Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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by John D. Clark, Sr.
“How much more will the blood of Christ purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
The life of the body is in the blood (Lev. 17:11). Where blood ceases to flow in the body, death is certain. So, because the life of the body of Christ is in the holy Spirit (Jn. 6:63; Rom. 8:10), the Spirit is referred to as the blood of Christ. Where the Spirit ceases to flow, spiritual death is certain.
The law’s most dreadful punishment was reserved for the gravest offenses, including the drinking of any kind of blood (Lev. 17:10). However, in John 6, Jesus told a crowd of followers that unless they drank his blood, they had no hope of eternal life. This statement confused all who heard it, and as a result, “many of his disciples went back, and walked with him no longer” (Jn. 6:66). They did this despite Jesus’ attempt to explain that he was speaking of the Spirit. “The things that I am telling you,” he told them, “they are spirit, and they are life!” (Jn. 6:63).
Hebrews 9:22 tells us, “without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.” So, it was necessary that Jesus die, that his natural blood be shed, so that his life – the spiritual blood that we must drink – could be given to us. After drinking of the Spirit, Peter preached his first sermon as a new creature in Christ, and said, “[God] has shed forth this, which you yourselves now see and hear!” (Acts 2:33). Just as surely as Jesus’ natural blood was poured out on Calvary, his spiritual blood was poured out on the day of Pentecost.
The true blood of Christ is still flowing and cleansing souls from sin. Jesus’ natural blood, precious as it was, never touched a soul. Jesus was one of us, in every way except for sin, and the blood that ran in his natural veins was natural blood. If Jesus’ natural blood washed sins away, then only those who lived at that time could have been cleansed from sin because we have no access to his physical blood. The Roman soldiers who crucified the Lord surely were spattered with Jesus’ natural blood during the crucifixion process, yet no one believes that those soldiers were sanctified by it. They probably went home and washed it off, and they should have. It did not make them new creatures; it made them dirty. For spiritual cleansing, they needed to be in the upper room on Pentecost morning, awaiting the arrival of the true blood of Christ from heaven. The blood that sprang from Jesus’ natural body never cleansed anyone from sin. Only the blood that flows from his glorified body can do that.
We are justified, sanctified, and washed from sin by the blood of Christ (Rom. 5:9; Heb. 10:29; Rev. 1:5). At the same time, we are justified, sanctified, and washed from sin by the Spirit of God (1Cor. 6:11). Obviously, we are not justified, sanctified, and washed from sin twice – once by the blood and later by the Spirit.
Paul taught that the resurrection from the dead is accomplished by God’s Spirit (Rom. 1:4; 8:11), but in Hebrews 13:20, the resurrection is said to be by “the blood of the eternal covenant.”
We all know that anything washed in blood turns red; however, saints in Revelation 7:14 “washed their robes and made them WHITE in the blood of the Lamb.”
By that same blood we are brought near to God (Eph. 2:13), but Paul himself restates it five verses later by saying, “we have access to the Father by one spirit.”
As a result of ignorance of this truth concerning the blood of Christ, many believe that the blood of Christ washed their sins away before they received, or were baptized with, the holy Spirit. But sin cannot be washed away before one receives the Spirit, because the Spirit is the blood that washes sin away. Paul’s sins, for example, were washed away only when Paul received the Spirit (Acts 9:17–18; 22:12–16). He, like the disciples on the day of Pentecost, was forgiven, washed from sins, and justified with God, when he received the Spirit, the true blood of Christ.