Christian Living

Covered by the Blood

Discover What the Bible Says

A man once asked me if I was covered by the blood. His request seemed earnest. I didn’t know him well, but we had had some prior interactions about faith and following Jesus. It seemed imperative to him that I say “yes.”

My answer shocked him. I said, “I’m not even sure what that means.” It sounded like some Christian jargon or a shorthand euphemism, but I knew not what. I also couldn’t recall reading the phrase covered by the blood in the Bible.

When I asked him to explain what he meant, he couldn’t. We both glanced at a third man in our trio, a minister. He didn’t respond. Either he didn’t know or wanted to let us work through it.

People sometimes ask me pointed questions like this. Occasionally their query is sincere, but other times it’s not. It’s a spiritual litmus test for them to judge me.

If I answer one way, they’ll accept me as one of their own, but if I answer the opposite way, they’ll dismiss me as someone they can’t associate with.

Though I didn’t realize it at the time, my failure to give a “yes” or “no” response was a nonanswer that left him in the quandary. Though I felt bad about my lack of an answer, I shouldn’t have.

Jesus often did this when people tested him, such as about the resurrection (Mark 12:18-27) or paying taxes (Luke 20:20-26). He’d respond in an unexpected way and give the people something to think about.

In a way, it seems I unintentionally did this when I admitted to not knowing what covered by the blood meant. And since he couldn’t explain it either, that got me off the hook from answering.

In a way, this is what Jesus did when the religious leaders questioned his authority (Mark 11:27-33).

Covered by the Blood

This happened many years ago, and though I didn’t have an answer for him then, I do now.

I would have told him “No.”

Let me explain.

As I suspected, the phrase covered by the blood doesn’t appear in the Bible.

In searching for verses that contain both the words covered and blood reveals only eight, all in the Old Testament. Though most aren’t relevant to the man’s question, the few that are relate to sacrifice.

Under Old Testament law, people needed to offer an annual sacrifice for their sins. This wasn’t a permanent solution but a temporary one.

Through the sacrifice—the shedding of blood—their sins were covered but only for the year.

This practice certainly anticipates Jesus coming as the ultimate sacrifice to take away our sins through him shedding his blood.

But Jesus does more than just cover our sins. He takes them away. He offers a permanent solution and not a temporary one (see Hebrews 10:1-4). The book of Hebrews covers this in depth, especially in chapter 9.

Justified by the Blood

If this man, however, had asked me if I was justified by the blood—that is, justified by the blood of Jesus—I’d have given him a different answer. I would have quite emphatically said, “Yes!”

This may seem like a matter of semantics, but there’s a distinction between covered by the blood and justified by the blood. And the distinction is significant.

Being covered by the blood is a temporary solution the Old Testament provides. Being justified by the blood is the New Testament fulfillment through Jesus.

As Jesus’s followers, his sacrifice to make us right with Papa is more than a temporary covering. It’s a permanent justification that saves us from the punishment we deserve (Romans 5:9).

When we follow Jesus, we are justified by the blood he shed.

Thank you, Jesus, for saving us!

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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