Many reading this may have not spent much time in church, let alone reading the Bible. So, a sentence like this one surely makes absolutely no sense at all to you. And I respect that. It wasn’t until I was 22 years old that I opened a Bible for myself, and actually began to take life and death and God seriously for the very first time in my life.
“And they have defeated him (the enemy) by the blood of the Lamb and by the words of testimony” (Revelation 12:11 NLT).
Verses like this one are not meant to be a form of code language. But sometimes it’s beneficial to have someone help us understand it. This passage is simply telling us that the only way we are able to have victory over the spiritual enemy and to experience a transformed life and future is by the shed blood of Jesus and the renewing of our minds by the word of God.
“’Come now, let’s settle this,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool’” (Isaiah 1:18 NLT).
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2 NIV).
In English, Please
Shed blood? Word of God? I don’t get it. Sounds like a lot of Christian jargon, doesn’t it? Or at least some of us might be feeling that way.
There is no way for me to explain this part of our teaching without plunging a little deeper than we’ve gone up to this point. But it is far too critical for us to miss. It is what gives substance to our faith. Not only is this the very essence of being renewed and cleansed from the dirtiness and shame of our past, it is also the basis of our hope for the future, on earth and beyond!
When we place our faith and trust in Jesus, we are placing our hope in who He is and what He has done for us. The verses above reflect two of the most important aspects of this: Our spirit is made new through the cross, and our soul is made new through the word of God.
Jesus’s Shed Blood
Blood is the life of the human creation. Life is taken when blood is shed. Modern medicine acknowledges the truth about life being in the blood. They often require blood transfusion to sustain the life of a very sick person, especially one who had recently lost lots of blood.
Since the Bible teaches us “the wages of sin is death” (see Romans 6:23), every sin has to be reconciled by the death of something or someone. Throughout the Old Testament teachings, this was typically the blood of a sacrificial animal, often an unblemished lamb. At the end of the Old Testament, the practice of animal sacrifice was ended by the shedding of another’s blood, but this time, one that would be the final sacrifice for all. John 1:29 records John the Baptist saying about Jesus, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
On the cross, Jesus Christ paid for our sins by His own life. He gave His life by shedding His blood. We can have life not only today, but eternally, by that blood which He willingly shed for us. It’s not the physical act of shedding blood that is significant. If so, Jesus could have just had a laceration somewhere on his body that shed blood for us all. No, shedding blood is a metaphor referring to the fact that without death, there is no forgiveness of sins.
So, our true transformation – a profound change from the inside out – is made possible only through the perfect sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Here are several important elements of this gift that God offers us:
- Jesus’s shed blood provides complete forgiveness. Within the Christian belief system, there is no forgiveness without the shedding of blood. An atonement is a payment, made on behalf of the one who has sinned, in order to redeem them from the penalty of their sins. This payment could not be made in any other way than the shedding of blood. We cannot replace this blood with our good works, praying without ceasing, helping and loving others, or even giving more money.
“I have given you the blood on the altar to purify you, making you right with the Lord. It is the blood, given in exchange for a life, that makes purification possible” (Leviticus 17:11 NLT).
“…without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:19-22 NLT).
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