusalem.”
Romans 3:24-26 “Being justified freely by his grace through the REDEMPTION that is in Christ Jesus: 25) Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26) To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”
I Corinthians 1:30 “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and REDEMPTION: 31) That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”
Ephesians 1:7 “In whom we have REDEMPTION through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;”
Ephesians 1:14 “Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the REDEMPTION of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”
Colossians 1:14 “In whom we have REDEMPTION through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:”
Titus 2:14 “Who gave himself for us, that he MIGHT REDEEM us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”
Hebrews 9:12 “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 9:15 “And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the REDEMPTION of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.”
I Peter 1:18 “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not REDEEMED with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19) but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:”
But God wanted to make sin disappear forever and free men of sin forever. Why? Because God can only fellowship with men who are clean, spotless, free from any blemish; in one word – holy.
ENTER JESUS CHRIST!
The Son of God came to establish a New Covenant (Luke 22:20). One which would be perfect. One which would purchase all men from the Law which condemned them to death. One which would cancel the old legal contract with the Law which made men slaves to sin. One which would give God the ability to forgive and forget sin. One which would be eternal and which would re-unite man with his Creator forever!
Previous covenants required innocent blood. The blood for this New Covenant could be no different. Jesus lived a perfect life – a life free of sin. Before the Law Jesus stood innocent. He didn’t need any blood to pay for sin because He didn’t have any sin. He had met the Law’s requirement of sinlessness or holiness. The Law said, “Go, you are free to fellowship with God”. Jesus had earned the right AS A MAN to directly fellowship with God the Creator.
Armed with this success Jesus didn’t have to die. He could have gone straight to heaven. But He didn’t. He had come to sacrifice Himself, to die for us, so that He could use HIS blood to pay the Law for OUR sin. He had come to buy all men from the Law for God His Father. He had come to free men from the legal contract regarding sin, law and death.
Jesus became a sacrifice, like animals were sacrificed under the Old Covenant, in order to pay for sin. Only His blood does not cover sin (atonement, Hebrews 9:7), it washes sin away and replaces sin with innocence (propitiation, Romans 3:25). Covering sin doesn’t get rid of it and that’s why Old Testament sacrifices for sin had to be constantly renewed. Jesus’ blood washes sin away. Like soap on dirty dishes, the blood of Jesus washes away the dirt (sin) in the lives of men. His blood makes men spotless!
Hebrews 9:12-15 explains that by dying Jesus was able to enter into the holy place (in the tabernacle in heaven) and offer His blood ONCE to pay for sin FOREVER. It also explains that the blood of animals cleanses the flesh but that the blood of Jesus cleanses the conscience. Why is this important? Because a man who is feeling guilty for sin is never able to truly serve God. Those who serve God while feeling guilty for sin are doing dead works. These dead works accomplish nothing, neither for God nor for men.
Not only did Jesus sacrifice His physical life, He also sacrificed His psyche, i.e. His soul. Throughout His life on earth Jesus developed His soul. His soul reflected the training not only of His earthly parents, but also of His heavenly Father. He used His special relationship with His heavenly Father, made possible by the in-dwelling Holy Spirit, to develop principles by which to live. His soul became a repository for those thoughts and feelings taught to Him by His Father. What He thought, how He felt, and every decision He made reflected this training. His soul made Jesus the Son of God.
Jesus sets the example for believers to follow. He sacrificed His soul in order to carry out His Father’s desires. He gave up those things that pleased self and strove to please His Father in all things. This is what carrying a cross is all about. It is the sacrifice on self’s part to accomplish God’s will rather than our own.
It is this life, which reflects the principles of God’s kingdom in heaven, which Jesus Christ wants each of us to have here and now on earth. He wants to give us His mind – the way He thinks about things. He wants to teach us His emotions—the way He feels about things. With these two ingredients we are enabled to make His kinds of decisions. This is what life is all about. Will we lose our identity? No! Will we become a son of God? Yes!
Jesus gave His blood, blood that represents physical, soulish and spiritual life for us so that we might experience new life in Him – so that we might become sons of God just like Him. It is as we eat His flesh and drink His blood that we become like Him.
How do we do this? Through communion. What is communion? As a sacrament, communion is the outward symbolic act that demonstrates our inner reception of the life of Jesus Christ. This sacrament is called the eucharist and means thanksgiving. But communion is more than a sacrament. Communion is having things in common – a sharing of life that includes everything; everything we are and everything He is. Communion is fellowship with God in the fullest sense. Communion is fellowship with one another in the fullest sense. It includes all of life – physical, soulish and spiritual – and moves in two directions, toward God and toward one another.
It is through communion that we draw close to Him!
It is through communion that we draw close to one another!
It is through communion that our souls are transformed!
It is through communion that we realize resurrection life!
It is through communion that we become sons of God!
What makes all this possible? OH! THAT PRECIOUS BLOOD!
OH, THAT PRECIOUS BLOOD [Dean Finnestad] 1