Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Power of the Blood

God designed blood to deliver oxygen and nutrition to your cells; without it your limbs and organs die. Your white cells are uniquely qualified to act as a "militia", attacking harmful bacteria that could otherwise kill you. And your physical body illustrates the function of Jesus' blood in the church, which is His body. Paul says, "A body is made up of many parts, and each… has its own use. That's how it is with us… we are… part of the body of Christ, as well as… of one another" (Romans 12:4-5 CEV).

Regardless of morality, maturity or rank, we all need the sin-cleansing, life-giving power of the blood. Without it we have no proof of our son-ship. Just as a doctor draws blood to verify who your earthly father is, the blood of Jesus makes us "[sons and] heir[s], with complete access to [our spiritual] inheritance" (Galatians 4:7 TM). Strength and nourishment, plus every promise and blessing, flow to us today through the blood of Jesus. And Satan hates it because not only does it redeem us, it "makes our consciences clear… we can serve… God and no longer do things that lead to death" (Hebrews 9:14 CEV).

One Christian teacher writes: "We've toned down our teaching of the blood… We've learned about the Spirit… but failed to teach about the blood. Consequently we've produced a generation of believers who are empowered by the Spirit but don't feel forgiven… They're exercising spiritual gifts, but living in guilt… The blood must be preached. Without it we've no life." So let's emphasize the power of the blood. Why? "Without the… blood, there is no forgiveness of sin" (Hebrews 9:22 NLT).

Ever notice when somebody sins or falls short in an area that we relate to, we're quick to give thanks that Jesus' blood covers all our sins! But if that person happens to fail in an area where we're strong, often our first inclination is to feel morally superior and want to deny them the blood's cleansing power.

Sin affects each of us differently according to our background and disposition. But regardless of the symptoms it's the same disease, and there's only one remedy - the blood of Jesus. Without that we're all in trouble; black, white, rich, poor, homosexual, heterosexual, drug addict and alcoholic alike. Jesus' blood is the only thing that makes forgiveness and a clean slate possible, regardless of what we've done. The Bible says that Jesus created… a fresh start for everybody… through His death… Christ came and preached peace to… outsiders and… insiders… treated us as equals… through Him we… have equal access to the Father… You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone… He's using us all - irrespective of how we got here. Don't for a second think that you have unlimited access to God's mercy and forgiveness, then deny that same access to your brother and sister in Christ! The Bible says, "If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself." Why? Because, "You might be needing forgiveness before the day's out" (Galatians 6:1 TM).

In other words, don't burn the bridge you yourself might need to cross some day. If you're secretly harboring a condescending attitude about somebody else's failures today, you need to repent and allow the blood of Jesus to cleanse you.

Do our churches need to be more seeker-friendly? Absolutely! Should we develop our gifts to a higher level, then offer them to God? Yes! But there are some things church attendance won't fix and talent can't do. Only the blood of Jesus can lift you out of a family under the sentence of death, and place you in one that offers pardon, peace and purpose, not to mention a heavenly home that makes the richest folks in your town look like they're living on skid-row.

Ever hear of "the wages of sin?" Every rebellious act goes on your account. And those payments add up. You can roll them over, but eventually they've got to be paid. Well, God recognizes only one currency - the blood of Jesus. "The blood… makes atonement" (Leviticus 17:11 NKJV). The word atonement just means at-one-ment! Atonement wipes out the debt, bridges the gap and makes you one with God.

Furthermore, the blood of Jesus draws a line in the sand over which Satan dare not step. "They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony" (Revelation 12:11). Each time you testify to what the blood has done for you, Satan is silenced. Each time you say, "I plead the blood", he retreats; he must, he's no other option. In Exodus, even the death angel had to back off once the blood had been applied to the doorposts. And it's the same with you. Study the message of the blood. Learn to use its power and walk in victory every day. Blessings!

Pastor Rusty