How Does Jesus' Blood Wash Away Sin?
The life of the human body is in the blood (Lev.17:11). Where blood ceases to flow in the body, life quickly ends. So, because the life of the "body of Christ" is in the holy Spirit (Jn.6:63; Rom.8:10), the Spirit is often called the "blood of Christ". Where the Spirit ceases to flow freely among the saints, spiritual atrophy is certain.
The Law of Moses forbade the imbibing of any kind of blood. The most dreadful punishment allowed under the Law was reserved for the person who committed the gravest offenses, including the consuming of "any manner of blood" (Lev.17:10). However, in John 6, Jesus told a crowd of followers that unless they drank his blood, they had no hope of eternal life. This statement angered many and confused all who heard it, and as a result "many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him" (Jn.6: 66). They did this despite Jesus' attempt to explain that he was speaking of the Spirit, which gave him his life. "The words that I speak unto you," he told them, "They are spirit and they are life" (Jn.6:63).
Just as Jesus' natural blood was shed on Calvary, his spiritual blood was shed on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2. Hebrews 9:22 tells us, "without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin." So, it was necessary that Jesus die, that his blood be shed, in order that his spiritual life - his true "blood" that we must drink - could be given to us. To the amazed multitude in Jerusalem that Pentecost morning who beheld the disciples reel under the power of God like drunk men, Peter preached his first sermon as a new creature in Christ, and he told them that Christ "hath shed forth this, that you now see and hear!" (Acts 2:33). This Spirit, sent from heaven upon these humble disciples, is the true blood of Christ which we must drink if we hope to live forever with God.
It is the true blood of Christ which still is flowing and cleansing souls from sin. Jesus' natural blood, precious as it was, could not reach the soul. Jesus' blood was human blood, as corruptible as is yours and mine. God never intended to use the natural blood which flowed in Jesus' human body to wash sins away. If He did, then only those who lived at that time could have been cleansed from sin, because we have no access to his physical blood. The Roman soldiers who crucified the Lord surely were spattered with Jesus' natural blood during the crucifixion process, yet no one believes that those soldiers were sanctified by it. They probably went home and washed it off, and they should have. It did not make them new creatures; it made them dirty. For spiritual cleansing, they needed to be in the upper room on Pentecost morning, awaiting the arrival of the holy Ghost.
We are taught that we are justified, sanctified, and washed from our sins by the (true) blood of Christ (Rom.5:9; Heb.10:29; Rev.1:5). At the same time, we are told that we are justified, sanctified, and washed from sin by the Spirit of God (1Cor.6:11). Obviously, we are not justified, sanctified, and washed from sin twice - once by the blood and later by the Spirit. Moreover, the resurrection from the dead is accomplished, according to Paul, by the power of God's Spirit (Rom.1:4; 8:11), while in Hebrews 13:20 the resurrection is said to be by "the blood of the everlasting covenant." We all know that anything washed in natural blood turns red; however, saints in Revelation 7:14 "washed their robes and made them WHITE in the blood of the Lamb." By that same blood we are brought near to God (Eph.2:13), but as Paul himself restates it five verses later, "by one Spirit we have access to the Father." This is the holy Ghost, the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ.
As a result of ignorance of this truth concerning the blood of Christ, many believe that the blood of Christ washed their sins away before they received, or were baptized with, the holy Ghost. But sin cannot be washed away before one receives the Spirit, because the Spirit is the blood that washes sin away. Paul's sins, for example, were washed away when Ananias laid his hands upon Paul that he might receive the holy Ghost (Acts 9:17-18; 22:12-16). Contrary to popular belief, Paul was not converted on the road to Damascus; he was there convicted of his sins. He, like the disciples on the day of Pentecost, and like everyone else whose sins have been forgiven, was forgiven, washed in the blood of Christ, and justified before God, when he received the Spirit. The blood that sprang from his natural body never cleansed anyone from sin. Only the blood that flows from his glorified body can do that.
Jesus came, suffered and died and was raised again, that we might now serve God "in the newness of life". And friends, the Spirit IS life! Where the blood in the human body is absent there is no life. And where the blood in the body of Christ is absent, also, there is no life. But the truth goes even further than that. Where there is no "blood" (the holy Ghost), there is no body! Those who have never received the baptism of the holy Ghost (with the evidence of speaking in other tongues) have never received the Spirit of God, and the Father, said Jesus, is looking for those who will worship Him, not in dead works, but "in spirit and in truth." If you are such a person, longing to please God, but uncertain as to how to do it, God is looking for you and calling you to Himself. Heed that comforting call and be filled with the knowledge of God in Christ Jesus the Lord. And "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen."