For some strange reason many Christians seem to think God prefers the color black. It’s almost exclu­sively how they see themselves or God’s creation, and it’s usually what they wear or the only color approved for worship. But everyone bought with Christ’s blood should love red. No color more richly, vibrantly, and beautifully expresses the whole of our life—both in the flesh and in the Spirit. With this one color, God symbolizes our life in the earth, our sins in the flesh, His fierce wrath against sin, the precious means of atonement, and the joy of a redeemed life. Without red, life would not only be ugly, dreary, and dark. Life would be impossible.

God loves red and splendidly decorated His creation with it. Already on the first day the Eternal Master loaded His palette with red when He called forth light. Then for five days afterward He dipped brush in this crimson light and exquisitely touched creatures—the sky (Matt. 6:2), the earth, the stars of heaven, trees, flowers, fruits, beasts, and birds—all received a splash of red. Even man. His name means ‘red earth,’ reflecting in his very complexion and blood from whence he came, and returns. Not black, white, green, or blue made He blood, but red (II King 3:22).

Red symbolizes sin that flows from our flesh like blood. Red especially represents the hateful, murderous passions that often result in spilling of blood. Red is the color of profane Esau (Gen. 25:25) and the pottage for which he traded his birthright (Gen. 25:30). Red is the color of passions stirred up by wine when it is red, sparkles in the cup, and goes down smoothly (Prov. 23:31). Red is the unstoppable warhorse that gallops throughout history with its rider who takes peace from the earth so men kill each another (Rev. 6:4). Because he represents the hatred of Satan, that murderer from the beginning, the Anti­christ, is pictured as a great red dragon (Rev. 12:3). Red is also a picture of God’s wrath against sin. In the hand of the Lord there is a cup of red wine that He pours out, and the wicked shall drink its dregs (Ps. 75:8). Soon He comes from Bozrah with red garments stained with blood from treading the winepress in His fury (Is. 63:3).

God not only created red with light but made it the first color of the spectrum. This gives red surprising vis­ibility, so that it is used to stain, mark, and set things apart, as when Rahab’s house was designated for salvation by a scarlet thread (Josh. 2:18). It also teaches that we first see Christ the Light as red, being redeemed and made nigh by His blood (Eph. 2:13). We might find it shocking today, but in the Old Testament God prominently decorated His church with red. The entire ceiling of the tabernacle was dyed bright red, and scarlet was prominently woven into all the fabrics—walls, veil, door, and ephod—a picture that the red stain of sin is removed and fellowship with God is enjoyed only by violent shedding of Christ’s blood under His fiery wrath (Ex. 26:14; Ex. 28:1ff.). God has so done. As symbolized by an Old Testament ceremony, God took His red heifer outside the camp, slew Him, and sprinkled His blood on the church of His covenant (Num. 19). Therefore, though your sins be as scarlet, they are white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they are as wool (Is. 1:18).

Although the red stain of sin is removed, red also serves as a picture of the rich blessings the redeemed people of God enjoy now in the Spirit through the shedding of Christ’s blood. The church is the vineyard of the Lord that He waters and keeps night and day because it is full of red wine (Is. 27:2-3). Red are Judah’s eyes filled with that wine of the Spirit (Gen. 49:12). Until He comes we will continue to celebrate this cup of blessing, that except we drink we have no life because it is the communion of the blood of Christ (I Cor. 10:16; John 6:53). Red is the color of highest honor in His kingdom (Dan. 5:7; Rev. 18:16). It is the color of Christ’s kingly robe (Matt. 27:28). Therefore He clothes the daughters of Israel in scarlet (II Sam. 1:24). The virtuous women in His king­dom so clothe their children (Prov. 31:21). And the lips of the church He kisses are as scarlet threads (Song 4:3).

Red. For those redeemed and given boldness to enter into the holy place by the blood of Christ, red is a lovely, beautiful color.