Monday, February 23, 2009

The Bloody Truth

"In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins." (Ephesians 1:7a)

As the 21st Century has brought about an even more calloused attitude toward sin, so too has it brought an ever weakened understanding of the price of forgiveness. As sin is celebrated in our streets, a disregard for accountability and an disregard toward the need for forgiveness accompanies the parade. What does the bible say about our condition? Answer: We are sinful and separated from God. What does the bible say must be done to fix the problem? Answer: Blood must be shed. Our sin costs life.

In the Old Testament, we see that the shed blood of a sacrifice (which met God's requirements) was as a pleasing aroma to God. Why was this so? It is because the sin of Israel had been covered by the shed blood. A sacrifice had been made. God's wrath had been appeased.

The penalty for our sin remains the same. Blood must be shed. Every sin carries this price. The wages of sin is death. Blood must be shed. That is the truth about sin. Sin is ugly. Although it promises pleasure, it provides isolation. There is no amount of pleasure in this world worth the penalty that accompanies sin. Blood must be shed. God's holiness demands that sin be dealt with. God's wrath will be poured out upon sin. Upon those that choose their sin over Christ. Blood will be shed.

The good news? God loves the world. God loves the world so much that, in spite of our sin, he sent His only Son to be sacrificed to settle a sin debt that we could not pay. Only Jesus could meet the requirement necessary to satisfy our sin debt. Once and for all, Jesus died a sacrificial death. So instead of our blood being shed, it was Jesus' that flowed. Jesus shed His blood to pay for sin that we fail to recognize today. The sin that we celebrate, He spilt his blood to forgive. How often do we trample on the shed blood of Christ by minimizing the severity of our sins? How often do we fail to revere the love of Christ by failing to acknowledge the price He paid? And as we are "living it up", Jesus was "laying down" His life on a cruel cross. As we are busy failing to acknowledge our sin, He was busy becoming "sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God." (2 Corinthians 5:21) In other words, Jesus paid our sin debt as a propitiation--to satisfy the wrath of God against our sin--to bring us back to a right standing with God. A pleasing aroma to God. And because of this act, we not only can be forgiven of our sin(s), we actually become the righteousness of God. Jesus shed His blood, became our sin, and then gave His righteousness to those who would but place their faith and trust in Him.

His blood was shed for us. Sinful, selfish, and unacknowledging us. He brought us into right standing with God by shedding His blood. And how dreadful it will be for those who dishonor, disrespect, and deny the cross of Christ Jesus. For they, as Scripture teaches, are still "enemies of the cross." (Philippians 3:18) Lovers of sin; haters of God. And we so often accuse God of being unjust (due to the fact that people will go to an eternal Hell apart from Christ). The real question is, "How in the world could God love such a sinful people to the measure of sending His Son to die for us?" For the world. For anyone who would but turn from sin and believe in Jesus. Love God. Hate sin. It is funny how we love to shift the blame upon God. Make Him the enemy. Yet, Jesus shed His blood. He made the way. He paid the penalty.

That is the bloody truth.