Carol and I do not celebrate the Halloween tradition. But Halloween makes me think of blood, so I decided to update and reprint an important Reflection about blood that I wrote five years ago.
I enjoyed reading a book several times by the Rev. David Ravenhill titled Blood Bought.
Carol and I have known David and Nancy Ravenhill, residents of Siloam Springs, for nine years. We love and respect them, and enjoy their delightful and Christ-centered fellowship. We have also read books by David's father, Leonard Ravenhill, which have enriched our lives.
When I think of Blood Bought, two celebrations come to mind: 1) Pesach -- Passover: shedding a lamb's blood to receive temporary forgiveness from sin, and 2) the completed Passover -- the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
First Corinthians 5:7 says, "Christ our Passover [lamb] has been sacrificed for us" to offer us permanent forgiveness from sin. The Jewish Passover, understood from a Biblical/historical perspective, pointed to Jesus, "the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world." (John 1:29)
Martin Luther finally understood the concept of being "bought by the blood of the Lamb," and on Oct. 31 (now called Reformation Day), Luther posted his 95 Theses on the Wittenberg church doors in 1517 AD. Luther's cry to the Church was Sola Scriptura! Sola Fide!
The application is: Scripture alone based only on Faith points us to Almighty God. And the declaration that rocked the Church was, "By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast! (Ephesians 2:8-9)"
Martin Luther proclaimed to the Church and to the world that nothing humanity could possibly do could redeem us from sin or from ourselves. Our redemption is procured only through the blood of Jesus Christ.
This takes us back to Blood Bought.
David Ravenhill, a missionary, pastor, and teacher, has seen the church change dramatically in the 52 years he has been in ministry. In this book, he vividly reveals God's desires for the Church. But noting that the church has fallen far short of the goal, David presents the state of the church and the kind of gospel that much of the church portrays.
On page 164 we read, "...the Gospel has morphed into an almost unrecognizable man-centered message." That kind of gospel presents a Christian form of humanism; a Christian-type of religion but not the holiness of Jesus Christ; a better way of life, but not life bought by the blood of Jesus.
The Rev. Ravenhill brings us face-to-face with the reality of the Church's present state of affairs when he said, "It is this selective approach to teaching and preaching [appealing to man's senses rather than presenting God's holiness] that has emasculated the church and rendered her passionless, powerless, and purposeless. ... It is only when we are ready to offer ourselves without reservation to God that we will see His kingdom come and His will be done. The secret to this lies in whether we love God more than we love ourselves."
That's a powerful statement!
But David doesn't dwell on the negative. He talks about the deep love of God -- deeper than the world can understand. On page 161 we read, "First we are His because He created us. And second, we are His because He redeemed us."
Love is the basis for all God does; and love should be the basis for all we do.
It is amazing that the modern church enjoys watching so much blood-spilling gore in theaters and on television, but they seldom mention or even think of the shed blood of Jesus for the remission of our sin. Although Passover reveals that the blood of Jesus Christ was required to change our lives, the Church normally chooses to celebrate things like a bloodless and Christ-less Easter. Somewhere along the line, the Church has lost sight of what it truly is -- The Body of Christ -- and has begun living like the world. When the Church wakes up from its slumber, we will be surprised what God will do.
Pastor Ravenhill quotes other pastors throughout the book such as Charles Spurgeon, G. Campbell Morgan, John Piper, and John Stott. They all agree on this provocative concept: Jesus did not die to receive our sins. He died to redeem mankind. (Ponder that one.)
I heartily recommend this book. You can order Blood Bought, Discovering the truth of our redemption on Amazon.com.
-- Gene Linzey is a speaker, author and mentor. Send comments and questions to email@example.com. Visit his web site at www.genelinzey.com. The opinions expressed are those of the author.Religion on 10/31/2018
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