2002-03-28 - The Blood of Christ
Eph 1:7-10 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, 8 which He lavished upon us. In all wisdom and insight 9 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him 10 with a view to an administration suitable to the fulness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things upon the earth. (NAS)
There are a lot of uncomfortable subjects that we as human beings avoid. The easiest to cite is our own mortality. Very few people - even believers who look forward to a glorious life with Christ after death - do not like to talk about death. Dying is seen either as painful or otherwise unpleasant, or even by some as a failure of sorts. It is simply the transition from this life into the next just as birth is a transition from the womb to this larger world.
There has been a considerable effort over the last decade or so by some to remove references to uncomfortable references from Christianity. References to the blood of the cross and the cross itself, to being soldiers in a spiritual battle, and others. These thoughts seem to offend the mature 21st century sensibilities of modern society. If we can package up Christianity and market the high ideals that were taught by Jesus Christ and His Disciples then we will have a much more palatable product to offer. To this I can only sigh and shake my head and wonder at how far we can miss the point.
Deut 21:22-23 "And if a man has committed a sin worthy of death, and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, 23 his corpse shall not hang all night on the tree, but you shall surely bury him on the same day (for he who is hanged is accursed of God), so that you do not defile your land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance. (NAS)
Christianity without the cross becomes simply a book full of good ideas for living. If the blood of Christ is an offense to society then so be it. The Gospel is a stumbling stone. It stares back in the face of our civility and strength and reminds us that we are so very wretched and frail. Our need of salvation was so great and our own ability to help ourselves so totally lacking that it required the intervention of the omnipotent God. It is the blood of Christ given freely as payment for the sin debt of mankind to satisfy the Law. It is the cross that signified the shame of sin and ignominy that Jesus came to bear for us when we could not do it ourselves and did not know that we needed help. It is His resurrection from death that broke the power of sin and death that had held mankind captive since the fall. Without the blood of Christ and the cross of Calvary there is no Christianity, no salvation as a gift of a loving God and no Heaven that waits for His children.
The cross is a powerful reminder of the awesome cost of sin and of our desperate need as sinners. The blood shed for us by Jesus is an unalterable reminder of the depth of His love for each one of us and mankind as a whole. When someone gets a glimpse of the depth and power of the blood of Christ given for our benefit it breaks hearts and changes lives. When we lose sight of that same blood of Christ we are like a ship without a rudder at the mercy of the wind.
Once a year the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies and sprinkle blood from the sacrifice on the Mercy Seat. The blood of lambs would cover the sins of the previous year. At Calvary Jesus Christ figuratively entered God's Throne Room with a bowl of His own blood. Jesus offered the perfect sacrifice and satisfied the Law for all time.
So I'll cherish the Old Rugged Cross,
Lord Jesus - Keep us mindful all year long of the mercy and grace shown to us through the marvelous power of the blood You gave for us so freely. Help us to put into perspective the awesome forgiveness and love you showed to us and the need this world has for that love. If we can be channels of that forgiveness and grace, the world will be rocked to it's foundations. Amen.
Grace & Peace,