The term “blood of Christ” designates in the NT the atoning death of Christ. Atonement refers to the basis and process by which estranged people become at one with God (atonement=at-one-ment). When we identify with Jesus, we are no longer at odds with God. The meaning of Christ’s death is a great mystery. The NT seeks to express this meaning in

two ways: in the language of sacrifice, and in language pertaining to the sphere of law. This sacrificial language and legal language provide helpful analogies. However, the meaning of Christ’s death is far more than an enlargement of animal sacrifices or a spiritualization of legal transactions. Sometimes both legal and sacrificial language are found together.

In the language of sacrifice, we have “propitiation” (removal of sins, Rom 3:25 HCSB); “sprinkling with the blood of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet 1:1-2); redeemed “with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish” (1 Pet 1:19); “blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 Jn 1:7); blood that will “cleanse our consciences” (Heb

9:14); and “blood of the everlasting covenant” (Heb 13:20). In legal language we have “justification” (Rom 5:16, 18); “redemption” (Eph 1:7); been redeemed to God by His blood (Rev 5:9). Such metaphors show that only God could provide atonement; Jesus, the God-man, was both priest and offering, both Redeemer and the One intimately involved with the redeemed.

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