How Does Blood Make Me “White as Snow?”

The Christian religion puts a lot of emphasis on the blood of Jesus. Depending on what church you go to, you are asked to remember the death of Jesus by taking communion daily, weekly, monthly. Again, depending on what church you go to, you will told that this wine actually becomes the blood of Jesus – or is just a representation of the blood of Jesus.

Growing up in my church we often sang songs about the blood of Jesus.

What can wash away my sins, nothing but the blood of Jesus.

There is power in the blood of Jesus.

Oh the blood of Jesus, oh the blood of Jesus, oh the blood of Jesus. It washes white as snow.

To be honest as a child I wondered how blood could make something white as snow. In our culture, we see blood as a stain. If we cut our finger and get blood on our clothes we immediately try to wash it out before it leaves a stain.

The Old Testament is full of the concept of using blood to cleanse. All the animal sacrifices were said to cover the people’s sins. Blood was to be sprinkled on a person with leprosy and on homes with mildew or mold. It was sprinkled on the priests as they began their ministry in the Temple.

The New Testament speaks often of the blood of Jesus making us clean and in the last book of the Bible we are told

they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

While I never understood how blood makes something white, I did believe that the death of Jesus somehow cleansed me from sin.

Recently I read a wonderful book called “In His Image.” The book is co-authored by two doctors who worked in India, one of them with the leprosy colony. Their description of the function of blood in our body is amazing.

When the writers of the Bible referred to the cleansing properties of blood, they had no knowledge of our body and how blood serves us. But, of course, God did.

Modern medical science has shown how using blood as a symbol of cleansing is so accurate when seen in our body.

The writers of the book suggest if you want to see the power of blood as a cleaning agent to put a blood pressure cuff on your arm, pump it up until it is as tight as possible and wait. After a few minutes of being uncomfortable, try to pick up a pencil or cut a piece of paper. They note that after a few minutes you not only will not be able to do those tasks, you will be in terrible pain. When you release the cuff and the blood comes rushing back in, you will find relief from the pain and you can function again.

The pain, they say, comes because you forced your muscles to keep working without any blood supply. As our muscles work, they produce waste products that are flushed away by the blood. When the blood was not allowed to flow through your arm, these waste products began to build up and you had pain from the toxins not removed by the blood.

The authors describe how our blood circulates through our body carrying toxins to our liver and kidneys to be removed and to our lungs so we can exhale the carbon dioxide and rid our body of this poison.

This example of how blood cleanses our body from toxins, is a great example of how the blood of Jesus does “wash us white as snow.” As we accept the forgiveness of Jesus, his sacrifice on Calvary cleanse us from the waste products we call sin. These sins are to our spirit like toxins to our body. If we do not get rid of them we will be poisoned spiritually just as our body would be if blood stopped flowing through our system.

The writers say:

Too often we tend to view sin as a private list of grievances that happen to irk God the Father, and in the Old Testament He seems easily irritated. But even a casual reading of the Old Testament shows that sin is a blockage, a paralyzing toxin that restricts our realization f our full humanity….Pride, egotism, lust and covetousness are simply poisons that interfere with our relationship to God and other people. Sin results in separation from God, other people, and our true selves.

I would encourage you to get this book “In His Image” by Dr. Paul Brand and Philip Yancey. They share more insights into how marvelous our body is and how it points to the image of God.

Whatever Happened to the Blood?

Growing up in a conservative church background we sang a lot of songs about the blood:

  • There is Power in the Blood
  • Oh the Blood of Jesus
  • What Can Wash Away My Sins? (Nothing but the Blood of Jesus)
  • The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power

I hear less and less songs about the blood.  Many seemed to think such songs “turn off” people we are trying to reach.  The very thought of being washed in blood is, honestly, a little strange.  When I turn on my shower I would be horrified to see blood instead of water coming from the shower head.  And who would wash their white tops in blood and expect them to come out sparkling clean.

On the surface it is a silly concept.

Yet when the Bible was written little was known scientifically about blood.  Everything the Bible said about it was in opposition to scientific knowledge.

For instance, throughout the Bible we are told that the life is in the blood.  Yet, until just a few hundred years ago doctors would bleed patients thinking losing blood would cure them.

Recently reading a book by Dr. Paul Brand and Philip Yancey, In His Image, it was interesting to see how science has discovered the cleansing power of blood.

Such a pipeline exists inside each one of us, servicing one hundred trillion cells in the human body.  An endless supply of oxygen, amino acids, nitrogen, sodium, potassium,…surges past our cells, carried on blood cell rafts or suspended in the fluid….that same pipeline ferries away refuse, exhaust gases, and worn-out chemicals….The components of this circulatory system cooperate to accomplish a simple goal:  nourishing and cleansing each living cell…Every cell in every body lives at the mercy of blood.

We just finished celebrating Easter where much is said about the blood of Jesus being shed and his death that followed.  But, again that blood was shed not for death – but for life.

It is not true that blood represents life to the surgeon but death to the Christian.  Rather, we come to the table also to partake of His life.  Christ came not just to give us an example of a way of life but to give us life itself.  Spiritual life if not ethereal and outside us, something that we must work hard to obtain; it is in us, pervading us, as blood is in every living being.

I can not do justice to this excellent book that uses the science of our body to better understand what it means to be made in the image of God.  It is worth your checking out.