Sprinkling of the Blood

Question:

“Can you explain the ‘sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ’ as recorded in 1 Peter 1:2?”

Answer:

“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.”

          – 1 Peter 1:1, 2 (New American Standard Bible)

The apostle Peter writes to the Christians who are scattered throughout the Roman Empire. He calls these believers “chosen” and then briefly describes what that means. 

First, it means God is working in their lives as they were chosen by His foreknowledge. Second, it means they have been sanctified (set apart) by the Holy Spirit. Third, it means they have obeyed Jesus and been sprinkled by His blood (forgiven).

The sprinkling comes from many Old Testament texts that describes animal sacrifices such as Exodus 24:5 – 8 . . .

“He sent young men of the sons of Israel, and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls as peace offerings to the Lord. Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and the other half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. Then he took the book of the covenant and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, ‘All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient!’ So Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, and said, ‘Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.'”

Scripture passages such as this help us to understand the sprinkling Peter mentions. The blood was sprinkled on the altar as a symbol of its cleansing and sanctification. The blood was sprinkled on the people to show they had come under God’s covenant.

Therefore, the meaning of Peter’s words are clear. When a person obeys Jesus through faith, repents and is baptized by immersion, he or she is cleansed by the blood. Just as the sprinkling set apart the altar and the people under the old covenant, the blood of Jesus (symbolically sprinkled on the believer) sets that believer apart for God’s service. Since many of Peter’s readers would have been Jews before becoming Christians, they would quickly grasp his meaning here.

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