Efficacy of the Blood.
- effectiveness: the ability to produce the desired result
So the Blood of Christ is effective. At what? Well, we all know the answer to that, right?
But if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
1 Jn 1:7 (NET)
So the “official” line is something like this: Jesus Christ went to the cross and shed His blood and died for your sins. And it ends there. The blood is understood to have washed your sins clean. The resurrection is understood to be a type of stamp that the cross happened. People have argued with me that the resurrection was simply “proof” that Jesus was God and His death on the cross was a special event separate and much different from any other person who was put to death on a cross in those bloody days of Roman rule.
And to some degree some of this absolutely true.
But the efficacy of the blood does not — I repeat: does not — stop at the cross. It must be carried through the three days in hell and include the resurrection of Jesus Christ. For the trail of blood does not stop at the cross. The cross was not the only object that had Jesus’ bloodstains on it. Did you not know this? Did not your church teach this part of salvation?
You see your salvation did not stop at the cross. The cross alone is not the efficacy of the blood. It is the focal point, the place that we can all point to and everyone will understand and know that we are talking about the death of Christ. But it does not end at the cross. You need more proof?
And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is useless; you are still in your sins.
1 Cor 15:17 (NET)
Did you get that? Imagine now: the cross has happened; Jesus was nailed to the cross, shed His holy blood, and died. He was taken down and buried in the tomb. Whether you are a believer, as I am, that Jesus then descended into hell or if you do not believe He physically descended is not an issue to this discussion (at least not here). But then let’s say that was it: Jesus does not rise.
Well, if the efficacy of the blood is on the cross, if it is in the shedding of blood while on the “altar” of the cross then yours and my sins are paid for. But this verse is quite clear: without the resurrection you are still in your sins! The blood is not effective with the cross alone. We speak of the cross — Paul speaks of the cross — because it is the focal point of Jesus’ death and the process that frees man from the bondage of sin. But the entirety of scripture tells us that the beatings, the scourging, the death on the cross, the three days, and the resurrection are all important in this process of cleansing our sins, of paying the price for our transgressions.
If you don’t think so still then take a Sharpie marker and blot out that verse from your bible — for in your theology it doesn’t belong…it has no place. If Christ is not raised, you cannot be saved.
Importance of the Resurrection
It certainly is important as a show of power, that Jesus was different from any other person who was put to death on a cross. He rose from the dead! His body is no longer in the grave. He was seen walking around Jerusalem AFTER His death. This is a powerful show of God’s mighty work in His Son’s life and death. It proves His power over death.
But let’s return to the blood, instead of going on about the meaning of the resurrection itself and its earthly aftermath. Let’s follow the blood trail for a moment.
The High Priest of the Old Testament had a job to do. They sacrificed animals that were set aside for a purpose and through a ritual that included the blood of those animals the sins of man were forgiven. There was even a special day, the Day of Atonement, that happened once a year that forgave the sins of Israel for the past year. You can read about it in Leviticus 16. This atonement process involved the sacrifice and then the High Priest taking of the blood and sprinkling it over the altar, and then taking it into the Holy of Holies and sprinkling it on the Mercy Seat of God. This was part of the process. The killing of the lambs and goats and bulls did not complete the process of sin forgiveness for Israel. In a future post I’ll show how Leviticus 16 shows us what occurs from the cross to the resurrection, but it is too much for now.
In Leviticus 16 we see that a goat was offered up on the altar. It’s blood spilled. Then we see that the blood was taken into the Holy of Holies behind the veil.
15 “He must then slaughter the sin offering goat which is for the people. He is to bring its blood inside the veil-canopy, and he is to do with its blood just as he did to the blood of the bull: He is to sprinkle it on the atonement plate and in front of the atonement plate. 16 So he is to make atonement for the holy place from the impurities of the Israelites and from their transgressions with regard to all their sins, and thus he is to do for the Meeting Tent which resides with them in the midst of their impurities.
Lev 16:15-16 (NET)
Among much other ceremony we see here that the sin offering goat, which is for the people, is slaughtered. It’s blood is taken inside the Holy of Holies by the High Priest, behind the veil. The blood is sprinkled in the Holy of Holies, over the Mercy Seat, on the atonement plate.
Ok, now let’s shift our attention to the New Testament. Jesus dies on the cross, three days in the grave (in hell), and then the resurrection.
11 But now Christ has come as the high priest of the good things to come. He passed through the greater and more perfect tent not made with hands, that is, not of this creation, 12 and he entered once for all into the most holy place not by the blood of goats and calves but by his own blood, and so he himself secured eternal redemption.
Heb 9:11-12 (NET)
Here Christ is shown as our High Priest. It is expounded upon in chapter 7, which is a chapter about the priesthood and the better priesthood of Christ over the earthly priesthood. So Christ is the High Priest and He took the blood, not of goats, but His own blood. Where did He take it? He “passed through the greater and more perfect tent not made with hands.” This is not the earthly tabernacle. In fact, this is not on earth at all. It does not take place on the cross. It does not take place in the grave (or hell). It takes place in heaven.
19 For when Moses had spoken every command to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats with water and scarlet wool and hyssop and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that God has commanded you to keep.” 21 And both the tabernacle and all the utensils of worship he likewise sprinkled with blood. 22 Indeed according to the law almost everything was purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
Heb 9:19-22 (NET)
We see here that here on earth Moses gave the command of God to the people: the blood must be sprinkled, in the tabernacle and all the utensils of worship. It was a purifying process. But these were earthly … copies.
So it was necessary for the sketches of the things in heaven to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves required better sacrifices than these.
Heb 9:23 (NET)
We see that here. The utensils and objects here on earth, in the tabernacle, in the Holy of Holies, are all copies. They are sketches. But there are the actual utensils in heaven that need a better sacrifice than that of goats and bulls. What is that better sacrifice?
24 For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with hands – the representation of the true sanctuary – but into heaven itself, and he appears now in God’s presence for us. 25 And he did not enter to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the sanctuary year after year with blood that is not his own, 26 for then he would have had to suffer again and again since the foundation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the consummation of the ages to put away sin by his sacrifice.
Heb 9:24-26 (NET)
So here is Christ, entering a sanctuary not made with hands! Got that? Not earthly! This sanctuary is in heaven. It is not the representation on earth, but it is in heaven itself. More importantly (and often missed or glossed over) is that this is “in God’s presence for us.” In God’s presence. The reason is so that we can be redeemed. Verse 24…read it again and again.
Jesus entered heaven’s tabernacle Himself, but He did this once — not again and again as the High Priest on earth had to do year after year. Christ appeared in the heavenly tabernacle, before God Himself, once, with His own blood, a sacrifice that will be effective for eternity. Jesus went into the heavenly tabernacle and He sprinkled the blood on the objects in the heavenly tabernacle (not here on earth!).
THIS is why the resurrection is so very important. This is why the cross alone is not enough to save you. It is the focal point, but it is not the complete story. It is not enough by itself to save you because we need Jesus to rise and go into the tabernacle in heaven and sprinkle His blood on the Mercy Seat in heaven. Very important, this is, that this is done and done before the Father.
As 1 Corinthians 15:17 says: without the resurrection you are still in your sins. It takes everything from the cross through the resurrection for your salvation.