March 12, 2013

A Hymn for Lent: "Nothing But the Blood of Jesus"

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
What can make me whole again?
Nothing buy the blood of Jesus.

Oh, precious is the flow
that makes me clean, I know. (sometimes sung as "white I know.")
No other fount I know.
Nothing but the blood of Jesus!

--Robert Lowry (1876---now in public domain)

Am I looking for some other way to "fix my problems" and move forward in  life?

There is nothing but the blood of Jesus that re-starts my experience, removes guilt in life and fear of death, that focuses my gifts on something worthwhile and worthy, that frees me to forgive myself and others, that empowers me to life gracefully and honestly even when surrounded by those who are not graceful nor honest.

How can this be true? How does the death of the God-Man Jesus Christ make me whole?

His death and suffering reconnect me to God. Through the blood of Jesus, I am no longer under guilt for the bad things I have done and the failed/failing-causing to fail person I am.  His blood, brought forth through His death, allow me to "look God in the face without fear or hesitation." I now have a choice I didn't have. I can now actually hear the true voice of God. I can perceive and respond to God's love. I can see reality as it truly is.

How can this be true? There is an element of mystery in how Jesus' sacrifice restores us. Mystery is not magic. There was nothing magical happening on Calvary's cross. There was a mystical substitution of Jesus' suffering for the suffering I should have done.

During the American Civil War, wealthy young mean who did not want to go into battle could pay someone to take their place.

At Calvary, Jesus volunteered to take my place and absorb God's anger about the sin and failure of humanity. Because of Jesus, God is not angry with anyone. God is waiting to bring you close and love you. Thankfully, Jesus did not wait to ask me if I wanted Him to take my place. I had no way of understanding the goodness and greatness of what He offered. Instead, He took my place, and then revealed to me the awesomeness of His gift.

Nothing but the blood makes me whole.

My efforts toward right living, right thinking, good behavior, good intentions, excellent manners, civic and community service, "doing unto others as I would have them do unto me" don't substitute for the blood of Jesus because it's His blood that makes me right with God. There is no other fount for wholeness.

Is it arrogant for Christians to feel this way? No, because Jesus is open and available to everyone. No one need be turned away and no one must "qualify" for  the benefits of His sacrifice. You only need ask, or want to ask, and you will be welcomed in.

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