Life is in the blood (Leviticus 17:11).
Usually people aren’t comfortable with talking about blood. Just the image of blood can produce lightheadedness for some. It might be more “comfortable” actually if Christians just stopped talking about blood…But we can’t. We must not. If we discard blood, namely, the blood of Christ, we lose everything about Christianity. Hebrews 9:22 tells us that without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins.
I undertook the challenge to read Anthony Carter’s Blood Work, a book on “how the blood of Christ accomplishes our salvation.” It’s a very easy-to-read and short book, but a book, nonetheless, of incredible truth. One will seek in vain if he attempts to find just one page void of biblical reference or allusion. Carter fills his pages with biblical content on the precious blood of Christ. It was an absolute delight to read. In a sense, it felt more like a devotional. But at the same time, it worked like a systematic theology textbook covering the doctrine of salvation (soteriology). Perhaps that is its greatest strength: substantial, yet understandable.
The blood of Christ does much for those who believe. It purchases (chapter 2), propitiates (ch. 3), justifies (ch. 4), redeems (ch. 5), brings near (ch. 6), makes peace (ch. 7), cleanses (ch. 8), sanctifies (ch. 9), elects (ch. 10), ransoms (ch. 11), frees (ch. 12), and avails (ch. 13). When you look at the blood of Christ with this scope, you can easily see how vast and beyond measure it truly is. One can barely keep from singing after hearing of these truths. Which brings me to my next positive remark…
Blood Work is completely saturated with blood-themed songs and hymns. Some hymns are quite well-known and have been around for years. Others are quite new and diverse in genre. But as you will see upon reading Blood Work, Anthony Carter captures biblical truth after biblical truth by providing insightful songs in quotation. It was an interesting technique in writing about the blood of Christ in book format, but I was refreshed by it. Being a musician, I took great interest to these songs and even found a newfound respect for some songs I hadn’t heard in quite a while.
One more significant positive remark to make concerning Blood Work is the illustrious mind of Anthony Carter. Every chapter displayed very vivid and applicable illustrations from all sorts of topics. The introduction itself is worth a read. I believe they were all designed to focus our attention on topic: the blood of Christ. Indeed illustrating doctrine is a special gift Carter possesses.
A major reason why I was interested in this book was more related to apologetic purposes, meaning that I was hoping the author would discuss the errors found in other religions, particularly ancient ones, regarding blood sacrifices. Christianity is a “bloody religion” as chapter one emphasizes, but there didn’t seem to be much attention to some of the critical remarks that skeptics have made concerning Christianity being compared to ancient paganism because of the talk about blood. However, I would say that a particular section in the first chapter was very insightful concerning the “why” of Christ’s blood (page 5ff). Thus, I walked away from this book with greater confidence in the validity and necessity of Christ’s blood for salvation.
It might assumed that a book about Christ’s blood would be unbelievers as an evangelistic resource. Well, it could certainly be useful for that, but I would state clearly that this book was an incredible blessing to me, a Christian for several years. Every believer in Jesus would benefit from reading this book, I am convinced.
***Note: I wanted to say a special word of thanks to Reformation Trust Publishing for allowing me to review this book. I wasn’t under any constraint to write a positive review. Here’s their website if you’re interested: http://www.ligonier.org/reformation-trust/