I know of no one who claims to be a Christian but what believes we are saved by the blood of Jesus. All believe that for the Bible clearly teaches it stating it plainly - we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. " (Eph 1:7 NKJV) There are very few, however, who realize where God has placed that blood spiritually speaking.
Christianity is a religion of the spirit. No man is saved by coming into physical contact with the blood of Christ. This is simply a truism accepted by all. We do not each get a microscopic drop of literal blood placed on our soul. So the question then becomes where has God placed the blood in a spiritual sense? It does matter; it is a matter of salvation.
In the Bible blood stands for life. God speaking to Noah and his sons after the flood said unto them, You shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. " (Gen 9:4 NKJV) Again, God speaking to Moses in Lev. 17:11 says to Moses, the life of the flesh is in the blood. " (NKJV) And, then again, in Lev. 17:14, the life of all flesh is its blood. " (NKJV)
In the New Testament when Judas had betrayed the Lord, felt remorse, and returned the 30 pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders his statement to them was, I have sinned by betraying innocent blood. " (Matt. 27:4 NKJV) What did he mean by using the phrase innocent blood?" He meant he had betrayed innocent life. Blood stood for life.
When Pilate washed his hands before the multitude who wanted Jesus put to death and made the statement, I am innocent of the blood of this just person" (Matt. 27:24 NKJV) what did he mean? Was it not I am innocent of putting to death this innocent man? Blood stood for life.
Jesus was God's sacrificial lamb who, as John the Baptist said, takes away the sin of the world. (John 1:29) This required the shedding of his blood, the taking of his life. Jesus said, in instituting the Lord's supper, For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. " (Matt. 26:28 NKJV) We are justified by his blood (Rom. 5:9) and we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. " (Eph. 1:7 NKJV)
When Jesus died on the cross his blood was shed in that his life was taken. Literally, Jesus had shed some blood prior to his death. There was the scourging he endured, the crown of thorns on his head, the nails driven through his hands yet, all of that being true, he had not yet shed his blood in the Bible sense of the giving up of life itself. Surely no one believes we were saved by the literal blood of the scourging, thorns, or nails.
When Jesus uttered his last words on the cross and gave up the ghost his blood was then shed in Bible parlance. John, in John 19:33-34, in speaking of what happened while Jesus was on the cross but after his death said, But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. " (John 19:33-34 NKJV)
To me this event, the piercing of his side, had symbolic importance for the sacrifice of himself had already taken place, his life already given for ours. Remember Lev. 17:11? The life of the flesh is in the blood. " With his side being pierced the life of Jesus was now gone for the whole world to see. His blood was shed in every sense of the word. For the purpose of this article I ask this question, where was his blood shed? In his death.
So, we know where Jesus shed his blood - in his death, at the moment he died. This then tells us all that if we are to come into contact with that blood that we must get into his death. For me to come into contact with that saving blood, spiritually speaking, I must get into Christ's death. Paul was very clear on where and how you and I do this. He says in Rom. 6:3, do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death. " (NKJV)
He goes on, Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. " (Rom 6:4 NKJV) When is a person to walk in newness of life? After baptism. Can one walk in newness of life unless the blood of Jesus has cleansed him? Newness of life comes to a man upon being raised up from the waters of baptism. God placed the cleansing blood in the waters of baptism. In that act, when done from a heart of faith, the blood of Jesus cleanses a man from all sin.
But, objection is made by man and it is said baptism is a little thing. Is the blood of Jesus a little thing? If one can be saved without baptism into the death of Christ then one can be saved without the blood of Jesus.
Paul in 2 Cor. 5:17 makes this statement, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. " (2 Co 5:17 NKJV) Bearing that in mind what did Paul say to us in the passages just under consideration? Did he not say, do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus"? (Rom. 6:3 NKJV) Yes, he said we were baptized into Christ.
In Christ how? By being baptized into him. Where is one a new creation?" In Christ. How can a man be a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17) unless the blood of Christ has cleansed him? In Christ I am cleansed, a new creation, but I am baptized into Christ, I get into Christ by baptism. The blood of cleansing then spiritually speaking is found in baptism.
In talking to Timothy Paul says this is a faithful saying, For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him. " (2 Tim. 2:11 NKJV) We died with him by being baptized into his death. (Rom. 6:3) Paul says if we did that we shall live with him thus the blood of Jesus must be contacted in the waters of baptism. It is only through his blood that we have life.
Then Paul says in Eph. 5:25-26, Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word. " (Eph. 5:25-26 NKJV) Does anyone believe the church Jesus loved and gave himself for has not been cleansed by his blood? But, the text says he cleansed the church with the washing of water by the word. " Thus the blood was in the waters of baptism.
There is an interesting passage in Heb. 10:22 where the writer is admonishing those to whom he wrote. He says this, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. " (NKJV) Let us couple that with what Peter spoke of concerning baptism in 1 Peter 3:21, There is also an antitype which now saves us-baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. " (NKJV)
To have one's heart sprinkled from an evil conscience (Heb. 10:22) is the same as to have a good conscience toward God (1 Peter 3:21). Peter says this is accomplished in baptism while the Hebrew writer speaks of our bodies being washed with pure water. They are one and the same. The clean conscience is acquired through being baptized. Peter goes so far as to say it (baptism) saves us. The blood of Christ must then be found in the waters of baptism. That is where the conscience is cleansed. The conscience cannot be cleansed from God's standpoint without the blood of Jesus. It is cleansed in baptism. This is the only logical deduction one can make.
Let us couple two more passages together. This time I am going to use the New Living Translation, a dynamic equivalence version, because of its clarity in getting to the meaning of this passage - Col. 2:11-12. Paul said, When you came to Christ, you were ‘circumcised, ’ but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision-the cutting away of your sinful nature. For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with Him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead. " (NLT)
Now let us go back to Rom. 6:4 (NKJV) for our other passage, Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. "
Both passages teach when we rise from the waters of baptism we are in newness of life. Well, what does that mean? It means we did not walk in newness of life until we arose from the water therefore God placed the blood of cleansing, spiritually speaking, in the water. Now grant you the water is only important because of God's decision but it was his decision to make, not mine, not yours. In baptism we are cleansed from sin by the blood of Jesus. Peter said baptism was for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). Unless he was lying about the matter then there is blood spiritually speaking to be found in baptism.
I realize an article like this is going to be very, very unpopular. People want no part of baptism being a salvation issue. Passage after passage teaches that it is (Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16, 1 Peter 3:21) plainly and clearly. In fact when God's word says Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins" (Act 2:38 NKJV) one wonders how such a passage can possibly be misunderstood by rational men.
A question that arises in my mind is this, let us suppose for sake of argument that God wanted to tell men that they must be baptized in order to have their sins forgiven and to be saved. Since the language he used is not evidently adequate how would you, if you were him, rephrase it to make it clear to all readers? What words would you use to convey the idea for remember what he said was not adequate to convince men. You would have to use other words. What words would you use?
Men are not rational when it comes to religion, in religion emotions rule. In families emotions also often rule. I have been around public schools about all of my life. How many parents are there in this world that cannot see, because they refuse to see, because their emotions will not allow it, that Johnnie is not quite the angel they think he is? They cannot see because they are not willing to face up to truth. I sometimes think people really know the truth in both the family setting and in religion but they just cannot bring themselves to the acceptance of it. They do not believe because they do not want to believe.
I want to close with this. You and I might wish it was some other way. Some cannot bear the thought that they have family now gone who if what I have written today is the truth never accepted the truth and died in error. We worry about them and we are not willing to accept the truth because of where we think that would place them. My advice is to leave those matters with God for he will do what is right. If they end up in the wrong place in the life to come do you think you will bring them joy by meeting up with them there? You would only add sorrow to sorrow, guilt to guilt.
But, I have to ask you one other question, a momentous question. Are you going to pass error onto your children and grandchildren after you? If Mom and Dad died in error they are now in God's hands. Let him deal with the matter. As for you, you likely have children, grandchildren, a spouse to be concerned about, some or all of these. Will you lead them down the road of error because of the past? If so you will likely get what you deserve. How could it be otherwise?
Did Jesus command baptism? If he did you know your duty.
Denny Smith's articles are all listed on his web site - dennysmith.net - along with many audio sermons by Waymon Swain. There are also links that will take you to hundreds of other articles and audio sermons found on other recommended sites.