What Does "Blood of Christ" Mean?

Flagellation of Christ
Flagellation of Christ. Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary. Getty Images/Pascal Deloche

We often hear Christians talking about the Blood of Christ, and to those that don't understand its symbolic meaning, it can sound like a scene out of a horror film. It doesn't exactly evoke thoughts of a loving God, right? But when we get down to the symbolic meaning of Blood of Christ, it becomes a far more significant and meaningful thing.

The Literal Meaning

Christ died on a cross. We know this for a fact, so how does his blood play into it? Didn't most people who hung on crosses die of suffocation? The suffocation part is true, but Jesus did shed blood on the cross. He shed blood as the nails were hammered through his hands and feet. He shed blood from the crown of thorns shoved on his head. He shed blood when the centurions pierced his side. There is a literal part of the term that truly means that Jesus shed blood when he died. But when we talk about the blood of Christ, we often take the meaning far beyond a literal idea of blood. We tend to mean something far more symbolic than the actual red stuff. It goes deeper and takes on a whole new meaning.

The Symbolic Meaning

Yet when most Christians talk about the blood of Christ, they are talking about the figurative, or symbolic, meaning rather than actual, physical blood. Christ shed his blood and died on the cross for our sins. When we talk about the blood of Christ, we're talking about the act of dying that leads to our redemption. The concept can be tied back to the sacrifice of animals on an altar to atone for the sins of the people. Well, Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice for our sin. Christians don't talk about sacrificing animals for sin because Jesus paid that ultimate price -- once and for all.

Ultimately, the blood of Christ is the price that was paid for our freedom. God is under no false assumptions that we are perfect. He could have just destroyed all of us, but instead, He chose to give us the gift of redemption. He could have washed his hands of all humanity, but He loved us and His son paid the price for us. There is power in that blood. We are cleaned and purified by Christ's death. So when we talk about the blood of Christ, we're talking about one of the most powerful acts proving God's love for mankind.

The blood of Christ is not to be taken lightly. Both the literal and figurative meanings behind the blood of Christ carry some heavy meaning. We need to take the sacrifice of Jesus on a cross as the amazingly weighty thing it is. Yet, when we trust in God, when we realize how significant the sacrifice was, it can actually be freeing and make our days seem that much lighter.

What the Blood of Christ Does

So what is it that the blood of Christ does? Christ didn't just die on the cross and leave it at that. When we talk about the blood of Christ, we talk about it as an active thing. It's constantly a presence in our lives. It's active and powerful. Here are some things Christians believe the Blood does for each of us:

  • Redeems us from sin
  • Purifies our hearts and minds
  • Frees us and helps us overcome temptations
  • Releases us from a reliance on acts to save us
  • Gives us eternal life with Christ
  • Saves us from the wrath of God
  • Allows us to be forgiven for our sins
  • Brings us peace
  • Protects us from the effects of sin
  • Gives us confidence
  • Cleanses us of our sins
  • Clears our conscious
  • Brings us closer to God
  • Reminds us that every day is a gift
  • Protects us in times of need
  • Provides us with power over evil
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Your Citation
Mahoney, Kelli. "What Does "Blood of Christ" Mean?" Learn Religions, Aug. 27, 2020, learnreligions.com/what-does-blood-of-christ-mean-712287. Mahoney, Kelli. (2020, August 27). What Does "Blood of Christ" Mean? Retrieved from https://www.learnreligions.com/what-does-blood-of-christ-mean-712287 Mahoney, Kelli. "What Does "Blood of Christ" Mean?" Learn Religions. https://www.learnreligions.com/what-does-blood-of-christ-mean-712287 (accessed June 2, 2023).