The cleansing power of the blood of Jesus
The blood of Jesus has two-fold cleansing power! Read how in this enlightening article.
The cleansing power of the blood of Jesus is two-fold. This is plainly evident from 1 John 1:7-9: “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
The first part: Cleansing from committed sin
The first part is the cleansing from all committed sin. This is dealt with in 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us …” The condition for forgiveness, for this kind of cleansing, is: confession of the sin we have committed, or in other words, a confession that I have walked in darkness (committed works of darkness). This is the forgiveness of sins that takes away all condemnation. This cleansing occurs in a moment. If we should commit a sin later on, we will not be accused or rejected; we will rather be defended by Jesus who is the atonement for our sins and who will again forgive us our sin if we confess it. (1 John 2:1-2.) However, the intention is that we shall not sin anymore but live a completely victorious life. (1 John 3:6-10.)
“Every sin that a man does is outside the body …” 1 Corinthians 6:18. We can therefore say that our body is being defiled outwardly when we commit a sin. Therefore it is possible to use the expression that is applied in Hebrews 10:22 when it concerns the forgiveness of sins: “Our bodies washed with pure water.” This corresponds to the one part of the cleansing agent that flowed from Jesus’ side as He hung on the cross of Calvary. (John 19:34.) The water that flowed from Jesus’ side was one part of the blood, the one part of the cleansing agent, designated for the one part of the two-fold cleansing.
Just as we in the natural are cleansed outwardly by water and inwardly by blood, so the one part of the blood of Jesus (which John called “water”) corresponds to the one kind, the outward, cleansing or the forgiveness of sins.
The second part: Inward cleansing
The other part is for the inward cleansing or sanctification which is a process that lasts throughout our lifetime.
This part of the cleansing power of the blood is referred to in 1 John 1:7-8. Unfortunately, it is much less known. People usually take verse 7 to indicate the forgiveness of sins, which taken in context together with the rest of the verse is totally meaningless.
The requirement for this cleansing is completely different from the requirement of partaking of the first cleansing: the forgiveness of sins. The requirement for this cleansing is: walking in the light as God is in the light!—that we do not commit works of darkness or, in other words, commit sin. For it is very easy to understand that if we walk in the light as He is in the light, then we do not commit sin and then we also do not need the forgiveness of sins.
This cleansing that is mentioned in 1 John 1:7 and which we need when we walk in the light—when we do not commit sin—must necessarily be a different kind of cleansing than the cleansing that was mentioned in the beginning. It is not a cleansing from committed sin, but from having sin, a cleansing not from every sin that a man can commit—the sin that is outside the body—but a cleansing from (a putting to death of) the sin that is indwelling, which is within the body, the sin that my conscious “I” has not executed (Romans 7:17),the sin in which my mind did not participate (Romans 7:25), the sin of which I am unaware beforehand, of which I am ignorant, over which I have no light and cannot control. This is the sin for which I know no law (Romans 7:15, first line; 1 Corinthians 4:4; Romans 4:15 and Romans 5:13), the sin into which I have not fallen because I was tempted (James 1:14-15), the sin which I by faithfully walking in the light (by not committing sin) get to see little by little, the sin that Paul calls “deeds of the body” in Romans 8:13 and that we put to death by the Spirit—the sin from which we are cleansed by the other part of the cleansing agent.
The power of the cross
Instead of saying the power of the blood of Jesus, we can just as well say the power of the cross, and we can say that it is two-fold. The one power proceeds from the fact that He was crucified for us, and the other, lesser known power is the power that proceeds from being crucified by faith with Him. The first power results in forgiveness. The second power results in victory and sanctification.
That the second cleansing (sanctification), not like the first cleansing (forgiveness) does not occur in a moment is evident with all desirable clarity and strength from 1 John 1:8: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
If God has richly blessed me and has given me (as the word says) more than victory so that I am not aware of anything that is wrong with me, so that I have a good conscience in every area, so that I live a happy life in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit and am currently unaware of any sin, but then want to say that I no longer have sin—that all sin in every sense and scope of the word has been taken away—then this scripture judges me most powerfully.
By walking in the light and by simultaneously being humble and truth-loving, we will, as time goes by, see much sin that we did not see before and from which the blood of Jesus shall also cleanse us. The blood of Jesus, God’s Son, cleanses us from all the sin that we gradually get to see in a constantly increasing light, as we acquiesce in the judgment of the light by putting to death the deeds of the body by the Spirit. This cleansing (salvation) is sanctification (Revelation 22:11), or growth up to Him who is the Head in all things, or being equipped for the work of ministry for all good works, or growth in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ—whereby we acquire the treasures of wisdom and knowledge that are hidden in Him.
This is the way of the cross, the way of self-denial, the way of suffering, the way of death, the way of truth, the way of righteousness, the way of love, the way of purity, the way of wisdom, and the way of life.
The blood of Jesus: Outward and inward cleansing!
There is, therefore, a two-fold cleansing power in the blood of Jesus. The one cleansing occurs in a moment. In one moment we receive, by faith, forgiveness for all the sins we have committed. The second cleansing is a continuing process by which we—by faith—are cleansed from all indwelling, unconscious sin—as we acknowledge it.
Compare this with Daniel 12:10! Outward washing with water. Inward purification by fire.
This article has been translated from Norwegian and was first published under the title “Blodets rensende kraft” (“The cleansing power of the blood”) in BCC’s periodical Skjulte Skatter (Hidden Treasures) in January 1933.
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Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, unless otherwise specified. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.