“I used to think it strange that the Bible keeps talking about the cleansing power of the blood,” admitted the late and renowned surgeon Paul W. Brand.
“It seemed to me that blood was messy stuff. I needed to wash my white lab coats if they became stained with blood,” wrote Dr. Brand in his book God’s Forever Feast. “Today, I love the analogy; it is so true of the body. The blood is constantly cleansing every cell, and washing away all the debris that accumulates all the time. I like Paul’s phrase in Hebrews.3 ‘How much more shall the blood of Christ purge [cleanse] your conscience from dead works?”
The apostle Paul put it this way in Colossians 1:19-20. “For it pleased the Father that in (Christ) all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.”
The cross is the prominent theme throughout the New Testament. In fact, as the 19th century Scottish author and theologian Ian MacLaren put it “The cross is the center of the world’s history; the incarnation of Christ and the crucifixion of our Lord are the pivot around which all the events of the ages revolve.”
One Friday 20 centuries ago Jesus of Nazareth was taken to Calvary’s Hill and crucified on the cross. But what makes that narrative so compelling and powerful is “the blood of the cross.”
Consider what the Bible says about the blood.
(1) We are redeemed by the blood.
Redeem means “to buy back.” It was a word used for the ransoming of slaves or prisoners of war. To be redeemed was to regain your freedom, to enjoy liberty and to be released from physical and emotional bondage.
Spiritually, “the blood of his cross” is the ransom for the sinner’s freedom from the enslavement of sin. Since “the wages of sin is death,” there must be a price paid to secure our release from sin’s shackles.
(2) We are made righteous by the blood.
The Bible says “we have been justified by his blood” (Rom. 5:9). To be justified means to be rendered as innocent or righteous. Yet Paul said, “there is none righteous, no, not one” So how can we be righteous, since we’ve all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory?
The answer? “The blood of the cross!” Through the blood we receive justification
(3) We are washed by the blood.
This paradox perplexed Dr. Brand until he realized the efficacious nature of the blood of Christ! The beloved John affirmed “you are washed in his blood” (Rev. 1:5).
Consider the cleaning power of “the blood of the cross.” The apostle Paul entered Corinth on his second missionary tour and preached the gospel to a city that was a cesspool of sin.
He later wrote that some of his converts had been fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, sodomites, thieves, drunkards, and extortioners. What happened? What changed them? Paul says, “But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Cor 6:9-11).
“The blood of the cross” can purify the soul of sin’s putridity. Drunkards can get sober. Dishonest people can live honorable lives. And sexually immoral men and women can become morally upright. And sin’s guilt and stain is washed away!
We all can thank God for the gift of Jesus Christ. For Friday’s vicarious sacrifice. And for “the blood of the cross” that has purchased our redemption, obtained our justification and washed away our sins!
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman