By Dr. Paul Chappell
Pastor, Lancaster Baptist Church, Lancaster, California
(Preached December 28, 1997)
"The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: "Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. "Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. "John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; "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, "And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen." Revelation 1:1-6.
Verse 5: "Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood."
From the early pages of the book of Genesis to the final pages of the book of Revelation, the ongoing theme is the blood atonement of Jesus Christ. Even as Abraham and Isaac made their way up Mount Moriah (Genesis 22), you will recall how Isaac asked a question that really typifies the quest of the Old Testament saints.
As the young lad walked up Mount Moriah with his father, Abraham, he asked, "Where is the lamb?" (Genesis 22:7), and that seems to be the question of the Old Testament: "Where is the Lamb?"
Nearly nineteen hundred years after Isaac asked that question and after God provided the ram in the thicket, we read about John the Baptist as he was ministering in the area of Jordan. One day when he looked up and saw the Lord Jesus from a distance, he made perhaps the greatest statement of the New Testament Gospels: "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).
The great question of the Old Testament was, "Where is the lamb?" The great statement of the Gospels is, "Behold the Lamb of God."
Then the Bible tells us that at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, we will all hear the angels sing and bring glory to the Lord by saying, "Worthy is the Lamb" (Revelation 5:12).
Genesis asked the question, "Where is the lamb?" The Gospels give the answer, "Behold the Lamb of God." One day we will all hear the song sung by angelic choirs, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain [for our sins]."
The Word of God declares that Jesus was "brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth" (Isaiah 53:7).
Some might wonder and raise questions about the blood atonement of Jesus Christ. To some it may seem strange at first hearing, and they might wonder as to this particular standard for atonement. But we need to realize this very foundational fact: It is God who has established the shedding of blood for the remission of sin.
The Bible says in Hebrews 9:22, "And without shedding of blood is no remission." God set and met the standard in the Person of His only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
In looking at this great subject, first I would share with you that the blood of Jesus Christ is
I. MAGNIFICENT IN ITS VIRTUE
Now to understand the virtue of the blood atonement, we compare the bloodline of mankind to the blood of Jesus Christ. That comparison can best be summarized in two simple words: corruptible and incorruptible.
The bloodline of mankind, spiritually speaking, is a corruptible bloodline. The blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, literally and spiritually, is incorruptible.
The bloodline of man has been tainted and corrupted by sin. In the beginning this was not the case.
Genesis 2:7 records that God breathed into Adam and he became a living soul. In fact, we read in Genesis 5:1 that God created Adam in the image of Himself. So we conclude that in the beginning Adam was not created with a corruptible bloodline, because he was created in the image of God. But the Bible records the full truth when it tells us there came a day in Adam's life when he sinned: "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Romans 5:12).
You and I were born into a corruptible spiritual bloodline. We were born with a need for redemption by the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible says that spiritual death passed from Adam unto all men, but that spiritual life passes from Jesus Christ unto all who believe on Him. But the bloodline of man was tainted by sin.
We see that the blood of Jesus Christ is declared in the Scriptures to be incorruptible.
Notice what the Scripture says about the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ which was offered on Calvary for us:
"Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation [or your empty lifestyle] received by tradition from your fathers; "But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot."--I Peter 1:18,19.
When we are redeemed from our sinful state, we are not redeemed by the corruptible things of this world nor by the corruptible sacrifices of man, but by the incorruptible blood of Jesus Christ, who was a Lamb without spot or blemish.
So Jesus Christ came as a Lamb without spot or blemish, shed incorruptible blood on the cross of Calvary, and rose up again on the third day in order that our sins might be forgiven.
Now let's just get a brief, biblical, historical perspective on the incorruptible blood of Jesus Christ.
Shortly after Adam sinned, a prophecy in Genesis 3:15 said that one day God was going to conquer Satan with the seed of a woman. At first glance, the seed of a woman is somewhat a mystery to the Bible reader. It is mentioned again in Galatians 4:4: "But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law."
In the reproductive process, a woman does not provide the seed which is the source of the bloodline. So it is from the father that the bloodline comes. Yet the Bible says that God would redeem the world and conquer Satan through the seed of a woman. How could that be?
As we come to the New Testament, we begin to understand. The seed of the woman was a prophecy concerning the Holy Ghost's placing the seed into the woman Mary, who, as the Virgin Mary, brought forth the Saviour of the world, the Lord Jesus Christ. That is why the angel said to Mary in Luke 1:35:
"The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."
My friend, the blood of Christ did not originate from this earth or from some corruptible manner or relationship of this earth. The blood of Christ originated from the seed of the Holy Spirit, which was placed into the woman miraculously by God. That is why the blood of Jesus Christ is magnificent in its virtue.
The blood of Christ is magnificent today because of the way God prepared it for you and for me--going all the way back to the book of Genesis, coming all the way through the prophecies of the Old Testament, until the coming of Jesus Christ by way of the Holy Spirit's causing a child to be conceived in Mary's womb.
It is a magnificent doctrine, this doctrine of the blood atonement of Jesus Christ.
Years ago I was living in the San Jose bay area. In our church was a young girl who needed to have some type of jaw surgery. The surgery was fairly common. She was on the church prayer list. We prayed that God would heal her and bring her through the surgery.
It was about this time that AIDS was becoming a known problem in our country and around the world. We were just discovering some of the dangers of that particular virus. There was concern about the blood banks and the blood supply in this country.
One day the father called the church office somewhat frantically. "Look, my daughter is scheduled for surgery tomorrow, and the doctors say she may need some blood. We just found out that the blood bank that supplies this hospital has discovered that some of the supply is tainted with the AIDS virus!"
Needless to say, there was great alarm in the heart of that father. He requested that some church members donate blood to be reserved there, in case of necessity, for his daughter. Several gladly donated blood.
There was tremendous concern by others in that particular hospital and in that area of the country regarding the blood bank. Was it trustworthy? I remember the fear and the trepidation many had during those days.
As I think about the blood of Jesus Christ, I am thankful this morning that no one who really understands his need as a sinner, who really understands his need for atonement, will ever have to worry about the blood supply of Jesus Christ. It has not been tainted by sin. He was tempted in all points like as we are, but He never sinned.
When He shed His blood on that cross, He shed the perfectly sinless blood of God as an atonement for all of us, in order that we might be saved. We don't have to wonder, Is it still good? We don't have to wonder, Does it still work today? The eternal and incorruptible blood of Jesus Christ has been offered for the sins of the world, and it is still reserved for you and for me as we come to Him by faith even today.
So, according to the Scriptures, the blood of Jesus Christ is magnificent in its virtue.
Then the blood of Christ is
II. MAGNIFICENT IN ITS VALUE
Think with me for a moment about the value of the atonement. We sing a song:
What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Then we sing:
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Then we continue:
Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow.
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
How valuable is the blood atonement of Jesus Christ? So valuable that there is no other way whereby our sins might be forgiven--not by the Baptist church; not by the baptistry waters; not by doing good the best we know how to do. The only way we can have the forgiveness of sin is by way of the cross of Christ.
There is really no way, then, to place a high enough value upon the blood of Jesus Christ.
Paul the apostle said in Colossians 1:20: "And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself…."
Let's see what the Bible says about the blood of Jesus.
Colossians, chapter 1, says it provides peace with God; but notice a wonderful truth in Romans 5:8,9: "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. "Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him."
The only way we can be justified or forgiven, the only way we can be declared righteous before a holy God is by way of the blood of Jesus Christ. "Much more then, being now justified by his blood…." It is only by the blood of the Lamb that we can be justified from our sinful past and have hope of eternity in Heaven.
That is why the Apostle Paul wrote to the pastors at the church of Ephesus: "Take heed…to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood" (Acts 20:28).
Jesus Christ shed the very blood of God, because He was, after all, the God-Man. When His blood was shed, it was the perfectly sinless blood of God come down for you and for me. The songwriter wrote:
There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Immanuel's veins;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains.
Thank God for the value of the atoning work of the blood of Jesus Christ which offers forgiveness to all today for their sin!
It not only offers atonement, but the value of the blood atonement can be seen in that it provides access to God for each one of us. The blood atonement of Christ opened up a door whereby we might come and pray directly to God.
We see in the book of Hebrews how the blood of Christ provides access for us to God. "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, "By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; "And having an high priest over the house of God."--Hebrews 10:19-21.
The Bible says to the Hebrews of the first century that there was a new and living way to approach God. That new and living way was made possible by the blood of Jesus Christ.
Prior to Christ's coming and dying on the cross, only the high priest on the Day of Atonement could go in and sprinkle blood on the mercy seat for the sins of the children of Israel. But when Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God and the final sacrifice, died upon the cross, once and for all our sins were paid for.
Now, because Jesus Christ has shed His blood on the cross, we don't have to pray to a priest nor confess our sins to someone else. We have direct access to God in prayer.
Verse 20 says it is accomplished through the veil; that is to say, His flesh. The veil, or flesh of Jesus Christ, was torn, and His blood was shed in order that we might have our sins forgiven; yes, but that we might also have access to God through the Lord Jesus Christ.
In Hebrews 9, verses 23 and 24, the same teaching is given:
"It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. "For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us."
The high priest in the Old Testament entered the holy place made with hands. But Jesus Christ has entered the heavenly place and is now at the right hand of God interceding for us. So when we pray in Jesus' name, when we come to the Lord Jesus in prayer, He is interceding for us. He is our Advocate. He is pleading our case and bringing our prayers before God the Heavenly Father.
John Wesley wrote: "Lord, I believe Thy precious blood, which at the mercy seat of God forever doth for sinners plead, for me, even my soul, was shed." He was saying, "Lord, I know that Your blood was shed for me." It is because of that fact that we can pray directly to God the Heavenly Father in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ became our payment of sin, our mercy seat, that we might have access to God, the Heavenly Father. So when we think of the blood atonement today, we say that it is magnificent in its virtue; unparalleled in its virtue; and that the incorruptible blood of Christ brings salvation.
It is magnificent in its value. There is no way to put a price on having peace with God. There is no way to put a price on having the atonement for sin and having direct access to God through Jesus Christ.
Then, we see the blood atonement is
III. MAGNIFICENT IN ITS VICTORY
If you are sure you are saved, then you realize there is no victory without the shedding of the blood of Christ.
I think again of the good old songs such as "Victory in Jesus."
I heard an old, old story,
How a Saviour came from Glory;
How He gave His life on Calvary
To save a wretch like me;
I heard about His groaning,
Of His precious blood's atoning.
Then I repented of my sins
And won the victory.
I repented of my sin and won the victory. When? When I heard about His precious blood's atoning. There is victory because of the blood of Jesus Christ. I can enjoy the forgiveness of sin, the victory of the Christian life, because of the blood of Jesus Christ.
Let me tell you two ways we have victory:
1. There is victory in forgiveness, victory when you realize your sins are forgiven. One thing we have in common today--we have all blown it in the past. But, thank God, there is victory in forgiveness! Thank God that He loves us so much that He would send His Son to die on the cross for our sin and that He forgives us of our sins.
A Sunday school teacher was teaching on forgiveness to a group of little boys. She asked one of them, "Johnny, will you be able now to forgive those boys when they hit you at school next week?" Johnny thought about it and then answered, "Well, I guess I could, if they are bigger than I am."
It is always easier to forgive the guy who is bigger than you. But sometimes when he is just a little smaller, we have that tendency to want revenge. That is human nature.
God's forgiveness isn't like that. His forgiveness is not conditional. His forgiveness is based on one great truth--the blood of Jesus Christ. Based upon the blood of Christ, He offers forgiveness to all men everywhere, if they will come to Him.
That is how it was for the children of Israel in Egypt in years gone by. When the death angel came sweeping through Egypt to take the firstborn, if the children of Israel had put blood on the doorpost and on the side post, the death angel passed over them. God had said, "When I see the blood, I will pass over you" (Exodus 12:13). It was the blood that brought a covering to the homes of the children of Israel in Egypt.
The same principle is true today. If you have put your faith in Jesus Christ, then when this life ends, God says, "When I see the blood, I will pass over you." If your sins are forgiven, you are assured of a home in Heaven. It has always been by way of the blood that forgiveness has been provided.
Paul said to the church of Colosse in Colossians 1:14, "In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins." Thank God for the forgiveness of sins!
By the way, God calculates forgiveness in infinite distances. He says He will separate our sins as far as the East is from the West and never remember them again.
When you accept Jesus as your Saviour by faith, God sees you then through the blood of Jesus Christ. He neither sees your sin nor remembers your sin. He sees you as a forgiven child whom He loves and whom He died to forgive. Thank God for that truth!
In Romans, chapter 3, we see further concerning the forgiveness of Jesus Christ. Look at verses 23 and 24: "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus."
Then notice verses 25 and 26: "Whom God had set forth to be a propitiation [a payment] through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; "To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus."
Capture this truth: God, who is just and true, could not allow us as a sinful people to enter into Heaven, so He provided a way whereby we might be justified.
Hear me! We are not justified through the church. We are not justified through the ordinances. We are not justified through our own good works. We are justified only by the blood of the Lamb. When we come to Christ and say, "Lord, I do confess that I am a sinner and ask You to be my Saviour," then His blood is applied spiritually to our account, our sins are forgiven, and we have a reservation for a home in Heaven.
Friend, if there has never been a time when you have come to that place and said, "O Lord Jesus, as a sinner I ask You to come into my life and save me; I ask You, Lord Jesus, to forgive me and be my Saviour," then I encourage you today to come to Christ and ask Him to be your Saviour. The blood of Christ will be applied to your account, your sins will be forgiven, and you will know that you have a home in Heaven someday.
So we see there is victory in forgiveness. The burden of sin is so heavy, but thank God, when a man or woman is saved, the burdens are lifted at Calvary. Thanks to God's amazing grace!
2. There is also victory in cleansing. There is victory in the efficacious work of the blood or the continual work of the blood of Jesus Christ.
Not only does God forgive sins past, but God forgives sins even after we are saved. Turn to I John 1:7: "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."
That word cleanseth is in the continual sense, meaning it is always and ever working for those who have put their faith in Christ. His blood is continually effectual in cleansing sin. In other words, His blood will never lose its power but will continually work on the behalf of His children.
So we say today of His blood atonement: It is magnificent in its virtue, because His blood is incorruptible; magnificent in its value, because His blood provides peace for those who come to Christ and access to God through Jesus Christ; magnificent in its victory, because it provides victory through forgiveness and continual cleansing. Thank God for the fountain that provides that cleansing!
Some, even in the Christian community, don't like to hear teaching and preaching about the blood atonement. There are some liberal theologians who have stated, "We don't need this slaughterhouse religion, nor do we need to sing songs about the blood of the Lamb."
Others today, in their effort to appeal somehow to the yuppies and the baby boomers and the baby busters, feel that we shouldn't preach about the blood atonement of Jesus Christ and such matters, which they think are archaic and old-fashioned. So they say, "Let's set that stuff aside and just praise and worship. Let's just have a good time."
I want you to understand me very clearly: Until you understand the meaning; until you understand the magnificence of His blood atonement, you will not know how to praise and worship. You will not know whom you are praising and worshipping. Until you really have the foundation of belief and faith, you have no platform from which to praise and to worship the Lord Jesus Christ. But when you get it, when you receive it, when you believe in your heart that His blood atonement is truly virtuous and valuable to your life, it will bring victory; and praise will be the normal reaction to the doctrinal understanding of the Word of God.
A Personal Note:
If you have understood this message, and that only through the final sacrifice of Jesus Christ on Calvary can you get forgiveness of your sins, would you ask the Lord Jesus to save you now? He is waiting for you to call upon him.
If you would like to know more about salvation through faith in Christ, please visit Our Foundation, or e-mail us. If you have accepted Christ, please e-mail us so we may rejoice with you, and help you find a solid Bible-believing Church in your area.