Power in the Blood
Last week I wrote that American Christians need to be washed in the blood of Christ if we were to experience a revival and reformation across our nation. I received a number of strong affirmations of that blog and I promised at the end to come back this week to share more on what that ‘washing’ might look like.
This subject makes many Christians squeamish. After all, the mental image of washing something – much less someone in blood seems grotesque. We try to use metaphors and more figurative language to escape the offense. But if we read Scripture faithfully, we can’t.
Blood is the symbol of life, but it’s also the symbol for injury and death. Bloodshed is life-taking. Blood can give life through transfusion and take life through transgression. When blood is involved, the stakes cannot be higher.
The same is true for sin, and sin and blood are inseparable. 1 John 1:8-9 makes it clear, “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Sin requires cleansing that only blood can provide. All sin leads to death, and Jesus’ blood gives life. When the two collide, blood wins.
Perhaps we are squeamish about blood because we are complacent about sin. If sin is not a detestable and abhorrent sign of death, then the cleansing of blood will never make sense. Where sin is accommodated, no washing is required. And that is the source of our tepid kingdom impact in our culture and the absence of revival in our churches.
We desperately need a national repentance that requires a wholesale cleansing. What would that require of us?
First, deep humility. We must set aside our religious arrogance and ecclesiastical pride and come humbly to the cross.
Second, death. Simply put, we must be willing to die to self in a deeper way than we may ever have imagined.
Third, prayer. We have to get face to face with God and prepare to be changed.
Fourth, confession. We must ask God to show us every sin that keeps us from Him and name it. Here’s how Charles Spurgeon describes it, “When a man sees himself to be altogether lost and ruined, covered all over with the defilement of sin, and no part free from pollution; when he disclaims all righteousness of his own, and pleads guilty before the Lord, then is he clean through the blood of Jesus, and the grace of God. Hidden, unfelt, unconfessed iniquity is the true leprosy, but when sin is seen and felt it has received its death blow, and the Lord looks with eyes of mercy upon the soul afflicted with it. Nothing is more deadly than self-righteousness, or more hopeful than contrition. We must confess that we are nothing else but sin, for no confession short of this will be the whole truth, and if the Holy Spirit be at work with us, convincing us of sin, there will be no difficulty about making such an acknowledgment.” Can we corporately and individually confess our sin, acknowledge our accommodation to our culture’s values, profess our complicity with our culture’s brokenness and admit to our role in the moral collapse of our society?
Fifth, repentance. We must desire with all our heart to be cleansed and submit ourselves to its flow.
Sixth, expectation. Having been cleansed, we must be ready to rise, expecting God will guide us into a new vocation as both peacemakers and warriors.
Seventh, commission. We must accept the calling to engage in this world as redeemed children of the Father, followers of Jesus washed clean by His blood, and Holy Spirit-inspired people through whom the kingdom of God can shine.
The body of Christ in our nation desperately needs such washing, but it will require this deep soul work. Start today by following these seven steps personally. Then find one or two others to walk them with you. Then ask your church, your work colleagues, your family members to tread them together. Let the circle expand until it unleashes a movement of repentance and a global washing of God’s people.
Revival can begin today, with you, with me. Are you ready to be made clean?