To the Church in America: There Will be No Great Revival Without Blood
Let me explain this provocative title and state the thesis of this blog right at the start. The single reason the church has lost its way is because we want to be the body of Christ without the blood of Christ. If we want revival in the church, if we want to be salt and light in our culture then it will only come through blood.
In Genesis 3, the first couple succumbed to the temptation to “be like God.” It was a choice for control over surrender. It was a decision to build their own kingdom rather than surrender everything to God’s one kingdom.
Reenacting that sin, our culture has consecrated the pursuit of control as its most sacred value. Control gives the power to choose; to choose what I believe, who I listen to, who I want to be around and who I don’t, what is true, who I love and who I hate, who is right and who is wrong, who or what God is and whether or not I believe. Everything comes down to my choice. When everything is left to me, I will choose for myself and justify those choices, which means choosing against those with whom I disagree. Our demand for control is the fuel for our growing culture of hatred and division.
This same deification of choice and control, this reenactment of Genesis 3, has made its way into the church. When I am in control, I can choose which parts of scripture I want to believe, which pastors I will to listen to, (the ones who will preach what I want to hear), which church communities make me most comfortable, what view of God is most convenient, and which Christian lifestyle will cost me the least. Just like the world around us, no one can tell us we are wrong. After all, we are in control, it’s our choice and to tell me something different is close-minded and judgmental.
It’s no wonder we’ve lost our voice in our culture and our way as the body of Christ. We may pray for revival, but it will not come without our putting to death our desire for control.
Do we truly want revival in the church? If so, there is only one path. If we are to be the genuine body of Christ, we must submit ourselves to be washed by the blood of Christ. Scripture is replete with the importance of this washing and we have ignored it at our own demise. (Spend some time with Romans 3:24-25 and 5:9, John 6:53, Ephesians 1:7 and 2:12-13, 1 Peter 1:2, Luke 22:20, Revelation 1:5, 7:14 and 12:11 just for starters).
When was the last time you heard a sermon on Revelation 1:5, “To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen?” or 1 John 4:7, “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” When did you last sing, “There’s Power in the Blood” or “Nothing But the Blood of Jesus?”
Preaching and singing about blood is not ‘seeker-friendly’. It makes “high-control” Christians uncomfortable. It sounds medieval and even macabre. We want the teachings of Jesus without all the messiness. We want to know His love but not His sacrifice, especially if it asks the same of us. In this vacuum has come the rise of Moralistic Therapeutic Deism – the belief that God who is good and wants me to be good, will come to my rescue when I need him but otherwise leaves me alone to live the way I want. Convenient, comfortable Christianity that can be kept under control.
When we are washed by the blood of the lamb, all claims for ownership and control are washed away with it. Our life becomes hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3), the love of Christ compels us (2 Corinthians 5:14), and it is no longer we who live but Christ who lives in us (Galatians 2:20). It is death to our desire to be like God, and it is a rising to the abundant life Christ created us to live.
What would it look like for those who claim to be part of the body of Christ to be truly washed by the blood of Christ? What would it mean for you? I believe it would require us to go to our knees in repentance, surrendering everything we have to him, and pray for the Holy Spirit to wash over us. It would mean death to everything that robs us as disciples of Christ. It would be a ‘no looking back’, ‘no compromise’, ‘all-in surrender’ to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in every area of our life. To be washed by the blood of Christ is to become a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) where Christ in us becomes the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).
This is the revival the church is longing for. This is how the body of Christ becomes salt and light in a dark and dying culture. This is how we experience the abundant life in a culture of death and decay. This is our hope, and it only comes through blood.
So, let me ask you, have you been bathed in the blood of the lamb?
Next week we will look at steps we can take to experience this life for ourselves.