“…the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.”
See Revelation 13:8
Jesus’ blood is timeless. From the moment it was shed it had the ability to forgive present, future, and even past sins–the sins of those who believed God before Jesus was born. But before I dive deeper into this opening statement, I want you, dear reader, to think of one word: blood.
I had a nice medium rare steak the other night. It was a little more rare than medium, yet still delicious. Grace thought it was gross that blood was on my plate after I cut into it, Jennifer quickly assured her, “That’s not blood, it’s just juice coming from the steak.”
But it was blood, a tiny bit anyway. Blood on my dinner plate was improper to my daughter. Most people have this reaction to blood, we don’t like to see this red fluid. When we prick our finger and blood comes out, without hesitation a majority of us will put our finger in our mouth. Gross. But why is it gross? Because of blood. Blood is not supposed to come out of our body, it’s supposed to stay in there so our knee-jerk reaction is normally off-putting when we see it.
Blood provides oxygen for our cells. Blood keeps us alive and moving. It gives us energy. It provides life. But also, blood forgives us. If there’s anything you remember from this devotional, remember that blood forgives, and nothing else. God has a blood-based forgiveness economy. This is why Jesus had to die by bloodshed.
Christ symbolically explains this to the disciples at the Last Supper while holding up His wine:
“This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:28)
Paul tells the Ephesians too:
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” (Ephesians 1:7)
There are many more biblical passages about how Jesus’ blood forgives, but sadly, many of us have taken our focus off this truth and put it on ourselves. Ourselves didn’t save us, ourselves can’t keep us saved, and ourselves can’t make us “more” holy. The reality is, our spirits are complete in Christ! This holy wholeness came by way of faith in what He did at the Cross. What did He do? Poured out His blood (see Colossians 2:9-10, Hebrews 10:10, John 19:30). Friend, whether we realize it or not, even when we believe, we are believing in the ability of Jesus’ bloodshed to forgive us.
Typically, death is the result of major bloodshed, and death is the punishment required for every single sin, according to our Creator (see Romans 6:23). So, only blood can provide forgiveness. This is why Jesus had to die. He is our Judge, but also our Savior at the exact same time. Because of being born into sin, our punishment was spiritual death. Perfect blood was the requirement for restitution. Jesus paid off our fines in full (see all of Romans 5).
I don’t want to be misunderstood. I’m not talking about Universalism. Not everyone is saved. We must believe in His blood’s capability to forgive us–and that we need this forgiveness. Then it forgives, immediately, once. Why once? Because Jesus would have to be repeatedly crucified if this were not the truth (see 1 Peter 3:18, Hebrews 4:14-16, all of chapters 9 and 10).
The author of Hebrews explains this ad nauseam throughout their epistle. Painstakingly, he or she is making the case for Christ being who the Jewish people were waiting on for permanent forgiveness. Their religious customs handed down by Moses were but shadows–Christ was the One making that shadow. Many refused to look to the real thing lest they were cut off from God because of their obsession with Law (see Romans 11:23, Hebrews 6:4-8, 10:26-29).
The Jews were Hebrew people. Therefore the epistle of Hebrews is written to them. Yes, Jews and Gentiles would eventually read it, but this was not originally for the Gentiles because Gentiles were never given the subject matter in the letter: the Old Covenant. Consequently, the audience knew full well that God only forgives by way of b-l-o-o-d…blooooooooooood:
“According to the Law, in fact, nearly everything must be purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” (Hebrews 9:22)
Words did not forgive. Repentance of actions and attitudes did not forgive (the Jews were the best-behaved people on earth). Repeated confession did not forgive. Only blood had the ability to atone for or “cover up” their sins. This forgiveness event happened annually at the temple during the Day of Atonement with sacrificial animal blood. This is why Jesus is called the Lamb, a proper noun, by John the Baptist (see John 1:29). As a Jewish man, John knew lamb blood paid off his sins with God each year. The Holy Spirit revealed to him that Jesus was the final sacrifice for sin. This is also why he said, “He must increase, and I must decrease” (see John 3:30).
John wasn’t talking about himself as a person, as so many use this verse out of context for. He was talking about his ministry of Mosaic Law. John was running around telling people, “Stop sinning or else!” (See Matthew 3:1-2). Jesus was running around telling people, “Believe I can forgive you, and I will” (see Mark 2:10, John 3:16-18).
The Law of Moses–613 commandments which included the Ten Commandments–which John preached, required animal blood to forgive every single transgression. The New Covenant–believe in Jesus and love as He loves us–which Jesus preached, required His own blood to forgive. The Law of Moses’ bloody Day of Atonement happened once a year. Jesus’ bloody day happened once for all time. These two Covenants were never allowed to conjoin. The Hebrew people had to pick one or the other (see Mark 2:22, John 13:34, 1 John 3:23, 5:3, Galatians 2:19, Romans 6:14, 10:4, Hebrews 8:13, 10:10).
Even more, the Jews felt relief for their commandment-breaking for the previous year as they walked away from the temple after handing off their livestock to be killed by a Levitical priest. Once they sinned again–by breaking one or more of Moses’ commandments–they didn’t neurotically start asking God for forgiveness or “change their ways” to achieve forgiveness. Instead, they worried nothing about their sins being forgiven until the following Day of Atonement. They knew without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness, so they waited while feeling the burden of their mistakes.
We, as the modern church, have twisted how we are forgiven. Why? I believe mostly due to tradition. We’ve been taught wrong through poor interpretation of Scripture by our now-dead relatives. We think because it’s old it’s correct, just like the Jews did with Moses’ teaching, and just like so many Muslims do too–or any other old religion for that matter. From the foundation of the planet–not from the foundation of the Bible–if the Holy Spirit is not guiding us, we are wrong. We will even misinterpret God’s perfect words in the Bible, apart from His Spirit. Satan loves this.
It also preaches well to tell people to beg God for forgiveness, and it conveniently extorts money from parishioners when “holy hierarchies” broker God’s blessings. *Ahem* But I’ll stay on course here about Jesus’ blood.
Blood mattered. Not words. Not begging. Not even lifestyle change (that sentence will upset many legalistic demons who pester people, don’t fall for it). Friend, blood still matters today, only there’s no more animal sacrifices left to be made, and Jesus isn’t going to die again either. He was the final sacrifice for sin and He did one better than just atone for sins–HE REMOVED THEM PERMANENTLY (see 1 John 3:5). The world’s sin issue with God is over. Now, everyone has the opportunity to be reconciled with Him through faith in Jesus (see 2 Corinthians 5:17-21).
The main difference in the blood of animals and the blood of Jesus is that animal blood only forgave past sins–whatever a Jewish man or woman had accumulated a year at a time. Jesus’ blood not only forgave past sins but also present sins and future sins. But what about the people who lived before the Cross? How did they receive forgiveness by way of Jesus’ blood?
Because His blood is retroactive as well.
Through the bloodshed of Messiah at Calvary, He dealt with sin once and for all time. That is, the entire timeline of human history. The opening of Hebrews unrolls the truth; the truth that Jesus is a non-time-Creature:
“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” (Hebrews 1:3)
Sustaining all things? You cannot be bound by time if you’re doing such. Had provided purification? That’s past tense. Purification of what? Planet earth’s sin-filled spirits–our spirits–we needed to be purified. Jesus provided a way for this purification with His own perfect blood. Now, to tap into this spiritual purification–which is supernatural perfection–we must simply believe He can and will forgive us. This one-time decision of faith in His blood causes us to be forgiven once and for all time:
“By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:10)
Again, to God, every sin requires death. Jesus died. Because of His death we believe and receive His supernatural life into our own. Our spirits immediately die by faith. Once dead–not our physical body but our spirit–we are given new spirits while still in these fleshy-shells. Then, at the same time, His Spirit joins our spirit and lives through us as we allow Him to (see John 3:16, 14:19, 15:5, 19:30, Colossians 3:3-4, Galatians 2:20, 5:22-23, Romans 6:6-11,23, 1 Corinthians 6:17).
All of this happens because of His blood. We are made brand new in spirit (see 2 Corinthians 5:17-21, 1 John 1:8-10). Keep in mind, His blood was shed once, it won’t be shed again and again in heaven for each future sin we commit, like the animal bloodshed each year (see Hebrews 10:4).
So when you sin, turn from it, repent, confess to a trusted friend–but never to be forgiven. You are 100% forgiven by God already. Turn from sin because sin never pays off and you weren’t made to sin. But don’t turn from sin to achieve more forgiveness. Jesus would have to die for more forgiveness, not you starting or stopping something.
For the person who believes God, Jesus’ blood forgives past, present, and I repeat, even future sins. Remember, all of our sins were in the future when Christ died. He’s not bound by the notion of time in which He created. This is why in Revelation, John writes:
“…the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.” (See Revelation 13:8)
How was Jesus slain from the beginning of this physical universe? After all, the moment in time of His death had not yet come to pass. This is impossible to fathom as time creatures, which we are. You and I, we understand time based on the revolutions of the planets–when we eat, sleep, work, and play. We experience 24 hour days, weeks, months, the seasons, and years. God isn’t confound to this. He is Spirit. He always has been and always will be (2 Peter 3:8, Exodus 3:14, Revelation 22:13).
So if I pull myself “up and out of time” as I know it, I can kind of get a sense of this, although ant-like in my perception of what God truly sees. God is not confined by what He’s created. Think of Bill Gates. He created Windows. Microsoft Windows is being used everywhere by lots of people at this very moment. Is what he’s created stopping Bill Gates from being who he is? No. Windows carries on, and Bill Gates does too. So, time is not stopping God either. He invented time and isn’t bound by its “programming.”
Because of this epiphany, we come to realize God can see the future. Is He controlling the future by controlling us? No. But He can still see down the timeline of His Creation just the same as we can see what’s been recorded on our DVR. When we pick up the remote and play a show or watch a ballgame, we aren’t controlling the actors or players–but, we control the remote. We are not bound by the time of the very people we’re watching. Same with God and us. He isn’t controlled by the time of this universe. He’s holding the remote.
Therefore, the Lamb, who is Christ, was slain at the creation of the world because time does not shackle Him. Jesus’ blood is not only proactive–forgiving the future sins of all humans who would ever believe in Him–but it’s also retroactive. It forgives those who were born before His human life and human death. This is how Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and every person who believed God were righteous before the blood of Jesus was shed: Messianic retroactive holy hemoglobin.
Think about it. Jesus died a long time ago, so if we can receive forgiveness 2,000 years later, why can’t they receive forgiveness thousands of years before? I mean, both of us are believing God. The answer is they can! Look!
“Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” (Genesis 15:6)
Why was it credited? Why was his righteousness put on the books? Because Jesus physically had not came and went, and He is the only way to God. This passage is from Genesis! The very first book of the Bible! Thousands of years before the crucifixion!
But what I find even more amazing is that pre-Cross Gentiles had the option of receiving the righteousness of Jesus Christ too–not just the Jews. Rahab, a Gentile prostitute, she received righteousness by faith before Jesus was born, let alone sacrificed:
“Rahab the prostitute is another example. She was shown to be right with God by her actions when she hid those messengers and sent them safely away by a different road.” (James 2:25)
She believed God. That belief caused her to act. Had she not believed Him first she wouldn’t have helped the spies. Friend, God has always been interested in one main thing: “Do you believe me?”
Belief put Jesus’ blood money into the accounts of the patriarchs–which included Gentiles! Who’s to say there’s not even more Gentiles, all throughout the world, who became righteous by faith who are not mentioned in the canon of the Bible? That’s definitely something to think about!
Faith in God retro-acted the power of the Cross into the lives of people on planet earth before the Cross happened. Is this not cool or what?!
So the next time someone asks you, “If Jesus’ blood forgives us, what about the people who lived before He died?”
Just reply with, “His blood goes backwards, too,” and then smile. The Cross is timeless. Before the foundation of time, space, or matter, the power of the Lamb was in full effect.
So today, my friends, know this: The blood of Jesus Christ is not restrained by our idea of time. His blood has no beginning or end. All of the famous Old Testament believers who were mentioned in Hebrews 11? Those who were looking forward to the promise of Messiah? They too enjoyed His finished work by faith, just like you and I enjoy it today. Once we eject from this body, we’ll all fully understand what Jesus Christ has done for us. So for now, let’s let Him live through us.
A prayer for you: Father, thank you for opening up my mind to understand that you are not defined by time. This has changed so much for me. Please continue to take me deeper into this truth, as well as your grace, and use me for your purposes. This is so much fun! Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. For those who are obsessed with keeping track of their sins so they can confess them or turn from them–to try and try to please you by doing so–ease their minds. Let them know that Jesus has dealt with all of their sins at the Cross. Remind them that confession and repentance is normal and healthy for us saints, but neither can cause us to be more forgiven than we already are right now. The blood of Jesus was suffice! Thank you so much! Amen!
This devotional is from The Christian Identity, Volume 2. Get your copy here!