How Sins Are Forgiven


Nothing is more heinous than our sins and nothing is more joyful than having sins forgiven. Sin is a universal problem. "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) Sin is rebellion against God and only the blood of Christ can cleanse us from sin. "And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission." (Hebrews 9:22) Salvation is by the precious blood of Jesus. Many animals were sacrificed in Old Testament days, but they did not provide forgiveness. "For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins." (Hebrews 10:4) The blood of Christ, not the blood of animals, is the means of our salvation.


There is power in the blood of Christ. Jesus said, "For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." (Matthew 26:26-28) It is by the blood of Christ that we are made near to God. "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ." (Ephesians 2:13) God "loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood." (Revelation 1:5) The blood of Christ delivers us from Satan and transfers us into the kingdom or church of Christ. "Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins." (Colossians 1:13)


Atonement by the blood of Jesus: Because of sin, atonement became necessary. God could not ignore sin and still maintain His holiness. Atonement by the blood of Christ made it possible for God to "be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." (Romans 3:26) Through the cross of Christ God could forgive sins and at the same time maintain His holiness by punishing our sins upon Jesus.


The entire Bible sets forth the necessity of "blood" in connection with man's redemption. "For this is my blood of the new testament which is shed for many for the remission of sins." (Matthew 26:28)


If it was not for the blood of Jesus Christ there would be no forgiveness of sins. "And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission." (Hebrews 9:22) He loved us enough to save us by His blood. "Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood." (Revelation 1:5)


Sin called for death. If the one that sinned was not to die someone must stand in his place. "Atonement" must be made. The word "atonement." appears many times in the Old Testament. Romans 5:11 is the only New Testament usage of the word, "we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement." Christ alone atoned for our sins. "Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place having obtained eternal redemption for us." (Hebrews 9:12)


It is by looking at Jesus dying on the cross that we are looking at the heart of the Bible doctrine of blood atonement. It is through the blood of Christ that man can enjoy complete forgiveness of sins. "Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate." (Hebrews 13:12)


Christ offered Himself once for the sins of the entire world. His blood atones for our sins. The blood of Christ offers full remission of sins when we hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (Mark 16:16), repent of sins (Acts 2:38), confess Christ as Lord (Romans 10:9-10) and are baptized into Christ. (Galatians 3:27) Obedience to the gospel makes it possible for Christ to cleanse us from our sin by His blood. A refusal to follow God's directions makes cleansing impossible. Why not obey God to­day?


Contact with Christ's blood: Since the only way man's sins can be covered is through the blood of Christ, we should be anxious to find how that cleansing blood may be applied. There is a one word answer to the question, how is the blood applied? The blood of Christ that was shed for our atonement is applied to our life by "obedience."


Somewhere, in the planning of our all-wise God, the sinner must come in contact with that blood which is adequate to cover sin. Where do we contact His blood and how is that cleansing accomplished? Some believe that the blood of Jesus is contacted the moment the sinner believes in Jesus Christ. Certainly, we would not minimize faith in Christ. Faith is essential to salvation. But, where is the Scripture that declares that Jesus' blood is contacted through faith alone?


Other sincere people believe that we contact the blood of Christ through repentance. We would not minimize repentance. Repentance is a part of "being saved." But again, we ask for a Scripture that shows us that we contact the blood through repentance.


Others conclude that the blood of Jesus is applied through prayer. We would never want to minimize prayer, but where is the Scripture that tells us that the blood is applied through prayer?


I challenge you to show any place in Divine record where God declares that the sinner may contact the cleansing blood of Christ other than the place indicated in Romans 6:3, "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?"  Where was His blood shed? Jesus' blood was shed in His death. (John 19:34) Then how may that blood be contacted? God said that we contact the blood of Jesus by being baptized into His death. Then how important is it that we humbly obey the divine ordinance of baptism? In the act of baptism the cleansing blood of Christ is applied!


The result of blood atonement: The one that understands and appreciates blood atonement, the one that has obeyed the gospel, the one that has been crucified with Christ is the one that can live the Christ like life.


A Christ-like person is freed from the guilt of sin. If there are sins in our life that are not repented of those sins are unforgiven. If we have unforgiven sins guilt will follow. Freedom from sin and its guilt belongs to those that have availed themselves of atonement by the precious blood of Jesus. Our sins are forgiven by the Savior's blood when we obey the gospel from the heart. (Romans 6:1-6, Romans 6:16-18)


A Christ-like person finds ways to serve others. The best way to live is to get outside of yourself through Christian service. You forget yourself through serving others. (Philippians 2:4) "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." (Galatians 6:2)


A Christ-like person constantly seeks to know God's truth. Truth sets men free from sin. (John 8:31-32) The Christian will seek to know truth; not just some brotherhood position. The Christ-like life will be seeking truth about self, truth about Christ and truth about the depths of God's word. TRUTH! TRUTH! TRUTH! That is the only way to the Christ-like life.


A Christ-like life is a life of loving and being loved. God's love for us is the motivating force behind all He has done for us. (Romans 5:6-10, John 3:16) God's love for us should make us loving people. (1 John 4:16-21)


For "Heaven's sake" turn to Christ in trusting, obedient, loving faith to have your sins removed by His blood. You should then live the Christ-like life with joy and eternal hope.


By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, P.O. Box 551, Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA