Tonight, as we prepare our hearts to join other believers in corporate worship tomorrow, let’s take a moment to consciously reflect on the price that God required—and Jesus paid—to redeem us from the slave-market of sin and bring us into the family of God. This marvelous redemption was, and is, all of grace. And this grace is poured out upon sinners, like us, because of the blood of Christ.
The apostle Paul makes it clear in Ephesians 1:7 that it is only by virtue of our union with Christ by faith that “we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.” The Apostle John refers to Christ as the One who loves us and “released us from our sins by His blood” (Rev. 1:5). We must never disconnect forgiveness from the atoning work of Jesus or we lose the only biblical ground of grace. D. A. Carson reminds us that “forgiveness is never detached from the cross. In other words, forgiveness is never the product of love alone, still less of mawkish sentimentality. Forgiveness is possible only because there has been a real offense, and a real sacrifice to offset that offense.”
Forgiveness is free to us, but it was not free for God. It cost the life of His only Son: “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10).
Every time we enter the presence of God, whether in private or public worship, we do so on the merit of Christ alone. There is no merit in us, or our religion. As sinners, our propensity is to continually attempt to clothe ourselves with our own righteousness, but that is futile. All our righteousness is filthy compared to God’s (Zec 3:3). But when we humble ourselves before the holy God, and repent and believe the gospel, we receive the imputed righteousness of Christ as a gift from God (2 Cor 5:21). Then we can say with the prophet, “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness” (Isa 61:10). It is the all-sufficient death of our Savior which makes this possible.
The shed blood of Jesus Christ is the only basis by which any sinner may ever enter into a relationship with God and worship in His presence. Indeed, “redeemed by His blood” will be one of the dominant themes of our worship for all eternity (Rev 5:9). Those who are born-again by the Holy Spirit and believe the gospel are blood-bought worshippers and will be for all eternity. May we never forget it!