By Robert Stroup
A tremendously important question that has been often contemplated down through the years is, “When is the blood of Christ applied?” Scripture and common sense tell us that it is not sufficient merely that His blood has been shed for us. It must also be applied with us. This question is of extreme import for”without shedding of blood is no remission.” (Hebrews 9:22) No blood shed and no blood applied means no forgiveness and no washing from sin. Whenever we read of remission of and cleansing from sin in the Bible we can safely assume that at that point the blood of Christ is being or has been applied.
We, as Apostolics, are quite familiar with the application of His blood in and through the Acts 2:38 experience. “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins … ” If sins are remitted through repentance and baptism in His name we can know that His blood is applied as we obey these essentials.
Then after our initial salvation experience we can also rest assured that – “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous,” – and that – “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 2: I, 1 :9) Again we are guaranteed that His blood will wash away our sins as we obey His word.
Jesus told His followers, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me … If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” (John 14:6, 23) Here Jesus taught that obedient faith would become the basis of a person’s fellowship with God. John, the Apostle, never forgot these words. He wrote of this blessed fellowship many years later: “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. .. If we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (I John 1:3, 7) Here we are reassured that walking in the light of His will and word is the basis of our fellowship with Him. It is what allows Him, the Spirit of Truth, to abide or “live out” His life through us. And as with our initial obedience to His word (Acts 2:38) – this continued obedience allows us a constant and continual cleansing from sin.
We are told in His word that the just are to live by faith. Faith begins with knowledge of God’s will. “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10: 17) So to live by faith is to live in His will. To walk in the light is to walk in agreement with His word. This non-stop “doing” of the Word is what gives us surety in regards to our non-stop, ceaseless blood cleansing. Peter wrote that we are “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.” (I Peter 1:2) Time and again in Scripture we are shown that Jesus’ blood is applied to our lives in response to His word being applied in our lives! “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.” Our obedient application of His word serves to usher in the precious application of His blood!
The ultimate purpose of our obedience to His word is that Jesus, the living Word, might truly live in and through us. “Whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” (I John 1:5-6)
In the days of Isaiah the prophet, God pleaded with Judah: “Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land.” (Isaiah 1: 16-19) We usually do not consider the fact that His blood cleanses us as we obey the Scriptures that deal with our relationships with other human beings and not just as we obey the “important” verses that deal “more specifically” with our relationship with Him alone.
Jesus told the Pharisees of His day, “Go ye and learn what that needeth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice … ” (Matthew 9: 13) In essence, He was saying, “It is mercy that will do for you what you have believed sacrifice alone would do. This is what brings the cleansing from sin and acceptance with God that you thought religious ritual would bring.” “Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.”
John told us that ‘There are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.” (I John 5:8) The connection between His Spirit and His blood is very real. “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63) “The life of the flesh is in the blood … ” (Leviticus 17: II) It is important that we understand that not only does His blood dispel death. It also imparts life! Thus, the blood-sprinkling that accompanies our heartfelt obedience to His word not only cleanses us from sin but it also fills us with His life. “He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life … ” (Proverbs 21 :21)
We can conclude from this that Jesus was not teaching salvation by works in Matthew 25 – but rather salvation through obedient faith to God’s word – when He said to those on His right hand, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For T was an hung red, and ye gave me meat: 1 was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me … Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:34- 36, 40) The blood of Christ is applied as we obey God’s word by faith – resulting in both cleansing from sin and the impartation of His very life. Thank God for the blood I
Rev. Robert Stroup is the District Superintendent of the Indiana District, United Pentecostal Church International, and Pastor of Pentecostals of South Lake in