Yesterday on the radio we interviewed Ron Carlson who does lots of work in the area of apologetics. He mentioned that during a visit to New Zealand, he met some sheep ranchers who told him a most unusual story. In large herds of sheep, a mother ewe sometimes dies while giving birth to a lamb. And it's not unusual for a mother to give birth to a stillborn lamb. The ranchers then try to match the orphan sheep with the ewes whose babies had been stillborn. But it would not work because the mothers identified their children by their smell, and when the orphan sheep were brought around, the mothers would not allow them to come near.
In those cases the ranchers would take the blood of the lamb that had died at birth and smear it on the fleece of the orphan sheep. When the lamb was brought to the mother, she would receive it as her own because she would smell the blood, sense it as her own lamb, and allow it to nurse and feed.
That is what the death of Christ accomplishes for us. If we in our own merits come to God, we will be turned away because we are not the children of God by nature. We are by nature the children of wrath. But if we come in the name of Jesus, trusting completely in the great Lamb of God (John 1:29) who gave himself for us, we are covered with his blood. And because the blood of God's Lamb covers us, we are welcomed into God's family forever.
The Lord knows his own because they are covered by the blood of his Son.
"You were redeemed . . . with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect" (1 Peter 1:18-19).