Book Review: “Blood Work” by Anthony Carter

Blood Work by Anthony Carter, Reformation Trust Publishing, 2013. $12.79. *

Christ’s blood, lest we forget, washes, redeems, saves, and pleads for us who have been born again by faith in Jesus. Anthony Carter’s short book Blood Work, deals a death blow to our forgetfulness with twelve chapters devoted to twelve specific benefits our Savior’s blood accomplishes for us. But Carter doesn’t just explain, he exults in Christ’s sacrifice; this is a book to help fuel a worshiping response to the Gospel. The truths here will help you fight sin, and fight for the high joys in God that He means to give us through the sacrifice of His Son.

“Our Bloody Religion”

The first chapter, “Our Bloody Religion,” reminds us that our Christian faith is a bloody faith. Bloodshed permeates Scripture from the earliest chapters – from God killing animals to clothe Adam and Eve, to Cain’s murder of his brother, to the wars between Israel and the pagan nations, to the sacrificial system, to the spilled blood of God’s Son – we can’t ignore the bloodshed if we’re faithful to the redemptive story the Bible tells. And Carter draws out the significance of this – when blood is shed it speaks, and cries out against the murderers responsible, and cries out for redemption from the sinful, bloody mess of the Fall. Ultimately, the Christian faith deals with the bloodshed and answers the cries with hope. God crushed His Son to provide the blood that would speak the better word (Heb. 12:24), that would fulfill what man owed God because of sin and the Fall. There’s pain in the history of our “bloody religion,” but the redemption from it is great because God Himself spared not His own Son to save us.

A Worshipful Book

If ever there was a book to inspire a heart to worship Christ, this would be one. Carter writes as a well-studied theologian, but also as a caring pastor and as a Christian who has deeply felt his own sin and his great salvation in Christ. Chapters 2-13 deal with the specific accomplishments of Christ’s blood. So if you’ve ever wondered, or wonder now why Christ had to shed blood on the cross, get into these chapters.

Carter explains how Jesus’ blood is a propitiation of God’s wrath; how His blood purchases us as God’s chosen people; how His blood justified, redeemed, brought us near, and ransomed us. And probably my favorite chapter, the last one explains how Christ’s blood avails for us, and the depths of what that means.

Sections of each chapter include verses of hymns as a response to what Carter just said in that section. The inclusion of the hymns are opportunities to respond to these glorious truths by reading the stanzas of poetry; and as I read, these were often exactly what my heart needed to complete the enjoyment of the chapters, and gave me words to sing after reading about what Christ has, and does accomplish for me, and for us. Again, the book doesn’t just explain, it exults in the blood of Christ. The book is so helpful in that it’s more than an intellectual treatise – it’s a book that will fuel your joy in Your Savior, and in His atonement for Your sins by His blood.

Carter says in chapter 6, about how Christ’s blood has brought us near,

“The blood of Christ gives us a home. The blood of Christ becomes the flag and color under which we stand. The blood of Christ takes those who were once strangers and makes them family. As the Bible says, we are ‘no longer strangers and aliens, but…fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God (Eph. 2:19). Simply put, the blood of Christ brings us near to God” (57).

*Sincere thanks to Reformation Trust Publishing for the free copy of the book to read and review.

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