The Bonds of Blood

How many of you remember watching western movies when the white man and Indian reached an agreement? They sealed their agreement to live in peace with one another by becoming blood brothers. In our youth, young fellas cut fingers or palms of our hands and lashed our two bleeding members together with another, letting our blood intermingle. Later, I remember the scene being replayed in an airing of The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams[i] (depicted above). This blood covenant has its roots back many centuries, long before watching it play out at the movies in the 50s, 60s, and 70s.

Reading the book of John this week, the Holy Spirit reminded me of how as a young boy, I did this with friends on the playground. Many, whose names have been lost to the ages. We never realized the serious nature of what we were doing. Our imitation, however, is steeped in spiritual importance. A blood oath makes a covenant, which is a most serious relationship in the Bible.

God’s covenants with man are never broken. #Truth #BondsOfGrace #HisBloodForgivesOurSins Share on X

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, a blood brotherhood[ii] is the act of binding persons together in a fashion analogous to, but distinct from, kinship ties. Other forms of fictive kinship include adoption and godparenthood. I’m okay with all but one word of that definition, “fictive.” There is nothing assumed, fake, or pretended about my kinship with Christ. God’s Word proves it! Romans 8:14-17 tell us that as Christians, we have become adopted sons and daughters of God; joint heirs with Christ, who now lives in us.

Our blood covenant with God was made through our covering of Christ’s sacrificed blood (Romans 5:9, Ephesians 1:7). #HisBloodForgivesOurSins #Adoption #HeirsWithChrist Share on X

A blood covenant is perhaps the most binding form of agreement, in that it implies we are pledging our very lives on the promise that we’ll honor the agreement we make. In days long past, a blood covenant, when broken, resulted in the forfeiture of one’s life. Thinking about these facts, I came to the realization that if I am a joint heir with Christ, if I have been adopted into God’s royal family, then I am related to every true Christian man and woman in the world. What a sobering revelation that was for me. I realized that all too often, I don’t think about that truth.

Oh, I pray for my church family each day. I ask God’s protection, provision, and other blessings for my Christian friends around the world who I know pray for me and my family also. But what about those who are in the family of God that I can’t call by name? What about the folks in Europe who are under ever-increasing persecution as their government’s abandon them in favor of adopting a more “Woke” worldview? And what about those Christians in predominantly Muslim or communist countries who risk their lives to live as Christians?

Want to bring it even closer to home? What about the new family who has been visiting your church for the past few weeks? Or maybe there’s that new Christian who sits by themselves near the back of the church, struggling to figure out how to live their new Christian life? Have you taken the time to seek them out before or after service; or taken a few moments to learn their names and answer any questions they might have? So often, we get so wrapped up in our own little “universe of friends” that we fail to notice anyone or anything that is not within our orbit. My friends, if they’re Christian or are awaiting the opportunity to become one, we need to extend God’s hand of friendship and fellowship to them.

I’m not suggesting we unequally yoke ourselves to unbelievers by condoning their lifestyles and life choices, but we do have the responsibility to be Ambassadors of Christ to everyone. It is when they see Christ in us that we can share Christ with them. We can’t do that when we refuse to engage because of preconceived notions or even fear.

Mama often reminded us, “Greet the world with a smile, because you never know when you’re going to be entertaining an angel.” How wise she has proven herself throughout most of my life. I have found friends for reasons, seasons, and a few for a lifetime because I took Mama’s advice and smiled upon meeting a stranger.

Back to the point of what I learned this week. Because we Christians are covered by the blood of the Lamb and adopted into God’s family, we are indeed blood kin. His shed blood that covers our sins is the same for each of us. In that sense, we are all intermingled with Him and share a common bloodline with the entire family of God.

What a wonderful peace is found in knowing that I am cleansed by the blood of the Lamb as I live each day in the light of His love. First John 1:7 gives me the assurance of knowing I am cleansed by the shed blood of His Son.

“But if we walk in the light as He is in the light,
we have fellowship with one another, and the
blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from
all sin.”
(1 John 1:7, NKJV)

As we go through this week, let us remember that we are part of a family much larger than our immediate family, church, city, county, state, or nation. We are part of the family of God; and that means we have family everywhere. Let’s begin to live like it and pray for our family members we are yet to meet. One day soon, you’ll realize there are no strangers in heaven. Let us live today in the same way we plan to live out eternity.

God’s blessings,

[i] “The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams” Blood Brothers (TV Episode 1977) – IMDb

[ii] Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopedia (2008, July 15). blood brotherhood. Encyclopedia Britannica.


46 thoughts on “The Bonds of Blood”

  1. I never knew our blood pledges were rooted in kinship but that makes sense. What a great reminder that we are family and should treat one another as such. This was a huge part of the early church’s Good News. You are part of God’s family, our family.

    1. Yes ma’am. It’s a pleasure to be related to you. I can tell folks I have a niece who is a world-class athlete! 😀 How’s she doing by the way? All healed up I pray.

  2. I am so thankful that Christ shed the blood and gave us a covenant with God. He did it all. His blood covers both sides of the covenant because if left up to us it would be broken. We do need to lift up those in other countries in our prayers. There are so many who suffer because of their faithfulness to Christ. And I do see many new faces in my church after being gone for 2 years. I am still learning to put these names with the faces I see. Thanks for sharing this important reminder of our blood covenant.

  3. I love the way you presented those foundational and overt truths about the blood, J.D. I’m glad we don’t have to slice our hands and strap them to one another to be brothers. I’m happy to have gotten it done the way Jesus made possible. It’s less physically painful, and it outlasts every other earthly commitment we make.
    There’s thing I found most compelling personally about your insightful post was the way it counteracts this culture’s obsession about race. Every day, the race-baiters are out there fomenting and inflaming racial division. They want to make you and me someone’s enemy because we’re considered to be white. Your piece was a powerful reminder that the blood that flows underneath our skin and that keeps us all alive is the same. It’s not the color of our skin that sustains our life and makes us who we are, it’s what’s underneath. You encouraged me this morning not to let myself be corralled into thinking and acting like I’m at war with those whose appearance is different from mine. We’re all hopeless sinners and condemned forever unless the blood of Jesus Christ covers all that and births us into His family. It’s pretty exciting to know that we have brothers and sisters of every skin color and every set of facial features that exist. Someone who thinks I’m his or her enemy today could be part of my forever family tomorrow.
    And by the way, it was really fun taking those nostalgic excursions into the Westerns that I grew up on. Still, the best part was the reminder that I get to call you Brother, without having to break out the box of Bandaids. 🙂

    1. So true Mr. Ron. Everything about this world (Satan-controlled) is fake and proves itself to be opposite of what God and His Word teaches. Cheap imitations can never replace the real thing, and you sir are living proof of that. Where God unites, Satan subverts calls for unity to become divisive calls are inequality and bias. And if truth be told, he has done it in every race and culture; it is not one-sided as the world wants folks to believe.

      I too am so grateful I’m related to all y’all and did not have to mutilate or bleed myself to become so. I can’t help but hum a few bars of “Jesus Paid it All” today.

  4. I enjoyed this J.D., not just because it was well written, which it was, but also you broadened the picture (and maybe Europe had a bit to do with it!). But there are so many beyond our borders whose Christianity is under a microscope and persecution. Thanks for the reminder of Jesus’ blood which makes us family.

  5. Because of His blood shed for us, Jesus has made us all His family. Let us cling to that knowledge as we encounter our brothers and sisters each and every day, those we know, and those we have yet to know. May we remember to pray for our fellow Christians, too.
    Blessings, J. D.!

  6. We’re all part of God’s family. I think we sometimes forget the responsibility of belonging to His family. Your message is a powerful reminder to love one another, pray for our family, and remember God’s promises. Thank you, my friend.

  7. I love the truths you presented here, J.D. I never thought much about the “blood brothers” bloodletting in light of the blood sacrifice required for the remission of sin, but it makes sense. Thank you for the reminder to be inclusive of all the family of God. You’re a blessing!

  8. What a powerful post, brother JD! It’s good to remember the power of the blood of Jesus and why it’s so precious to us. It cleanses us from our sins, it heals our bodies, and it protects us from Satan and his demonic forces. Because of His shed blood, He made a way for us to have our relationship restored with Father God, in whose sight we are now justified and clothed in His righteousness. We are saved, sealed, and delivered because of His blood. Thank you, Jesus, for Your willingness to go to the cross, shed Your blood, and die for our sins. Thank you, God, for resurrecting Your Son on the third day. Amen!

    1. Amen and Amen dear sister! We sometimes seem to take all Christ did for us, all God did for us for granted, don’t we? Am so glad you enjoyed the post. I can almost see you standing there with a big smile and hands raised.

  9. Candyce Carden

    I never participated in the “blood brothers” ritual as a child, but I knew of it — perhaps from reading childhood adventure stories? Thanks for teaching me the meaning and significance of our blood covenant with God.

  10. I so appreciated this post, J.D. We have church family in places we don’t even know. I loved your Mama’s quote. It also made me think of how many we “smile” at who may yet come to know the Lord. May our smiles convey the love and grace of Jesus to those around us. 🙂

  11. Great reminders, J.D.
    I’m thankful Jesus was not fearful of reaching out to those who looked and acted vastly different than Him. He did not fear persecution because He spoke and touched people the rest of society had shunned. What an example for us to follow–and it’s only possible because Jesus first reached out to us.

    1. Amen Ms. Sally. In that same way ma’am, we should be bold in our evangelism efforts also. We don’t have to be “in your face” bold, but we must never be ashamed of sharing the good news of the gospel of Christ. Perhaps the best way to do that is to live it out in our lives.

  12. Yvonne Morgan

    Thank you my brother. We are sealed as family by the blood of our Savior. Your words are a wonderful reminder of this important message.

  13. JD, thanks for this reminder of the seriousness and holiness of being a part of the family of God. We have brothers and sisters all over the world! I’m so glad you and Diane are ones I know through this amazing blog.

  14. Love your mama’s quote about greeting with a smile and entertaining angels. My dad loved to watch westerns when he was alive, movies like John Wayne. But the most intriguing thing about this post is the blood oath. Isn’t it mind-blowing how the Lord makes a blood oath with us through the spotless blood of the Lamb!

    1. Oh, it absolutely is Ms. Karen. When we stop to consider all that God gave to ransom us, it can be (and should be) overwhelming. I never witnessed this but have heard stories of fellow soldiers who jumped atop a live grenade to save others from certain death. While John 15:13 most certainly applies to their selfless and heroic actions, I remind myself that it also applies to each one of us Christians. We must be willing to surrender our lives for our friend and brother, Jesus Christ. It is in doing so that we honor His sacrifice for us, so that we might become adopted into His family. Thank you so much for commenting ma’am.

  15. I’m so thankful to be adopted into God’s family , saved by the blood of the Lamb. This is an Easter message for us all! And I love what your Mama said about greeting each person with a smile!

  16. First, I love the thought of being part of your family, J.D. Warms my heart that I know I could come to your ranch on any given day, and I would be greeted with joy and hospitality as if you knew me. Second, your topic reminded me of my blood sister Suzy, whom I haven’t thought about in a long time. We found a dirty piece of glass and scratched our legs sitting next to the ditch and became blood sisters. It’s a wonder we didn’t get tetanus or at least an infection! Nonetheless, the bond of blood is a lifelong commitment. Jesus shed his blood in order to provide us a connection to eternal life. “Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.”

    1. I’ve long considered you and Mr. Parky family Ms. Karen, and if y’all are ever in northeast Texas, Ms. Diane and I would be plumb hurt if y’all didn’t stop by for supper and a visit. “Blood sister”? I didn’t even know girls did such a thing. I thought girls only dealt with traveling pants. LOL

      I so love the words of that song my friend. Knowing that God loved us enough to bankrupt heaven to reconcile our sinful selves to Him, oh what joy that brings.

  17. We know so much more about the power and significance of blood today. I like how you connected blood brothers to the covenant Christ made with us. He will never break His covenant. I called my favorite grandmother Mama. Loved what yours said. “Greet the world with a smile, because you never know when you’re going to be entertaining an angel.”

    1. Thank you Ms. Debbie. Am so appreciative that this post brought wonderful memories to your mind. God’s blessings ma’am. And I can’t wait to be introduced to your “Mama” one day ma’anm.

  18. Alemae A. Laurente

    Hello Sir J.D and Ma’am Diane , 🙂 this is Demple. I’m so blessed with the message from the word of God. indeed, Jesus is the reason we became united because of the blood that was shed. we Christians the bible says ,that the Lord will use us to reconcile people to the Lord so it is important to share about Christ .Romans 5:10, “For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” and Romans 5:8, “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;
    ….we must share the love of Jesus 🙂

    1. So great to see you commenting here Miss Demple, soon to be Ma’am Ungang. 😀 Thank you so much for your comments; what a blessing it is to know we are family together with the Lord Jesus Christ. Such an important point you make. As children of God, Satan is our enemy but not man. We must remember that before our salvation we were as much an enemy of God as that sinful person next door, or on the other side of Cebu. They are not our enemy, but far too often we treat sinners as our enemies rather than the lost souls who are yet to find Christ for themselves. As Christians, our job is to love them with Christ’s love so they might see Him in us, thereby helping to lead them to His saving grace. Amen ma’am.

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