As I have time, I'm working on the 101 Lies Taught In Church Every Sunday manuscript. Here's one of them:
Lie #5: Our sins are “under the blood of Jesus.”
Just as there are trite statements in all cultures that sound true on the surface, but don’t necessarily convey the truth, so it is in the church world. We’ve heard some things said in church that have been stated so often and sound so logical that we believe they must be true. This is one of those statements. Take a close look at that statement: Your sins are under the blood of Jesus. What could possibly be wrong with that affirmation?
There’s a very good question you should get in the habit of asking, that will help you cut through the fog of vague and confusing talk. It’s simply to ask, “What do you mean by that?” Ask people what they mean by a phrase or term, and you’ll finally be able to pinpoint what the controversy or teaching is really saying. Often you’ll discover that you actually agree with what a person is trying to say, even though you disagree with how they say it. Other times, you’ll discover that what sounds good on the surface actually disguises a serious error beneath. Either way, you’ll not discover what you’re really dealing with until you ask people to clarify what they mean. Many of our shorthand expressions and clichés serve to promote errors and reinforce misunderstandings.
In this case, what someone usually means by saying that our sins are under the blood of Jesus is that we are forgiven. I would certainly do nothing but agree with that assertion, but I do have a problem with this way of trying to say it. It communicates a serious misunderstanding about the work of Christ.
TAKE A FRESH LOOK AT THE SCRIPTURES
It is important to understand a major difference between the Old and New Covenants and how they describe the process of sacrifice and forgiveness.In the Old Testament period under the Law of Moses, forgiveness was indeed offered people of faith, but the dominant concept was that of atonement. Atonement literally means “a covering.”
You may remember how the priests would offer sacrificial animals for the sins of the people. There were many, many types of sacrifices, offered continually. There were daily, weekly, monthly, and annual sacrifices. The most important day of worship for ancient Israel was the annual observance called Yom Kippur, literally, “The Day of Atonement.” This was the one and only day of the year when a human representative, the High Priest, would enter the Holy of Holies, the innermost room of the Tabernacle or Temple, and approach the Ark of the Covenant.
The Ark represented the foundation of God’s very throne. When the blood of an innocent animal was poured on Ark, the Judgment Seat became the Mercy Seat. Men’s sins were considered “covered” by the blood, and the people were counted forgiven by God — for now only, however, because no sacrifice under the Law ever provided for tomorrow’s sins. At best, they were temporary and up-to-date.
However, things have changed with the coming of the new covenant. The Law’s observances were only shadows and previews of the work of Christ, who would accomplish a far greater work.
Therefore it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be cleansed with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. Hebrews 9:23
Jesus’ offering of Himself was truly a “better sacrifice,” but that’s not all. Remember the scene when Jesus showed up at the Jordan River where John the Baptist was baptizing? John said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!” (John 1:29). That Old Covenant prophet, John, understood better than many Christians today that Jesus came to do something different than previous priests had done. He didn’t come to hide away our sins from God’s sight by putting them under the blood of a sacrifice. He came to do away with them completely. As John wrote, “And you know that He appeared to take away sins” (1 John 3:5).
The book of Hebrews teaches that Jesus was an infinitely better sacrifice than any of those offered in the Old Testament. In fact, He was the perfect sacrifice. When He offered Himself for our sins, His shed blood didn’t just “cover” our sins. By His sacrifice, our sins were taken away. Hebrews 9: 26 says,
But now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
The words “put away” are one word in the Greek language, which means “to disannul, to do away with, to completely destroy.” Jesus didn’t come to cover your sins. He came to take your sin away, and that’s exactly what He did. As if to make this point unmistakably clear, this contrast is described:
Every [Old Covenant] priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for all time, sat down at the right hand of God … For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. Hebrews 10:11-14
CLARIFY YOUR THINKING
So it’s actually great news to know that your sins are not under the blood of Christ. His blood doesn’t cover them. The blood of Jesus Christ has taken your sins away! Some have said that the doctrine of justification is the teaching that because of Christ’s finished work, our status can be described as “just-if-I never sinned.” It’s really more than that, but that’s a good start. In the eyes of your heavenly Father, you have an unblemished record. He isn’t overlooking anything. He has rewritten your history by taking away the sins of your past and giving you the history of Christ Himself.
Believing that your sins are “under the blood of Christ” doesn’t truly honor the finished work of Jesus. Ironically enough, it actually diminishes His sacrifice. What He did is much greater than most Christians have understood. He doesn’t condemn us for our sins now because there are no sins to condemn. The cross has obliterated them!
Your sins have been blotted out and you have been given the righteousness of God in Christ. You don’t ever need to be bogged down with a preoccupation about sins again. Instead, you can now walk in the confidence of knowing that your life isn’t defined by sin anymore, but by the righteousness of the Christ who has become your very life.
So, though it sounds good to say that our sins are under the blood of Jesus Christ, it is a lie. The Bible says our sins have been taken away from us, forever, by the finished work of Christ at the cross.