THE MYSTERY OF CHRIST’S SHED BLOOD
P. Samuel Manoharam
The efficacy and power of Christ’s blood, shed on the cross, is beyond the comprehension of many of us. There is an element of mystery that cannot be easily understood with our natural minds. Only those who, by faith, test its power can discover that it can wonderfully change their lives, lift them up to a higher plane of living and fulfilment they have been looking for. They clearly know that “without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins” (Heb.9:22). Christ suffered and died on the cross to deal with our sins. Only the blood of Christ, the Saviour of the soul, has power over the sin of the human heart.
A Marked People
Blood is precious, life-giving. “The life of a creature is in the blood; I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar, for it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life” (Lev.17:11). God taught His people from the very beginning that He could only be approached by the shedding of blood. All the animals killed in the Old Testament times were symbols pointing towards “the Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world” who would appear in the person of Jesus Christ and offer His life as the perfect sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins. The blood of Christ is mentioned several times in the New Testament, which is why it is sometimes called the ‘Book of Blood.’
The Israelites were miraculously delivered from death when the angel of death saw the blood of the lamb sprinkled on their doorposts and passed over (Exo.12:13). When we receive the Holy Communion, we are reminded of Jesus’ blood that was shed on the cross. When Jesus gave the wine to His disciples at the Last Supper, He said, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matt.26:28). When Christ purchased us with His shed blood, He made us a marked people. Upon every heart which embraces the blood of Christ, God places an invisible mark of redemption.
The Cross Of Christ
To appreciate the amazing role of the blood of Christ in our lives, we must first know the basic aspects of the cross of Christ. The greatest event in the human history was that God, out of His unfathomable love, came to earth, lived there, died and rose again for the redemption of sinful mankind. Christ’s death on the cross is precious to those who have accepted His redemption and have been set free from the slavery of sin. When a Roman soldier thrust a spear into Christ’s side, blood and water came out, indicating that Christ died of a broken heart. He suffered to the uttermost and poured out the last ounce of His blood to redeem sinners. There is no hope for the world, except in the cross of Christ. No one in history has ever suffered like Christ. The only cure for sin is the cleansing power of Christ’s precious blood which saves us from the righteous wrath of God.
When man sinned by disobeying God’s commandment, God said he must die. It actually broke the heart of God. Sin separated man from God. Christ died so that man may have the right of access to God and thereby have peace with Him. The cross reveals the depth of man’s depravity and the immensity of God’s love for mankind.
The cross is the supreme symbol of physical and spiritual suffering. Its message is foolishness to those who are unsaved (1Cor.2:14) but the power of God to those who are being saved. It is at the cross of Christ that we find forgiveness of sins.
The blood of Christ operates effectively in three directions: God-ward, man-ward, Satan-ward.
The blood of Christ which was shed on the cross justifies and saves us from the wrath of God when we repent and receive His forgiveness; we are made righteous in God’s sight. This is the redemptive work of Christ on the cross for mankind. The blood of Christ satisfied God’s standards of holiness and righteousness. This is God-ward operation of Christ’s shed blood.
Habitual sinners eventually lose all sensitivity to sin and their conscience becomes dead. But when we believe the word of God and accept Christ as Saviour and Lord, our dead conscience becomes alive. At that moment, we experience a deep sense of sin and guilt. Each of us has a conscience that acts like a judge over our every thought, word and deed. It is a silent voice accusing us when we do wrong. The human conscience is defiled by sin and we suffer from its guilt. Someone has said, “The conscience commends us when we do right and condemns us when we do wrong. It is a kind of internal judicial system in us, monitoring our morality. But it is unreliable without the presence of God in us.” Our internal suffering comes from being out of fellowship with God. Sin’s effect may be removed from the body, but sin can leave its permanent scar on the conscience.
It is said that the conscience of man is beyond the reach of the psychiatrist. But the blood of Christ has immense power to cleanse man’s conscience and blot out the guilt of sin. The worst of sinners have been transformed into saints who exhibit a life of dignity, joy, grace and peace that is Christ-like. Such is the power of the blood of Christ (Heb.9:14). This is the man-ward operation of Christ’s shed blood.
How does the blood of Christ operate against Satan? It brings God on the side of man against Satan. The ‘fall’ of man in the Garden of Eden caused his separation from God and made him dangerously vulnerable against Satan. Adam and Eve were physically and spiritually estranged from God and His paradise, and so are we who descended from them. Therefore, for us to be reconciled to God and enjoy His favour and fellowship again, we need to apply the blood of Christ to our hearts (conscience). Satan cannot stand against the power of Christ’s blood appropriated by us in faith. This is Satan-ward operation of Christ’s shed blood.
The very nature of the ‘flesh’ is to sin. ‘Flesh’ means sinful human nature. It is the seat of sin. It is the sinful nature in us that leads us to commit sins. Therefore, we need both forgiveness and deliverance from sin and its power. When God’s light shines in a sinner’s heart, his conscience pricks him every time he commits a sin. He also realises that there is something radically wrong within him – the sin nature that compels him to do wrong. With sinful nature within us, we will never have peace of mind.
God has provided us a way to overcome this besetting problem of sin. I quote Evan H. Hopkins, “To know God’s way of deliverance from sin as a master we must apprehend the truth contained in the sixth chapter of Romans. There we see what God has done, not with our sins – that question the apostle dealt with in the preceding chapters – but with ourselves, the agents and slaves of sin. He has put our old man – our original self – where He put our sins, namely, on the cross with Christ. ‘Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him’ (Rom.6:6). The believer there sees not only that Christ died for him – substitution – but that he died with Christ – identification.”
The Blood And The Cross
Substitution and identification refer to forgiveness and deliverance. The blood of Christ deals with our sin and the cross deals with who we are. The blood cleanses our sins while the cross strikes at the root of our inclination to sin. “Through the crucifixion of the old man with Christ the believer has been made dead to sin, he has been completely freed from sin’s power…. This is the flawless provision of God’s grace but this accomplished fact can only become an actual reality in the believer’s experience as faith lays hold upon it and enables him moment by moment, day by day, though temptation assail him, ‘to reckon’ it true. As he reckons, the Holy Spirit makes real…. Sin need have no more power over the believer than he grants it through unbelief. If he is alive to sin, it will be due largely to the fact that he has failed to reckon himself dead unto sin” (R. Paxson).
We will not begin to understand the efficacy, power and greatness of Christ’s substitutionary (vicarious) death on the cross for us unless we by faith identify ourselves with His death. This is the glorious work of the cross of Christ, God’s greatest gift to us, which should awaken our deepest gratitude to Him.
God expects us, His blood-bought children, to maintain and defend the blessed doctrine of the complete atonement of sin through the wondrous blood that was shed on the cross and to appreciate how valuable and indispensable it is to the sinful world.
There is power, power,
In the blood of the Lamb.
There is power, power,
In the precious blood of the Lamb!