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Benefitting From the Blood

A family sang some carols and four-year-old Kevin got things a little mixed up, as four-year olds tend to do. After the song was finished, he commented: "It's great that the shepherds put on clean clothes when they went to see baby Jesus." His mother gently asked, "What do you mean, Kevin?" The little theologian looked at her and said, "You know. Didn't we just sing, 'While Shepherds Washed Their Socks by Night?' " (You'll have to ask if you don't know the song!) Kevin had the song wrong, but he had the right idea. We have to clean up if we ever expect to see Jesus or get into Heaven. Practically all evangelical churches/denominations agree that the blood of Jesus Christ is God's solitary agent to cleanse the stubborn stain sin leaves on our souls. The Hebrews writer proclaims the amazing power of the blood of Christ. He insisted that although it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins,' the cross of Christ gives Christians *boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus" (Hebrews 10:4, 19; see also verses 5-18). It is a fundamental fact of the Gospel — our salvation from sin is Heaven sent and blood bought! Steve Flatt hit the nail on the head when he wrote, "The blood of Jesus is the only detergent that can cleanse away a single sin" (Gospel Advocate, 11/98, "The Necessity of Baptism, p 13).

No, the rub is not over what saves us: it is the blood of Christ. The rub is over when that blood saves us! Soap won't make us clean until it is applied, and neither will the blood of Jesus. A popular idea says the blood of Jesus is applied to our souls/sins through "faith alone," that all we need to do to be cleansed by the blood is "trust in the Lord." Many Bible passages teach we are saved by faith, but the challenge remains for anyone anywhere to find a single verse that teaches we are saved by "faith only," if by "faith only"we mean faith that does not obey commands the Lord gives us! Churches of Christ have no debate or argument with our religious friends and family who believe we must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and trust Him for salvation. Many verses so teach, and we believe and teach every one of them. But is that all the Bible says/teaches about receiving the benefits of the shed blood of Christ? Some people are like the man who hit his first golf shot and make a hole in one. He threw his club down and said, "I quit. There's not much to this game." Whether popular or not, the Bible teaches there is more to being saved than just professing faith in Jesus' blood and saying a "sinner's prayer. As Flatt goes on to say in the aforementioned article, "But we must somehow, in the expression of our faith, come into contact with that saving blood. Scripture teaches that contact happens when we are baptized into His death." Specifically, Romans 6:3 so teaches — "as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death." Beautiful! Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing power? Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?  "And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away Nola sins, calling on the name of Ike ford." (Acts 22:16)

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ