Charles L. Heron
“And having made peace through the blood of the cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth or things in heaven” (Col. 1:20).
One of the truths that appears on the surface of this reading is that man is away from God. In this passage the apostle does not give any time to telling how man happens to be away from God. There are those among us who either do not know, or do not have respect for the teaching of the Bible and go about teaching that man was born away from God. Although our text does not state how came man away, other passages are clear on the subject. Isaiah tells us that man is away from God, not because he was born away, but, rather because of his sin and iniquities (Isa. 56:1-2). Too, some men are away from God because of the sin of neglect. “…If a man knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (Jas. 4:17). “…Whatsoever is not of faith is sin…” (Rom. 14:23). According to this last passage, there are not a few who sin, even, in religion. “Faith comes by hearing the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). Therefore, whatsoever a man does that is not endorsed by the word of God is sin. So many are sinning while attempting to worship God.
Salvation by Blood
The scheme of human redemption has ever been one of blood. In the very beginning God instructed Cain and Abel concerning the kind of sacrifice, and he specified the shedding of blood. It is true that I cannot cite the passage which tells me that God told them what to offer, but in Heb. 11:4 we are told that Abel offered, by faith, a more excellent sacrifice than Cain. Since “faith cometh by the word of God,” then, I know God told them what to offer, or else it could not have been offered by faith. When Israel was delivered out of the slavery of Egypt, blood was used in their deliverance. (Exo. 12:7-13). When Israel was cleansed or healed from their sinning, a bloody sacrifice was offered. The Hebrews writer tells us that without the shedding of blood there is no remission (Heb. 9:22). Yet those who did appropriate the blood of animals were only ceremonially, and temporarily clean, because it was not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin (Heb. 10:4).
The Blood of Christ
Since there is no salvation but by blood, and since the blood of animals could not take away sin, it naturally follows that some blood of greater merit must be applied. The blood that now avails is the blood of Christ. Hear Hebrews 9:11-14:
But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained (not temporary, but) eternal redemption for us.
Then salvation is by the blood of Christ.
What That Blood Means to Man
Since “the blood is the life thereof,” it means that Christ was willing to give his life that I might live eternally. It, then, is the purchase price of my salvation. Paul declares in Acts 20:28, that Christ purchased the church with his blood. That, too, is the purchase price of every Christian. Therefore, “Ye are not your own. For ye are bought with a price” (1 Cor 6:19-20). The blood of Christ is the propitiation for sins (1 John 2:2). It is a satisfactory covering for sins. When God made clothing of skins for Adam and Eve, it was, no doubt, at the cost of the life of some animal It was by the shedding of blood that their sins were covered. It is by the shedding of the blood of our Savior that our sins are covered today. It is by the blood of Christ that we are redeemed—bought back. “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:14). And Peter informs us that we are redeemed, not by corruptible things such as silver and gold, “But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Pet. 1:18-20). The blood of Jesus is that which cleanses us from sin. “If we walk in the light, as he is the light, we have fellowship one with the other, and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). Our text asserts, too, that we have peace with God through the blood of Christ. When Paul wrote to the Ephesians, the told them that they who were once afar off from God had been made nigh by the blood of Christ (Eph. 2:13).
Certainly, no man who knows anything about the Bible will deny the saving power of the blood of Christ; to deny that atoning power is to deny the Bible itself!
Appropriating the Blood of Christ
As powerful as the blood of Christ is, it is powerless unless it is applied. So the question naturally arises: Just how does man appropriate that blood? No one would, for one moment argue that the blood was not shed in the death of Christ. When Christ died, the blood then shed atoned for the sins of all humanity. It is necessary, then, that man come in contact with the death of Christ in order to reach the blood. Only New Testament baptism brings one in contact with the death and blood of Christ. Paul says: “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?” (Rom. 6:3). So, now we can see that New Testament baptism cannot be over emphasized. Its necessity must be more forcefully preached, especially since so many sectarian preachers are minimizing its importance. No man can preach salvation by the blood of Christ, and not preach New Testament baptism. He who does not believe in and preach New Testament baptism is dishonest with himself, and with humanity. But, most of all he is dishonest with God.