Forgiven Through His Death
April 1, 2009
by Billy Graham
Many people wonder why God demands blood. The Scripture says, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood” (Leviticus 17:11). When Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, they broke God’s Law; they rebelled against Him. God killed some animals and blood was shed in order to take the skins and cover the nakedness of Adam and Eve. From that time on, blood has been shed as a symbol of our salvation.
When Moses was trying to get the people out of Egypt and into the Promised Land, God said to him, “Tell the Jewish people to slay a lamb without blemish and put the blood on the doorpost. When I see the blood, I will pass over you” (Cf. Exodus 12:1-14). That was the beginning of Passover. God didn’t say, “When I see their good works” or even, “When I see their ethnic or social background.” Rather, He said, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you.”
Scripture uses several words to describe the power and the value of Christ’s blood. The first word is redemption. “You were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold … but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18-19).
The Bible teaches that we as a human race are enslaved and spiritually under the devil’s authority, unable to redeem ourselves. Christ died on the cross and paid the price for our salvation. He redeemed us by the shedding of His own blood.
As fallen men and women, we are lost. We are going to judgment and hell. What are we going to do? Jesus Christ shed His blood to pay for our sins and to redeem us. If you are not under the blood of Christ, you are not going to heaven. You must be under His blood. Are you sure that experience has been yours? You must repent of sin and receive Christ into your heart.
The second word is remission, which means forgiveness. “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28).
Jesus, by His death on the cross, made possible the forgiveness of sins and the extension of mercy at the same time. Holiness was left pure; mercy and love met the demands of justice. This is the heart of the Gospel.
I read about the daughter of a poor widow. The daughter left home and went into sin. For three years she was gone. When she came stumbling home, she went to the back door of her mother’s home, expecting it to be locked. But the door was open. She went inside. Her mother was sitting there reading the Bible. The young woman said, “Mother, I never expected to find the door open.” Her mother answered, “My darling, ever since you walked out, that door has been open.”
God stands ready to forgive. He doesn’t have to get ready for us to repent. He doesn’t have to get ready for us to come to the cross. “But You are God, ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abundant in kindness” (Nehemiah 9:17). God is ready right now. He is standing with open arms and saying, “Come.”
Another word associated with blood is justification. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him” (Romans 5:8-9).
Justification means “to be free from blame,” or “to be declared innocent.” We cannot do it ourselves. We can work all our lives and do good works and pay money to the church, but that won’t justify us. The only thing that will justify us is the blood of Jesus Christ. Then we will be as though we had never committed a sin in our whole lives! That is what happens when we come to the cross. That is the power of the blood.
Another word is em>cleansing. “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). When we come to the cross, not only does He cleanse all our past sins, but that blood is available for present and future sins. It cleanses us. It leaves us standing before God justified and pure. God no longer sees our sins. The process is that of repentance and faith. To all who would forsake sin, God offers a new chance.
We can be cleansed by the blood of Christ. It can happen right now. He promises to blot out all the old sins and give us a brand-new start, to be born from above, to be born anew. And all the past is forgiven. That is what God offers us.
Another word is peace. There are wars going on in the world right now, and there are all sorts of wars in families and between friends. In Colossians we read, “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself” (Colossians 1:20, KJV). Because of that blood, we can have peace.
In the Bible we read about three types of peace. First is peace with God. God says that because of our sins we are at war with Him. He offers us peace at the cross. Second is the peace of God that the Holy Spirit produces in us. When we come to Christ, we have a peace that we have never known before. Think of the restlessness in so many of us—the pressures that we live under. Think of having peace in the midst of it all. Third is peace between nations. That is going to happen when Jesus comes back and reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords.
Not only can we have peace, but we can have access. We can come straight into the presence of God. We don’t have to come through another person. “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way” (Hebrews 10:19-20). From the cross the Lord said, “It is finished” (John 19:30).
The blood of Christ accomplishes three things: It satisfies God, it saves sinners and it silences the devil.
We are constantly seeking to add merit or to combine works with what Christ did on the cross. But we don’t have to. Everything we needed was done at the cross, in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.