Saturday, May 5, 2007

Friday Devotional (a little late): Talking about Blood

Blood is not a casual conversation topic. Proper etiquette would say that talking about blood would not be appropriate for dinner talk. Many people are quite queasy around the sight, or very mention, of blood. We even have an entire ratings system, though faulty, that factors in blood-sightings when it rates movies. In fact, we are pretty much scared of blood. It’s gross. It’s vile. It usually represents affliction, pain, and worse—even death.

But, the Bible is not scared of blood. Blood is a common theme throughout the Bible, the Old Testament especially.

“And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, ‘Behold the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with these words” (Exodus 24:8).

I was explaining this to my small group girls one week, and as I was sharing with them I realized how gross this was. Animal blood being thrown on you is always disgusting. I’m sure it must have shocked the Israelites at first. It’s not every day that someone throws blood on you. The horror of that fact is telling us something. Our sin is that disgusting. We become so comfortable in the language of atonement and forgiveness and sin that we forget how horrific our sin is in the sight of God.

Before we begin the explain this away as a minor detail in an Old Testament book, let us remember and see that this is not an isolated incident in Scripture (Exodus 29, Exodus 30, Leviticus 8, Leviticus 9, and many other places), it characterizes Christianity. We are a blood bought people. And like Isaac was a foreshadowing of the Christ to come, so blood too is a foreshadowing of the blood to come. Two thousand years ago on Calvary, a bloody Christ bore the penalty because the blood of bulls and goats could not satisfy the wrath of God. The blood in the Old Testament was not saving sins, it was pointing to the One who would come and make atonement. The “type of Christ” was no longer a type. He had come.

I heard a pastor say a while back that nobody likes to sing about blood anymore. And it’s true. We like to sing about happy things, not gross things. The blood-bought, atoning, work of Jesus Christ on the Cross is not a cotton-candy, idea that we pay lip-service to at the Lord’s Supper and maybe Easter. The blood was proclaiming promised salvation for us in the Old Covenant, and it saves us in the New Covenant. We should not be afraid of it. We should rejoice in it. Our discussion about Christ’s death should make us tremble, it should make me tremble. And so often we take it lightly because we don’t understand the seriousness of it.

Every time Moses threw the blood on the altar, He was declaring a transaction with God, all the while knowing that this transaction was not enough—and you feel the tension of that when you read through the Old Testament. When Christ came, and faced great agony in the Garden, He felt the seriousness of what was coming. When we read Jesus’ words saying “it is finished” that should make us fall on our faces. God did not absolve sin when He forgave us, He poured out the necessary wrath on Christ—His blood literally was spilled so we could live.

The blood is gross and vile because our sin is gross and vile. It might make us uncomfortable, but it was necessary. Let’s start singing about the blood again. We should sing and talk about the blood of Christ with great joy and thankfulness. Our names are in the Old Testament in the promises of the coming Messiah, our name is written on the hands of our Christ as He died in His own blood on Calvary 2,000 years ago. We are a peculiar people, we come by blood.

I come by the blood
I come by the cross
Where Your mercy flows with hands pierced for me
No I dare not stand, on my righteousness
My every hope rests on what Christ has done
And I come by the blood

I Come by the Blood by Sovereign Grace Music


stephanie said...

Hey cdt,

thanks for the post! it was refreshing and helpful to read!

I love that song. Are you going to start posting a devotional every Friday?

cdt said...

Thanks Steph,

Well, I started to post a devotional every Friday a month ago, and I only did it twice. I am learning that I am not that consistent. But, maybe I will start trying to be more consistent.

Thanks friend. We sang that song at the conference this weekend! I love it too!