The idea of the blood runs through the bible as if it’s literally coursing through its veins. It’s mention is almost found in all 66 books of the Canon. Sometimes its mention falls in the area of sacrifice and other times in reference to food. In any situation the idea of blood is a major theme of the biblical narrative. Anthony Carter takes up this theme in Blood Work: How the Blood of Christ Accomplishes Our Salvation (Reformation Trust, 2013), and points out its working of salvation for those who believe in Christ.
Beginning with the idea of a bloody religion, Carter points out to the reader a valuable truth in relation to what the blood of Christ actually accomplishes for us.
“The Israelites lived because of the blood of the lambs that
were slain. If you are in Christ, you live because of the blood
of the Lamb of God. In the blood of Christ, we have what we
lost in Adam, namely, life. The shedding of our Savior’s blood
was significant not for the blood itself but for what it represents.
It represents the perfect, sinless life of Christ poured out unto
death for us.” (Isa. 53:12)
Moving forward to from the question, “Why the Blood?”, Carter uncovers other serious topics relating to the believers salvation. From a propitiation to a ransom Carter covers the blood in-depth from beginning to end. Carter is not one to shy away from speaking of topics that many Christians find offensive and even untrue. In the second chapter, Propitiation by the Blood, Carter addresses the biblical record of God’s wrath and the blood that turns away such wrath. He points out that because we stand before God as though we have never sinned, meaning those who believe in Christ, the biblical record does not say that God will not deal with the sin in our lives. God is a God who disciplines, not because he hates us or wants to prove a point, but because of his great love for us. He disciplines us so that, on an increasing level we will conform to the image of his Son. The author of Hebrews points this out to us in Hebrews 12:6-11.
“For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises
every son whom he receives.” It is for discipline that you
have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son
is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are
left without discipline, in which all have participated,
then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides
this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and
we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject
to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us
for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines
us for our good, that we may share his holiness.
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than
pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness
to those who have been trained by it.”
Perhaps the most important section in this volume finds its place in chapter 6, Brought Near by the Blood. Carter speaks of the blood of Christ in us, bringing us near to God. The blood becomes the door by which we may enter into covenant with God. The blood of Christ is the seal of the New Covenant in us and becomes our lifeline to eternal life. Carter urges us to remember the blood which saves, the blood which poured out for our justification, sanctification, and glorification. The blood becomes on of the most rewarding gifts we may receive in this life.
Overall this book was good, both in the terms it employed and the definitions of those terms. Carter took complex ideas and made them very easy to understand. He speaks of the blood of Christ in terms that many people would understand by equating them to everyday situations. I did find that a whole book on the blood could get a bit redundant for the reader who has just come to believe in Christ but at the same time it could be a great foundational tool. I have to leave off the same way Carter left off, with the results this blood should produce in us.
His blood does make the world appear
Less delightful to all my eye.
He sacrificed to draw me near,
To worship Him with all my life.