Redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb
When an outsider looks into the church they are often mystified if not appalled at some of the lingo we use freely. Generations ago even the unsaved would have had some understanding of the terms, but in this post-Christian age the familiarity with Christian teachings is virtually non-existent outside the wall of the Church. In fact, even many self-labeled Christians are often illiterate of the meaning behind familiar words and phrases.
When we think about it literally, when we imagine these phrases in our minds, we can understand how someone might be put of by the image of being washed in blood. After all, how many of us would do that? What would it feel like to be covered in blood? And how many modern people truly understand the concept of redemption? Even in the culture of the early Church there were misunderstandings about their fascination with blood to the point the Romans and Greeks thought Christians were cannibals.
While we are comfortable with such terms from our familiarity, we can also get to the point that we have so sanitized the concepts that we, too, don’t grasp the depths of their meaning and their impact on us. We forget that our religion does have bloody roots—incredibly bloody—because “without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.” Blood IS gross, it IS appalling, it IS disgusting BECAUSE our sin is, too. It is because of how heinous our wickedness is that such extreme means was necessary to remedy it, and to redeem us. We seldom realize how hopeless we’d be without this blood of the Lamb.
At the end of King Saul’s life, he was a desolate man. He was about to go into battle against the Philistines, and he had tried to reach out to God as he had in the past for directions on the battle, but God wasn’t answering. Saul’s sin early in his reign, when he refused to obey God and regularly gave in to the will of the people, had finally culminated in this day. He was facing a vast Philistine army, and Scripture tells us, “terror filled his heart.” He inquired of the Lord, “but the Lord did not answer him by dreams or Urim or prophets.”
As I read that account, I kept thinking what an awful place that would be: To be terrified and not be able to contact God in any way. I take for granted that God is with me, even in the toughest of times, and it is painful to fathom what it must be like to face the horrors of life without Him. I thought how much like hell it must be—hell on earth, but also what unredeemed people will feel when they dwell in hell for eternity. Have you ever thought about, really thought about, what hell will be like? I think Paul summed it up well when he talked about how, in our unredeemed state, we were “without hope and without God.” Now consider how that will be for eternity for some—no hope, no God, ever. The terror, the emptiness, the loneliness would be agony enough without adding any physical discomfort there might be as well.
We may not feel comfortable thinking about that, but it is reality. It is reality for many people we love. If we thought about it more we would probably pray harder, witness more, and worship more fervently, because those of us who are redeemed have SO much to be thankful for.
Through the redeeming blood of the Lamb we ARE changed: from dead in sin to eternal abundant life, from child of darkness to a child of the light, from filthy to cleansed, from chains of sin to freedom in Christ, from condemned to accepted, from an enemy of God to His beloved child, from alone to enfolded by a loving Father… The list of contrasts from this change wrought by the redeeming blood of the Lamb is long, but we would do well to make, to meditate upon, and to celebrate such a list.
And if that is not enough to celebrate, we can also rejoice in the fact that we are His children forever. Because it is based on Who He is and what He’s done, not on our own merit, but His grace and mercy, our redemption is ours forever. Our status as His children is not based on our latest success or failure, but on the shed blood of the Lamb paying for every sin we have and will commit.
The eternal life we’ve been given is not just for “then”, it is for now, as well. Jesus said He had come to give us abundant life. That means a life that overflows with Him and with His love. We are wealthy in Him beyond our imaginations, yet so often we live as if we are paupers. There’s a commercial from a company that will loan you money from your structured settlement payments. Their line is: It’s your money; you can have it now. The idea is that it’s yours, so you don’t have to wait to enjoy it. Yes, we have an eternal home and eternal rewards, but we don’t have to wait for all of that until we die. There is so much more that we can enjoy now about our redeemed life than we tap into. There is more freedom, more satisfaction, more joy, more living water and power than we’ve understood.
“It’s yours! You can have it now!” If only we would realize, if only we would remind ourselves of all we already have in Christ. If only we would rejoice in our redemption. If only we would celebrate what has been given us in the precious blood of the Lamb. Ask the Lord to refresh your understanding of, experience of, and joy in your salvation. What will communicate best to the lost around us is a people who are excited about their Redeemer, full of joy in the knowledge of what is theirs, and full of concern that those around them (especially those they hold dear) will be with them to experience life in His glorious presence, not separated and hopeless for eternity.