Chapter 4
The Precious Blood of Jesus

In the grace of God, Jesus bore the punishment for our sins. We had sinned and deserved eternal suffering, but in His great love, Jesus took upon Himself flesh and died on the cross in our place to bear our punishment.

But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities… (Is. 53:5)

…[Jesus] was delivered for our offences… (Rom. 4:25)

They were our transgressions, our iniquities, and our offences, and we should have been delivered to be “wounded” and “bruised” (i.e., punished) for them; but because of His great love for us, Jesus bore our punishment, in our place, so that we would not have to bear it.

…for the transgression of my people was He stricken. (Is. 53:8)

It was our transgression, but Jesus was punished for it.

…the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him… (Is. 53:5, NIV)

We had sinned and therefore deserved punishment, but Jesus, who was sinless and deserved no punishment, voluntarily bore ours, and thus brought us peace with God.

…and with His stripes we are healed. (Is. 53:5)

Through Jesus’ vicarious sufferings and death, we are legally released from all obligation to suffer ourselves for our sins and therefore we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity [i.e., the legal punishment of the iniquity] of us all. (Is. 53:6)

Jesus bore the punishment of our sins in our place, and thereby set us free from having to bear that punishment ourselves. That is very clear from the Bible. But in view of that, as we have already stated, human logic would suggest the following reasoning:

The penalty for our sins was spiritual death, physical death, sickness, poverty and eternal death. Therefore, if Jesus bore our punishment upon Himself to set us free from that punishment, that means He must have died spiritually as well as physically; He must have been sick and diseased on the cross; and He must have gone to hell to suffer at Satan’s hands to redeem us. A physical death would not have been enough to save us.

That reasoning may seem logical at first glance, but it is not what the Bible teaches.

The Bible teaches that Jesus died physically only. He shed His blood on the cross and that is what redeemed us.

In the last chapter, we saw that over 60 times in the New Testament alone this fact is stated in clear and unambiguous terms. Those New Testament Scriptures plus numerous passages in the Old Testament, including the entire Levitical system of sacrifice, as well as millions upon millions of “acted out” types of Jesus’ death in Israel’s history, all teach just one thing: the life of the flesh is in the blood, and it is the blood that makes an atonement for sin (Lev. 17:11).

By the death of Jesus on the cross – by His shed blood – we are redeemed; and the Bible teaches nothing else. Men may add to the blood or take away from the blood, but God is quite clear:

…ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things…But with the precious blood of Christ… (1 Pet. 1:18-19)

The Blood of God

So, the Bible teaches two things with respect to our redemption:

(1) Jesus bore the punishment of all our sins (Is. 53:5-6).

(2) Jesus died physically only. He shed His blood on the cross, and that is what redeemed us (Eph. 1:7).

In the light of these two truths we now ask two important questions:

Question 1. How did Jesus by suffering on the cross for six hours and dying physically, pay the full penalty for man’s sins?

This is an important question because the full penalty for man’s sins includes not just physical death, but also spiritual death, sickness, disease, poverty, demonic oppression, and eternal death which is everlasting torment and alienation from God. All these things are part of man’s punishment for his sin.

Question 2. How does the death of one man pay the penalty which was the deaths of all men?

To illustrate: Suppose ten men each had to pay a parking fine of $50, and I decided to be their substitute. To pay just one $50 fine would not be sufficient. To set all of them free from their fines (their “punishments”), I would have to pay $50 for each of them. Now, if Jesus bore the penalty of sin for all men (which the Bible clearly teaches He did: Is. 53:6), does this mean He literally experienced billions of spiritual deaths, physical deaths, sicknesses and eternal deaths? According to the strictly logical reasoning we set forth above, He would have had to!

The Answer. There is one answer to both of these questions, and it is a very simple one:

Paul told the elders of the church at Ephesus to “feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28).

On the cross God shed His own blood. The value of His death was infinite!

Infinite value! This is the key to the Atonement; this is the secret of its power.

…they…crucified the Lord of glory. (1 Cor. 2:8)

It was the “Lord of Glory” who was crucified.

Awake, O sword, against my Shepherd, and against the Man that is my Fellow, saith the LORD of hosts… (Zech. 13:7)

It was the “Fellow” of God who was smitten. It was He who was one with God and equal with God who laid down His life in death.

…saith the LORD…they shall look upon me whom they have pierced… (Zech. 12:1, 10)

It was the Lord Himself who was “pierced.”

Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins… (Heb. 1:3)

It was the One who is the brightness of His Father’s glory, and the express image of His person, who purged our sins.

Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us… (1 John 3:16)

It was God who laid down His life for us. It was God manifested in the flesh who died.

And killed the Prince of Life… (Acts 3:15)

It was the “Prince of Life” who was killed.

In whom we have redemption through His blood…Who is the image of the invisible God…all things were created by Him, and for Him: And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist. (Col. 1:14-17)

It was the blood of the Creator and Sustainer of all things that was shed to redeem us.

For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of His cross… (Col. 1:19-20)

It was the One in whom all the fullness of the Godhead dwells who “made peace through the blood of His cross.”

…the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood. (Acts 20:28)

It was the precious blood of God that was shed on our behalf.

The Value of Jesus’ Death

Consider Jesus’ statement in Luke 12:

Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows. (Luke 12:6-7)

If we men, who are created beings, are “of more value” than other created beings, what then is the “value” of God, the Creator, the Eternal One, the Source of all life and being, the First and the Last, the Infinite One?

What is the value of God? And what is the value of the God-Man who died on the cross? And what is the value of the blood that Jesus shed?

Because of the nature of the person of the Sufferer (i.e., His divinity or godhood), the value of His sufferings and death is infinite.

It was not some “ineffectual physical death” as many have seen it, but it was the literal life of God which was laid down in death on behalf of many. It was God’s body that died. It was God’s blood that was shed. It was God’s physical life that was laid down in death.

…this is my body, which is broken for you… (1 Cor. 11:24)

Whose body died? God’s body died!

…This cup is the new testament in my blood… (1 Cor. 11:25)

Whose blood was shed? God’s blood was shed!

Who was the Man hanging, bleeding on the cross? His name is Jesus. Yes, He is a Man (otherwise He couldn’t die), but He is also God. Jesus is and was the God-Man. He was fully God and fully Man hanging, dying on the cross.

The God-Man Died!

In Jesus Christ, deity and humanity were eternally united in a single personality. There was such a perfect union of the two natures in one Person that whatever could be said of either nature, could properly be said of the Person. Consequently Jesus’ physical death possessed infinite merit.

“Distinctly as the Scriptures represent Jesus Christ to have been possessed of a divine nature and of a human nature, each unaltered in essence and undivested of its normal attributes and powers, they with equal distinctness represent Jesus Christ as a single undivided personality in whom these two natures are vitally and inseparably united, so that He is properly, not God and man, but the God-man.…

“The constant scriptural representations of the infinite value of Christ’s atonement and of the union of the human race with God which has been secured in Him are intelligible only when Christ is regarded, not as a man of God, but as the God-man, in whom the two natures are so united that what each does has the value of both.”8

Jesus did not die in His deity. He only suffered and died in His humanity, but His deity conferred infinite value to that physical death. Because He was man, Jesus could die; because He was God, His physical death had infinite worth.

The death of Jesus’ body on the cross was not merely the death of a man – it was the death of the God-Man! On the cross, God shed His blood. It was a death of infinite value. The price that Jesus paid when He shed His precious blood, when He poured out His life at Calvary, was not just sufficient for a whole world of utter stinking sinners – it was enough for a million worlds of utter stinking sinners!

The Precious Blood of Jesus

Look at the following words from Psalm 49:

They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: (For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:) That he should still live for ever, and not see corruption. (Ps. 49:6-9)

These verses teach that rich men cannot redeem each other from the wrath of God no matter how much they pay, because the price for the redemption of a single human soul “is precious and it ceaseth for ever.” “To cease” means “to stop.” “To cease for ever” means “it never stops.” In other words, no payment could ever be enough. This meaning of the verse is more clearly expressed by another translation:

the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough… (Ps. 49:8, NIV)

The least sin is a violation of God’s infinite holiness, nature and being, and it therefore demands infinite punishment. This means the price that needs to be paid for the ransom of a single man’s soul from the eternal wrath of God is an infinite price; and God accepted the death of His Son (which was infinite in value) in place of the sufferings (both temporal and eternal) of the sinner!

The price that had to be paid for man to be free was an infinite one; and when Jesus gave His precious life in death, that fully paid the infinite price of our ransom.

Jesus taught, in Matthew 16:26, that the wealth of the entire world put together is not valuable enough to pay the price for the redemption of even a single human soul:

For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

But 1 Peter 1:18-19 says we’ve been redeemed not by silver or gold, but by the precious blood of Jesus:

…ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold…But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot:

Due to His sinless humanity, Jesus’ blood was incorruptible; His blood was pure and holy, “without blemish and without spot.” And due to His godhood or deity, Jesus’ blood was “precious”; His blood is infinitely precious in value.

The Greek word translated “precious” in 1 Peter 1:19 means costly or precious or that which is of great price. The same word is also used in 1 Corinthians 3:12 (“gold, silver, precious stones”), Revelation 21:11 (“a stone most precious”) and Revelation 21:19 (“all manner of precious stones”). Peter does not use the word here in some sentimental way, but to describe the value or worth of the blood of Jesus. We are redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus.

Why is His blood so precious in value? Because of the precious value of the One whose blood it was! Jesus was a Man, and therefore He could have a body and blood, and suffer and die; but He was also God. God’s body died. God’s blood was shed. It was a death of infinite worth. His physical death was sufficient to redeem us – in fact, it was more than sufficient!

One Sacrifice For Sins Forever!

The precious value of the blood of Jesus is seen in the fact that just one sacrifice is offered by God for sin, and this is emphasized in Scripture:

So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many… (Heb. 9:25-28)

…the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all…one sacrifice for sins for ever…by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. (Heb. 10:10-14)

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins… (1 Pet. 3:18)

The fact that there is one, just one sacrifice that paid the penalty for all the sins of all men, reveals the infinite value and preciousness of that one sacrifice and of the blood Jesus shed.

His blood provided an eternal forgiveness of sins. Jesus has “obtained eternal redemption” for us (Heb. 9:12). There is no further offering required. It is a totally, perfectly, completely and utterly finished work. As Jesus breathed out His life, He said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). Man’s full redemption was complete. The price had been paid in full.

Then He is gracious unto him [i.e., the repentant one], and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom. (Job 33:24)

We all deserved eternal misery and suffering, but God has been gracious to us, and He has provided a ransom for us. That ransom is the precious blood of His Son which was shed to deliver us “from going down to the pit.”

The ransom God paid was an infinite price and sufficient to provide a complete redemption for all of God’s people; and it was an infinite price because it was God’s blood. Jesus was and is the God-Man. He is two complete natures in one Person. It was the eternal Logos, God Himself, who took upon Himself flesh and died in our place. God’s own blood was shed.

The “Better” Sacrifice

Paul makes a very important statement in the book of Hebrews:

For if the blood of bulls and goats and a heifer’s ashes sprinkling those who are ceremonially unclean purifies them with physical cleansing, how much more surely will the blood of Christ, who with an eternal Spirit15 gave Himself a spotless offering to God, purify your consciences from works that mean mere death, to serve the ever living God? And this is why He is the Mediator of a new covenant… (Heb. 9:13-15, Williams New Testament)

The book of Hebrews presents a series of contrasts between the old covenant of the law and the new covenant of grace, for the purpose of showing that the new covenant is far superior to the old. Paul, in the above passage, is contrasting the sacrifices of the law with the sacrifice of Christ (the “better” sacrifice). He says that if the former sacrifices, which consisted of the blood of created irrational animals, could have an outward effect of ceremonial purification, how much more will the blood of Christ who had an eternal Spirit, or divine nature (i.e., He was God), and offered Himself without spot to God, effect the purification of the conscience (i.e., achieve the real removal of sin)?

This statement shows that the sacrifice of Christ was better than the sacrifices of animals in the Old Testament, and was in itself effective in dealing with sin, because Jesus was God on the cross shedding His own blood. Thus Jesus’ divinity is specifically set forth here as providing the efficacy of the Atonement.

John Calvin’s Teaching

It is interesting to note that John Calvin taught the error of Jesus’ physical death not being sufficient to redeem us – although not to the same awful degree as some others – in his famous Institutes of the Christian Religion. The following is an extract from Chapter 16 of Book 2 of his Institutes:

If Christ had died only a bodily death, it would have been ineffectual. No – it was expedient at the same time for Him to undergo the severity of God’s vengeance, to appease His wrath and satisfy His just judgment. For this reason, He must also grapple hand to hand with the armies of hell and the dread of everlasting death. A little while ago we referred to the prophet’s statement that “the chastisement of our peace was laid upon Him,” “He was wounded for our transgressions” by the Father, “He was bruised for our infirmities” (Isaiah 53:5). By these words he means that Christ was put in place of evildoers as surety and pledge – submitting Himself even as the accused – to bear and suffer all the punishments that they ought to have sustained. All – with this one exception: “He could not be held by the pangs of death” (Acts 2:24). No wonder, then, if He is said to have descended into hell,16 for He suffered the death that God in His wrath had inflicted upon the wicked!...the Creed...speaks of that invisible and incomprehensible judgment which He underwent in the sight of God in order that we might know not only that Christ’s body was given as the price of our redemption, but that He paid a greater and more excellent price in suffering in His soul the terrible torments of a condemned and forsaken man.…

Calvin goes on to say,

And surely, unless His soul shared in the punishment, He would have been the Redeemer of bodies alone.…Does not that prayer, coming from unbelievable bitterness of heart and repeated three times – ”Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me” (Matt. 26:39) – show that Christ had a harsher and more difficult struggle than with common death?

In all fairness, we must point out that Calvin’s teaching was not nearly as bad as the modern proponents of the “spiritual death” error. Nevertheless, he did not grasp the full value of the “blood of God,” stating that Jesus’ physical death was not enough to redeem us from the full punishment of our sins.

Martin Luther’s Teaching

Martin Luther also did not grasp the full significance of Jesus’ blood. Consider the following words from Luther’s commentary on Galatians 3:13:

...Christ took all our sins upon him, and for them died upon the cross: therefore it behoved that he should become a transgressor...Christ should become the greatest transgressor, murderer, adulterer, thief, rebel, blasphemer, etc. that ever was or could be in all the world. For he being made a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, is not now an innocent person and without sins, is not now the Son of God born of the Virgin Mary; but a sinner, which hath and carrieth the sin of Paul, who was a blasphemer, an oppressor and a persecutor; of Peter, which denied Christ; of David, which was an adulterer, a murderer, and caused the Gentiles to blaspheme the name of the Lord: and briefly, which hath and beareth all the sins of all men in his body, that he might make satisfaction for them with his own blood...he was accursed and of all sinners the greatest...[we should] clothe Christ with our sins, and to wrap him in my sins, thy sins, and the sins of the whole world, and so to behold him bearing all our iniquities...Christ being made a curse for us (that is, a sinner subject to the wrath of God), did put upon him our person, and laid our sins upon his own shoulders, saying: I have committed the sins which all men have committed...For all the curses of the law are heaped together and laid upon him, and therefore he did bear and suffer them in his own body for us. He was therefore not only accursed, but also was made a curse for us.

As a result of Calvin and Luther teaching these things, certain aspects of the “spiritual death” error have become part of traditionally-accepted Reformed doctrine in many churches.

The Power of the Blood of Jesus

Jesus did not have to die spiritually; He did not have to go to hell to suffer for us there; He did not have to literally bear our sickness and diseases on His own body on the cross. His physical death was enough. Because He was God, His physical death was sufficient.

Our redemption is all in the blood. It is all in the precious blood of Jesus. Jesus fully paid the price for all men’s sins when He shed His precious blood and died. In Jesus’ blood there is an infinite treasure. All of the penalty that was yours – physical death, sickness, poverty, spiritual death and eternal death – was swallowed up and exhausted in the efficacy, in the value, in the worth, in the power of the blood that God shed for you!

A sinner suffering indescribable agonies and torments in hell for all eternity will never fully satisfy God’s wrath against him – or else his punishments and sufferings would cease! But when Jesus poured out His precious blood on the cross He fully satisfied the claims of God’s justice against all the redeemed forever!

Hallelujah! That’s the power and the value of the precious blood of Jesus – the precious blood of God!

Jesus, my God, thy blood alone
Hath power sufficient to atone.


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