December 16, 2017

In Christ, Through Blood, By Grace

Marvin Lewis

One of the greatest verses in the Word of God is Ephesians 1:7: “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” This one verse touches on several of the outstanding doctrines taught in the Bible — the doctrine of forgiveness, the doctrine of sin, the doctrine of the riches of God in Christ Jesus, and, of course, the great doctrine of the grace of God. This verse also presents three great truths about our salvation — our salvation is in Christ; it is through Blood; and it is by Grace.

In Christ

First, salvation is in Christ. This truth is pictured to us throughout God’s Word, but in the first two chapters of Ephesians Paul places great emphasis upon the believer’s position. The believer is in Christ. In Christ! We find this statement or its equivalent more than 15 times in these two chapters alone. Ephesians 1:6 refers to our being “accepted in the beloved.” Only in Christ can any sinner ever be acceptable before God. Paul realized that in his own righteousness — and righteous he was — he could not stand before God, Paul was a great Hebrew scholar, a strict Pharisee, and blameless according to the righteousness of the Law. When he saw Christ, however, Paul realized that he was a poor, lost, Hell-bound sinner; and he realized that his only hope was in Christ. Therefore Paul cried, “That I may win Christ and be found in Him” (Philippians 3:8-9).

Where will you be found someday? You can he found in only one of two places — either in Christ and His righteousness or in the sin of your own self-righteousness. The only safe place for Noah was in the ark. The only safe place for us is in Christ.

Through Blood

Next, salvation is through Blood. There may be those who make light of the Blood and feel no need of its cleansing power, but we must understand that redemption by Blood is the only redemption that God offers. Redemption by Blood was in the mind of God before the world was created and before the first man, Adam, ever sinned in the Garden of Eden. Consider I Peter 1:18-20: “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.” The Lord God did not find Himself suddenly “in a jam” when Adam sinned. God had planned redemption before the worlds were formed (Revelation 13:8). No wonder Peter speaks of this Blood as being precious.

Redemption by Blood was also in the work of God in relation to the first man and woman, Adam and Eve sinned; yielding to Satan, they disobeyed God. When in the cool of the day God, as usual, came into the garden to walk and talk with Adam and Eve, they were afraid. They had already clothed themselves with fig leaves to hide their nakedness, but that homemade covering, although it may have been sufficient for their nakedness, could not hide their sin from the eye of God. Adam and Eve were afraid to keep their rendezvous with God because they knew that they were sinful. God loved them in spite of their sin, however, and was about to make a wonderful provision, for them. Slaying innocent animals, He took the skins of the animals and made proper clothing for the guilty humans. Until the blood of the animals was shed, the guilty pair had no hope. This work of God, of course, foreshadowed the death of His own Son. So, redemption by Blood was in the mind of God before creation, and in the work of God in the garden.

Next, redemption by Blood was in the spoken Word of God immediately following the exit from the garden. Cain and Abel, sons of Adam and Eve, were born with sinful natures and knew that they were sinners before God. Both sons brought their offerings to the Lord, but Cain’s offering was not acceptable to God. We know from Scripture that God must have told these two men exactly what kind of offering to bring. In Hebrews 11:4 it says that Abel brought his offering “by faith.” How do we get faith? “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). In the case of Cain and Abel and the sacrifice, the Word must have been oral.

Abel heard God’s voice and obeyed. He brought an offering of blood. But Cain, like many people today, decided to do things his own way. He offered the sacrifice, but he paid no attention to God’s direction about the kind of sacrifice. God refused Cain’s offering, and Cain became a vagabond upon the earth until the day of his death. Because Cain failed to believe that redemption was by Blood, he died, choosing Hell for eternity.

It is also true that according to God’s written Word redemption is through Blood, Leviticus 17:11 declares, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” This is complemented by Hebrews 9:22, which says, “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.” (This, of course, is talking about the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. The blood of bulls and goats cannot wash away our sins).

Redemption through Blood is also pictured very clearly in every Old Testament type. Even though the blood of animals could not purge the sins of the transgressor, it still had to be offered. The blood-offering was made (1) out of obedience to the Word of God, and (2) in expectation of a coming Redeemer. Surely, the outstanding type of such obedience and expectation is that of the Passover lamb, Moses instructed the people to select a lamb on the tenth day of a certain month, and to set it apart for three days’ examination of its fitness for sacrifice. The lamb must have no blemish or broken bone, no sore spot or scar. The head of the family was to run his hands over the lamb’s body to see if it was in good condition. Then, on the fourteenth day, the lamb was to be slain and the blood sprinkled in the proper place. These orders being followed completely, the death angel would pass over the houses of Israel and would not bring upon them the judgment of the slaying of the first-born son (Exodus 12:12-13),

The Passover lamb is a wonderful type of our Saviour. When John the Baptist pointed to Jesus and said, “Behold the Lamb of God” (John 1:29), he was pointing to the only perfect Lamb the world has ever known. Jesus was under examination not just for three days, but for three years. No life was ever scrutinized as was the life of the Lamb of God. The eyes of the world were upon Him, especially the eyes of His enemies. For three years they hounded Him, as the hounds would run the chase. But they found nothing whereby they might accuse Him. He had no sin, He knew no sin, and He did no sin. Yet, the world hated Him and maligned Him. He was despised, spat upon, and nailed to a tree, but their hatred was without cause: no one could truthfully accuse Him of any wrong. Yes, redemption is through Blood; a religion without the Blood is a religion without redemption.

The Lamb had to be slain. In Revelation, John describes a seven sealed book. For a time it seemed that no one was worthy to open the book and to loose the seals. John began to weep, but when he saw in the midst of the elders “a Lamb as it had been slain” (Revelation 5:6), his weeping quickly stopped. Then John saw the heavenly creatures fall down before the Lamb and sing “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 out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Revelation 5:9).

John said: “And I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.” And soon their voices were joined, for “every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever” (Revelation 5:11-13). No wonder Handel picked up his pen after reading such words and wrote the “Messiah” — exalting our redemption through the Lord Jesus Christ. Handel realized that redemption was through the Blood.

By Grace

Redemption is also by Grace. Where would you be today if it were not for the Grace of God? I know where I would be; I would either be in Hell or on my way to Hell. And so would you. Apart from His Grace, we would have to taste the bitter torments of the damned, because “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). But thank God, we do not have to taste of such a death! There was a Person Who tasted that death for us; He tasted death for every man (Hebrews 2:9). God’s Grace has made it possible for the vilest sinner to be made clean and white in His sight. In fact, the Bible says that the Lord will someday present the redeemed ones, without spot and without blemish, unto the Father.

Let us unashamedly sing the praises of our Redeemer and Saviour: “Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it; Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb! Redeemed, and so happy in Jesus; His child and forever I am.”

The late Dr. Marvin Lewis served in various capacities for many years at Bob Jones University.

This article first published in Faith for the Family, March/April 1974. It is republished here by permission.

Although Proclaim & Defend is the blog of the FBFI, the articles we post are not an expression of the views of the FBFI as a whole, they are the views of the author under whose name they are published. The FBFI speaks either through position statements by its board or through its president. Here at Proclaim & Defend, we publish articles as matters of interest or edification to the wider world of fundamentalist Baptists and any others who might be interested.

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