The Blood of Christ & The Church of Christ: A Parallel
Christ shed his own blood (Matthew 26.28a). We may properly refer to it as the blood of Christ. Let us consider some lessons from this phrase, “the blood of Christ,” as it applies to Christ’s church.
Jesus said the shedding of his blood was going to be for the remission of sins (Matthew 26.28b). Paul stated that Jesus shed his blood to purchase the church (Acts 20.28). These purposes are one and the same, because those in his church are those who have had their sins remitted. To have one’s sins remitted is to be in Christ’s church. There is a connection between the two and lessons to be learned from that connection, one of which is the proper and improper concepts of Christ’s church.
Jesus foretold of the shedding of his blood by saying that he was going to “build” his church (Matthew 16.18). This “building” was also connected to the remission of man’s sins, because his blood had to be shed before the sins would be remitted (Hebrews 9.22), and before the church would be purchased (Acts 20.28). The church being “built” and being “purchased” mean one and the same thing, because the blood was shed for that purpose.
If Christ was to speak beforehand of the shedding of his blood in the manner in which he spoke of building his church, he would have said, “I will shed my blood,” as he said, “I will build my church.” We know this to be accurate, because he spoke beforehand of the purchasing of the church with his blood in this way. If we were to refer to Christ’s blood, we could express it in a number of ways: “Christ’s blood,” the “blood of Christ,” or “the blood belonging to Christ.” Since Christ was God in nature (John 1.1), it would be proper to refer to his blood as the “blood of God,” as long as we understood that it was the Son, not the Father, who shed blood.
There are lessons to be learned about Christ’s church through an analogy of the church and the blood. Christ shed his blood for the world (“for God so loved the world” (John 3.16)). But would it be proper to refer to Christ’s blood as “the blood of the world”? The church began on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2.1,41). But would it be proper to refer to Christ’s church as the “Pentecost church,” naming the church after the day? There was a response from those who desired remission of sins on this same day (Acts 2.38,41). That response was repentance and baptism in water. But would it be proper to refer to Christ’s blood as the “blood of repentance,” or the “repentance blood” simply because those on the day of Pentecost responded in repentance (v. 41)? Likewise, does it seem proper to refer to Christ’s blood as the “baptism blood” or the “blood of baptism” because those on the day of Pentecost submitted to baptism?
Would these designations of Christ’s blood be proper? Again, whose blood is it? Christ did speak beforehand of purchasing, or building, his church. He said, “I will build my church” (Matthew 16.18). As we would refer to Christ’s blood in the manner shown above, we would refer to Christ’s church in like manner. We would say, “Christ’s church,” the “church of Christ,” or “the church belonging to Christ.”
Those who have had their sins remitted are to follow a pattern or method in how they worship, and in how they are to work together in spreading the gospel and in the work of building up and strengthening one another. But is it in order for the church to be called after the method (i.e., “the method church”)?
There is a pattern or method to follow in how those purchased by Christ’s blood are to be fed and protected (Acts 20.17,28), but is it in order for the blood/church to be called after its leaders, such as the “elders church”? Would these designations seem in order? Again, whose church is it? Let us remember the words of the apostles Paul and John:
…in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
…in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins…”
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 cleanseth us from all sin.
1 John 1.7