Postmodern man after the Enlightenment (1600-1800+) does not like the bloody part of Christianity. Of course this man is shortsighted. This post answers the question and lays out the efficacious benefits of the blood of Christ for our salvation. It also answers whether it is biblical to “plead the blood.”
If we leave Christ on the cross and walk by him, merely showing him condescending sympathy (“poor man!”), then we miss the point. His undeserved death through his shed blood on the cross paid the penalty for our sins. He took our deserved place on the cross. His blood means our forgiveness. Now we can have a guilt-free conscience.
The Old Testament was written in Hebrew, and the noun for blood is dam (pronounced dahm and used 361 times), and it has six meanings:
1.. Blood stands in for shedding it, like murder (Gen. 9:6; Lev. 17:4; Ezek. 22:9; 39:19).
2.. Blood signifies judgment, as in the plagues on Egypt (Exod. 7:19).
3.. Blood is important in sacrifice, which is associated with cleansing and consecration (Exod. 23:18; 34:25; Lev. 4:7; 7:14; 8:14-15, 25-30).
4.. Blood is also considered impure, as ceremonial uncleanness for womankind (Lev. 15:19), so Israel is not to consume the blood of a live animals because “the life of every creature is its blood” (Lev. 17:14; see Lev. 3:17; 7:26-27; Lev. 18:10).
5.. Blood appears in a covenant context. Moses sprinkles the blood of young bulls on the Israelites. “This is the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you” (Exod. 24:8). Recall that Jesus said this is the blood of his covenant (Matt. 26:28 // Mark 14:24 // Luke 22:20; cf. John 6:54; 1 Cor. 11:20).
6.. Blood expresses family ties (2 Chron. 19:10).
The New Covenant Scriptures (New Testament) was written in Greek, and the noun for blood is haima (pronounced hy-mah or hay-mah, and our words haem- or hem- comes from it), and it is used 97 times.
1.. The first meaning is physical blood. When the soldiers pierced Jesus’s side, blood and water flowed out (John 19:34).
2.. The second meaning is that it stands in for death. Jesus said that this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets, which means that John the Baptist and Jesus himself are the culmination of all the preceding prophets (Luke 11:50). Paul referred to the blood of Stephen, meaning his death (Acts 22:20). Judas’s thirty pieces of silver was “blood money” (Matt. 27:6). The Sanhedrin (high Jewish court) rebuked the apostles for bringing on their head Jesus’s blood, i.e. death (Acts 5:28). (See also Rev. 6:12; 12:11; 16:6; 18:24; 19:2).
Combined with flesh, it is humankind’s natural state: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 15:50).
3.. Most importantly, blood symbolizes the atonement and sacrifice, that is, the sacrificial death of Christ that effects redemption and salvation and a new covenant. Christ bought the church with his own blood (Acts 20:28). Recall that Moses sprinkled the scroll of all the people with the blood of calves (Heb. 9:19). Peter says we were redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without spot or blemish (1 Pet. 1:18-19). In the grand finale of the plagues on Egypt, the lamb’s blood was to be put on the doorframes so the death angel would pass over that household where the blood was applied. The lamb had to be without defect (Ex. 12:3). A lamb used in an offering must be without blemish (Lev. 3:6-7).
We can review those three reasons and add more.
Eleven efficacious benefits from the blood of Jesus for the believers
1.. The blood of Jesus establishes the New Covenant.
In Matt. 26:28 // Mark 14:24 // Luke 22:20 (cf. 1 Cor. 11:20) we learn that Jesus was completely aware of the full and true significance of his imminent death on the cross, in a few hours from the Last Supper. As noted, above, Moses sprinkled the blood of a young bull on the Israelites and proclaimed that this blood signifies the covenant God made with his people (Exod. 24:8).
2.. The blood of Jesus justifies believers.
Rom. 5:9 makes that great promise. In this case the believer is declared righteous; he does not have to work for his righteousness with the empty hope that he may become righteous enough before a thrice-holy God. His sacrificial blood is sufficient. And by faith—not literally!—it has been sprinkled on us. Recall that Moses sprinkled blood of an animal on the Israelites (Ex. 24:8).
3.. The blood of Jesus releases us from our sins (Eph. 1:7-8).
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. (Eph. 1:7-8)
Shedding of blood and forgiveness of sins are tied together. How? Heb. 9:22 teaches straightforwardly that without the shedding of blood there is no remission (release) of sins. Rev. 1:5 says that Christ has freed us from our sins by his blood, which means his blood through his death stands in for our death. We should have died on that cross because we are unrighteous, and he was righteous and guiltless. But he took our place and now his death releases us from our sins.
4.. The blood of Jesus offers us redemption.
Heb. 9:12 teaches us the Jesus the Messiah entered the Most Holy Place in the heavenly tabernacle through his own blood, not that of a young bull or goat. Now he has obtained for us eternal redemption. Recall that Aaron on the Day of Atonement could not enter the earthly tabernacle until he sacrificed animal for a sin offering and a burnt offering (Lev. 16:3).
Redemption means that we were once living in slavery through our own sins and debts (Exod. 6:6; 15:13; Is. 51:10), but God sent his Son to go and redeem us or buy us out of slavery. He bought us with his blood, brought us out—redeemed us—and transformed and reconstituted our whole lives so we can now live for him. He paid the debt for our sins. Who was paid? Who was the slave owner? Sin was our slave owner, and Jesus paid the debt in our place. He became the sin offering which released us from our having to pay our own price (2 Cor. 5:21). This is why redemption is so wonderful.
5.. The blood of Jesus effects our atonement.
A key verse in all of the Bible is Rom. 3:25, for it contains the word atonement, which literally means in English at-one-ment or reconciliation or being right with God (the -ment suffix means “the result of”). In Greek and Hebrew, it also means to “wipe clean” and “to appease.” Appeasement means that God’s justice-wrath-judgment has been turned away and placated. This offends modern man because he does not understand the attribute of justice in God. He is holy, and his creation falls short with sin and degradation, so his justice demands satisfaction or payment. We either do this, or someone specially called does it. That somebody is his Son.
6.. The blood of Jesus brings reconciliation.
Eph. 2:13-16 teaches us that we were separated from God. He did not move away. We did. Now he draws us closer to him. Step by step we come. When we receive by saving faith Jesus Christ and his sacrificial blood on the cross, which substituted for our blood, we come back next to him and snuggling on his chest, like John the Beloved disciple did (John 19:26; 20:2; 21:7; 21:20). That’s the picture of reconciliation. We are in right relationship and intimacy with him.
7.. The blood of Jesus cleanses us from our sins.
Heb. 9:14 tells us that his blood cleanses our guilty consciences. His blood does this by his eternal Spirit. This means that his blood is received by faith leading to salvation and then applied by the infilling of the Spirit.
1 John 1:7 says that as we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, God’s Son, purifies us from sins. Once again, it is by faith that this happens. He launched his new covenant by his sacrificial blood, now let’s receive it.
Rev. 7:14 teaches that those who have come out of the great Tribulation have washed their robes in the blood of Jesus, which has made them white. This proves that we have a miracle. Red blood does not make something literally white, unless a miracle happens. In this case applying the blood to the and the whiteness of the robe is all done by faith. In heaven this miracle can happen. On earth this miracle happens by faith.
8.. The blood of Jesus is our holiness.
Heb. 10:29 tells us that those who have trampled under foot and treated as unholy the blood of Christ that sanctified them. In the reverse of that warning verse, the good news is that those who treat the blood of Christ as holy, will be sanctified by it. In the reverse of that verse, Heb. 13:12 says the blood of Christ makes us holy. The blood of Christ sprinkles our guilty consciences by faith. Receive it.
Sanctification literally means the process (-ion) of making (fic-) holy (sancti-). We are declared holy, and by virtue of Christ living in us, we are holy. However, working out holiness is a process. We will never achieve sinless perfection in these present bodies.
9.. The blood of Jesus is our new life.
In John 6:53-56, Jesus makes a startling statement. He says we must eat his flesh and drink his blood, so we can have life. He will raise them up at the resurrection, and those who do will live in him, and he in them. He is talking about the eucharist, the wine and bread.
10.. The blood of Jesus allows us to serve God.
In Heb. 9:14, we learn that Christ’s blood cleanses our consciences of acts leading to death, so we can serve the living God, implying that our acts in Christ leads to life and enables us to serve him.
11.. The blood of Jesus gives us power over Satan.
Rev. 12:11 teaches that believers have triumphed over the accuser of brothers and sisters who has been thrown down by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony. We are covered by the blood of the lamb, by faith. His blood was shed on the cross, which established the new covenant. When we stand inside this blood-bought covenant, we are in right relationship with God. And now we have authority and power to kick out Satan’s accusations. We no longer have to listen to them.
Is Christ’s Death on the Cross Divine Child Abuse?
No. Here’s why:
Is it biblical to “plead the blood”?
Yes, because it is short prayer for this long theological one: “Father in heaven, I thank you for the cross of Christ, where your Son shed his blood for the remission of my sins. I thank you that you sprinkle the blood on my conscience, which cleanses it (Heb. 9:12-13). Today I plead and apply, once again, your Son’s blood on the atonement cover of my heart.”
I plead the blood!
Yes, the blood already was sprinkled on the atonement cover of our heart when we first get saved and redeemed, but sometimes we need to remind ourselves of what was already effected. “Thank you Lord that you saved me! and your salvation is ongoing!”
Now what about pleading the blood over situations, like a spiritual attack in the family? There is nothing wrong with pleading the blood. It is another shorthand way of repeating all the benefits, listed above, of the blood of Jesus that comes to me. Satan cannot cross the salvation blood line, invisible to my unaided eye, but visible to to God. Being in Christ who brought atonement and the blood covering over my life and heart is protection. Pleading it again is not unbiblical.
However, for the record, I don’t myself plead the blood. I just pray something like, “Father, thank you for your blessings and protection and salvation.” You don’t have to pray it, either, if it bothers you.
Denouncing and “correcting,” with a slight whiff of condescension, the prayer of pleading the blood seems uptight and churlish.
How does this post bring me closer to Jesus?
Let’s be counter-cultural. Intellectuals think all the mention of blood and sacrifice is outdated and needless and just plain silly. There is a move afoot on social media nowadays that says all of this is nonsense. All we have to do is ask for forgiveness of our sins, and we get it. No need for sacrifice. This is partly true. All we need to do is ask, and we get it.
However, have you ever looked around the cultures of the world? It is nearly (or completely) impossible to find one that does not have a sacrifice in some form. An ancient hunter makes a kill, and he offers a libation or goes through a brief ritual to show respect, as if he repays the world of nature. The awful Aztecs sacrificed humans, and human sacrifices were done in other parts of the globe. A Taoist priest also performs a ritual and gives or requires a small offering. Shintoists offer something that they have to sacrifice or give up, as they visit a temple. Somehow God has deeply built the concept of sacrifice into the human conscience and the universe, so to speak.
Let’s never abandon Christ on the cross. He did so much for us on Calvary that our condescension towards him is just plain arrogance.
Now let me speak personally.
This post is rich in meaning. Personally, I like how the blood of Jesus cleanses our guilty consciences from past sins. And I like that last point about the blood of the Lamb tramples underfoot the accusation of Satan. The thing is—when he accuses us he knows which sins we have committed. They are not life by our own experience. But in Christ we realize that Satan’s accusations are lies, because God already wiped clean and forgave and released our sins. They no longer apply.
Now walk in the fullness of his forgiveness.
But you can choose your own point in the list to help you grow in Christ.
At that link, look for the NIV Study Bible