We Live in a Blood-Bought World

Good Friday is a reminder that Jesus doesn’t just save individuals—he saves the world.

Recently, my wife and I were doing paperwork, and she revealed an entire folder stuffed with paid medical bills.

“Just in case,” she explained, “someone wants to claim we didn’t pay up.” I was impressed by her attention to detail—especially as someone who is wont to throw away unneeded mail. Yet these invoices were far too significant to be discarded.

Similarly, we tend to cast off tradition over time because we forget what it signifies. In the case of Good Friday, this prompts us to ask: why have we not yet fully thrown away this particular receipt? What is signified by the death of Christ?

The Heidelberg Catechism, authored by Zacharias Ursinus and published in 1563, explaining the meaning of the Apostles’ Creed, answers thus:

37. Q. What do you confess when you say that He suffered?

A. During all the time He lived on earth, but especially at the end, Christ bore in body and soul the wrath of God against the sin of the whole human race. Thus, by His suffering, as the only atoning sacrifice, He has redeemed our body and soul from everlasting damnation, and obtained for us the grace of God, righteousness, and eternal life.

It continues:

40. Q. Why was it necessary for Christ to humble Himself even unto death?

A. Because of the justice and truth of God’s satisfaction for our sins could be made in no other way than by the death of the Son of God.

Few modern pens can match the brilliance of these succinct words, shallow enough for children to wade in yet deep enough for theologians to plunge their depths. In short, we may summarize: Christ died “for our sins” (1 Corinthians 15:3) to “bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).

This is what is printed on the receipt, and it’s where many of us stop. And thus we store the statement in our folders tucked neatly onto our shelves, from which we may pull it out in case of emergency, should we ever undergo doctrinal interrogation. But there is gloriously more to the death of Christ than the salvation of individual souls, as crucial (pun intended) as that is.

Jesus’ work on our behalf saves the world (John 3:17). It purchases every nation for God (Revelation 5:9, 11:15), ransoming them from the dominion of the evil one. It undoes the reign of sin in the world so that now grace might reign through righteousness unto life (Romans 5:21). The cross is our Triune God’s mysterious opening salvo of his victorious campaign, over which flies the banner: “Behold, I am making all things new” (Revelation 21:5).

To put it another way: the reason Jesus is Lord of all, now wielding all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18), is because his lifeblood procured the deed to the entire cosmos. Thus, had you been on earth on that dark Friday of old, though you wouldn’t have felt any different the next day, unbeknownst to you, you would have just effectively lived through the most massive regime change ever conceived. Since the Son of God cried out “It is finished” and the veil was rent in two 2,000 years ago, we have lived in a “Christian” world—not in the sense that all believe or are all saved, but in the sense that it is no longer dominated by the “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:3) or the “prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2) but by him who bought it at the price of his life.

Brothers and sisters: on this Good Friday, remember that Planet Earth is not the possession of the pagan religions that keep the Majority World ensnared in darkness, nor of the global elite who aspire to deific greatness, nor of the drain-circling chaos of morally unmoored societies in full decay, nor of the hordes of Hell. We live in a blood-bought world. Jesus Christ has inscribed his sanguine signature on its deed, and his commission to us is to assert his crown rights among all the nations—discipling them, baptizing them, and training them in obedience to his benevolent rule. We have every right to warn kings (Psalm 2:10), teach nations (Matthew 28:19-20), and plead with the wicked to forsake their way because our marching orders come from their Owner.

Just as the Apostle Paul tells the Corinthians that their lives are not their own but they were bought with a price (1 Corinthians 16:19-20), the same is true of our world; it is not its own but was purchased by another. Good Friday is the receipt. Stand firm in the boldness of the Savior’s world-winning blood.