You can buy just about anything on Amazon. That is a bit of a double-edged sword, because it means that people have a platform for selling just about anything. This week, I saw a listing for a book written by a fellow who styles himself anonymously as “Ex Preacher” to avoid “personal attacks” and “pointless debates and arguments.” The book is entitled Obsessed With Blood, intended to be the first volume in “The Crazy Things Christians Believe” series. The teaser promoting it declares:
Christians are obsessed with blood! They sing about it, declare they are washed in it and even drink it! In this book you will discover the crazy background to this Christian obsession and the truth about the bloodthirsty God they claim to know and serve.
There have always been critics of preaching on the blood of Christ and the cross, even from the first century: there is a reason Paul calls it a scandal (1 Corinthians 1:23). But Scripture portrays this message as imperative; without the shedding of blood, there is no forgivness of sins.
Medically speaking, what happens if your blood is removed from your body? You die. In a similar way, if we were to take the blood from the spiritual body of Christ, then the body would die. As many have pointed out, there is a Scarlet Thread that runs through the Bible. If you cut the book, it bleeds. The entire meaning of Scripture can be summed up by John’s statement: the blood of Jesus His son cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:9).
Do you remember when Paul called the elders of Ephesus? Acts 20 tells us they came to meet him at Miletus. In v. 28 he tells them to pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.
Think back to that night when Jesus ate the last Passover with the apostles. He instituted the memorial we refer to as the Lord’s Supper. He gave them a cup and told them it symbolized his blood which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins (Matthew 26:28).
When Paul wrote to the church in Galatia, he spoke of the cross. He said to them, But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (Galatians 6:14) Paul might have boasted in his unique experience on the Damascus road. He might have boasted in his role as the apostle to the Gentiles or in his success in ministry. But he only wanted to boast in the cross of Jesus Christ.
It is in the cross and the blood of Christ that the love of the Father is seen. John 3:16 tells us how God demonstrated his love for the world. When we see the humiliation of the cross, we know just how much God loved us. And the not only declares the love of the Father, but of the Son. Jesus loved me and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20). The greatest manifestation of human love is that someone should lay down their life for a friend. But Jesus laid down his life not just for his friends, but his enemies. His blood shed on the cross is proof of his love for us.
William Cowper is regarded as the greatest English poet of his era – Coleridge called him the “best modern poet” – and in many ways he paved the way for the Romantic poets of the early 19th century. But he was also a writer of hymns. He captured the importance of the blood of Jesus quite well in one that is familiar to us, “There Is A Fountain Filled with Blood.”
There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains.
E’er since by faith I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme
And shall be till I die.
May we never lose sight of the importance of the blood of Christ or the cross of Christ.