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Blood Work Kindle Edition
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The significance of the blood of Jesus also can be seen in how frequently it is mentioned. In fact, "the `blood' of Christ is mentioned in the writings of the New Testament nearly three times as often as `the cross' of Christ and five times as frequently as the `death' of Christ." (p. 6)
With all the new books I review I've seen a lot on the cross, Christ's death, and the gospel broadly but very few that zero in on the blood of Christ. Very few that target that focus as central. Anthony's book will hopefully lay ground work for more books on this topic.
First, he establishes Christianity as a "bloody religion." Blood is necessary for our salvation. He validates this claim by connecting the blood with all parts of Christ's salvific work.
Purchased by the Blood (Titus 2:14)
Propitiated by the Blood (Romans 3:25)
Justified by the Blood (Romans 5:6-9)
Redeemed by the Blood (Ephesians 1:7)
Brought Near by the Blood (Ephesians 2:12-13)
Peace by the Blood (Colossians 1:19-20)
Cleansed by the Blood (Hebrews 9:13-14)
Sanctified by the Blood (Hebrews 13:12)
Elect in the Blood (1 Peter 1:1-2)
Ransomed by the Blood (1 Peter 1:18)
Freed by the Blood (Revelations 1:5)
His Blood Avails for You (Philippians 2:8)
It's interesting a point he unfolds from the blood work of Christ.
How do we know that someone understands the blood of Christ in his life? We know it by the fact that he or she is not out for revenge, but is living out redemption.
It is disheartening to hear Christians, who claim that the blood of Christ has spoken their redemption, speak of revenge. They often feel the need to right every wrong word spoken or wrong deed done against them. Yet, the Bible clearly states in Romans 12:19, "Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, `Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.'" (p. 10)
In my experience, this self-vindication is a major problem today. How the blood work of Christ relates to this more fully would be well worth books, blog posts, and articles.
Each chapter poignantly explores how the blood applies with each doctrine. Each chapter is highly practical and pastoral. Anthony answers the big questions surrounding our union with Christ and faith in Christ.
Blood Work would a great resource for small groups or for counseling. And because of the skill with which Anthony unpacks this important doctrine, it's a book for all Christians. None of us will grow beyond the blood. Understanding the priceless blood of Christ will grow root to fruit.
In a recently released book, Anthony Carter documents in thirteen short but deep chapters how blood work is crucial to the health of the body of Christ. The book, Blood Work - How the Blood of Christ Accomplishes our Salvation, takes a refreshing and humbling look at the death of Christ and how His blood avails for us. The body of Christ depends on the blood work of the cross.
The Bible has more to say about the blood of Christ than the cross and the death of Christ. Though all three of these are intrinsically linked, it is the blood of Christ that is most often mentioned as being critical to our spiritual health, such as in Rev 12:11 - And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.
The blood work of Jesus Christ reconciles sinners to Holy God. Our eternal safety and security depend on His blood work.
Carter tells us that our religion is a bloody one - not because of the renegades who wrongly shed the blood of men in the Crusades, the Great Inquisition, and other sinful actions by professing Christians. Christianity is a bloody religion because the perfect Lamb of God was predestined to be slain to take away the sins of people throughout the world - as many were called and believed on Christ.
In his book, Carter reminds us that we are purchased by the blood of Christ; cleansed by the blood of Christ; ransomed, justified, redeemed, sanctified - and more! - all by the blood of the Lord Jesus, who is the Christ. Rather than shrinking back from talking about the bloody cross of the Lord, we are encouraged to embrace and proclaim it! His blood avails for each of His chosen ones and without it none of us can be reconciled or brought near to God. It is foolishness to the world and all who are perishing - but the cross of Christ is the power of salvation to those who are being saved.
This book reminds us of what is essential for the body of Christ - we need good blood work. And there is none better than that of Jesus Christ. It is a bloody cross to which we cling, it is that blood spilt on Calvary that cleanses us from sin - all other blood stains us. Proclaim the blood of Christ - without His blood work none will be justified or reconciled to Holy God.
O precious is the flow
That makes us white as snow.
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
We can see the significance of blood in the pages of the Old Testament, where from the earliest verses there are bloody footprints leading away from the perfection of the Garden of Eden. The blood of millions of animals brings temporary peace between sinful people and a sinned-against God. We see the significance of blood in how frequently the New Testament mentions it--nearly three times as often as "the cross" of Christ and five times as often as the "death" of Christ. Says Richard Phillips, "At the very heart of our Christian faith is a precious red substance; the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ."
In his new book Blood Work, Anthony Carter, pastor of East Point Church in East Point, Georgia, describes how the blood of Christ accomplishes the Christian's salvation. Through 140 pages that are equally descriptive and meditative, he traces the New Testament's blood motif and finds that blood is necessary for purchasing, propitiating, justifying, redeeming, cleansing, sanctifying, electing, freeing and so much else. Almost every benefit that is ours in Christ Jesus is explicitly connected to us through this trail of blood.
The reason for all this talk of blood becomes clear in the pages of Scripture. "In Genesis 9:4 we are told that life is in the blood. If life is in the blood and the blood represents life, then the loss or shedding of blood represents death." Thus the blood of Jesus is a metaphor for the life and death of Jesus. "His precious blood signified His precious life and His precious death. Consequently, the redeemed do not receive a blood transfusion from God. We receive a life transfusion--His death for our death, His life for our life. It is all according to His precious blood, which satisfies God's righteous requirements for life and justice."
If blood is so central to our great problem and God's great solution, "It should not be surprising that as recipients of God's gracious salvation through the person and work of Christ we preach, pray, and even sing of the wonderful power of the blood, as the popular hymn by William Cowper ("There Is a Foundation Filled with Blood") demonstrates." In fact, every chapter of Blood Work is marked by Christian hymns that, in both sorrow and joy, speak of Christ's blood. "And can it be that I should gain / An interest in the Savior's blood?" "I'll wash my garments white / In the blood of Calv'ry's Lamb." "Sealed my pardon with his blood / Hallelujah! What a Savior!" "Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood / Shall never lose its power."
All this talk of blood and all these bloody songs called me to ponder why the Old Testament and all its blood-soaked history had to come before the cross. All the blood of all those animals was preparing us to understand the blood of the perfect and final sacrifice. The bloody doorposts in Egypt made death pass over the homes of God's people; the bloody cross of Calvary makes death pass over the souls of God's people.
Blood Work is a powerful book that calls the reader to better understand why blood is such a integral, vile, beautiful necessity to the Christian faith. It is a book that calls the reader not only to understand, but also to marvel and to worship.
Usually people aren't comfortable with talking about blood. Just the image of blood can produce lightheadedness for some. It might be more "comfortable" actually if Christians just stopped talking about blood...But we can't. We must not. If we discard blood, namely, the blood of Christ, we lose everything about Christianity. Hebrews 9:22 tells us that without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins.
I undertook the challenge to read Anthony Carter's Blood Work, a book on "how the blood of Christ accomplishes our salvation." It's a very easy-to-read and short book, but a book, nonetheless, of incredible truth. One will seek in vain if he attempts to find just one page void of biblical reference or allusion. Carter fills his pages with biblical content on the precious blood of Christ. It was an absolute delight to read. In a sense, it felt more like a devotional. But at the same time, it worked like a systematic theology textbook covering the doctrine of salvation (soteriology). Perhaps that is its greatest strength: substantial, yet understandable.
The blood of Christ does much for those who believe. It purchases (chapter 2), propitiates (ch. 3), justifies (ch. 4), redeems (ch. 5), brings near (ch. 6), makes peace (ch. 7), cleanses (ch. 8), sanctifies (ch. 9), elects (ch. 10), ransoms (ch. 11), frees (ch. 12), and avails (ch. 13). When you look at the blood of Christ with this scope, you can easily see how vast and beyond measure it truly is. One can barely keep from singing after hearing of these truths. Which brings me to my next positive remark...
Blood Work is completely saturated with blood-themed songs and hymns. Some hymns are quite well-known and have been around for years. Others are quite new and diverse in genre. But as you will see upon reading Blood Work, Anthony Carter captures biblical truth after biblical truth by providing insightful songs in quotation. It was an interesting technique in writing about the blood of Christ in book format, but I was refreshed by it. Being a musician, I took great interest to these songs and even found a newfound respect for some songs I hadn't heard in quite a while.
One more significant positive remark to make concerning Blood Work is the illustrious mind of Anthony Carter. Every chapter displayed very vivid and applicable illustrations from all sorts of topics. The introduction itself is worth a read. I believe they were all designed to focus our attention on topic: the blood of Christ. Indeed illustrating doctrine is a special gift Carter possesses.
A major reason why I was interested in this book was more related to apologetic purposes, meaning that I was hoping the author would discuss the errors found in other religions, particularly ancient ones, regarding blood sacrifices. Christianity is a "bloody religion" as chapter one emphasizes, but there didn't seem to be much attention to some of the critical remarks that skeptics have made concerning Christianity being compared to ancient paganism because of the talk about blood. However, I would say that a particular section in the first chapter was very insightful concerning the "why" of Christ's blood (page 5ff). Thus, I walked away from this book with greater confidence in the validity and necessity of Christ's blood for salvation.
It might assumed that a book about Christ's blood would be for unbelievers as an evangelistic resource. Well, it could certainly be useful for that, but I would state clearly that this book was an incredible blessing to me, a Christian for several years. Every believer in Jesus would benefit from reading this book, I am convinced.
***Note: I wanted to say a special word of thanks to Reformation Trust Publishing for allowing me to review this book. I wasn't under any constraint to write a positive review. Here's their website if you're interested: [...]
- John Wiley
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