The Precious Blood
by Doyle D. Dewberry
TEXT - 1 Peter 1:18-20
"Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
but with THE PRECIOUS BLOOD OF CHRIST, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you."
There is no disputing the fact, the Bible is a book of blood. You can cut it anywhere, and it will bleed. The O.T. begins with blood, the shed blood of Abel, and continues throughout. The first sacrifice, that of Abel, was a blood sacrifice, and was acceptable to the Lord, while a sacrifice of the field, made by his brother Cain, was rejected. All the blood sacrifices were typical of the shed blood of the Savior, the Lord Jesus, and while theirs was an on-going one, the sacrifice of the Lord was a once-for-all sacrifice. Their's were animal sacrifices; His was his own. Their's never took away sin - it only covered it, while His takes sin away. Their's never made the one sacrificing perfect, while His makes those, for whom it was intended, complete, as it cleanses them from all sin.
Peter tells his readers they were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold .. by the tradition from their fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ. After the Exodus from Egypt, at the construction of the tabernacle, the people made donations of precious metals such as silver, gold and brass, and they were used in various segments in building and maintaining the tabernacle. The people were required to give a half a shekel (bekah) of silver as an offering to the Lord, and as an atonement for the soul, that there be no plague among them (Exod 30:12). While the half a shekel can be considered as typical of Christ's atonement by blood, it is, in another sense, antitypical. The blood, like the half a shekel, is for an atonement, even though they are two different means. The half a shekel was the price paid for Israel's ransom, for their redemption, which was said upon their deliverance. So the blood of Christ is the price paid for the ransom of God's spiritual Israel, the Church, and given for its deliverance. And as the silver and gold are precious metals, so is the blood of Christ, yet, by far, more precious, as the metals perish, being corruptible, but the blood of Christ is eternal, and certainly not corruptible, but enduring!
As the word precious catches our eye, and as we contemplate this reference to the blood of our Lord Jesus, we should like to set forth why the blood of Christ is so precious from the standpoint of the Scriptural designations. For you whose sins are under the blood, is not that blood therefore precious? far more precious than silver or gold which perisheth! Silver and gold cannot be carried into our eternal abode, but the blood is that which makes it possible for His people to be there, there where they shall walk on gold.
I - THE BLOOD IS FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS:
For this is my blood of the new testament (the covenant), which is shed for many for the REMISSION (FORGIVENESS) OF SINS (Matt 26:28).
The word new is not in the better manuscripts, and the word testament is the word for covenant. Also remission is the word forgiveness. Mark 14 and Luke 22 also are questionable as to the word new. This would mean that the covenant is not a new one, but the on-going one from the beginning, that is, the everlasting covenant. The word for forgiveness is used twice in Luke 4:18, and KJ translates it there, in the first usage, as deliverance, and in the second, as set at liberty. It basically means to cancel, remit, or forgive, and in this context, means the sins do not exist any longer. Now that makes the blood of our Lord shed on Calvary precious, that is having great value! Silver and gold have great value, but that value is far less than the sin-forgiving blood of Christ for His people. As far as condemnation is concerned, all our sins are under the blood. Our sins often occurring, though they do not affect eternal life, do affect fellowship with our God, and must be confessed. When such is followed, they are forgiven, and fellowship is restored. This word is given to show the link between Israel's ransom out of Egypt and ours in Christ:
"None but Israelites were ransomed; and none are ransomed by Christ, but the SPIRITUAL ISRAEL OF GOD whom He hath chosen, Christ has redeemed, and who shall be saved with an everlasting salvation; even the whole ISRAEL OF GOD, BOTH JEWS AND GENTILES (see Gal 6:15,16): they were numbered people for whom the ransom was paid; and so they that are redeemed and ransomed by Christ; whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life" (John Gill).
Notice also Peter's reference to the fitness of our Savior as a sacrifice. It is only with His blood that give us forgiveness of sins as He was the Lamb without blemish and without spot. This makes His shed blood all the more precious, for it is the only acceptable blood. Apart from Him, and His effectual atonement, there is no salvation. Depraved man could not atone, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, and as the sacrifical lamb of which our Lord is the antitype, it must be without blemish and spot. Sinful man was not an acceptable sacrifice. Thus without the shedding of blood there is no remission (forgiveness) (Heb 9:22). Ah, dear Reader, does that not make us most blessed? as only the Lord Jesus could save us unto eternal life! We are the sheep of His pasture, and He has laid down His life for the sheep!
II - THE BLOOD IS THE PURCHASE PRICE FOR THE CHURCH:
Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed THE CHURCH OF GOD, which he hath PURCHASED WITH HIS OWN BLOOD (Acts 20:28).
See how broad, and yet most particular, is the extent of His death. It includes all THE CHURCH, and only it! And the Scriptures are just as clear, not only to the extent of our Lord's death, but exactly why He was willing to give His life, shedding His blood, for the ransom (the purchase price) of the Church. Paul tells us:
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also LOVED THE CHURCH, and gave himself FOR IT; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish (Eph 5:25-27).
Love moved our Lord to die for His people! And He not only came to die, but to save His people from their sins (Matt 1:21). It is a glorious Church to Him. Because of the vital union the Church has with Christ, being in Him, and since He has neither blemish nor spot, the Church is without blemish as well. His blood shed, atoning for the sin of His people, means there is no blemish in them in His sight. We note also the Church is holy, or as it means to be set apart, it is set apart from the world to Him. This is so accomplished since He has purchased the Church with His own blood, and thus it belongs to Him, its Savior and Head. "The world is God's by right of creation, but the Church is His by right of redemption" (Matt Henry).
"The Lord Jesus cherishes for the church a peculiar affection, which is set upon her above the rest of mankind: He said, "I pray for them, I pray not for the world." The elect church is the favourite of heaven, the treasure of Christ, the crown of His head, the bracelet of His arm, the breastplate of His heart, and the very centre and core of His love" (C.H. Spurgeon).
Ah, the love of the Lord Jesus! It makes His blood more precious as we consider His love for His people, which love nailed Him to the tree. Precious, precious blood which atoned for the wicked sins of His people; a people so undeserving, and without strength, if being necessary for Christ to die for them for salvation!
III - THE BLOOD HAS WROUGHT PEACE BETWEEN GOD AND HIS PEOPLE:
And, having MADE PEACE THROUGH THE BLOOD OF HIS CROSS, by him to RECONCILE all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now HATH HE RECONCILED in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight (Col 1:20-22).
We can notice first the there was no peace between God and His people because of our wicked works, and as a result we were enemies, but are now reconciled to God through the blood of His cross. As a result of our blessed Lord's atoning shed blood, we are holy (set apart unto Himself), unblameable (unspotted), and unreproveable (unchargeable) in His sight (or before Him). It is no wonder then that Paul tells us we are complete in Him (Col 2:10). Who in Christ would not confess that His blood is most precious as we hear these blessed truths of the accomplishments of His blood shed for His people?
"..has this blood no voice to us? Does it not bid us sanctify ourselves unto Him by whom we have been redeemed? Does it not call us to newness of life, and incite us to entire consecration to the Lord? O that the power of the blood might be known, and felt in us at this present time!" (C.H. Spurgeon).
IV - THE BLOOD IS THE MEANS OF OUR JUSTIFICATION:
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 (Rom 5:8-9).
Again we are faced with the love of Christ in His death, and the result of the shedding of His precious blood, we are justified. Declared justification and imputed righteousness is the same work. Paul tells us of His being made sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be MADE THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD IN HIM (2 Cor 5:21). We are not righteous of ourselves, as there is none righteous, no not one (Rom 3:10), but ours is a declared righteousness, or justification. It was said of Abraham, and it is true of us as well, His faith is counted for righteousness, and it was a righteousness without works (v. 6). Again it is said of him, His faith was reckoned for righteousness (v. 9). Paul tells us it was by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous (v. 5:19), and that ONE is Christ, referring to His obedience in His dying whereby His blood made an atonement (Gk. katallagnv, that is, reconciliation) (Rom 5:11). It is the same word translated such in v. 10. O precious blood! The people of God stand justified, that is, imputed with the righteousness of Christ, and are saved from wrath through Him. We look unto Jesus for salvation Who has washed us from our sins IN HIS OWN BLOOD (Rev 1:5), and has made us the righteousness of God in Christ.
V - THE BLOOD PURGES OUR CONSCIENCE FROM DEAD WORKS TO SERVE THE LIVING GOD:
Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, PURGE YOUR CONSCIENCE FROM DEAD WORKS TO SERVE THE LIVING GOD? (Heb 9:12-14).
The above passage, along with chapter 10, gives us a most wonderful truth as to the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ. The writer makes a distinction between the O.T. sacrifices of animals, and the sacrifice of the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world. Those sacrifices under the Mosaic economy were on-going, a continual putting away of sins every year. The recipients of such had to face other sins in another sacrifice so that it was never a finished work. The writer speaks of Christ's sacrifice as one which did purge your conscience which the O.T. sacrifices did not do. There was a rememberance of sins from year to year, as we are told: But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year (v. 10:3). They could not rejoice, as in the words of our Lord Jesus, in His dying moment on the cross when He said, It is finished, and such work is a work of the heart of His people whose conscience is purged. But with the former, the sacrifices never made the comers thereunto perfect (complete) (v. 10:1). Aaron would remain standing, indicating his work was never a finished work, but when our Lord ascended into heaven, as High Priest, He sat down on the right hand of God the Father, showing His finished work:
By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest STANDETH DAILY ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: but this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, SAT DOWN ON THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD; from henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified (Heb 10:10-14).
Thus in Christ, His people have a purged conscience in that they see the work as complete in one sacrifice, not a continual one. To show the reality of the result of a continuous sacrifice, consider the words in the last book of the O.T., when it is said of the people, who had strayed from their long ordeal of yearly sacrifices, for they said: What a weariness it is (Mal 1:13). Such is not the case of the N.T. believer who rejoices in a finished work, and thus having a purged conscience, so that one worships rather than fears! O, happy Reader, is not the blood of the Lord Jesus precious blood? Consider all the benefits it gives to those sanctified, those set apart unto the Lord! We rejoice as those saved to the uttermost!
VI - THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST CLEANSES FROM ALL SIN:
If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 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. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us (1 John 1:6-10).
This passage speaks of both fellowship and security. If we sin, and we all do, we are to confess our sins, and our Lord is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we fail to confess, fellowship may be broken. Since there is no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:1), we can be sure the blood of Jesus Christ .. cleanses us from all sin. We are not of those who wrongly assume they can live above sin, for it is a trick of the Devil. If we say we have not sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. However, the import of this passage, which verily assures the heart, is the power of the blood of Christ to cleanse us from ALL SIN. The seasoned believer early learns confession is ever his need, for though John admonishes us to sin not, we learn we do not always obey it, and when we err, the blessed Holy Spirit is quick to convict us.
We have sought to set forth the fact that the blood of Jesus Christ, shed for His people, is rightly called precious. O, dear Reader, do you not agree that this is so? Consider all the accruements of it! what the undeserving sinner, who is in Christ by faith, gains from it! Is it not more precious than all the slain animals, sacrificed in olden times, which could never take away sin? Think on this, blessed one, His blood has ransomed you; redeemed you, forgiven you; cleansed you, yea, purchased you, so that you become a possession of our God through sanctification! We are made nigh by the blood of Jesus Christ! It is the blood of the everlasting covenant! We overcome by the blood of the Lamb! Christians have sung this blessed hymn for centuries: God help the one, not under the blood, to come to Jesus Christ, whose blood was shed, to put away sin!
Lay aside the garments that are stained with sin,
And be washed in the blood of the Lamb;
There's a fountain flowing for the soul unclean,
O be washed in the blood of the Lamb!
Are you washed in the blood?
In the soul-cleansing blood of the Lamb?
Are your garments spotless?
Are they white as snow?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Doyle Dewberry, formerly of Alameda, California, is a retired Pastor and author of Sovereign Grace Baptist Proclaimer, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org