THE BLOOD—FORGIVES AND CLEANSES
Copyright © 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
The atoning blood of the Lord Jesus Christ that was shed on the cross of Calvary is the centerpiece of the Christian salvation. All forgiveness and all deliverance derive their authority from the canceling, appeasing, purifying, reconciling authority of the blood.
It appears in some instances we are employing the blood in a manner not intended by the Lord God of Heaven. We are attempting to use the blood as a covering of our sin such that God cannot see our behavior. The blood then becomes an alternative to righteous behavior rather than the means of attaining righteous behavior. The goal of the new covenant is to produce righteous people.
The purpose of the blood shed on the cross of Calvary is to forgive our sin and then cleanse our behavior; not to hide from God what we are doing.
THE BLOOD—FORGIVES AND CLEANSES
For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life. (Leviticus 17:11—NIV)
My emphasis in this present article has to do with the way we are attempting to use the atoning blood of the Lord Jesus. We often use the expression “under the blood” or “covered with the blood” or “plead the blood.” These are not scriptural expressions.
I am not in any manner detracting from the importance of the atoning blood of the Lord in our salvation. What I am saying is that we are using the blood to avoid the judgment of God on our sins. We are employing the blood as an alternative to deliverance from sin, an alternative to righteous behavior, an alternative to moral transformation.
Do you think the Lord Jesus intends for us to use His blood as a means of living an unholy life? Well, that is what is being done today.
One way of thinking of the blood is as soap. When we use soap to clean our hands the soap is not a covering for dirt. The soap washes away the dirt. So it is true that the blood is not supposed to cover the dirt. The purpose of the blood is to wash away the dirt. I think any sincere Christian would agree with this idea.
Of course it is possible that the concept of being “under the blood” or “God sees us through the blood” could be correct even though the terminology is not scriptural. But the concept itself is not correct. Whenever we are emphasizing terminology that is not found in the Scriptures we have to be careful that the concept being presented is found in the Scriptures in other terms.
You will not find the concept, in either the Old Testament or the New, that the sin offering is a covering that hides the behavior of the sinner from God’s eyes. Rather the blood of the sin offering is a redemption payment, we might say, that cancels the debt we owe God because of our sin.
The soul that sins shall die. The blood of the cross appeases the wrath of God concerning our sin and pays the debt we owe.
But the blood does not “cover” us such that God does not notice our personality or behavior.
In today’s preaching we are trying to use the blood of the cross to hide our sins, to conceal our behavior from God.
The truth appears to be that when we begin the program of redemption the blood covers our transgressions. We see this prefigured in the red ram skins that covered the black goat hair of the tent over the Tabernacle of the Congregation. However, as we mature, the blood not only covers our sins, it actually cleanses us from them.
It may be true that in past time the emphasis of the Spirit was on our receiving by faith the covering of the blood of atonement. Now God is giving us the Spirit of judgment so we can confess our sins, the result being that the blood of Christ not only forgives our sins but actually cleanses us from all unrighteousness
We readily can understand we have been kept by faith to the Day of Redemption. Now the Day of Redemption is at hand and the Spirit of God is directing us to confess our sins that they may be put to death and finally purged from us altogether. This is the doctrine of eternal judgment, the eternal judgment of sin and Satan.
The idea that God no longer sees us is not new.
He said to me, Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel are doing in the darkness, each at the shrine of his own idol? They say, “The LORD does not see us; the LORD has forsaken the land.” (Ezekiel 8:12—NIV)
God certainly was seeing the deeds of the seven churches of Asia!
I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! (Revelation 3:15—NIV)
Does the above verse sound like God did not see the works of the Christians in Laodicea?
We are making the blood an alternative to righteous behavior. We are presenting the Christian salvation as an excuse for our evil nature. A more destructive concept cannot be imagined.
The following expressions are not found in the Scriptures:
- Under the blood.
- Covered by the blood.
- God sees us through the blood.
- The blood of Christ covers.
However, we do find the following:
- The blood we drink during the Communion service is the blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
- Whoever drinks the blood of Christ has eternal life, and Christ will raise him up at the last day.
- God has bought His Church with His own blood.
- God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement through faith in his blood.
- We have been declared righteous by the blood of Christ.
- We have redemption through the blood of Christ, the forgiveness of sins.
- We Gentiles have been brought near to the Jewish household of faith by the blood of Christ.
- Christ reconciled to Himself all things on earth and in Heaven by making peace through His blood.
- Christ entered the Most Holy Place in Heaven with his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption, a one-time payment for the sins of mankind.
- The blood of Christ cleanses our conscience from the sinful deeds of the body.
- In God’s economy, without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
- Christ was sacrificed one time to take away the sins of many people.
- We have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus.
- The blood of Christ makes us holy.
- The blood of Jesus, God’s Son, purifies us from all sin.
- Christ has freed us from our sins with His blood.
- Christ purchased us for God with His blood.
- We wash our robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb.
- We overcome the accuser by the blood of the Lamb.
- When Christ returns He will be dressed in a robe dipped in blood.
- Summing up the above list we find:
- The blood of the new covenant forgives our sin.
- Eternal life comes through drinking the blood of the covenant.
- God purchased the Church with the blood of Christ.
- We are declared righteous by the blood of Christ.
- We can come to the Mercy Seat in Heaven through the atoning blood of Christ.
- The blood of Christ makes us holy.
- The blood purifies us from sin.
- We wash our robes, our behavior, in the blood of the Lamb.
- We overcome the accuser by trusting in the forgiving power of the atoning blood.
I can understand how a scholar could consider the above and deduce that when we put our trust in the blood, God no longer views us as sinful no matter what we do. But he would be mistaken. The New Testament does not teach that God no longer views us as sinful no matter what we do.
If we are going to obtain correct doctrine we have to consider all that the New Testament has to say on the subject, keeping in mind also the Old Testament. We can’t take some verses and make a deduction from them without taking into account the remainder of the New Testament.
I will set forth just one example of the numerous New Testaments warnings concerning sin in the believer’s life, showing it is not true that God does not see our behavior.
For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, (Romans 8:13—NIV)
The context reveals clearly that the above verse is written to Christians. What does it say? It says if the Christian lives according to his sinful nature he will die, but if by the Holy Spirit he puts to death the deeds of his sinful nature he will live.
Since the contrast is between death and life, we assume Paul is referring to spiritual death and spiritual life. It is obvious Christians do not die or live physically according to their behavior. In any case, if you will look back two verses you will see that Paul is speaking of the redemption of our body.
Paul is explaining how the law of the Spirit of life sets us free from the law of sin and death (refer back to Chapter Seven). The capstone of our being set free is the redemption of our body. The idea is that if we continue to live according to our sinful nature we will destroy our spiritual life and thus prevent the redemption of our body.
The righteousness of Christ is ascribed to us only as long as we are rejecting our sinful nature and living according to the Holy Spirit.
In order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:4—NIV)
If we as a Christian continue to live according to our sinful nature we will lose our imputed righteousness and destroy any hope of having our body made alive at the coming of the Lord from Heaven. This is what Paul is saying in Romans 8:13. Now let’s do some thinking.
If it were true that we are “covered with the blood” so God does not see our behavior, how then could it be true that if we live according to our sinful nature we will die spiritually?
If the current Christian teaching were true, Romans 8:13 would make no sense. If God sees us “through the blood,” then it does not really matter how we live.
- When we commit adultery God does not see it. We are covered with the blood. Our behavior would not result in spiritual death.
- When we lie God does not see it. We are covered with the blood. Our behavior would not result in spiritual death.
- When we slander a fellow Christian God does not see it. We are covered with the blood. Our behavior would not result in spiritual death.
- When we refuse to deny ourselves and carry our cross behind Jesus, God does not see it. We are covered with the blood. Our behavior would not result in spiritual death.
- When God tells us to go to the mission field, and we disobey, God does not see our rebellion. We are covered with the blood. Our behavior would not result in spiritual death.
- When we as a Christian are in a drunken rage and beat our wife, God does not see it. We are covered with the blood. Our behavior would not result in spiritual death.
- When we use filthy language God does not notice. We are covered with the blood. God sees our behavior only through the blood. Our behavior would not result in spiritual death.
- No Christian need worry about the Judgment Seat of Christ. No matter how he behaves, God sees him only through the blood of Christ. What a wonderful salvation! A person would be a fool not to accept Christ. He can accept the blood covering and then live as he pleases, being assured that, unlike everyone else in the world, he never will have to account for his behavior. Wonderful!
This is what is preached today. What do you think would be the result of such preaching? You’ve got it. Churches containing many members who are not diligently serving the Lord. One of the main ways in which the blood is correctly employed is to wash our robe, our behavior.
The blood does not cover our sins, it washes away our sinful behavior. We do not mean by this that it only forgives our sins; we mean it also actually changes our behavior. The blood of the cross produces moral transformation. The blood of the cross brings forth the new righteous creation that God is looking for under the new covenant, the fruit of the moral image of Christ in the believer.
But how do we wash our robe in the blood of the Lamb? We do so by confessing our sins and resolutely turning away from them, with the help of the Lord. When we do this God is faithful and righteous to forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. This is how we wash our robe, our behavior.
It absolutely is true that because of the blood of Christ, God keeps forgiving us. But this is on the condition, and only on the condition, that we are walking in the light of His will, keeping the commandments of Christ and His Apostles. The blood serves as a compensating righteousness until we gain victory over sin.
It is not at all true that God keeps on forgiving the sins of careless Christians who made a profession of faith some time ago and now are not serving Christ fervently, not presenting their body a living sacrifice, not carrying their personal cross behind Jesus.
This is the tremendous error of our time—that all churchgoers who make a profession of faith in Christ are continually forgiven. There is no scriptural basis whatever for this delusion.
The truth is, multitudes of Christians in the United States are under condemnation because they are living worldly lives. Their Christianity consists of a weekly attendance at church. There is no fervency, no pressing into the rest of God, no exhorting one another daily to push ahead in God. They are spiritually dead and do not realize it. Yet their leaders keep assuring them that they are about to leave the earth in a “rapture.” However unwittingly, they are being lied to and they do not care enough to make certain from the Bible that what they are hearing is the truth.
Since the blood atonement made by the Lord Jesus on the cross of Calvary was prefigured in the Old Testament, let us think for a moment about the blood-offerings of Israel.
We know the Jews were forgiven as they offered their bulls, goats, lambs, and other animals. The Bible says they were forgiven.
However the Jews did not live under the blood of bulls and goats. The Jews were not covered by the blood of bulls and goats. God did not see the Jews through the blood of bulls and goats. We know God did not see the Jews through the blood of bulls and goats because He brought severe punishment on His chosen people when they refused to obey His commandments.
God brings severe punishment on Gentile believers when we refuse to obey the commandments of Christ and His Apostles.
The United States of America is in line for extremely severe chastening because the Christian people, the only light of the world, are not keeping the commandments of Jesus Christ and His Apostles.
We have been taught that God does not see our sins. We have been taught incorrect doctrine. Our nation is suffering as a result.
It is time to repent. God indeed does see our sins—every one of them! He is calling us to repentance.
The only use of the blood under the Law of Moses that could be interpreted to be a covering would be the blood of the Passover Lamb.
The blood of the Lamb was a sign on the doorposts so the destroyer would pass over the house when bringing judgment on the gods of Egypt. The blood of the Passover lamb was not a sin offering, it was a mark on the Jews, God’s chosen people, to distinguish them from the Egyptians as being holy to the Lord.
But the blood of the Passover lamb did not continue to cover Israel in the wilderness. When they sinned they suffered for it. God did not continue to see them through the blood of the Passover lamb.
We simply cannot maintain doctrine that is not found in the Scriptures, and the concept that God sees us through the atoning blood of Jesus is not scriptural.
Today we do not put the blood of the Passover lamb on the doorposts of our house. Rather we drink the blood of our Passover Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ. The new covenant is an inner covenant operating from within our personality.
There is no more important aspect of the Christian life than the eating of Christ’s flesh and the drinking of His blood. Every time we choose to reject our adamic, sinful nature and do the Lord’s will, we are given to eat of His flesh and to drink of His blood. This transaction takes place continually in the life of the fervent disciples.
The body and blood of Christ that are in us are our resurrection life. When He returns it will be His body and blood in us that will raise us from the dead and catch us up to meet Him in the air. The “oil” that determined the destiny of the ten virgins refers to the inner life of the Christian.
If he has lived by the body and blood of Christ, then the Spirit of Life from God will make alive his mortal body at the coming of the Lord. But if he has not lived by the body and blood of Christ, then the Spirit of Life from God will not make alive his mortal body at the coming of the Lord, even though he believes himself to be a Christian. The door will be shut in his face. This is what the Bible teaches.
The church in Laodicea was the only assembly concerning which the Lord had nothing good to say. Yet the greatest of the promises are made to the overcomers of this assembly.
The Lord knocks at the door. If we open the door He comes in and dines with us. We dine on His body and blood. He dines on the praise and worship coming from our personality.
As we continue in this most holy relationship He takes His place on the throne of our heart. In this manner we sit with Him in His throne as He sits with His Father in His Father’s throne.
If the Lord saw us only through His blood, the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation would make no sense. None of the seven churches could be charged with any shortcoming because God would see them only through the blood. All Christians would receive the same reward because their behavior, whether good or bad, was not significant. It would have no bearing on their destiny in the Kingdom of God.
We can understand readily that the concept of God seeing us only through the blood (a concept not found in the New Testament) completely destroys the actual work of the Kingdom in our life. In fact, there is no work of the Kingdom. There is only a schizophrenic state in which we consider ourselves to be a new creation in which old things have passed away and all things have become new, but the truth is, there is no new creation (except in our head). The old has not passed away. Nothing has become new. We are still the same old person that we were. It is just that God sees us differently because we have taken “the four steps of salvation.”
This is to make the Kingdom of God a house of cards. There is nothing here, no redemption, no change into the image of Christ, no pressing forward to the rest of God, no striving against sin, no house from Heaven produced by our response to the continual death and resurrection we are supposed to be experiencing.
- There is no parable of the ten virgins because it does not matter how we live.
- There is no parable of the talents because it does not matter whether or not we use what has been given to us.
- There is no “depart from me, I never knew you” because God cannot see our wickedness.
- There is no falling away from the faith because whether we stand or fall makes no difference. God sees us only through Christ no matter what we do.
- It no longer matters whether we bear fruit. We remain in the vine because God cannot see whether or not we are bearing fruit.
- There is no neglecting of our salvation because we are covered with the blood, so what is there to neglect?
- There is no drawing back to destruction because whether we press forward or draw back is not important. God sees us only through the blood.
- There is nothing to overcome. Christ has done it all for us.
- There is no need to pray or meditate in the Scriptures. In fact, most of the Scriptures no longer apply.
- There is no need for repentance. Of what are we to repent? Are we to attempt to improve on the righteousness of the blood of Christ?
The old covenant demanded righteous behavior. The new covenant demands only that we make a formal statement concerning our belief in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice. From then on we can rest in the fact that no matter what we do, God sees only the righteousness of His Son.
It appears likely that this covering will last throughout eternity such that the new Jerusalem will be populated by sinful, disobedient people whom God sees as righteous with the righteousness of Christ.
The Lamb of God never took away the sin of the world. In the case of His followers He concealed the sin so God could not see it and judge it.
This is what is preached today. It is not always drawn down as fine as this, but this basically is what is believed. It is a masterpiece of satanic deception.
The blood of the cross is the centerpiece of the Christian salvation. The blood of the cross cancels the guilt of our sin by balancing the scales of Divine justice. The blood of the cross enables us to walk before God without condemnation provided we are obeying the law of the Spirit of Life; as long as through the Spirit of God we are overcoming the passions of our evil nature.
The blood of the cross makes it possible for us to be cleansed from all unrighteousness as we confess our sins.
The body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ are the food we must eat and drink continually, in the spirit realm, if we are to have eternal life; if we are to be caught up to the slain Lamb when He appears in the sky.
But it is not true that we are “under the blood,” except in the sense that as we live in the light of God’s perfect will, the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all unrighteousness.
How is this different from what is preached today? It is different in that today we are claiming that no matter how we live, God cannot see us because we are covered with the blood of Christ. But the Scripture teaches differently. It teaches that as we walk in the light of God’s will, which includes confessing our sins when the Spirit of God points them out to us, the blood atonement keeps us in a righteous state because we are walking in obedience to the Lord.
We are not covered by the blood, except in the above sense.
God does not see us through the blood, except in the above sense.
What appears to be an innocent and holy concept completely destroys the work of moral transformation, the bringing forth of a new creation, which is the purpose of the new covenant.
How do these time-honored traditions destroy the work of moral transformation?
The idea that we are screened from God’s sight by the blood of Jesus makes it possible for us to live however we please with the assurance that we will hear nothing negative at the Judgment Seat of Christ—the Judgment Seat concerning which Paul knew the terror of the Lord.
The idea that we are screened from God’s sight makes it possible for us to avoid the numerous sufferings that God sends upon us to drive the sin from us. We avoid that which is unpleasant—our personal cross. We flee from the Lord’s prisons. Our integrity being greatly weakened by this false concept, we wrench ourselves from everything that is not making us happy and comfortable, even though we have to break God’s laws in doing so.
- Why should we be concerned about breaking God’s laws of marriage? We are covered with the blood.
- Why should we strive to put sin to death? We are covered with the blood.
- Why should we repent of our worldliness? We are covered with the blood.
- Why should we present our body a living sacrifice that we might prove the will of God? God sees us only through the blood.
- How could we possibly hear anything negative at the Judgment Seat of Christ — that terror of all terrors?
- God has never witnessed our behavior. We continually are shielded from His sight by the blood of the cross.
This concept—that God does not see the behavior of Christians—will prove to be the most destructive heresy ever to enter Christian thinking. It and its sister, the pre-tribulation “rapture,” have ruined the work of the Gospel of the Kingdom in our day.
We have underestimated the enemy. While we are wondering if the Antichrist is some prominent politician, Antichrist, the one who espouses the rights of people as being the greatest good of all, has been preaching from the pulpits of Christian churches.
It is not that Christian leaders are seeking to deceive. Many of them would have made a great success of a worldly career but instead, at a considerable cost to themselves, have obeyed the call of God to the ministry.
It is not that Christians are trying to be wrong, it is that we have been deceived by an enemy far more cunning than we.
I invite all Christians to consider what I have written here—written with some fear and trembling. One does not attack the old landmarks unless he is certain before God that they are not really the old landmarks but new landmarks that have been placed by the enemy.
The spiritual pressures of our times leave no place for untested traditions. We must return to the Scriptures and examine what is written, whether or not we are embarrassed or discomfited by so doing. This is as true for me as for anyone else. We must have truth. We must have solid Bible under our feet if we are to stand.
I respectfully submit we are incorrect in assuming that believers are covered by the blood of the cross such that their behavior does not affect their status in the Kingdom of God, in the eyes of God. It absolutely is true that the Passover blood of Christ covers us so we may make our exit from the world and Satan. But to attempt to prolong this protection, using it as an excuse to sin, destroys God’s plan to make us in the image of His Son.
I think I have demonstrated this to be true from the Scriptures.
You must decide for yourself.
(“The Blood—Forgives and Cleanses”, 3946-1)