On April 9, 2023 Christians all over the world celebrated Resurrection Day, a day we remember as the day our Savior rose from the grave. Many of us have heard and sang the hymns about the power of Jesus’ shed blood, but do we truly believe there is “wonder-working power” in the blood? Or has the very mention of the blood of Jesus been minimized or even omitted in the church today?
The Bible tells us (believers) that through the shed blood of Jesus at the cross, we were both “justified” and “sanctified.” We know that when we came to know Jesus and believe in Him we were justified, just as if we had never sinned. But do we ever confuse the work of justification with the work of sanctification? Do we understand the difference between the two? Is it enough to believe that we were sanctified at the cross (positionally) and that there is nothing more to be done? (Stay with me here; I’m going somewhere.) Is it accurate to believe that there is no significant part we play in seeing that “process of sanctification” worked out in our lives experientially―as reflected in our conduct?
When we come to know Jesus, we repent of our past sins. There’s nothing we can do about the past. We can’t go back and change a thing. Our past sins are “passed over.” But what about the future? Should we go on sinning and not give it much thought? Heb. 10:26-29 tells us that when or if we do that, we are counting the blood by which we were sanctified a common thing, we are trampling the Son of God underfoot, and insulting the Spirit of grace. Who would knowingly do that? Who is this Spirit of grace? None other than the precious Holy Spirit. He has many functions. He is the Spirit of grace, the Spirit of truth, and the Spirit of Holiness, just to name a few.
The very lukewarm message of cheap grace has led many to believe that they are “okay and on their way” no matter how they live their lives. That is simply false teaching and is leading many astray. One of the biggest lies that perpetuates this doctrine states, “that all our sins were forgiven―past, present, and future.” Technically, that is true, but there is so much more we need to understand. 1 John 1:9 declares that when we inadvertently sin (after we come to know Jesus) that IF we repent, our sins are forgiven and we are cleansed with the blood of Jesus. So that tells me there is ongoing repentance as well as ongoing cleansing that we are in need of.
Does the Lord want us to go on committing the same sins over and over, just because we have been given this wonderful gift called grace? As the apostle Paul reiterates twice in the sixth chapter of Romans, “Absolutely not!”
Here is an interesting point: When John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him to get water baptized, he made a powerful statement in John 1:29. He said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. What happens when we take something away? Is it still there? No! Heb. 10:4 proclaims, “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. But, beloved, the blood of Jesus can! The blood of bulls and goats could only COVER (atone for) the sins of the people for another year. And then the sacrifice had to be repeated again for the next year, and the next, and the next.
Is it possible to ever come to the place where we allow the powerful blood of Jesus to not just “cover our sins,” to not just “cleanse us” when we mess up, but to actually “remove our sins?” To remove our inclination, our tendency to sin? According to the Word of God it is possible! Jesus Himself said to the woman caught in adultery (John 8:3-11) “Go and sin no more.” And to the man he healed at the Pool of Bethesda he spoke these words: “Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” (John 5:2-13)
Through the “process of sanctification” He transforms us from the inside out, and we are told to put off the old man and put on the new (Eph. 4:22-24), that is, the new nature that Christ has given us. Through renewing our minds, through dying to the flesh, as well as breaking the strongholds of the enemy in our lives, we are empowered to walk in that “new nature.” That process certainly does not happen overnight. It didn’t happen the moment you gave your life to Jesus, but rather it began at that moment (as we began to appropriate) all that He has already accomplished for you and me at the cross).
The Holy Spirit desires to make all things new in each of us. However, He cannot and will not complete that work until and unless we give Him permission and cooperate with what He wants to do in each of us. If we claim that all things have been made new, yet we are not much different than the world, we are deceived. If we are just going through the “religious” motions and find ourselves lukewarm; if we have no desire to change or feel no need to change, chances are, we have believed a lie. And all of those things will hinder or prevent the work of sanctification. On the other hand, if we are pursuing truth and holiness with our whole heart and mind, and if we are continually yielding to the ongoing convicting and promptings of the Holy Spirit, we can rest assured we are exactly where the Lord wants us to be.
Jesus is risen! As we reflect on Resurrection Day each and every day, may we allow Him to arise in our hearts and finish the work He has begun in us. May the power of the blood of Jesus completely transform us so that we also will “go and sin no more.”