Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood” (Romans 3:24-25).
Several distinct blessings have been procured for us by the power of the blood of Jesus, and they are all included in this one word, redemption. Among these blessings, reconciliation takes the first place.
“God hath set forth Jesus to be a reconciliation through faith in His blood.” In all the work of Christ, and above all in reconciliation, God’s object is the removal and destruction of sin. Knowledge of sin is necessary for the knowledge of reconciliation.
Sin has had a twofold effect. It has had an effect on God as well as on man. We emphasize generally its effect on man. But the effect it has exercised on God is more terrible and serious.
What, then, was the effect of sin upon God? In His divine nature, He ever remains unchanged and unchangeable, but in His relationship and bearing toward man, an entire change has taken place. Sin is disobedience, a contempt for the authority of God; it seeks to rob God of His honor as God and Lord. Sin is determined opposition to a Holy God. It not only can but must awaken His wrath.
We know how this was set forth in the Old Testament laws of the offerings. A clean beast took the place of a guilty man. His sin was laid, by confession, on the head of the victim, which bore the punishment by surrendering its life unto death. There was reconciliation in the blood. But that was not a reality. The blood of cattle or of goats could never take away sin; it was only a shadow, a picture, of the real reconciliation.
Blood of a totally different character was necessary for an effectual covering of guilt.
We have spoken of the awful effect of sin on God, of the terrible change which took place in Heaven, through sin. Instead of favor and friendship and blessing and the life of God from Heaven, man had nothing to look for except wrath and curse and death and perdition. He could think of God only with fear and terror, without hope and without love. Sin never ceased to call for vengeance; guilt must be dealt with in full.
But see, the blood of Jesus, God’s Son, has been shed. Atonement for sin has been made. Peace is restored. The wrath of God turns around and hides itself in the depth of divine love.
That the blood has made reconciliation for sin, and covered it, and that as a result of this such a wonderful change has taken place in the heavenly realms—all this will avail us nothing unless we obtain a personal share in it.
It is in the pardon of sin that this takes place.
God has offered a perfect acquittal from all our sin and guilt. Because reconciliation has been made for sin, we can now be reconciled to Him. “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them” (2 Corinthians 5:19). Following this word of reconciliation is the invitation, “Be ye reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20). Whoever receives reconciliation for sin is reconciled to God. He knows that all his sins are forgiven.
This is what the New Testament calls justification. It is thus named in Romans 3:23-26, “For all have sinned … being justified freely (for nothing) through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God hath set forth as a reconciliation, through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness … that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”
So perfect is the reconciliation and so fully has sin been covered and blotted out, that he who believes in Christ is looked upon, and treated by God, as entirely righteous. The acquittal that he has received from God is so complete that there is nothing, absolutely nothing, to prevent him from approaching God with the utmost freedom.
For the enjoyment of this blessedness, nothing is necessary save for faith in the blood. The blood alone has done everything.
The penitent sinner who turns from his sin to God needs only faith in that blood. That is, faith in the power of the blood, that it has truly atoned for sin, and that it really has atoned for him. Through that faith, he knows that he is fully reconciled to God, and that there is now not the least thing to hinder God pouring out on him the fullness of His love and blessing.
If he looks toward Heaven, which formerly was covered with clouds, black with God’s wrath and a coming awful judgment, that cloud is no longer to be seen. Everything is bright in the gladsome light of God’s face and God’s love.
Fellow believers, pray earnestly that the Holy Spirit may reveal to you the glory of this reconciliation, and the pardon of your sins, made yours through the blood of Jesus. God hath set forth Jesus Christ Himself as a reconciliation through faith in His blood. He is the reconciliation for our sins. Rely on Him, as having already covered your sin before God. Set Him between yourselves and your sins, and you will experience how complete the redemption is, which He has accomplished, and how powerful the reconciliation is through faith in His blood.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, King James Version.
Andrew Murray (1828-1917) was a South African Dutch Reformed pastor, teacher and missionary best known for his devotional writings. This article is adapted from a chapter in Murray’s book The Blood of Christ.