The blood of Jesus is one of the most powerful resources available to us. It is also the most fundamental image of the Christian message. Yet, surprisingly few Christians have a basic understanding of the purpose and power of the blood of Christ outside of having our sins covered. Here are a few principles to start with:

1.) The blood is a powerful reminder that sin brings death, both as a consequence and a covering. Imagine how powerful the lesson was for small children who had to allow family lambs to be sacrificed for their sins every year.

2.) We tend to stop with the shedding of the blood and ignore the application of the blood. We are not masochistic people with vampire-like fascinations. The blood of Christ was shed once for all, but it must also be applied.

3.) The blood applied to our life is not merely for the remission of sins, it also allows us to enter into the presence of God. We do not hear it much today, but there was a time when it was common to hear believers “plead the blood of Christ.” This is more than symbolic. It is a spiritual reality. The author of Hebrews tells us to be confident that we can enter into the holy place by the blood of Jesus (Heb. 10:19). Next time you need to enter into the presence of Christ cover yourself with His blood.

4.) The blood enables us to overcome the evil one. Revelation 12:11 tells us that we will overcome Satan by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. The key to overcoming evil in your life is to stand on the blood of Jesus Christ.

So, how do we apply the blood of Christ to our life? Consider David’s sin involving Bathsheba. He coveted another man’s wife, lusted after her, committed adultery with her, lied to cover his sin, and finally commissioned a plan to have her husband killed. It is not a very nice picture of the heart of the man after God’s own heart.

David is fully aware of his sin in Psalm 51. He references his sin, iniquity, transgressions and evil deeds six times in the first four verses. In verse five he recognizes that the pervasiveness of sin in his life goes all the back to his very conception. David understands that his soul is utterly riddled with sin.

So he asks God to use hyssop in order to purify him. Hyssop? It seems a strange reference at first glance. It is a word that is only used twelve times in the bible, mostly in descriptions of three rituals. So what is it?

Hyssop is a plant or family of plants that commonly grew in the Ancient Near East. The first biblical reference to hyssop is in Exodus 12:22, when Moses instructed the Israelites to dip the plant in blood and use it to apply to blood to the doorposts of their dwellings. The blood was symbolic of the fact that God’s judgment would not be applied to the Israelites when He came to judge the people of Egypt. Destruction would come to every house that was not painted with the blood of the passover lamb.

The second time that hyssop is mentioned is in the ceremony of restoring cleansed lepers to the community in Leviticus 14. Once again the hyssop was used to apply blood, this time sprinkled seven times on the one who is to be cleansed. The third and final time that we see hyssop used ritualistically is in Numbers 19 where it is used to apply the blood and bring about purification.

In the New Testament hyssop is mentioned only twice. Once in the book of Hebrews in recounting Moses’ use of it in Exodus, and once at Calvary when it was used to give Jesus sour wine.

So, in David’s prayer to be cleansed with hyssop he is both looking back and looking forward. He is recognizing the need he has to have God passover his sin, restore him to right relationship, and purify him from his iniquities. And he is looking forward to the only blood that could truly do those things, the blood of the holy passover lamb, Jesus Christ. If you need God to passover your sin, restore your relationship, or purify your iniquities–or if you simply need to enter boldly into his presence–start by doing this: apply the blood.

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