|Is Jesus God?
One Man's Blood by John R Schroeder THE PUMPS and pipes of our human anatomy all send the same life-giving substance coursing through our fleshly bodies.
In the English language, we call this precious fluid "blood" — the most critical ingredient of all of our human life-support systems. "... The life of the flesh is in the blood..." (Lev. 17:11). Flesh and bone cannot live without that one blood that winds and meanders its way from head to toe in every living human being.
The Apostle Paul was lecturing an august gathering of egotistical philosophers about some of their mistaken ideas and illogical beliefs concerning the Godhead. In the course of this small "plenary session," Paul uttered one of the most profound truths that God has ever revealed to man: "And [God] hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth..." (Acts 17:26).
Regardless of race or nationality, we are all blood brothers. The prophet Malachi reminds us of our common blood line: "Have we not all one father [Adam]? hath not one God created us?" (Mal. 2:10).
All humanity has sprung forth from the first man Adam (I Cor. 15:45) and his wife Eve–the mother of all living (Gen. 3:20). And, in that physical sense, we are all the offspring of God (Acts 17:28).
But our common blood bond is not our only shared similarity. All men everywhere–regardless of race or religion — are afflicted by a terminal spiritual disease, commonly termed "sin."
Sin has been our common lot since the Garden of Eden. For nearly 6,000 years we have suffered spiritually from an ongoing crisis of the blood.
Sin reigned from Adam to Moses. And up to his time, Solomon knew not a single person had been an exception to the rule. "For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not" (Eccl. 7:20). That's Old Testament theology!
Unhappily, centuries later conditions had not changed. Paul of Tarsus wrote in his epistle to the Christians residing at Rome: "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). That's New Testament theology!
This wisdom-filled apostle also forecast the spiritual poverty that would characterize our age. He wrote to the young evangelist Timothy: "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection [unnatural affection abounds], trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof..." (II Tim. 3:1-5).
This is an uncannily accurate description of our chaotic, sin-filled age. Rampant sin is once again filling the earth just as it did before Noah's Flood. The so-called good in human nature has failed once again–in spite of unprecedented materialistic knowledge–to triumph over sin. Instead, evil men and seducers have, as Paul wrote, grown worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived (verse 13).
Individually, some of us have, for one reason or another, fared better than others. But not a single person has been able to avoid sin en toto.
We all have been stained with blood-guiltiness! "guilt resulting from the shedding of blood..." (Webster's Third New International Dictionary, primary definition).
True, most have not committed murder in the literal, physical sense, but we have all harbored the spirit of murder (Matt. 5:21-22; I John 3:1 5).
In Psalm 51 David cried out for God to deliver him from blood guiltiness (verse 14). He had indirectly slain Uriah with the sword of the Ammonites in order to cover up his adultery with Bathsheba.
In a similar manner, we are all, each of us, indirectly guilty of shedding the blood of Christ. In his powerful sermon on the day of Pentecost, the Apostle Peter said: "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified [Roman soldiers did the dirty work], both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36).
A little later in yet another powerful sermon, Peter continued with the same theme: "But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; And killed the Prince of life [Jesus Christ], whom God hath raised from the dead..." (Acts 3:14-15).
If you have sinned (and you have), you have earned yourself a horrible death in a lake of fire from which there is never any resurrection (Rom. 6:23). Your sins — and your sins alone — made Christ's death an absolute necessity! And since He died in your place — in your stead — you (indirectly) murdered Him!
Jesus Christ of Nazareth allowed His life's blood to be poured out in order to "bare the sin of many," and to make "intercession for the transgressors" (Isa. 53:12). By His death, He paid the highest price in all of history. The member of the Godhead who created Adam (John 1:1-3) willingly and voluntarily gave up the very life worth more than the sum total of all the creation, including every human being who has ever or will ever live on this good earth.
Christ died a horrible death for each of us individually, as well as collectively, for all mankind. If you have really repented of your sins, been baptized and God has begotten you with His Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38), you are bought and paid for. Paul reminded the Corinthian Christians: "Know ye not that... ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price" (I Cor. 6:19-20).
Peter eloquently stated the very same thing with a different choice of words: "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold [some even today still seem to think that money is going to save them from a coming calamity], from your vain conversation [conduct riddled with sin] received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (I Pet. 1:18-19).
All humanity has been estranged from God the Father by sin. We would be editorially derelict not to mention Isaiah's description of this spiritual divorce from God.
"Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood [don't forget that hate is the spirit of murder — I John 3:15], and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness" (Isa.59:1-3).
Sin had erected an impenetrable stone wall between God and His human children by creation. God cried out through Isaiah: "... I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me" (Isa. 1:2).
Only the price of blood could pay for this human rebellion.
"... Almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission [of sins]," wrote the Apostle Paul (Heb. 9:22).
But all the king's cattle and all the king's goats could not remove the ultimate death penalty for spiritual sin (Rom. 6:23). "For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins," continues Paul (Heb. 10:4). The blood of animals — not made in God's very own image — could not make the smallest dent in the iron curtain separating God and man.
But Jesus Christ did the impossible! With his last breath He broke the barrier forever! "Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost [breath]. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom..." (Matt. 27:50-51).
Notice Hebrews 9:12: "Neither by the blood of goats and calves, he [Christ] entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us."
And Romans 5:8-10: "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified [from past sins] by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath [death — Rom. 6:23] through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being [already] reconciled, we shall be saved by his life [as our merciful and compassionate High Priest — book of Hebrews]."
Continue in verse 17: "For if by one man's [Adam's] offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ."
So by one man's blood — Jesus Christ (actually God in the flesh) — many have been, are being, and will be reconciled to God the Father.
Christ Himself said: "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men [mankind] unto me." John wrote that Jesus said this "signifying what death he should die" (John 12:32, 33).
Paul wrote (after the fact) that Jesus "had by himself purged our sins..." (Heb. 1:3).
Jesus came to reconcile us to God, to save us from utter destruction: "For God so loved the [whole] world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting [eternal] life" (John 3:16).
Do you want to avert perishing? Do you want your sins forgiven?
Now those are silly questions.
Of course you do!
But it's not that simple — and yet it is.
There are requirements! The overall basic precondition is that you will have to enter into a covenant, a binding agreement, with God. It's described in Hebrews 10:16-18: "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them [through the Holy Spirit]; And [as a result of entering this new covenant with God] their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these [sins] is, there is no more offering for sin."
Other scriptures (Acts 2:38; 3:19; 5:32, etc.) show that repentance, obedience, faith and water baptism are part of the terms of the agreement you must perform. Then God guarantees His Holy Spirit as a free gift, which is absolutely essential for the covenant to be operative.
But never forget that the covenant is only made possible by one man's blood. Paul called it: "... the blood of the covenant" (Heb. 10:29; 13:20).
So in order to even start the salvation process, you must have faith in Christ's blood — His atoning sacrifice to blot out your past sins.
Paul put it this way: "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God" (Rom. 3:24-25).
And so we must believe in Christ's sacrifice as an historical event that applies to the repentant sinner, now, at this present time — in order to make a permanent compact with God.
God earnestly desires for us to enter into this covenant with Him.
In Hebrews 10:19-22, Paul emphasizes the confidence we should have toward God: "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus... Let us draw near [to God] with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled [by Christ's blood] from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water,"
However, it's pretty hard to have the boldness and confidence we should all possess toward God if we are saddled with guilt-ridden consciences. (Usually a conscience problem is caused by a sin problem.)
"Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope," lamented the prophet Isaiah (Isa. 5:18).
Many of you are walking around weighted down and heavy laden with sin. You can't seem to get rid of that nagging guilty conscience!
Before his spectacular conversion, Paul (then Saul of Tarsus) had just such a conscience problem. The very first words Christ spoke to Paul were: "... I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks [go against your conscience]" (Acts 9:5).
With a great deal of help from God (which you will also need), Paul did something about his guilty conscience.
He repented of his many sins! He came under the cleansing effect of Christ's blood. "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" (Heb. 9:14.)
But notice that God used a human instrument on earth named Ananias to help Paul: "And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest [toward Damascus], hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost [Spirit]. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized [in water]" (Acts 9:17-18).
God is no different today! He still uses human instruments in His spiritual service to man. They are His servants — ministers sent by Jesus Christ to preach the gospel and to feed God's flock.
God's true ministers are warm, friendly and balanced. Like the Head of God's Church, Jesus Christ, they display forgiveness, compassion and mercy. They do not condone sin; but they won't condemn the sinner either. A true minister of God will show you how to turn from your sins. He will show you the way out of sin.
The Worldwide Church of God has many such ministers around the world. Although God does use these human ministers to serve and to help those whom He is calling, it is to Him you are coming through the blood of one man — Jesus of Nazareth.