The blood of christ sounds strange to modern ears.
BUT NOW IN CHRIST JESUS YOU WHO WERE ONCE FAR AWAY HAVE BEEN BROUGHT NEAR BY THE BLOOD OF CHRIST.
I feel this verse acutely.
Always. It’s the story of my life in a sentence—being brought near to God by Jesus. Paired with the prior verse about being “far away” from God, you can see the full picture of my story, in stark contrast. I once was “without hope and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:11). “BUT NOW in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:12) I am included, loved, forgiven, cleansed, brought near. It’s the most dramatic transition! I was once dark, but now I am light in the Lord (Ephesians 5:8). I was once dead, but now I am alive. God did it. God changed everything—God who loves me, who poured out his mercy on me. God alone, who turns darkness into light and brings dead things to life, even me. It is the absolute wonder of my life, the defining moment. This is the story of my salvation. But how? How did God do it? How’d he bring this dead heart to life? Our verse tells us: the blood of Christ is what made my salvation possible.
And that’s kinda weird.
I know. I probably caught you off guard there. And you might even think I shouldn’t say that. But it’s true, the blood of Christ sounds strange to modern ears. If you disagree, let me challenge you here. If I magically wiped your brain of all biblical knowledge, and I told you that you needed someone’s blood sacrifice in order to be okay with an unseen God, you’d probably think, “Okay, weirdo.” It’s most certainly what I thought before I became a Christian. I remember chatting with some friends about communion once. They said that the blood of Jesus took away their sins, and that at church on Sunday they remembered Jesus’s sacrifice by drinking wine and eating bread (representations of his blood and body). I wasn’t totally unfamiliar with this concept, but it was still SUPER WEIRD. So, I did what I often do when I’m uncomfortable, I tried to be funny. “So, you drink and eat the pretend blood and body of your God every Sunday? What happens if you miss church, is there a drive-thru alternative? Could you pick some up at the 7-11? Blood of Christ in a can?” To my friends’ credit, they weren’t offended. Still, I thought, “Ok. Weirdos.”
But now, I’m the weirdo.
Somehow, in God’s mysterious, merciful, and somewhat ironic plan, he took this snarky cynic and made her a weirdo too. Now, I’m the one eating and drinking symbols of my Lord’s death at church on Sundays. Now, I’m the oddball explaining how my God requires a blood sacrifice to pay for my wrongs. And because I once thought it was totally weird, I’m acutely aware of just how strange it sounds to unchurched ears. But, if there’s one thing I’ve learned, this wild and wondrous weirdness is the best and truest tale, the way that God has worked in the world to bring dead things to life.
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(CONTINUED FROM ABOVE)
So, how DO we talk about the blood of Jesus?
Well, first off, what is blood? Is it not the life that pumps through our veins? Without blood we cannot live. And Christians believe that God himself gave us both the blood in our veins and our very lives. And if God made us, then he has authority over us (whether we recognize it or not). Therefore, all of us are accountable to live our lives as God would have us live. However, none of us has ever lived up to God’s standards. Instead, we’ve all “turned away” from God, and not one of us is right before him (Romans 3:10-12). So, God—who alone has the prerogative to judge us—has said that the just punishment for our wrongdoing is death. Eeesh. Not good news. Thankfully though, our perfectly just God is also our radically loving Father, and he doesn’t want “anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). So, in his justice AND his love, God made a way for us to be right with him, at great cost to himself. He sent his own Son, the God-man Jesus, to identify with us in our humanity and endure our punishment and restore us to God by merit of his perfect deity. This is where the blood of Christ comes in. Jesus “was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5). Jesus poured out his blood and died in our place. But because he lived a perfect life (unlike us), death could not hold him. He took his perfect life back. And that is the life he gives us. He exchanged our death with his life. He replaced our condemnation with his right standing before God. It was his blood, the blood of Christ that made it possible.
This is the weird and wonderful story of our salvation.
But the strangest thing here isn’t the blood sacrifice. The truly mind-boggling oddity is WHO that sacrifice was for—for me, for you, for rebels and sinners. Jesus bled and died for his enemies. God poured out his love for us, the very people who deserved judgment and rejection. We are the ones Jesus bled and died to bring near. This is the mercy and love of our God on display. This is the unbelievable mystery of the universe. And this radical love is ours for the taking! So, we can say our verse with confidence and conviction, “But now in Christ Jesus [we] who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13). And if that still sounds weird, we can bear it, because our Lord bore far more on our behalf.
HOW CAN YOU TALK SENSITIVELY ABOUT YOUR FAITH TO PEOPLE WITH "MODERN, UNCHURCHED EARS"?
WHAT ABOUT SHARING YOUR FAITH SEEMS DAUNTING OR EVEN SHAMEFUL?
NOT DONE YET READING ABOUT WHAT JESUS HAS DONE FOR YOU? READ THE GREAT EXCHANGE, IT'LL KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF!
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