Christianity 201

July 15, 2018

Unashamed of the Blood

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:33 pm
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It’s been six months, and we’re back at the website Before the Cross. The writer today is . Click the title below to read at source.

Nothing But the Blood of Jesus

Outside of blood drives, I’m sure it’s not common to hear gratitude and blood thrown together in the same sentence. We sing a worship song in church on occasion with the lyric “We thank You for the blood.” This refers to the good news that Jesus Christ, being the very Son of God, was born of a virgin, lived a perfect life, was crucified on a cross for all the sins of man past, present and future and was raised again to life so that anyone believing in Him would live an eternity with Him. We are thanking Jesus for His blood spilt on our behalf. Every time we sing it, I wonder what a person unfamiliar with the gospel must think as they give church a try. Here are some of my guesses:

  • That’s gross.
  • Did I come to the wrong place?
  • Why are these people singing about blood?
  • Of all things, why are they thankful for blood?

If those are the questions, I hope they don’t leave without getting them answered and I certainly hope they come back.

Let’s face it. The lyrics aren’t exactly “seeker” friendly and some churches might treat this song like any blood-related incident, to keep the lyrics sanitary and removed from the scene, out of mind and out of sight for believer and non-believer alike. Blood evokes a strong mental image and unless you’ve been desensitized by horror movies, it usually isn’t an image someone likes to think about. There are certainly other worship songs we could sing that would bring about more peaceful, calming and relaxing images of God’s saving grace without mentioning blood.

And that’s the very reason why I think we need to sing about it. Without the blood shed by Jesus Christ, there is no cross. If there is no cross, there is no resurrection of Jesus Christ. If there is no resurrection, we are doomed.

The Blood Is Necessary

Since the first sin of man in the Garden of Eden, blood was required. Animals were sacrificed for their skins to cover up the nakedness of Adam and Eve. The sacrifice of animals for atonement of sin was still present in the time of Jesus.

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 all these words.”Exodus 24:8

“Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.”Hebrews 9:22

The Blood Protects

The Israelites are instructed to place animal blood over the door of their dwellings to avoid God’s plague on Egypt.

“The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.”Exodus 12:13

Jesus, before His crucifixion refers to his shed blood as that which would forgive sins.

“for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”Matthew 26:28

The Blood Cleanses 

Redemption, fellowship and cleansing are benefits we as Christians who believe in Jesus Christ get to enjoy as a result of His shed blood.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ.”Ephesians 1:7-9

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7

We often see what we prize most in light of what we pay for it. In the case of our salvation, it is we who were purchased with blood that ran through the body of our savior, the same body broken on our behalf to allow God and His creation to have a restored relationship. If you are a Christian, you are in this restored relationship.

We can sing it out unashamed. Thank you Jesus. Thank you for the blood!


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November 4, 2011

From the Depths of Sin to the Joy of Forgiveness

There are times I truly believe that those of us who “grew up in church” or attended since were “minus nine months old” actually miss out on the fullness of forgiveness.  Unless we’ve wandered off into the depths of depravity and then returned, we forget that our testimony of what we were saved from has equal merit to those who have a testimony of what they were saved out of.

And we worship corporately, unaware of  how the lyrics of the same song, or the words of the same sermon are being processed by our fellow worshipers.  It is so easy to sit in church and sing worship songs because we understand intellectually the concepts of grace, mercy, atonement, forgiveness, etc., and yet forget the context in which other people might be sitting a few rows away from us, hearing those same words sung but taking an entirely different mental picture away from what we’re singing.

Unless someone takes the contrast and puts it right in our faces.  This video by Reformed Praise founder David L. Ward tries to present the contrasting worlds that some might be experiencing when hearing some of the songs we use in worship; and perhaps, because there isn’t necessarily a ‘scale’ of sins, it applies to the rest of us more than we care to admit…

There is no sin that I have done
That has such height and breadth
It can’t be washed in Jesus’ blood
Or covered by His death.
There is no spot that still remains,
No cause to hide my face,
For He has stooped to wash me clean
And covered me with grace.

There is no wrath that I will know,
No wormwood and no gall;
For though such wounds and grief I earned
My Savior bore them all.
There is no work that I must add
To stand before His throne.
I only plead His life and death
Sufficient on their own.

There is no love that I desire
But Jesus’ warm embrace.
While now I know His love by faith
I long to see His face.
There is no song that I will sing,
No melody but this,
That my Beloved, He is mine,
For He has made me His.

April 18, 2011

Surveying The Wondrous Cross

During this week, I’m reprinting a few posts from a series at Thinking Out Loud that ran under the title “Setting Our Faces Toward Jerusalem,” in anticipation of Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Today’s post is from the now-defunct blog Lenae’s Back Porch Musings. Lenae works for a ministry organization and lives in Minnesota. Her March 29th post was a spoken liturgy or worship resource based on the song “When I Survey The Wondrous Cross.”

There is a wealth of depth and richness to be found in reading through books containing liturgical readings, not to mention the personal spiritual gains available by writing your own readings for corporate worship.

This is a worship resource that we used in our church this morning. It can be used as an introduction to the hymn, When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.

christ-on-the-cross

(Organ, piano, or other instrument[s] quietly plays through When I Survey the Wondrous Cross during the reading.)

Song Reader: This morning we will reflect on the hymn When I Survey the Wondrous Cross. When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died.

Reader 1: Although the crosses that we often see are handcrafted in beautiful stained wood or inlaid with gold, when we truly survey the wondrous cross it is a bloodstained tool of reconciliation.

Reader 2: Paul writes in Colossians chapter 1, verses 19 and 20, For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in [Christ], and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Song Reader: My richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride.

Reader 1: Oh, that we would pour contempt on our pride and humble ourselves like Christ Jesus.

Reader 2: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross! Beautiful words from Philippians chapter 2, verses 6-8.

Song Reader: Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast save in the death of Christ, my God!

Reader 1: May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (Galatians 6:14). For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God ¬ not by works, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Song Reader: See from his head, his hands, his feet, sorrow and love flow mingled down.

Reader 2: John Mark surveyed the crucified head, hands, and feet of Jesus and recorded these words in the book of Mark, chapter 15, verses 25-32, It was the third hour when they crucified him. The written notice of the charge against him read: THE KING OF THE JEWS. They crucified two robbers with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!” In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! Let this Christ, this King of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

Song Reader: Did e’er such love and sorrow meet, or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Reader 1: The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns mocking Christ’s claim to royalty. John chapter 19, verses 1-2 reads, Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they struck him in the face.

Reader 2: But to God that wondrous cross and crown was a demonstration of His love for us! John 3:16 proclaims this glorious truth: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Song Reader: Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were a present far too small.

Reader 1: We survey the wondrous cross and wonder what we can give back to God for the blessings He’s poured out on us.

Reader 2: The writer of Psalm 116 poses the same question and gives this response: How can I repay the LORD for all his goodness to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD. I will sacrifice a thank offering to you and call on the name of the LORD (Psalm 116:12-13, 17).

Song Reader: Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.

Reader 1: We must respond to the amazing love demonstrated on the wondrous cross, by being zealous and faithful in our worship and work for King Jesus.

Reader 2: Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it” (Luke 9:23-24).

Song Reader: As we survey the wondrous cross during this season of Lent, let’s humbly and wholeheartedly give praise and thanks to King Jesus. Please stand and sing, When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, all four verses.

© 2009, Lenae Bulthuis

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The power of this hymn is best reflected in the fact that, as you consider the verses, depending on where you are reading this, three distinct tunes may come to mind, not including the more recent addition of the bridge “Wonderful Cross.”