Why Is Christianity Such a “Bloody Religion?” | bambinoides.com

Why Is Christianity Such a “Bloody Religion?”

Why Is Christianity Such a "Bloody Religion?"By Brian Hedges –

Christianity has been called a “bloody religion.” Christians have built their faith, after all, on the bloody death of the crucified Jesus. We sing with gusto, “What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus!” And with the apostle Peter we confess that we have been ransomed “not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot” (1 Peter 1:18-19).

But it is possible for us to misunderstand the significance of Jesus’ blood and even speak of it in ways that subvert the teaching of Scripture. Roman Catholic doctrine undermines the sufficiency of Christ’s finished work by teaching that his blood is offered repeatedly in a Eucharistic sacrifice. And some Protestants make a similar mistake with the supposition that Jesus continually offers his blood in heaven.

On the other hand, are those who propose that the saving efficacy of Jesus’ blood lies in some mystical or divine quality of the fluid itself, rather than his sacrificial death. This error confuses the human and divine natures of Christ and veers dangerously close to Monophysitism.[1]

Here are three propositions that summarize the teaching of Scripture about the significance of Jesus’ blood and safeguard us from error.

1. The saving efficacy of Jesus’ blood is found in his sacrificial death on the cross.  

When we read about the blood of Jesus in Scripture it signifies his violent death on the cross, along with the sacrificial nature of his death. We know his blood signifies death because biblical language described death in terms of shedding blood (cf. Genesis 9:6).

Paul makes the connection between Jesus’ blood and death explicit when he speaks of Christ making peace through “the blood of his cross” and reconciling us to God in “his body of flesh by his death” in Colossians 1:20-22.[2]

But Jesus’ blood is especially connected to the idea of sacrifice. In the midst of a sustained meditation on the relationship between Christ and the sacrificial system of the Old Testament, we read in Hebrews 9:22that “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” This highlights the necessity of sacrifice for forgiveness and shows that sacrifice by its very nature involves the shedding of blood. The passage then goes on to show that Christ “has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Hebrews 9:26).

This leads to a second proposition:

2. Jesus’ bloody sacrifice was made once for all in a single offering.

This is also especially clear in Hebrews. Consider this litany of verses:

§  Hebrews 7:27: He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself.

§  Hebrews 9:11-12: But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.

§  Hebrews 9:25-26: Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

§  Hebrews 10:10: And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

§  Hebrews 10:12-14: But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

These passages clarify beyond dispute that Christ’s sacrifice was completed once and for all in his self-0ffering on the cross. Though, as our high priest, he continues to intercede for us at God’s right hand (Hebrews 7:25; Romans 8:34), there is no need for continual or repeated sacrifice. His priestly work of sacrifice is complete. The offering has been made and does not need to be repeated. In Jesus’ own dying words, “It is finished” (John 19:30).

3. This single offering has secured for us a double grace.

Scripture, of course, attributes a whole host of blessings to the blood of Christ. These include forgiveness (Ephesians 1:7), propitiation of God’s wrath (Romans 3:25), justification (Romans 5:9), reconciliation with God (Ephesians 2:13-16) cleansing (1 John 1:7), sanctification (Hebrews 13:12), freedom from sin (Revelation 1:5), and the conquest of Satan (Revelation 12:10-11).

But one helpful way to summarize these blessings is with John Calvin’s language of “double grace.” In his Institutes, Calvin said:

Christ was given to us by God’s generosity, to be grasped and possessed by us in faith. By partaking of him, we principally receive a double grace: namely, that being reconciled to God through Christ’s blamelessness, we may have in heaven instead of a Judge a gracious Father; and secondly, that sanctified by Christ’s spirit we may cultivate blamelessness and purity of life.[3]

In other words, our union with Christ in his sacrificial death is both the basis of our acceptance with God and access into his presence, and the means of our cleansing from sin and moral transformation into the image of Christ.

This means we can confidently trust in Christ’s finished work for both the assured removal of the burden of guilt and the effective power to unshackle us from the chains of sin. The traditional theological categories for this are justification and sanctification.

The grace of justification is beautifully captured in Wesley’s translation of Zinzendorf’s classic hymn:

Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness

My beauty are, my glorious dress;

’Midst flaming worlds, in these arrayed,

With joy shall I lift up my head.

Bold shall I stand in Thy great day;

For who aught to my charge shall lay?

Fully absolved through these I am

From sin and fear, from guilt and shame.[4]

This alone is good news! But the blood of Christ not only justifies, it also sanctifies. That’s why John Owen, the great seventeenth century physical of souls, in his classic work on the mortification of sin, said, “Set faith at work on Christ for the killing of thy sin. His blood is the great sovereign remedy for sin-sick souls.”[5]

Believers have rejoiced in this double grace down through the centuries. And that’s why we joyfully sing,

For my pardon, this I see,

Nothing but the blood of Jesus;

For my cleansing this my plea,

Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Oh! precious is the flow

That makes me white as snow;

No other fount I know,

Nothing but the blood of Jesus.[6]



End Notes

[1] Monophysitism (from two Greek words, mono (single) and physis (nature) teaches that Jesus had only one nature, rather than two natures (human and divine) united in a single person. The Council of Chalcedon condemned Monophysitism as a heresy in AD 451. For more information, see “Monophysitism,” in S. B. Ferguson & J. I. Packer, New Dictionary of Theology (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press), p. 442.

[2] Emphasis added in this and following Scripture quotations.

[3] John Calvin, John T. McNeil, ed., Institutes of the Christian Religion (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1960) III.xi.1, p. 725.

[4] Nikolaus von Zinzendorf, “Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness,” 1739; translated from German to English by John Wesley, 1739.

[5]John Owen, W. H. Goold, ed., The Works of John Owen, Volume 6. (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, reprint) p. 79.

[6] Robert Lowry, “Nothing but the Blood,” 1876.

By Brian G. Hedges | christianity.com | Brian G. Hedges is the Lead Pastor for Fulkerson Park Baptist Church and the author of Christ Formed in You: The Power of the Gospel for Personal Change, Licensed to Kill: A Field Manual for Mortifying Sin, and Active Spirituality: Grace and Effort in the Christian Life. Brian and his wife Holly have four children and live in South Bend, Indiana. Brian also blogs at www.brianghedges.com and you can follow him on Twitter @brianghedges.



The views expressed are not necessarily those of the publisher or bambinoides.com. Images accompanying posts are either owned by the author of said post or are in the public domain and included by the publisher of the blog bambinoides.com on its initiative.

Leave a comment

You must be Logged in to post comment.

© 2012-2018 - Copyright - bambinoides.com is not liable for the content of external web pages

© 2012-2017 - © Copyright / Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use. / Derechos Reservados & CLÁUSULA DE EXENCIÓN DE RESPONSABILIDAD: bambinoides.com (El BLOG), tiene un carácter divulgativo, informativo y de entretenimiento, poniendo a disposición de todos, informaciones, noticias, reportajes, material audio-visivo y gráfico de contenido variado y sugestivo con el único interés de provocar un sano debate entre amigos e interesados. De no ser especificado, los artículos, comentarios y/o introducciones son escritos y propiedad de Antonio-"Bambino" Maldonado-Boschetti (indistintamente con siglas AMB - ◊◊B◊◊). Además, en EL BLOG se evidencian vínculos y se divulga información originaria de numerosas fuentes por lo que ni El BlOG ni Antonio-"Bambino" Maldonado-Boschetti son particular y específicamente responsables del contenido de aquellas.-- USO JUSTO (Fair Use): Descargo de Responsabilidad: bambinoides.com y/o Antonio-"Bambino" Maldonado-Boschetti (AMB/◊◊B◊◊) no es (son) propietario de la mayor parte de los audios-vídeos que forma parte de la Galería de Vídeos de bambinoides.com los cuales pertenecen a numerosos autores, artistas y/o productores. Aviso y reclamo que los derechos de autor bajo la sección 107 del Copyright Act 1976 (USA) permiten el uso y divulgación de este material con “USO JUSTO” para propósitos tales como crítica, comentario, noticias, enseñanza, becas e investigación. El “USO JUSTO” (Fair Use) es un uso lícito y permitido por la Ley de Derechos de Autor, que de lo contrario podría constituir una violación. El uso sin fines de lucro, educativo, noticioso o informativo, o personal inclina la balanza a favor del “uso justo" por parte de bambinoides.com.-- La información y el contenido "multimedia" publicado por EL BLOG son de carácter público, libre y gratuito. Pueden ser reproducidos con la obligatoriedad de citar la fuente: http://www.bambinoides.com y a cada autor en particular. -- Los comentarios y reacciones de los lectores publicados en los "posts" son de la entera responsabilidad de quien los emite; EL BLOG intenta implementar un mecanismo de auto regulación y/o puede decidir no publicar comentarios que constituyan abuso o que lesionen el buen gusto y los derechos de otros. -- Se pueden enviar colaboraciones gratis directamente a bambino@bambinoides.com quien se reserva el derecho de publicación.
All photos accompanying posts are either owned by the author of said post or are in the public domain and included by the blog bambinoides.com on its initiative.

Creative Commons Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Bambinoides.com está disponible bajo una licencia “Creative Commons” Reconocimiento-No comercial 4.0. Cualquier reconocimiento debe ser a bambinoides.com y a cada autor/publicación en particular.

WP-Backgrounds Lite by InoPlugs Web Design and Juwelier Schönmann 1010 Wien
Confrontando la información, - el pasado y el presente...
"Estudia el pasado si quieres pronosticar el futuro" (Confucio)
“La historia es en realidad el registro de crímenes, locuras y adversidades de la humanidad” (E. Gibbon)