In a matatu ride to church about two weeks ago, my husband and I mourned over a prayer made invoking the blood of Jesus on a local radio station, that was not biblical. In the same way, most of us grew up with the belief that the blood of Jesus is so powerful (indeed it is) and so we declare, cover the roads we travel on and our homes for protection with it. But was the powerful blood of Jesus meant for protection, decreeing, and speaking things to our favor? As is the discipline that is to be practiced by every believer, we will reference the Bible to see what was the use of the blood of Jesus.
The Holy God chose His people Israel and gave them laws to adhere to, which were to set them apart from other nations and to glorify Him as their God and King. The Israelites sinned against Him by disobeying the law, invoking the wrath of God upon themselves. The just and holy God provided a solution to their sinfulness, a system that would atone for their sin before Him and make the Israelites acceptable to Him.
In Leviticus 1-7, the system through which the Israelites’ sins would be atoned for is recorded. Blood had to shed and death had to occur, in this case that of animals. The Holy God of Israel was gracious in providing a way out from their sins, a substitute for the death they deserved as a result of disobedience. The sacrifices were made by the priests on behalf of the people. It was the only way to gain acceptance before a holy, perfect God. This did not cover their sin (Hebrews 10:4), but made them a promise and was a foreshadowing of a greater sacrifice, one that would be made once and for all.
The burnt offering was to be of an animal without blemish. It was to be brought at the entrance of the tent of meeting in order for a person to be accepted before the Lord. The person would lay their hands on the head of the animal for it to be acceptable to make atonement for him. After the person had killed the bull, the priests would sprinkle the blood against the sides of the altar. (Leviticus 1:3-5) The same was to be done for a peace offering (Leviticus 3), for the purpose of appeasing the Lord.
The perfect sacrifice
In the new testament we see another account of a sacrificial system. It is similar to the one in the old testament in that it is also for providing atonement for the sins of God’s people. The old testament sacrifices was inferior to this new one because it was performed by priests chosen from among men, who also had to offer sacrifices for themselves (Hebrews 5:1-3) The new high priest who is also the lamb for sacrifice is perfect and without sin.
Christ, the high priest of a better covenant, offered His body as a perfect sacrifice for the sins of man. He is of the same nature of God, therefore holy. He condescended, came and dwelt among the very rebellious people He was appointed to die for and was killed by these same people. This was in order to act as a substitute for our sins. He took upon Himself our sins as though He was us. He is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister in the holy places, in the true tent that God has set up, not man. (Hebrews 8:1-2)
The sacrifice of Christ was once and for all, by means of His own blood, thus securing for us an eternal redemption. (Hebrews 9:12) We no longer need high priests to offer up our sacrifices. In fact. we no longer need to offer these sacrifices yearly like the Israelites. All we need is to look to Christ, the perfect lamb of God, offered up as a sacrifice for our sins. We are offered forgiveness and justification from our unrighteousness by trusting in the Savior and His perfect, complete sacrifice.
The use of blood
The two accounts I’ve narrated above, one a foreshadow of the other, are to show us the biblical background for ‘the blood’. In both accounts, blood was shed for the purpose of cleansing from sin. I submit to us, therefore, that the blood of Jesus is for the sole purpose of soul cleansing and washing away of our sins.
Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with the blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. (Hebrews 9:22) By a single sacrifice, Christ has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. (Hebrews 10:14)
We will no where in the bible see the blood of Jesus invoked for anything else but the cleansing of sin. It is therefore unbiblical, extra-biblical, and even heretical, to invoke the blood of Jesus for security, protection, provision and other ways. Instead, we could just pray simply for these things because our prayers and belief should be solely informed by the word of God. I am convinced the ideology of covering everything with the blood of Jesus comes about from over-spiritualizing everything, to exceed what the scriptures say.
Christ, having been offered once and for all, to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for Him. (Hebrews 9:28) More than getting our doctrine of the atonement (and the use of the blood of Jesus) right, may we believe in Him who gave Himself as a sacrifice and is coming again to judge the living and the dead. May we be among those who will be saved at His second coming by looking to Him, the mediator of a new and better covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. (Hebrews 12:24) Amen.
PS: After this post had been published, someone asked an important question about an aspect of ‘the blood’ that I didn’t include on this post – the blood of the passover lamb. Through it Israelites were ‘passed over’ by the destroyer after applying on their doorposts. Read the whole account in Exodus 12. I have included a link to an article that gives more insight to the same. Pretty much the same thing I’d say if I was to write about it. Read it here.