Saturday, February 5, 2011

JOHN 3:16

painting by Michaelangelo
    "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."  (NIV)

Truth be known, I kinda' dreaded writing this "3:16".  Growing up in the generation where this was THE most popular scripture - most commonly quoted, most commonly memorized, most commonly sung - WHAT could I possible write that hasn't been written before? But, as always, the Lord provided.  He provided for me an analogy that, as far as I know, has never been made before...

God loves mankind in spite of our miserable shortcomings.  He could have chosen any number of ways to "straighten us up"; after all, HE IS GOD! He could have decided we weren't worth the trouble, and simply erased our little galaxy, saying, "Oops! Let's not make one like THAT again!"  But, He is Love, so He sent a part of Himself to dwell with us in human form.  And this was Jesus Christ the Messiah, who became a living (and dying, and living-once-again) sacrifice for our sins.

Jesus was a blood sacrifice for our sins.  The idea of blood sacrifice was not new;  the Old Covenant provided for blood sacrifices for the atonement of sins; these were, of course, animal sacrifices - not human sacrifices! But, God makes it very clear in Leviticus that blood is sacred to Him;  ALL blood is sacred to Him, because the life force of all creatures is in the blood. "For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life. Therefore I say to the Israelites, 'None of you may eat blood, nor may an alien living among you eat blood. Any Israelite or any alien living among you who hunts any animal or bird that  may be eaten must drain the blood and cover it with earth, because the life of every creature is its blood..."       (Leviticus 17:11-14 NIV)

Jesus the Christ shed His blood for my sins.  For your sins.  It is very personal.I remember hearing a certain phrase in my childhood that didn't make sense to me:  "His blood has washed our sins as white as snow."  I remember thinking, "That doesn't make sense... Blood stains things; it doesn't wash things!  No disrespect intended, but exactly how do you clean something with a STICKY, BROWNISH-RED LIQUID? Whenever I've bled even a drop or two onto my clothes, I've had a terrible time washing it out!
Ahhh... but, here's the beauty of it:
 #1: We are talking about God.  We are talking about The God, Who exists in a completely higher dimension than we do, Who thinks on a higher level than we can imagine... The God Who created everything.
#2: We are not talking about washing clothes (our dimension): We are talking about cleaning souls (God's dimension).
#3: FAITH is the action which connects our dimension to God's.

And, here is my analogy for faith in the blood of the Lamb: Years ago I worked as an R.N. in an operating room.  The most important thing to do for a patient just prior to making the incision is to properly cleanse the skin at the operative site.  We cleansed the skin with Betadine - a STICKY, BROWNISH-RED LIQUID!
But, the Betadine itself did not do the cleansing;  the cleansing occurred through the evaporation of the Betadine off the skin.  The skin looked the same; but, after about five minutes, the Betadine had evaporated off the skin, killing the bacteria at the operative site.  IT LOOKED THE SAME, BUT IT WAS CHANGED...
Jesus' blood works the same way on our souls.  His blood poured out, but the cleansing action is through our faith in the changing power of the Holy Spirit.  God's forgiveness is immediate and complete;  we don't even have to wait five minutes for anything to dry!!!
You can't see evaporation, but you know it exists.
You can't see the action of the Holy Spirit wither, but you sure can see the results.
Yep; He will wash your sins as white as now.

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