Revelation 5:9, “And they sang a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood …”
The word ‘redeem’ means ‘to purchase for ownership’; or ‘to pay a ransom.’ It stands to reason then that, if we are bought by the precious blood of Christ, neither the Devil nor anyone else can buy us back! We are bought with a price! We belong to Christ forever! We cannot be lost! If we can be lost, then there is a flaw in the work of Calvary. If we perish, there is something flawed with His payment. Admittedly, there are all manner of flaws in us, but there are no flaws in our substitute and His ransom. Because of the power of the blood to redeem, we can never be lost! We are safe and secure.
We are saved because of one man and His accomplishments. There is no failing in this Second man, the Last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45; 47). He, as a consequence of His work on Earth 2000 years ago, is now, at this moment, in Heaven as our representative. Because of Him, there is now no legal condemnation for us. We are in Christ and, in Him, we have a perfect standing before the Father.
So here’s Good News for the New Year. It comes in two short questions with answers.
1. “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifies.”
2. “Who is He that condemns? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God who also maketh intercession fo us” (Romans 8:33).
The only one who can condemn us won’t condemn us for He has died for us. He has powerfully bought and mercifully paid for us with His own precious blood.
Augustus Toplady, the author of Rock of Ages, knew something of this Grace about which we speak. On New Year’s Eve, December 31, 1767, he wrote in his diary; “Upon a review of the past year, I desire to confess, that my unfruitfulness has been exceeding great; my sins still greater, and God’s mercies greater than both.”
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?….. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35-39).
Notice how nothing shall be able to separate us from the love of Christ. Away then with this teaching that Christ can lose that which He dearly purchased with His own blood.
This New Year may we never forget that we are not saved because of our love for Him but because of His love for us. We are not secured by our grip on Him but by His grip on us.
One old time preacher said, “Salvation was like Noah inviting a pagan in his day to place his trust in God’s Word and come into the Ark. Some, however, view salvation as Noah offering to put a peg on the outside of the Ark and saying “If you just hang on through the storm, you’ll be saved.”
Since repetition is the price of learning, let’s then say it again: Salvation is not dependent on our holding on to God, but on our being securely held by and in Christ.”
And that’s the Gospel Truth!
Ephesians 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
Redemption in the ancient world was not a religious idea, but rather a commercial one. Redemption was a term that specifically dealt with the act of buying a slave from the slave market in order to give him freedom. The term used for ‘redemption’ in our text is ‘apolytrōsis’, which carries with it a notion of liberation by the paying of a price. Christ’s amazing blood was the price paid, and it liberated us from the destruction of guilt and wrath.
To further understand biblical redemption, we should look at three other words associated with it in the New Testament. These words show us 3 distinct aspects of this great truth. The three words are,
This is a word which describes a purchase made. The Lord Jesus Christ went into the slave market of this world and bought and paid for us. Someone asks, “What did He use for currency?” That’s an excellent question. It finds its answer in 1 Peter 1:18-19 which says, “Forasmuch as you know that you 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:”
Furthermore, in Hebrews 9:12 we read, “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.” Again in 1 Corinthians 7:23 we read, “You are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.” What wonderful news this is for all of God’s children. We have been bought by saving blood. Christ’s blood is the currency of redemption. It has never suffered devaluation, and it never will.
Our second word is Exagorazo. Notice how this is basically the same word as ‘Agorazo‘. It’s agorazo with an ‘ex’ in front of it. ‘Ex’ means ‘out of’ or ‘out from’. So when this term Exagorazo is used, it means that not only were we purchased by blood but that we have been taken out of circulation and are no longer for sale. This is excellent. Such is the power of the blood that it has purchased us and taken out of the marketplace. We are bought with a price and thus removed from the control of both Satan and Sin. “(Galatians 3:13, Galatians 4:5).
This third word means to ransom, loose or to set free by paying a price. We have been bought—that’s good news, we have been brought out of the slave market of sin and death … that’s better. But now we discover that the blood has ransomed and freed us to live unto Christ. That’s the best! We read in Titus 2:14 “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem (lutroo) us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” (See also 1 Peter 1:18, Ephesians 1:7).
What a wonderful Saviour! What a mighty redemption! The term ‘Saved’ has become outmoded in many Christian circles. We are told it is an old fashioned word that puts people off. Not in my book! When we consider the redemption in Christ Jesus and see that it was His own blood that bought and paid for us, and see that He has taken us out of the market place of death and then see that he has set us free, we begin to realise that there is no better word to describe all of this than ‘Saved’. Here’s a hymn that sums it all up:
“Thank God I am free, free, free
From this world of sin,
I’ve been bought by the blood of Jesus,
And I’ve been born again
Hallelujah I’m saved, saved, saved
By His wonderful grace
The blood has been poured out,
He has brought me out
And shown me the way.”
And that’s the Gospel Truth
In recent weeks I’ve had several inquiries concerning the practice of verbally pleading the blood over everything we do and say. This activity seems to be a widespread practice among certain groups. After reading some material defending this practice, I’m of the opinion that people who verbally plead the blood over themselves are not testifying to the finished and full Gospel. They, in fact, have reduced the blood of Christ to a mere superstition. Claiming the blood over them as a protection formula, puts them on the same level as a person who wears a rabbit’s foot to ward away evil. Hey, it didn’t bring that rabbit any luck when he had the foot neither will pleading the blood bring any blessing to us.
These dear people have, without knowing, turned the blood of Jesus into a hocus-pocus ritual, a sort of magic wand that they think will protect them from evil and harm.
But, pleading the Blood of Jesus is not Biblical. Nowhere in the Bible does Jesus tell us to plead His Blood over ourselves. Furthermore, nowhere in the Bible does anyone ever plead the Blood of Jesus over themselves or others. I repeat, this practice of pleading the blood over ourselves is non-biblical.
On the other hand, we see from Scripture what the blood has already accomplished.
Justified by His Blood, Romans 5:9
We have Redemption through His Blood, Ephesians 1:7
Peace has been made through His Blood, Colossians 1:20
We have been made near by His Blood, Ephesians 2:13
We have been cleansed by His Blood, 1 John 1:7
The Blood is incorruptible Blood, 1 Peter 1:18-19
Our conscience is purged by the Blood, Hebrews 9:14
We enter into the Holiest by His Blood, Hebrews 10:19
We are set apart by His Blood, Hebrews 13:12
We overcome by His Blood, Revelation 12:11…in other words, we make our testimony that which has already been accomplished by the blood (this is not the same as pleading the blood).
Jesus, the sacrificed Lamb, is now our High Priest in heaven. As God’s Children, the blood of Jesus has already been applied to our lives. When Christ Jesus ascended to heaven, He entered into the Holy of Holies and sprinkled His precious blood upon the Mercy Seat before the throne of God. Hebrews 9:12 says; “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.”
His enemies are already vanquished. The blood has already triumphed. Christ became a curse, and now we have the blessings of Abraham (Galatians 3:13).
It’s redundant to plead the blood of Jesus over us to protect us. We are already under the blood and the care of the one sovereign and true God.
Nor can we cover unbelievers with the Blood of Jesus so that they one day become saved. Is salvation now the result of ritual magic? A thousand times no! There is no magic ritual in the Gospel.
Of course, it is correct to thank God for the accomplishments of the Blood. Unquestionably, it’s lawful to remind the forces of spiritual darkness of the triumph of the blood. But to reduce the blood of Christ to a little magic formula is anti-gospel. It is another form of legalism. In the legalists mind, God will do something but only if we do something first (i.e. plead the blood).
Pleading the blood is sheer anti-gospel nonsense and leads to disappointed casualties up and down the country.
And that’s the Gospel Truth!
“Whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood …” Romans 3:25
When the blood of Christ is highly prized and valued, the result is a vibrant spiritual life. However, when the blood is undervalued and under-emphasised, it leads to spiritual decay. When there is a shallow view of the blood, it results in a shallow view of sin and vice versa. When we look at Church history, we see that as the church loses sight of the blood, it goes into spiritual recession. How we urgently need to be filled with the Father’s thoughts about the blood. The more we understand the blood, the more we will become vibrant worshippers and appreciative followers of the Lamb.
Our verse introduces us to the word “propitiation“, one of God’s “salvation words” rarely used today. It refers to Christ’s death as the sacrifice which exhausted the wrath of God. Because of the shed blood, there is no longer any storm of wrath for God’s people. As in the days of the flood, Noah’s family was safe in the Ark and sheltered from the storm of God’s fury and justice. So it is that each one who trusts in Christ alone to save them, is safe from the wrath to come. Jesus is our Ark. He alone has accomplished a real redemption that has dealt with the retribution of God and the curse of the broken law of God.
Now here’s some more good news; Jesus is a greater saviour than we are sinners. By grace, believers have been given faith. It’s a faith which believes that Christ’s shed blood has made the satisfactory offering for our sins. The wrath offering was made. His blood was shed, and faith now sees what it accomplished for us. Indeed, it is by faith alone that the accomplishments and benefits of this one great wrath offering are applied to us. Without a doubt, faith in the blood is an essential part of our Christian life.
Of course, none of this makes any sense unless we see our part in the death of Christ. Sometimes I find it good to look at myself and say, “Miles McKee you are a crucifier of the young Prince of Glory. Your sins shed His blood.”
Have you ever done that? Have you ever seen yourself as the Christ slayer? If not, the matters of faith and grace are a mystery to you. It’s only in the measure that we see ourselves as undeserving sinners, guilty of killing the one who was God that we can enjoy the abundant grace and mercy of Heaven. After all, if we are worthy, we don’t need grace for grace is exclusively for the unworthy. The person who has never had even a small sense of abhorrence for the part they played in the death of Christ is still in spiritual darkness.
‘Twas you, my sins, my cruel sins,
His chief tormentors were;
Each of my crimes became a nail,
And unbelief the spear.
‘Twas you that pulled the vengeance down
Upon His guiltless head:
Break, break, my heart, O burst my eyes!
And let my sorrows bleed.
But for those of us who have seen the part we played in that awful death, we see that the only way of deliverance is by faith in His blood. Faith in the blood is God’s appointed way for sinners. However, if we believe that none of this applies to us, then we are lost.
Strike, mighty grace, my flinty soul,
Till melting waters flow,
And deep repentance drown my eyes
In undissembled woe.
Jesus has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood …” Romans 3:25.
And that’s the Gospel Truth!
But now in Christ Jesus, you who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ (Ephesians 2:13).
The Father, in choosing the method of putting away our sins, selected the very best He had, the blood of His own Son. It is by the priceless blood of the Lord Jesus that we are cleansed from our complete catalog of sins. By the blood of Christ, our spiritual sin stain is taken away and its tortured recollection destroyed. That’s why we read in Hebrews 9:13, “How much more shall the blood of Christ … purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
Jesus actually died at Calvary. In John 19:34, we read that one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear and immediately blood and water came out. Christ Jesus really was dead! There, at the cross, Christ Jesus died that we might live. Also, by His blood, we come, not only into life but into communion with God. In the Greek, the word communion is “Koinonia”. It is a beautiful word that means, among other things, fellowship, association, community, communion, joint participation and intimacy. And this communion, this ‘Koinonia’ comes through the blood.
But how do we come into contact with the blood? How do we obtain the benefits of His death? Romans 6:3 gives us the answer. It says, “…. that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus, were baptized into His death?” When a person is baptized into the Lord’s death, it is there that he meets with the benefits and blessings purchased by the blood of Christ.
Some groups erroneously teach that Water Baptism is the means of obtaining the advantages and communion of His death. It is only by their baptism, they say, that we can receive forgiveness of sins. They cite the instruction given to Paul in Acts 22:16, “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins.” However, they totally ignore that Paul had already, by this stage, given evidence of his conversion and regeneration. He had called Jesus the Lord (Acts 22:10). He was spending his time in prayer (Acts 9:11), and he had been filled with the Holy Ghost (Acts 9:17-18). They claim that, although it is the blood of Christ that washes away sins, the only way to access the effects of the blood is by their baptism. If these rascals are to be believed, then we need to stop singing, “There’s power in the blood” and start singing, “There’s power in the tub!”
But how then are the benefits of Christ’s death to become ours? How are we baptized into Christ? Here’s the answer. It is by faith alone! And where do we get this faith? It is the free gift of God. We can’t earn it or deserve it, we simply receive it!
Have you trusted Christ alone to take away your sins and their legal consequences? If you have, you are already baptized into Christ. If you haven’t, then you still are carrying responsibility for every sin that you have ever committed. That means that when you die, there’s nothing left for you but the Judgment and the Lake of Fire. You may have been baptized in a church building, but if you are not trusting in Christ alone, you are not baptized into Christ. If you are not trusting in Christ alone, you are still in your sins. The shed blood of Christ is of no benefit to you! Why don’t you, right now, call on the Lord and ask him to save you? Why don’t you trust Him, right now, and receive Him and His salvation for yourself? Our God is wonderfully gracious. He will welcome you. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.
And that’s the Gospel Truth!
From the cross, the young Prince of Glory declared, “It is finished.” From His majestic throne, He pronounces, “It is done.” It is no marvel then that the apostle would have us to look unto Jesus to find the daily patience and endurance we need (Hebrews 12:2-3).
Looking unto Jesus … what a wonderful practice. But, what do we see when we look? Do we, by faith see the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end of our salvation? Do we see in Christ our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30)?
Somebody once told me that the Christian life was easy. I disagree. I’ve found the easy parts to be easy, but the hard parts are hard, very hard. Life throws everything at us, but we can endure all as we learn, by faith, to see the Invisible One. He is our refuge and shield (2 Samuel 22:3). The same one who authored our faith will finish it! His power and faithfulness are enough to complete the work He started!
As we grow in grace and the knowledge of God, we discover that He is enough. So, we have to ask ourselves again, are we enjoying being His followers? We will enjoy Him if He is enough! But, if our hearts are still yearning for the World then we will remain in a perpetual state of dissatisfaction. We will be caught in a ‘no man’s land.’ It’s like this, if we belong to the Lord, and we live outside of him, we’ll be foreigners in a strange land. Until Jesus becomes enough, we will be in a perpetual state of instability and confusion.
As William Mason said,
“My dear friends, be not content to live without a constant revelation of Christ to your souls: this makes the conscience peaceful, the heart happy, and the soul joyful: this inspires love, subdues lust, captivates the affections, makes the whole man happy in God, and creates heaven in the soul.”
Jesus is enough! He is indeed heaven in the soul. He is our King and as King He exercises a three-fold reign. He reigns over us, He reigns for us, and reigns in us. It is not, therefore, without reason that Jesus is called, “Wonderful” (Isaiah 9:6). His birth was wonderful; His person is wonderful; His offices of Prophet, Priest and King are wonderful; His work for us was wonderful; He was the teacher and the subject of His lesson. That’s wonderful! He was the Lamb and at the same time the shepherd; that again is wonderful! His sinless life was wonderful; His death was wonderful; He was both the sacrifice and the Priest who offered the sacrifice… that’s wonderful! His resurrection was wonderful; His ascension into Heaven was wonderful; His salvation is wonderful; His power is wonderful and His faithfulness is wonderful. Is He wonderful enough for you and for me?
Speaking of the Lord’s wonderful ministry, the old time Welsh preacher, Christmas Evans, said;
“With a mighty hand, He laid hold of the works of Satan, unlocked the prison gates, and broke the bands asunder. He opened His mouth and the deaf heard, the blind saw, the dumb spoke, the lame walked, and the lepers were cleansed. —-He took our yoke and bore it away upon His own shoulders and cast it broken into the bottomless pit.”
Jesus is wonderful.
He is enough.
And that’s the Gospel Truth!
Humanly speaking, one of the reasons people don’t come to Christ is simply because they don’t feel they need to. After all, they reason, it’s only sick folk who go to the Doctor. These traditional thinkers believe they are decent and good and, therefore, are qualified, by their goodness, to approach God. As Spurgeon says; “There are people who quite misunderstand the gospel; they think that righteousness qualifies them to come to Christ; whereas sin is the only qualification for man to come to Jesus.”
When we are keenly aware of our sins, it is then that we see our need for the Saviour. The more we understand of the Holiness of God, the more we see the necessity to be clothed in the righteousness of Christ. Nothing but a perfect righteousness is suitable for our approach to God. Either we are covered in our own sins or by His righteousness alone.
So, let’s look again at Jesus. See Him once more at Golgotha. Look at them, stripping Him of His clothes, the very clothes the sick had touched for healing. There He is, naked and ashamed! But why? It was so that we, who have no righteousness of our own, might be clothed in His perfect righteousness and be unashamed. Without His righteousness we would all, as it were, stand naked and exposed before the Justice of God on the Day of Judgment. Is His righteousness enough for you?
Look at Calvary. With angry nails, they fastened Him to the cross. They pierced the feet which had carried Him to proclaim the Good News. With hatred, they hammered their spikes into His hands. What harm had those hands ever done? They were the hands of help and healing yet in their rage they fasten those hands to the cross. Hear the blows of the hammer, listen to His screams, see the blood. Take note, see and above all, rejoice for here is the love of God!
“Here is love, vast as the ocean,
Lovingkindness as the flood,
When the Prince of Life, our Ransom,
Shed for us His precious blood.
Who His love will not remember?
Who can cease to sing His praise?
He can never be forgotten,
Throughout Heav’n’s eternal days.”
Who nailed Him there? Was it the Jews for jealousy? Was it Pilate to show his power? Was it the soldiers for spite? No, it was our sins that nailed Him there—yours and mine. As J.C. Ryle says, “Our sins struck the hammer.” It was our sins that bruised and wounded Him. It was we who crucified Jesus.
But, have you embraced this sacrifice as your own? Since you are reading this, the chances are that you’ve heard much about the cross. But is Jesus your righteousness? George Whitefield said it like this, “Here’s something we must learn, going to Church and being good will not give you access to God. The only access we can have is if we have the righteousness of Christ? Nothing but Christ! Nothing but Christ! We need Christ alone and Christ only to be our righteousness.
He went on to say; “If you love Him and He is your righteousness, let the righteousness of your Lord be continually in your mouth. Talk about His righteousness. Recommend it to others! Think of the greatness of the gift, as well as of the giver! Tell everyone you know that Christ is your righteousness and you are saved, not because you are good but because Christ Jesus is your righteousness. Let everyone know that the Lord is your righteousness and that you are waiting for the Lord Jesus to come back from heaven to fetch you!”
Jesus is excellent! Even though our sins had caused a sinkhole of destruction, in Christ, we are brought out of its depths to the Throne.
Now we face our destiny. We have an appointed day, a Day of Judgment: But in that Day, He, the Lord Jesus will present us faultless and flawless before the Throne with exceeding joy (Jude 1:24). Then shall the Judge declare us, “NOT GUILTY!”.
Is this enough for you? Is there anything you would like to add to the Righteousness of Christ?
God forbid! Jesus is enough.
And that’s the Gospel Truth!