DOCTRINES OF THE BIBLE
NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD
By Pastor Jared Decker
In this present day, there is a growing amount of criticism towards the Scriptural teaching of the blood atonement of Christ. Many critics have presented a faulty theory that it is simply the death of Christ which atones for our sins. his theory not only discounts the power in the blood, but it also clearly contradicts the Word of God. This article, is intend to logically and Scripturally prove that “…without shedding of blood is no remission.” (Hebrews 9:22b)
Scripturally, there are three reasons why nothing but the blood of Christ can cleanse us from all sin.
I. The Old Testament Sacrificial System.
In the Old Testament we can clearly see the significance of the blood to God. In Exodus 12, just before the Lord sent his angel of death into Egypt, He gave specific instructions to the children of Israel for what would later be known as the Passover. The most important of these instructions, which would prevent the death of the first born of the household, was to apply the blood of a lamb on the two side posts and the upper door post of the house. This lamb was to be a male without blemish. (See 1 Peter 1:19) God then stated the unquestionable importance of the blood in verse 13, when He said, “And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.” God did not say that when He saw the dead lamb He would pass over them, it was only when He saw the blood. If any household had completed all of the instructions but had failed to apply the blood to the door posts, death would still have come to them. The book of Leviticus gives all of God’s specific instructions to Israel concerning sacrifices. When studied thoroughly, one can see a clear picture of the person and work of Jesus Christ in every aspect of the Levitical sacrificial system. The book of Hebrews explains this relationship well. Therefore, it is evident why God places so much emphasis on the blood of the sacrifices. He was pointing to the absolute importance of the blood of the Supreme Sacrifice that would one day be offered up on Calvary’s cross. In Leviticus 17:11 God states that “…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.” Once again, Scripture clearly attests to the absolute necessity and sufficiency of the blood for the atonement of sin. The sin offering, described in detail in Leviticus 4-6, was an offering of blood. In the same manner, the eternal offering for sin was an offering of blood. (See Ephesians 1:7) The Old Testament sacrificial system alone would be sufficient to prove the absolute dependency of atonement on the blood of Jesus Christ, the lamb slain before the foundation of the world. (See 1 Peter 1:19-20)
II. The Assertion of Jesus Christ.
Even Christ Himself confirmed the significance of His own blood for the forgiveness of sins. In Matthew 26:28, when handing the “wine” to the disciples at the “Lord’s Supper”, Jesus figuratively stated, ”For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (See also Mark 14:24 and Luke 22:20) Jesus also explained in the later verses of John 6, that to have eternal life, one must accept both the death and the blood of Christ. In this passage of Scripture it is extremely evident that the blood of Christ cannot be separated in significance from the death of Christ. The importance of His blood will be absolutely apparent at the end of the world. For in Revelation 19:13, the apostle John said that The Word of God would be “…clothed with a vesture dipped in blood”. Just as the High Priest of the Old Testament would take the blood of the sacrifice and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, Jesus Christ sprinkled His precious blood upon the mercy seat in heaven. (See Leviticus 16:13-15 and Hebrews 9:5-12) We, as Christians, have a High Priest, who alone was worthy to sprinkle the blood upon the mercy seat to pay for our sins. Our great High Priest also humbled Himself and became the Lamb (without blemish or spot), the eternal and final sacrifice for sin. Jesus became our sin offering when He shed His precious blood on the cross of Calvary. By Christ’s own words we can understand the necessity of His shed blood for our salvation.
III. The Testimony of New Testament Writers.
The clear facts already stated would certainly be sufficient for most people to acknowledge that without the blood of Christ there would be no salvation: however, when refuting false teaching and error from scoffers and critics of God’s Word, it becomes necessary to point out all of the evidence given in Scripture. Some of the clearest statements emphasizing the absolute importance of the blood of Christ are made by the men God used to pen the New Testament. The apostle Paul said in Romans 3:25, that we have “…propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;” Paul, as the “chief of sinners”, knew that it was the blood of Jesus Christ that covers us from the wrath of God and provides salvation. (See Romans 4:7 and Romans 5:8) He also said in Ephesians 1:7, that “…we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins…”. It is not the death of Christ that saves, it is the blood of Christ. This fact is declared in Colossians 1:20, where it tells us that we have made peace through the blood of his cross—not the death of his cross. Many other New Testament writers, besides the apostle Paul, said much about the blood of Christ. In 1 Peter 1:2, Peter greets the Christians and speaks of them being sprinkled with the blood of Jesus Christ. John expressed his belief in the blood when He said, “the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7) In Hebrews 9:12-14, we read of the power of the blood to redeem us from sin and purge our conscience. No where in Scripture do we read about such power coming simply from the death of Christ. We read in Hebrews 13:12, that Jesus suffered (and died) so that he could sanctify us through his blood—not his death. He died so that He could shed His blood. The death and blood of Christ go hand in hand. It was not enough for Christ to die, He had to shed His blood. The apostle John stated in Revelation 1:5, “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,” The book of the Revelation tells us also, that the saved in heaven even sing a song because they have been redeemed to God by the blood of Christ. (See Revelation 5:9) By the clear testimony of the writers of the New Testament, the blood of Christ is absolutely essential to salvation.
By simply looking to the Word of God, we can explicitly guarantee that it is the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ that cleanses us from our sins. Those who would say that it is the death of Christ alone, have no support but the philosophical views of carnal Christians or of the natural (unsaved) man. These same people are those who constantly involve themselves in destroying the Word of God through new translations. One of the most devastating tendencies of these modern perversions of Scripture is their overwhelming pursuit to remove any reference to the blood of Christ. This fact alone should generate a cautiousness in Christians to beware of those who would spoil the Church of God. (See Colossians 2:8) It is a fearful thing, especially as a child of God (if it is possible), to be in a position of opposition to the blood of Christ. Hebrews 10:29 explains, “Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?”