My Blood Stained Bible

“Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.”
(Romans 5:9 ESV)

As a child I suffered from frequent nosebleeds.  They would come on spontaneously and last quite a while.  Recently I haven’t had much of a problem with nosebleeds, but these cold and dry Iowa winters are working against me.

Yesterday morning, as I was reading through the Psalms over a cup of coffee at the cofee shop, it happened.  Without warning my nose started to bleed, so I quickly went to the restroom and got the bleeding to stop and cleaned myself up.  But when I returned to my table, I saw the damage was done. 

There, on the 73rd Psalm, right next to :

Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

sat a scarlet drop of blood, soaking into the page.  I did my best to clean it up, but my Bible is now permanently stained with blood.

I thought to myself, I can’t use this Bible anymore.  It’s got blood on it. I certainly can’t let anyone else see or use it, its stained forever.  The beautiful white pages with their gold edges are marred.  From now on I will have a vivid reminder of that morning, and how that one drop of blood has changed the entire book.

It didn’t take long for me to realize what a perfect picture this was.  My Bible was already stained by blood, not by mine, but by the blood of the lamb.  Having just re-read Leviticus and Numbers, which establish the provisions for the sacrifices for atonement, there is blood on every page.  It is impossible to overstate the tragic consequences of sin and the terrible price that must be paid for our redemption and forgiveness.  Every sacrifice creates within us a longing for that one sufficient sacrifice that would completely atone for our sins, the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  It is by His blood that we are justified (Rom 5:9), in His blood we have redemption (Eph 1:7), with His blood that we are purified (Heb 9:13; 1 John 1:7), and by His blood that we have been set free (Rev 1:5).

I knew a Pastor once who refused to sing any songs in church that mentioned the blood of Jesus, and wouldn’t read any passage in worship that mentioned it either.  It is just too gory, he said.  When you think about it, there’s not a lot left:  His blood is on every page; and I will praise Him for it!

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
O! Precious is the flow that makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know; nothing but the blood of Jesus.

SDG

Transitory Obsessions

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow…”
(Philippians 2:9-10 ESV)

We are a people easily obsessed with the transitory.  Something new and sparkly catches our eye and we say, “Ooh, that’s nice.”  Over time, we begin to picture ourselves owning/using/wearing whatever caught our attention, and we think, “I’d really enjoy having that.”  Next we begin to think about all the good things we could do with this new object, how we could use it to help others, to make their life enjoyable, or simply to make ourselves more enjoyable to be around because we have “IT”.  Then we begin to obsess, we put “IT” on our wish list; we drop hints to family and friends when birthday/Christmas/anniversary is approaching; we become sullen and disappointed when we don’t get “IT” immediately.  We know we won’t be satisfied until we have “IT.”  Then we get “IT” and the world seems right.  There is nothing more we could need to be happy.  Then, something new and sparkly catches our eye…

The pleasures this world have to offer are gifts from God, gifts to be a blessing in our lives and to be enjoyed.  The problem is, because our hearts are so inclined to idolatry and evil, every good gift from God has the potential to become an idol for our hearts.  We become obsessed with the things that can only bring momentary pleasures, fleeting joys.  We think, “If only I can have “IT”, then I will be truly happy.”  But when we have “IT”, happiness quickly escapes us, and we are left disappointed and wanting more.

The simple reason for this is there is only one thing that can really satisfy our longing for true and lasting happiness in life.  We look for happiness in all the wrong places.  We look for happiness in the names we know – our relationships, our circle of influence, our social networking.  We look for happiness in the names we possess – name brand clothing or products – after all, “the label makes the man.”  We even look for happiness in the names we are called – the respect and honor given to us by our peers – “He’s a good man,” “She’s a beautiful woman.”  If you look to find your happiness and satisfaction in any of these, you will be left empty.

There is only one name that can truly bring us satisfaction and peace – that is the name of Jesus.  Only Jesus can answer the deepest longing of your soul, that need for completion, for fulfillment, for lasting joy.  How does Jesus satisfy?  The opening chapter of Hebrews tells us:

  1. He is the heir of all things… Here the word “Heir” is synonymous with the title “Lord.”  Everything that has ever been created has been created by and through Jesus, and therefore He is the Lord, the possessor, of all things.  Whatever we might need, Jesus can provide.
  2. He is the radiance of God’s glory… Man was created to reflect the glory of God.  Because we have sinned, and each of us knows our sins, for they are always before us (Psalm 51), we have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).  Falling short of God’s glory means that we do not bring glory to God as we ought, but it also means that we have lost sight of God’s glory.  We despise His glory and want it for ourselves.  We fear His glory and want it diminished.  We are blinded to His glory, and cannot recognize its beauty.  But Christ comes as the radiance of God’s glory, as the rays shine from the sun.  A.W. Pink wrote, “Were there no rays, we should not see the sun.  So, apart from Christ, the brightness of God’s glory could not be perceived. Without Christ, man is in the dark, utterly in the dark concerning God.  It is in Christ that God is revealed.”
  3. He is the imprint of God’s nature – All that God is, in His nature and character, is expressed and manifested, absolutely and perfectly, by the incarnate Son.  All we need to know about God, about His love, about our salvation, is clearly revealed in Jesus.
  4. He upholds the universe by His power – We teach our children the song, “He’s got the whole world in His hands,” but then we grow up and leave such thoughts behind.  We have a hard time swallowing the truth that Jesus is the central force that holds all things together.  But Jesus stands in the middle of it all, and holds everything together.  We were created to orbit Him, for our lives to revolve around Him.  When they don’t, that is when we begin to unravel and spin out of control.
  5. He has atoned for our sins – Only Jesus has paid the price for our salvation.  By coming to be with us, bearing our sins upon His cross, He has set us free from the guilt of sin and the power of death.  Now He sits at the right hand of God and intercedes for us, prays for us, and promises to bring us to Him.

What other name can do all that?  Can your childhood sports hero claim any of these titles that have been given to Christ? Can the labels you wear do any of the things that Jesus has done?  Can the thing you want satisfy your soul in the way that Christ has?

Let us leave behind these transitory obsessions, and “fix our eyes on Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith!”