[box]I meet regularly with a non-institutional group of Jesus followers. We have just begun going through The Normal Christian Life, by Watchman Nee. This book is an encouragement across time from a fellow believer in the truths of God, a discussion of Romans that is refreshingly free of religious cliches and institutional baggage, and a spring board for real-time fellowship. As part of our very open format fellowship, various people offer to read aloud, and all join in the conversation as they desire to share thoughts or ask questions. This series of blog posts will be a summary of that interaction.[/box]
The “Blood of Christ” is a term that may have grown dull to the ears of many long-time church-goers, but a true understanding of it will release the Christian of many legalistic burdens and despairing guilt. Because of its full capacity to deal with the brokeness of human nature, we can boast in what the Lord of Heaven and Earth has done for us. We can also walk through this life in a peace and joy that is incomprehensible to the unbeliever, and sometimes confusing to the legalistic believer.
The symbolism of the Blood is one that is emphasized from beginning to end in the Biblical account. From the first, when the blood of animals was shed to cover the shame of Adam and Eve, to the blood on the lintels and doorposts during Egyptian captivity, to the only real pure blood of Jesus that was spilled from the cross, God has tried to help us see how much the sacrifice of Jesus does for us. It does everything, providing a life that we can never have outside of Him and can never add to by anything we do.
People who balk at the need for such a death as Jesus suffered do not understand, or refuse to admit, the horrific nature of sin. Truly, it is the nature of sin itself to blind men to the perfect synthesis of goodness and justice in the one and only God. Too often the guilt due to sin is accounted the problem, because it leads to despair, so the non-believer tries to harden himself to guilt.
The legalistic believer too often makes the opposite mistake, living in constant guilt, not fully comprehending what the Blood has done. If only the full value of the Blood in God’s eyes is realized, it brings a celebration to the soul. Being in constant somber reflection of the limits of our human condition is a denial of the abundant life that we are granted by this very Blood. It takes no extra act on the part of the believer, only a recognition of what has already been done.
Because of this, we CAN have a clear conscience before God, even as He works maturity into us by the life of His Spirit. Every sin that we ever have or will commit was dealt with by His Blood in a once and forever act by the True High Priest. He is the only one who could do it, and thankfully He did. Now, there is no barrier for us to ever come before God as our Father. There is no need to cringe or hesitate, for He sees us in the bright, white light of clean wholeness.
In fact, one could say that to live in the peace and joy of this is evidence that we really believe what He says He has done for us. Similar to the Israelites acting on their belief that He would pass by their doors if they spread the blood (were any of them concerned about Egyptian repercussions if they were so bold, while Egyptians all around were dying?), or like new believers are admonished to be baptized as a statement of faith (having already received warning from Jesus that believers would be persecuted). Oddly, to live with joy often brings condemnation from those who are not experiencing it.
The wages of sin is death, which means life is no longer flowing. In the physical world, this life is intimately connected with the blood. This can help us grasp the spiritual meaning of this problem. And, yet, that which came into existence and is ugly (death) through sin is made beautiful through the sacrifice of Love in the spilling of Jesus Christ’s Blood.
Satan seeks to distort all that God creates, unable to create anything on his own. He is pleased (in his own distorted sense of that word?) when people create rituals that twist the truth. The most effective counterfeit of truth is something that seems so close to the real thing, such as communion rituals. By such, people think they must do something they don’t have to, and think they are getting something they are not. The power of the Blood is not contained by rituals of men.
In essence, we remember the Blood, but we do not do anything more to call it down to action. It has acted, already and fully, on our behalf. We only need to agree to let it do what it does and rejoice in the life now at our disposal.