Monday, February 22, 2010

The Blood that Frees

This world is full of guilt, full of the weight and burden of sin. Everyone of us knows this. We know this in our brokenness and failures. We know this in the lives of our loved ones. And we know this in the lives and stories going on all around us in this world and throughout history. And this hurt, this guilt really must be dealt with. And there are ultimately only two ways to get rid of the guilt, to get rid of the pain, to be free. And both include death and the shedding of blood. One is the way of suicide. Sometimes this occurs in straightforward self-inflicted murder to ease the pain. But as many have noted, frequently it can take the form of finding scapegoats, transferring guilt to a victim in a society. It isn’t an accident that godless societies frequently are characterized by the shedding of blood whether through unjust warfare or child sacrifice. But even this transferring of guilt to an innocent victim is suicidal. A culture cannot survive on this bloodletting for very long. But Jesus has come to be the last innocent victim, the final scapegoat. His blood is for the remission of sins. Guilt is a kind of bondage, a form of slavery. Unconfessed and unforgiven sins manipulate people in powerful ways, and they become taskmasters. But Jesus says that He came to give His life as a ransom for many. He came to shed His innocent blood that the guilty might go free. His blood is the last and ultimate payment of blood money. Judas had innocent blood on his hands, and then the chief priests had the blood money on their hands. But what they could not see and would not believe was that Jesus’ innocent blood was for their guilt, for their betrayal, for their sins. And so we celebrate this week after week, and you must know that this blood that we give thanks for, this blood of the new covenant is for your sins. It was shed with you in mind, with your betrayal in mind, for your sins. This blood cleanses us and ransoms us. Confessing our sins is calling on God to deliver us from the evil one who manipulates us in our guilt. But the blood is already shed, the ransom has already been paid. So don’t keep lingering in Egypt while there is deliverance right in front of you. Wherever there is unconfessed sin in your life or guilt that lingers in your heart, confess your sins now and believe the gospel. Take up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord. This blood was shed for you. You are free. You are forgiven.

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