In my opening article in this series, I addressed in passing the essential truth that none of us is worthy to approach God’s throne of grace by own merits, but only by grace through faith in Jesus’ finished work of the cross. In this installment almost 3 years later, I felt the need to explore this topic in greater depth as God has brought me into a deeper understanding on the subject.
The Blood of Jesus is a topic seldom addressed from evangelical pulpits nowadays because Christendom (the organized and institutional expression of Christianity in the earth) has lamentably embraced post-modern society’s squeamishness concerning the shedding of blood in general. The problem with this avoidance behavior is that a whole host of verses declare the centrality of this concept to God’s plan of redemption, the following being an excellent case in point:
…under the Law almost everything is purified by means of blood, and without the shedding of blood there is neither release from sin and its guilt nor the remission of the due and merited punishment for sins.Hebrews 9:22 AMP (emphasis mine)
The Need for Remission
So what problem does the Blood of Jesus solve so thoroughly and perfectly? Our sins, of course! Our human depravity is hopelessly dominant over us apart from it. We cannot overcome it, we cannot remove it, we cannot ignore it, we cannot hide it, and we cannot distract God from it through excuses, shifting blame, or judgmentally pointing our fingers at others.
Jesus Blood is the only — repeat ONLY — remedy in the universe for our condition! We can never purchase, earn, or deserve it. It only comes to us as a free gift of God’s grace. We cannot add to it or detract from it by our successes or failures or by anything we could say or do. The Blood of Jesus is entirely sufficient in and of itself and by itself alone!
Effective in Three Directions
Jesus’ Blood operates in three directions:
- Towards God
- Towards ourselves
- Towards Satan
When God looks at us as believers, He does not see us as colossal screw-ups who are constantly making incredibly stupid and selfish choices, though most of the time we are precisely that. What He does see is Jesus’ Blood which has saved us, washed us clean, and presents us spotless and without blemish in His sight.
That redemption is so complete that it is as if we had never sinned in the first place!
Because of this, we have access to His throne of grace in the first place.
When we look at ourselves as believers, we should not see ourselves as colossal screw-ups who are constantly making incredibly stupid and selfish choices, despite the fact that we are always tempted to turn inward and focus on our performance — or more accurately, our lack thereof — and put ourselves under what seems to us to be a perfectly justifiable condemnation.
But to do so perpetuates what we so desperately desire to avoid. The only remedy is for us to choose by faith to see ourselves as God sees us: holy, spotless, without blemish through the Blood of Jesus which washes us clean from all sin.
Why is this so crucial? By seeing ourselves as cleansed and holy in God’s sight, we can have boldness to access His throne of grace.
Satan’s very name means “adversary.” He is the definitive psychopath, an implacable enemy with no conscience, morals, or compunctions about fulfilling his mission to steal, kill, and destroy from all of humanity.
His other name, Devil, comes from the Greek word diabolos, which literally means “to throw through,” implying he is constantly bombarding us.
He is the Accuser of the Brethren (Revelation 12:10), the evil being who leads his demonic hordes in his campaign to put all of humanity — but most especially Christian believers — under condemnation and thus under his control. He is constantly accusing us before God and ourselves in our own minds concerning our frequent failures and mistakes.
His primary tool is falsehood — after all, Jesus called him “The Father of Lies” (John 8:44) — and nothing comes out of his mouth that is good or true. He has but one question which he asks all of us over every issue we face and that very question has remained a constant since Eden: “Did God really say that?” (Genesis 3:1) and a host of variations thereof.
That’s the bad news.
The really, REALLY, AWESOMELY GOOD NEWS is that Satan is a defeated foe! Jesus’ shed Blood has defeated him even more certainly and absolutely than the Allies defeated the Axis Powers during WWII. We do not need to — and indeed cannot — defeat him further because his defeat is both certain and absolute because of that Blood.
All we need to do is enforce it by our spiritual authority on this earth and send him packing (James 4:7).
What gives us this authority and the ability to do this? Again, the shed Blood of Jesus!
But what about when he comes a-calling and attempts to rub our mistakes and misdeeds in our faces? If we have renewed our minds to the truths we are discussing here, we figuratively spit in his face and refuse to see ourselves as anything or anyone other than what God says we are because of Jesus’ Blood! Those sins have been washed away by that Blood (Ephesians 1:7) and God has chosen to remember them no more (Isaiah 43:25).
Our mistakes and misdeeds are facts, but God’s Truth trumps them all!
When Satan accuses us before God, his accusations fall on divine ears deliberately deafened to them by the Blood of Jesus and Christ’s finished work of the Cross.
So should it be with us! Our earthly ears should be deafened to those same accusations by those selfsame truths.
Self-centered vs. God-centered
Our boldness before the throne of grace has everything to do with where we place our focus.
When we focus on ourselves and our sin, we have by definition become self-centered. Since self-centeredness is the root of all sin, we doom ourselves to sin all the more, and continue to walk in darkness, which is precisely why Satan spends a huge amount of time and effort trying to deceive us into doing just that.
And the result? We then try to remove the shame of our constant failures by excuses, rationalizations, blame-shifting, and denial -OR- we try to earn God’s favor through law-keeping and dead religious works, all of which simply compounds the problem.
The harder we try, the more we fail, for the simple reason that our focus is on the wrong person.
This becomes a self-perpetuating (nice pun, huh! 🙂 ) downward spiral from which there is no recovery other than through our repentance from the law of sin and death and our refocusing upon the Person of Christ, His atoning blood, and the finished work of the cross as our ONLY means of deliverance and freedom.
When we begin “fixing our eyes upon Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our Faith (Hebrews 12:2), we become God-centered instead of self-centered. Because we are walking in the light has He is in the light, the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7). As we reckon ourselves dead to sin and alive to righteousness (Romans 6:11), we live more and more in that light.
When we are God-centered, reckoning ourselves dead to sin, and walking in the light, we are not sinless in our daily conduct, but we indeed sin less — and less and less and less over time.
Truth be told, the reason Satan keeps throwing our past at us is because, as we walk with Christ more and more closely, we are providing the devil with less and less material to work with!
- Our access to God’s throne in prayer is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, just as our salvation is in the first place.
- We come based upon our relationship with Heavenly Daddy as adopted children, not our performance as His servants.
- It is NEVER about our worthiness.
- Most importantly, we can NEVER use our mistakes and imperfections as excuses not to pray.
Thanks for reading!