So last week I’m on a Messenger Zoom call discussing Triune worldviews when a chilling question is raised:
Are we, as rising, maturing believers valuing the blood1 and living in light of that ‘precious flow [making us] white as snow’?
Certainly, it’s easy to think we are given Christ’s death and resurrection is the cornerstone of Christianity.
But what if I told you to the extent we detach God’s communal nature as a foundation of love from our corporate theological foundation, to that extent we reduce the blood as nothing more than a sacrament. Would you agree?
If not, permit me to connect some dots after laying some groundwork…
1. To construct a worldview from the core of God’s nature, we must accept the fact God is a Communion of Three Persons in perfect love.
2. From there, we can establish and grow Biblical community in the same way God does His work: by multiplying what He is as a communion of love.
3. Only then can we value the Gospel and consequentially, understand the destructiveness of sin.
Unfortunately, as we progress in this post-Millennial age, the more young believers are distancing themselves from the saviorhood of Jesus2. As a former student pastor, I can attest to this. For many youth, believing the universal lordship of Jesus having once saved is far less challenging than accepting their current need for a sovereign Redeemer who continues to save.
Granted, our culture’s emphasis of reason over revelation and self-autonomy allots sense to the trend. That said, one must wonder how a world system based on deficiency is affecting the church’s thirst for relevancy.
Take ‘mission’ for example. For most, mission is seen as a journey, an assignment or a means to an end; however, when we note the Godhead, we find ‘mission’ to be an overflow of an established nature.
You see, before love could be extended, there had to be an identity with the ability to love; hence, why so many feel the weight of performance given they’re trying to abide in love not knowing who they really are and as such, forget the key to anything starts and ends with being loved by God.
The question is…
Are we abiding in love…or are we searching in love to find ourselves? Are we trusting God to fill our needs or filling our needs to trust in God? Are we forgiving having received grace or seeking grace in order to forgive?
Either way, it’s worth reminding ourselves…
- There’s no depravity God can’t redeem.
- Abiding in who we are in Christ is the blueprint to Holy Spirit dependence.
- The bedrock of truth, especially as revealed in revelation, is cemented when we allow God to reveal Himself in all circumstances.
As for the blood’s depreciation among ‘next gen’ believers, it’s important we, as the body, perceive the issue as a conflict between identity and performance. For as long as Western individualism exists, so will the temptation to approach mission as drive, fellowship as metric, sin as shame…and thus, the blood as obsolete.
Yet, when we remember we were bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20), when we accept Christ’s atonement as the security of our freedom, only then will we understand the blood’s purpose in all things.
The blood is central to our community:
“Take care and be on guard for yourselves and for the whole flock over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as overseers, to shepherd (tend, feed, guide) the church of God which He bought with His own blood.” ~ Acts 20:28 (AMP)
The blood is central to reconciliation:
“…and through [the intervention of] the Son to reconcile all things to Himself, making peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, [I say,] whether things on earth or things in heaven.” ~ Colossians 1:20 (AMP)
The blood is central to redemption:
“In Him we have redemption [that is, our deliverance and salvation] through His blood, [which paid the penalty for our sin and resulted in] the forgiveness and complete pardon of our sin, in accordance with the riches of His grace.” ~ Ephesians 1:7 (AMP)
The blood is central to cleansing:
“But when Christ appeared as a High Priest of the good things to come…He went once for all into the Holy Place [the Holy of Holies of heaven, into the presence of God], not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, having obtained and secured eternal redemption. For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer is sufficient for the cleansing of the body, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal [Holy] Spirit willingly offered Himself unblemished to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works and lifeless observances to serve the ever living God?”~ Hebrews 9:11-14 (AMP)
“Let us approach [God] with a true and sincere heart in unqualified assurance of faith, having had our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” ~ Hebrews 10:22 (AMP)
Get the picture?
My final thoughts are:
1. To minimize the blood is to minimize our freedom in Christ as it stresses our fear of deficiency over God’s sufficiency (2 Corinthians 12:9).
2. Instead of wanting to be relevant, why make the Good News3 prevalent? After all, the presence of goodwill4 is a testament to the Good News of the Gospel – the fact Jesus continues to heal the oppressed and set captives free having reconciled us to God through…(wait for it)… His shed blood.
3. Accordingly, by downplaying Christ’s sacrifice, we risk performance systems bridging the gap not only between identity and sin, but also church and mission (more on this in a future post).
I don’t know about you, but give me Jesus and the power of the cross as the divide between those medians.
Looking ahead, stay tuned for a sequel post where I’ll dive into more detail on how we can better educate young people on how to live in God’s present ministry of reconciliation5.
‘Til then, peace be the journey…
- Of Jesus
- This coming an observation from multiple pastoral colleagues across the country
- Which can’t be separated from Christ’s ultimate sacrifice
- And our call to extend it
- An active reality, not a past occurrence