To gain understanding about what the Blood does for us we first need to understand a little about Biblical covenants. Covenants in Biblical times were very serious and not entered into lightly. Punishment for breaking a covenant could be very severe. Covenants were lifelong and extended to one’s descendants e.g. 2 Samuel 9:1 (see David and Jonathan’s covenant in 1 Samuel 20:12-17) In agreeing to a covenant both parties were obligating themselves to fulfil certain conditions, e.g. everything belonging to one party became the property of the other. Covenants did not allow any injustice, so neither party could be taken advantage of or abused. The first covenant recorded in scripture between God and man is in Genesis 9:9 (Noah). A covenant was often “sealed” (confirmed) with a token or sign – in this case the rainbow (v. 12). All the covenants in the Bible between God and man were INITIATED by God.
The strongest covenant you could enter was a “blood covenant”. In Gen 15 we see that to demonstrate to Abram the seriousness of the covenant God was making with him, God took part in a covenant sealing ceremony common to Abram’s culture. The Hebrew word for “covenant” is “beriyth” and means “cutting” (as of flesh).They would “cut covenant together”. Also look at Gen 17:13. Circumcision was to be an ongoing “sign” or token of the covenant between God and the Israelites. When God asked Abraham to give Him his son Isaac (Gen. 22:2) Abraham understood God was exercising His covenant right of requiring Abraham’s best. As a partner to the covenant, Abraham could give no less than was asked. Surely the Father was remembering His covenant with Abraham so many years later when He gave His best – His only Son, for the redemption of Abraham’s natural and spiritual descendents.
Malachi 3:1: Prophecy of the New Covenant – Jesus is the Messenger of the Covenant.
The Bible is in two parts – the Old Covenant, and the New Covenant. We’ve just looked briefly at the part blood plays in the Old Covenant. As we look at the Blood of Christ we’re going to see the part blood plays in the New Covenant. If we are a believer, we have literally entered into “blood covenant” with Almighty God. Many have entered into this covenant with no understanding of what that actually means (but God understands covenant very well.
The New Covenant
Jesus established a new covenant, a better covenant because it is an everlasting covenant. (Heb. 8:6-13; Hebrews 13:20)
Luke 22:20. Every time we take part in communion we are remembering our Covenant with the Lord. Jesus was giving his followers the emblems or tokens which would represent the sign of the Covenant He was about to cut with them. Remember that these Jewish disciples had a far deeper respect for covenant than most of us brought up in a western culture. Do we really appreciate and honour the Covenant Jesus made with us?
Some Old Testament Background
In order to understand the full significance of Jesus’ sacrifice of His Blood, we need to go back to the O.T. again briefly. Firstly, in Exodus 29 we read about how the high priest and the priests were anointed in order to minister to God as priests. . Ex. 29:20 tells us that blood was placed on Aaron and his sons (the priesthood) firstly on their right ear, then the right thumb, and then on the big toe of the right foot. Hebrews 4:14 tells us that Jesus became our Great High Priest. Think about where Jesus was pierced by nails and thorns. On His head, on His hands and on His feet. He was anointed for the priesthood by His own blood.
Look also at Leviticus 16:14 & 15. The High Priest went into the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement (once a year) and he placed some of the blood on and around the mercy seat. (see Hebrews 12:24) Jesus Blood is now on the mercy seat in Heaven. So the first thing we receive through the Blood is MERCY. Mercy is choosing not to punish someone who deserves punishment, and mercy can’t be earned.
Now while we’re on the subject of the sprinkled blood, and the O.T. priests, we need to see something else. The tabernacle where the sacrifices took place had three sections, the outer court, the Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies. Before the High Priest could move through to the Holy of Holies God had commanded that he first wash at the laver of water in the outer court. The animals were also slain in the outer court and only the blood taken into the Holy of Holies. (Exodus 40:7,12, 30,32) No priest could enter the Holy of Holies with the blood to meet with God face to face without washing. Look also at Hebrews 9:19 & 20. When Moses read out the Book of the Law to the people, he sprinkled both the book and the people with blood, signifying that they were bound together in covenant relationship.
A lot of the watered-down gospel you hear these days tells us only about being sprinkled by the blood, but not about our need for cleansing. The laver symbolically represented the washing of our minds continually by the Word of God (John 15:3, Eph. 5:26). Because many people aren’t getting a full gospel, they want blood-covering but don’t think they need the cleansing. See Psalm 24:3-5; 1 John 1:6-7. . If you want communion with the Lord, you can’t bypass the laver (washing, cleansing). The point here is that we need to understand that through our Blood Covenant God’s people are bound to His Word (symbolically represented by Moses sprinkling both the Book of the Law and the people with the blood, Heb. 9:19 & 20) When we are born again, we are born of the Spirit in our spirits (John 3:6) but our minds are of the soul realm, and therefore need constant renewing (washing) in the Word (Ephesians 4:23, Ephesians 5:26).
Some Other Things We Need to Know About Blood
Blood is important to God (Luke 11:49,50) because God equates blood with life (Leviticus 17:11). When Adam was formed out of the dust he had blood in his body, but he did not become a living being until he received the breath of God (Genesis 2:7). Life is therefore not blood, but life is IN the blood. Blood is a physical substance, but life is a spiritual substance. Blood carries life , but it is not life.
All of Christ’s blood came from His Father. There was no Adamic (or human) blood in Him. Blood type is determined at the moment of conception, after that the placenta protects the baby from any flow of the mother’s blood. However, Adam’s sin nature, was passed down through the human race through his blood (Ps. 51:5). This is why we need to understand that sin is in our very nature – we are not sinners because we sin, but we sin because WE ARE SINNERS! Death came through sin. Life came through Christ (1 Cor. 15:45). The life in His Blood overcomes the death worked in us by our sin nature.
A “selah moment” (pause and consider): In the beginning man was so full of life it took centuries for Satan to teach man how to die -hence the long lengths of life. (And as one of my friends added, “now Satan has us so convinced we’re dead, it takes ages for God to convince us to live!”)
What are You Worth?
Matthew 10:29-31 (Phillips)”Two sparrows sell for a farthing, don’t they? Yet not a single sparrow falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. The very hairs of your head are all numbered. Never be afraid, then – you are far more valuable than sparrows. 1 Peter 1:18-19 (Phllips) For you must realize that you have been ransomed from the futile way of living passed on to you by your traditions, but not by any money payment of this passing world. No, the price was, in fact, the life blood of Christ, the unblemished and unstained lamb of sacrifice. 1 Cor 7:23a (Phillips ) You have been redeemed, at tremendous cost.
If I have a car for sale, and I believe it’s worth about $7000, but I receive offers raning from $2000 to $9000, how much is the car worth? Answer: it’s worth whatever someone is prepared to pay for it, right? Similarly, we are not worth what we think we’re worth, or what the person with the lowest estimation of us says we’re worth, we’re worth what the highest bidder is willing to pay for us. In our case, the highest bidder is God the Father, and the price tag was the Blood of His Son. The most offensive thing any believer can ask the Father is “Do You really love me?” God already looked at your price tag, saw you would cost Him everything He had, and decided He would pay the full price. Your worth is established once and for all, and can never diminish. God has made the ultimate offer and paid the highest price.” You’re worth what your Father paid for you! Now look again at Matthew 10:29-31 and you’ll understand Jesus’ words quite differently.
In Section Two we’ll look at how we can actually appropriate the blood of Christ to overcome sin.
Acknowledgments for help with this part of the study: Acts 17:11 Bible Studies & “The Word, The Name, The Blood”, Joyce Meyer
In Part One we have looked at the Biblical understanding of ‘covenant” and seen that one of the things the Blood of Christ represents is mercy. We have understood that God counted each and every one of us who have been redeemed by the Blood of His dear Son worthy of that price. Does that not amaze you, and leave you in awe of God the Father at the same time, that He should desire your fellowship so greatly as to pay the price He paid for your full reconciliation to Him? Let us now explore what it means to be redeemed by the Blood of Christ.
From “Covered” to “Cancelled”
“But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.” (Hebrews 10: 3-4) We do not have space here for a detailed study on the Jewish sacrificial system, but briefly, under the Old Covenant of law, sin was “atoned” for. Atonement means ‘covering’. The High Priest would go once a year on the Day of Atonement into the Holy of Holies and sprinkle the blood of a bull and a goat over the mercy seat. In this way he would make atonement for his own sin and the sins of all Israel. Because sin was covered over, the peoples’ cleansing from sin was only temporary. However, the New Covenant did away with atonement and replaced it with redemption. Our sins are no longer covered, but cancelled.
Bought at a Price
The New Covenant says “You have been bought at a price.” (1Cor. 7:23) More fully, the Living Bible text reads , “You were bought and paid for by Christ, you belong to Him.” We read in Revelation 5:9 “And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation…” and in 1 Corinthians 6:19,20 – “Have you forgotten that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you, and that you are not the owner of your own body? You have been bought, and at what a price!” (Phillips)
When the apostles talked about having been “bought”, their early church audience understood only too well what they meant. In their culture, slavery was commonplace. The whole concept of having been “bought” originated from the slave market. If you had the means and were willing to pay the necessary price, you could go down town to the slave market and buy a human being. Archeologists have discovered papyrus receipts from ancient times bearing the Greek word “teleo”, meaning “paid in full.” The last word Jesus uttered from the Cross was “teleo!” , meaning “it is finished, paid in full” (John 19:30) When the scriptures say we were bought at great cost, that’s exactly what they mean. We were bought out of slavery. This is why Paul wrote to the Galatians “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” (Gal. 5:1)
A Grace Covenant
Before we surrendered our lives to Christ, that is before we were born again, each one of us was accountable to God under the old covenant of the law. Unless one comes to Christ, he/she will ultimately be judged by the Old Covenant standard of the law. When one enters into the new covenant instituted by Christ, we have escaped this judgment with its sure penalty of death, because our penalty has been paid by Christ through the Cross. That’s why being born again MUST always incorporate a process of acknowledgment of our utter helplessness as sinners to save ourselves, and our need for Christ’s Blood to redeem us from the curse of the Law. Now, don’t ever believe that the law is a curse, because the scriptures don’t say that. On the contrary, they say the law is good (Romans 7:12). God did not give the law to curse us, but to expose our sinful state. That’s His grace. The curse of the law is death, not the law itself. Now Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law’s condemnation, by himself becoming a curse for us when he was crucified. For the scripture is plain: ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.’ Gal. 3:13 (Phillips)
Anybody who gets, as we say, “saved” but does not come to Christ acknowledging that they are a sinner in need of grace is not saved. It does not matter how many times they go forward to an altar call, how many tears they cry, how many prayers they pray, without the revelation that we are sinners in need of grace, we cannot enter into the salvation process. Salvation is not a mental assent to a religious system, it is not about signing a card, repeating a formulated prayer, or joining a church. Salvation is of the Spirit, not the mind (John 3:6) It must come first from the revelation that we are sinners, that we are trapped in sin unable to save ourselves, and that we are in desperate need of mercy. Salvation is an ongoing process of revelation, repentance, regeneration and restoration. Being born again is the starting point, but if you don’t grow from that point you will find yourself living with some form of religion rather than grace.
For G-R-A-C-E-, Read B-L-O-O-D
“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” Ephesians 1:7 (KJV)
“…..without shedding of blood there is no remission.” (Heb. 9:22)
There are two things we see within these verses. They are the twin concepts of redemption and remission.
Firstly, as we said earlier, redemption means ‘ deliverance through payment of a ransom”, or “paid in full”. However, we see that through the Blood we have also been granted remission, or forgiveness. Now the Greek word for remission has a slightly different meaning to the word meaning redemption. It means, ‘pardon” or “freedom, ’ Often we do not see that these are two different things, two sides of the one coin, but nonetheless different.
Redemption is not forgiveness. To redeem is to give ‘payment in full, or “to buy something back”’ You can pay in full someone else’s penalty for a crime they commited, by taking their place and enduring their just punishment. That person will not then serve their sentence, but they will still be guilty of the crime. To remit, however, means to pardon; it is to set totally free from guilt. Through the Cross and Resurrection, two vital things changed for us – we were redeemed AND our sins were remitted. We were both delivered from our punishment because Someone else took it in our place, AND pardoned, that is made free from the guilt. We had our debt paid in full, AND we had our guilt cancelled. That’s what the Blood does for us – it doesn’t just pay the price for our sin, it totally disempowers the sin nature in us which led us into trouble in the first place! Now this is a very important revelation to seek, because until we understand that both these truths belong to us we will not be able to appropriate the Blood of Christ as we are meant to. Many Christians have grasped the fact that they were redeemed, but are yet to understand that they were also set free from guilt. To walk in the fulness of this revelation is to begin to walk as an “overcomer” instead of a “victim”. Why? Because you will finally see that you are no longer SUBJECT to sin. No longer a slave, but free. Through the Blood, you have been given the power to overcome sin.
From Victims to Overcomers
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death”. Rev, 12:11 There are three things available to believers which when used together will overcome the power of the evil one – the Blood of the Lamb, the Word of Truth, and the Cross. You will not overcome satan by shouting scriptures about the Blood at him. You will overcome him by appropriating the power of the Blood through faith. The Blood doesn’t lack power, we lack faith in the power of the Blood. What’s the power of the Blood? The power of the Blood is Grace.
For those who will receive this revelation, it means there is no sin about which we can truthfully say, “I can never stop this”, or “there’s no hope for me”, or “this sin is stronger than me.” Now please do not misunderstand me at this point. It is not my intention to bring condemnation on anybody about anything, because revelation of this truth is a process for most of us. The purpose of this teaching is not to come down heavily with the law with the message”you must stop sinning” My purpose is to help bring revelation that we are no longer victims of the evil one, but that we are overcomers through Christ – and that’s the key, through Him!
Sometimes you may hear people talk about “pleading the Blood.” The term pleading the Blood is a fairly old fashioned term, but when you are pleading the Blood it is not anything to do with begging. It’s a legal term. It’s the same as coming before a court of law and entering a plea of “not guilty”. When you hear people use that term, understand they are pleading “not guilty.” Satan is a legalist, he understands law. If you have been born again, you have a legal right to plead the Blood.
They Would Not Have Crucified the Lord of Glory
So, by faith in the power of the Blood of the Holy Lamb, we who are believers have entered into a covenant of grace between God and ourselves. When we receive this wonderful revelation about the Blood, we may be prompted to ask why then didn’t satan see this coming and do something to head it off? The answer is found in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians.
“We do, of course, speak “wisdom” among those who are spiritually mature, but it is not what is called wisdom by this world, nor by the powers-that-be, who soon will be only the powers that have been. The wisdom we speak of is that mysterious secret wisdom of God which he planned before the creation for our glory today. None of the powers of this world have known this wisdom – if they had they would NEVER HAVE CRUCIFIED the Lord of glory! 1Cor 2:8 (Phillips)
We learn from this scripture that satan did not fully know what was happening. This plan of the Father was hidden throughout the ages. It was the enemy’s intention from the beginning to have Jesus killed. However, Jesus was not “murdered” by the enemy, but gave up His life of his own accord (John 10:18). The timing and manner of Jesus’ death was chosen by the Father. We are told “they would NEVER HAVE CRUCIFIED the Lord of Glory.” This word “crucify” does not just mean to kill, but is much more specific. It means “to impale on a stake”. We need to understand that the cross was an altar made of wood, just as the altar in the old covenant Tabernacle had been made of acacia wood (Exodus 27:1) And just as the Blood of the sacrifice was sprinkled upon that former altar, so too was the most precious and holy Blood of God’s Passover Lamb, Jesus, spread upon this altar of the Cross. (Leviticus 5:9)
The cross became the altar and the Blood of the Lamb was sprinkled all over it. If Satan had prior knowledge of this, he would have tried to have Jesus killed any other way he could, rather than through crucifixion. He didn’t know until afterwards that he’d been defeated, because he was not privy to God’s plan to use the Blood of His Son to redeem the human race. “We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery….” This is the wisdom of God and the hidden mystery the scriptures speak of. None of the demonic rulers of this age knew what was happening on that Cross until it was too late. Satan knows the Scriptures better than we do. he can quote them at you anytime he likes, but quoting them is all he can do, because the truth is not IN him. That’s why the scripture says triumphantly ‘Oh death where is thy sting? and, ‘Oh grave where is your victory?’ (1Cor. 15:55). Because the curse of sin is death, and the power of sin is law. But both are defeated in Christ.
Appropriating the Blood
One final thing needs to be said on this issue – don’t try to overcome sin using willpower. That’s a deception. You will only become increasingly frustrated and then you’ll become condemned and defeated because you are trying to overcome that which is spiritual in the power of the flesh. This does not mean that you should deliberately go after sin. But understand it is not by your will power you will overcome sin. It’s through faith in the power of the Blood, faith in the word of God and in yielding to the work of the Cross. And how do we increase faith? There are many ways – through meditation in His Word, through fellowship, through worship, but all these come forth when we actively seek to be filled with the knowledge of Jesus through our intimate relationship with Him. If we are sincere in placing Him above all else He will not only reveal all that He wants to deal with in our lives, He will supply the grace for us to stand and overcome. It is not to say there will not be a battle with our flesh, but the final outcome is not in doubt. Whether it is sooner or later, often depends on us. Our role is to co-operate, to yield when He says “I want that thing!” We are not slaves to sin, we are justified!
“For the law was given through Moses, but grace (through the Blood) and truth (through the word ) came through Jesus Christ.” John 1:17
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Cheryl McGrath – Great South Land Ministries