Salvation: It Requires
the Blood of Christ
When it comes to our salvation from sin, it is essential that we understand the power at work in salvation! Salvation only comes by means of the BLOOD OF CHRIST!
God “sent His only begotten Son into the world” (1 John 4:9), in order to offer “the sacrifice of Himself” (Heb. 9:26) and “shed” His blood “for the remission of sins” (Matt. 26:28). It is not merely necessary that Christ would come and die. It was necessary that He give His blood in His death, for only “by His blood” (Rom. 3:25) could Jesus satisfy the wrath of God and “make propitiation for the sins of the people” (Heb. 2:17; 1 John 2:2; 4:10). Consider how God has always placed the power of atonement in a sacrifice of blood.
In the Patriarchal Age, the sacrifice of blood was essential. The first acceptable sacrifice of man at the beginning of time was one of blood (Gen. 4:3-5). Noah offered sacrifices involving blood (Gen. 8:20), as did Abraham (Gen. 12:7-8). The Passover was instituted with sacrifices involving blood (Ex. 12:1-13).
In the Mosaic Age, the sacrifice of blood was essential. The old covenant was sealed with blood (Heb. 9:18-20; Ex. 24:6-8). The tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry were sanctified by blood (Heb. 9:21-22). The Law of Moses required multiple animal sacrifices daily (Lev. 1-7; Heb. 10:11). However, we learn that the blood of those animal sacrifices could never take away sin (Heb. 10:1-4). Every year the sins of Israel were remembered (Heb. 10:3; Lev. 16), and atonement had to be secured by the blood of an animal (Heb. 9:7, 25). Truly, “without shedding of blood there is no remission” (Heb. 9:22).
The shedding of Jesus’ blood was absolutely essential for our salvation from sin. The Old Testament prophets foretold of the Savior’s sacrifice (Isa. 53:5-6; Psa. 22:16; Zech. 13:1). The New Testament reveals to us that it is only through the power of the blood of Christ that we can be washed from our sins (Rev. 1:5; 7:14), be cleansed from our sins (1 John 1:7; Heb. 9:14), be forgiven of our sins (Matt. 26:28; Heb. 9:22), be redeemed from our sins (Eph. 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:18-19), be justified from our sins (Rom. 5:9), be sanctified from our sins (Heb. 10:29; 13:12), be reconciled from our sins (Eph. 2:13; Col. 1:20), etc. Read those again. Our salvation from sin is only possible because of the precious blood of Jesus Christ that was lovingly shed for all mankind!
Truly our “redemption [is] through His blood,” giving us “the forgiveness of sins” (Eph. 1:7), but we can only be “washed…in the blood of the Lamb” (Rev. 7:14) by a proper response to the revealed will of the loving Savior!
Four Amazing Adjectives Applied To Us
The apostle Peter was drawing a sharp contrast between children of God and children of the devil in the second chapter of his first letter. On the one hand is “he who believes” on Christ (1 Pet. 2:6), and on the other hand are “those who are disobedient” (2:7). In the New Testament, belief and obedience are used interchangeably (John 3:36; Acts 14:1-2; Heb. 3:18-19), for acceptable (in the eyes of God) faith is an obedient faith. The contrast is also seen in their view of Jesus. To the obedient, Jesus is “a living stone” (2:4), who “has become the chief cornerstone” (2:7). To the disobedient, Jesus is “a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense” (2:8).
In this context, as Peter was trying to build up these Christians who were suffering persecution, the inspired penman uses a variety of adjectives to describe who Christians are TO GOD. How does God see you as a faithful Christian? Consider these adjectives in verse 9.
“You are a CHOSEN generation.” This is not an unconditional choosing. God calls us by the “gospel” (2 Thess. 2:14); therefore, He calls out to everyone with the promise of salvation (Rom. 1:16-17). But He only “chose us” who are “in Him”—that is, He chose those who fearfully obey His will (Acts 10:35) and are “born again” (1 Pet. 1:23) through baptism into Christ (Gal. 3:27). TO GOD, you are CHOSEN!
“You are a ROYAL priesthood.” You are “royal” because of your relationship to the King Himself. The church is “a kingdom of priests” (cf. Ex. 19:6), for the King has “made us kings and priests to His God and Father” (Rev. 1:6; 5:10). All Christians are priests, for the King has given us access to the throne of God to worship Him personally and directly. TO GOD, you are ROYAL!
“You are a HOLY nation.” The word “holy” was used in verse 5 for the “priesthood” and here for the “nation.” Peter used the word in chapter one, reminding his dear readers that “as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct” (1:15). Christians are citizens of a spiritual nation (i.e., the church is now “the Israel of God,” Gal. 6:16), made up of all people who have been set apart BY God, TO God and FOR God. TO GOD, you are HOLY!
“You are HIS OWN special people.” You are special to God because you are “God’s own possession” (NASB). You belong to Him, for He has “bought” you (1 Cor. 6:19-20; Acts 20:28), and now you are His “jewels” (Mal. 3:17), as His own “special treasure” (Deut. 7:6). TO GOD, you are HIS OWN!
When you realize, amazingly, who you are TO GOD, it ought to motivate you to “proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness” (2:9). Are you doing that?
Endeavoring to Keep the Unity of the Spirit (Part 4)
In the first part of our study, we laid the foundation for unity. In the second part and third part, we made two connections that exist between Jesus and unity – The Prayer That Jesus Prayed and The Price That Jesus Paid. In this final installment, we will notice a third and final connection.
The Peril That Christ Portrayed
Mark records an occasion when the scribes came down from Jerusalem and accused Jesus of casting out devils by Beelzebub, the prince of the devils (Mk. 3:22). Jesus’ response to the scribes teaches an important truth about unity. Mark records, “And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan? And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end” (Mk. 3:23-26).
Please note the simple peril that Jesus portrayed. A house that is divided against itself simply cannot stand. Although Jesus was not specifically talking about the church, the principle that He gave holds true. United we stand, divided we fall. As you know, inspired writers often described the church as a house. To Timothy, his own son in the faith, Paul wrote,”But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15; cf. Eph. 2:19; Isa. 2:2-3).
Please notice that the church of the living God is the house of God. If a house divided against itself cannot stand, and the church is a house, then what does division do to the church? Clearly, it will cause it to fall.
Today, we need to consider again the peril that Christ portrayed. If we will do so, then it will help us to keep the unity of the Spirit.
In the simplest way that I know how, I have laid out three reasons why we should endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit. We should labor to keep the unity of the Spirit because of the prayer that Christ prayed, because of the price that Christ paid, and because of the peril that Christ portrayed.
Endeavoring to Keep the Unity of the Spirit (Part 3)
In the first part of our study, we laid the foundation for unity. In the second part, we made the first of three connections that exist between Jesus and unity – The Prayer That Jesus Prayed. In this third installment, we will notice a second connection.
The Price That Jesus Paid
A tremendous price was paid for the church, the one body (Eph. 1:22-23; 4:4). Jesus “gave Himself for it” (Eph. 5:25). He “purchased it with His own blood” (Acts 20:28). It should be noted that the church, the one body, is made up of many members. To the saints at Corinth, Paul wrote, “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many” (1 Cor. 12:12-14). Within the context, Paul went on to explain the importance of every member of the body. Although every member doesn’t have the same function, they all have the same worth. After all, each member is purchased at the same high price (1 Cor. 6:20).
I believe that one of the ugliest things about division is the fact that it ignores the price that was paid for each individual member of the body. A least a couple of times within the epistles that he penned, Paul encouraged the brethren to consider how their actions could affect a brother or a sister in Christ. Please note that as Paul did so, he reminded them of the price that Jesus had paid. To the Christians at Corinth, Paul wrote, “And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? (1 Cor. 8:11). In like manner, to the redeemed at Rome, Paul wrote, “But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died” (Rom. 14:15). Please note that Christ died even for the weak brother. Although the strong brother is not to let the weak brother control the church, he is to consider the tremendous price that was paid for the weak brother and act accordingly.
We must never forget that Jesus died to reconcile men to God and to one another in the one body. To the elect at Ephesus, Paul wrote, “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby” (Eph. 2:13-16).
Division ignores the price the Jesus paid for unity. It separates that which Christ died to bring together.
Endeavoring to Keep
the Unity of the Spirit (Part 2)
In the first part of this study, we laid the foundation for unity. In this part of our study, we want to see the first of three connections that exist between Jesus and unity.
The Prayer That Jesus Prayed
In His prayer for His disciples, Jesus prayed, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me (John 17:20-23). Jesus wanted His present disciples and His future disciples to enjoy the unity that He enjoyed with the Father. Their unity would show the world His deity and the Father’s love. Without unity, the world would never believe the message of the disciples.
The early church did their best to fulfill this prayer of the Lord. Luke records, “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:46; cf. John 13:34-35).
Furthermore, Luke recorded, “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need” (Acts 4:32-35). Please note that they were of one heart and one soul. They shared what they had with each other. That is unity. That is love. That is what Jesus was requesting in His prayer.
Today, we need to consider anew the prayer that Jesus prayed for His disciples. If we will do so, then it will help us to keep the unity of the Spirit.