Redemption Through His Blood 

Sacramental Meditation XVI 

By John Willison, Practical Works (London: Blackie & Son, 1844), 264-6; minimally edited. 

“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Eph 1:7)

How dismal is our case by nature! We are slaves to sin and Satan, and prisoners to the justice of God, being sentenced to die, doomed to wrath, and reserved to public judgment and execution. In this miserable condition were all mankind, until Christ came to ransom us! And oh, how difficult and costly was our redemption to Christ! No less could be the price of it than his precious blood. The glorious Son of God, who created heaven and earth, must become a creature, be born of a woman, and pour out his blood on an ignominious cross, before we could be redeemed from sin and wrath. Oh how valuable must the blood of this infinite person be! What is the blood of earthly kings and princes to this blood! Surely one drop of it is of more value than an ocean of theirs! And yet every drop of this blood was poured out upon the ground for our redemption. In this blood I see sundry things:

1. The amazing love of Christ in shedding his blood for the redemption of such creatures as I am; creatures that had lost the image of God, and got Satan’s image pictured in its room; creatures loathsome as dead carcasses, being dead in trespasses; and yet these he loved so as to shed his blood, and bleed to death for them. For as lovely as Sarah was, while alive, yet when dead, Abraham could look on her no more, but would have her buried out of his sight. But Christ said not so of his elect spouse when dead; no, said he, let me bleed and die for her to bring her to life; though at the same time, she was more loathsome than Job with his boils, Lazarus with his sores, or any dead carcass with vermin. Oh what cause could be given for the love of a bleeding Jesus! Well might he say, “I loved you, because I loved you: and I love you freely.” And oh, with what sorrow, pain, and agony, was his bleeding love attended, while his dear soul was overwhelmed with the terrible billows of his Father’s wrath! Christ knew well beforehand all these sufferings, and all the ingredients in the cup, yet he would needs drink it for us; he foresaw the poison of God’s arrows that would drink up his spirits; the burning thirst that the heat of divine wrath would create in him; yet willingly did he go to bleed and die, like a lamb to the slaughter. Oh, “love that passeth knowledge.”

2. In Christ’s blood I see the glory of infinite wisdom displayed. Who could have found out a way to reconcile justice and mercy, and satisfy both their demands about Adam’s fallen race? A general council of angels could never have thought of the Son of God’s being made flesh, and shedding his blood! How shocking would the suggestion have been, if God had not made it! But, behold hereby infinite wisdom hath discovered a way to gratify both justice and mercy; to punish sin, and yet pardon the sinner; to maintain the honour of the lawmaker, and yet preserve the life of the law-breaker: hereby mercy is satisfied in sparing the rebel, and yet justice more glorified, and sin rendered more odious, than if the sinner himself had been eternally damned for it. Nay, though all the men on earth had been cast into hell fire for sin, and the angels with them, it had been no such instance of justice, as Christ’s bleeding and dying for sin. For what is the punishing of creatures to the suffering of the Creator!

3. This blood being the blood of God, hath infinite virtue and efficacy; it hath purchased the Church of God, and all grace and glory to her (Acts 20:28). It protects all who come under the covert of it from the wrath of God. “When I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt” (Ex 12:13). This blood, which is the price of our redemption, hath marvellous effects; it pleads for the guilty, and obtains pardon of sin, peace with God, nearness to and communion with him. It cleanses, heals, satisfies, and beautifies perishing souls; it seals the New Testament, overcomes our enemies, liberates the prisoners, opens heaven’s gates, and gives boldness to enter in. The person of our Redeemer being preferable to a million of worlds full of men and angels, his blood alone might well serve for an elect world. What sins can be so heinous or so numerous, but the blood of God can wash away! This was famous Cranmer’s support that day he suffered martyrdom; when his heinous sin of renouncing the truth stared him in the face, and he was greatly dejected for it, he broke out, “Surely God was made flesh, and shed his blood, not for lesser sins only, but for great sins also.” This relieved him, and made him die with courage. This blood can help in all straits, deliver from all fears, and is able to save to the uttermost. It hath saved many who have condemned themselves, and thought their salvation impossible. It hath eased many consciences, when the terrors of the Almighty have surrounded them, and his arrows have stuck fast in them. This blood hath cleansed many whose hearts were filthy as the mire, and whose lives swarmed with the most abominable lusts, such as the Corinthians (see 1 Cor 6:11), and three thousand of those who had imbrued their hands in shedding of it (Acts 2:36). Nay, it is able to take away the sins of a world (Jn 1:29) and much more the sins of any one soul, though like a mountain for weight, or the sand for number.

4. I see this redeeming blood to be a suitable remedy for all maladies. Oh that I could look to it by faith, apply it to my sores, and plead it with God: “Lord, I am an unrighteous creature, but here is justifying blood; my heart is unholy, but here sanctifying blood; my soul is wounded, but here healing blood; my lusts are strong, but here mortifying blood; my heart is hard, but here softening blood; my affections are dead, but here quickening blood; my love is cold, but here is heart-warming blood. When I am at the holy table, I am near this blessed remedy. Oh let me not miss a cure when the Balm of Gilead is in my hands; let me not perish in my guilt beside the open fountain. Oh, this blood hath healed thousands, and shall I remain under my plagues? Lord, let that innocent blood, which run from thy hands, heart, and side, drop on my guilty soul, and cleanse me from all sin. Oh my glorious bleeding Lamb, ‘if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.’ Oh say to me as thou didst to the leper, ‘I will, be thou clean.’ Surely thy blood is more able to save me, than my sins are to destroy me.”

5. How just is it that I should commemorate the shedding of this blood in the way that Christ appoints! Lord, help me to go to thy table, and realize the shedding of this blood to myself, as much as if I had stood by the cross, and seen it with my eyes flowing from his wounds. Let my faith be the evidence of things not seen, and let it realize the shedding of Christ’s blood as evidently to me as if I had actually seen it. Ah, I cannot say it is so, while my eyes are so dry, and my heart so hard; alas, for my stupid unconcerned heart, that doth not burst into love and tears at the sacramental view of this blood-shedding! How can I see these hands, that sway the sceptre of the heavens, nailed to the tree, and not mourn? How can I see these feet, that trample on the powers of hell, nailed to a tree, and not weep? Did the earth tremble, rocks rend, sun hide, and heavens darken, and will not my rocky heart rend for sin that caused all? Since thou, Lord, comest to me, in streams of blood, let me go forth and “meet thee with streams of tears. Oh! shall I be more sparing of my tears for Christ, than he was of his blood for me? Can I see this precious blood run down in streams, and my eyes not pour out some drops? Can I refuse drops of water for streams of blood? Can I see the blood of the King of kings spilt like water on the ground, and the earth drinking it up, and my heart not rend for shedding it? Oh, that “my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night” for the slain Lamb of God! 6. How dreadful must the crime be to tread this blood underfoot by unbelief, or unworthy communicating? “Had Zimri peace that slew his master?” And can I have peace if I be guilty of the blood of him that is my master and Redeemer both? How sad will my case be, if that blood, which alone can procure my pardon, shall cry for my eternal punishment? “Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God.” Oh that I could value and esteem, plead and apply, this precious blood more! Lord, accept of it as a full satisfaction for all my sins, and an all-sufficient price for my soul’s redemption. Is not one drop of thy Son’s blood of more value than a sea of mine? My sins, alas! have shut me out of Paradise, but, oh let this blood open Paradise to me again; and let me, through this Red Sea, enter into the heavenly Canaan; I know I can have no other passage into it. Lord, impute not the guilt, but the merit of this blood to me. Ω