The church you can believe in today

By Rev. Bruce Wilson

"Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood." Acts 20:28 (English Standard Version)

"Knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot." 1 Peter 1:18-19 (ESV)

When we are not feeling well or we get sick and if the illness persists, we go to the doctor some of us more grudgingly than others. If the reason we are not feeling well is not obvious to the doctor, they run tests.

One of the first things they do, generally speaking, is blood tests. By doing blood tests when they get the results, they have a good idea, at least to start with, about what is going on in our body.

Blood tests are used to determine physiological and biochemical states, such as disease, mineral content, drug effectiveness, and organ functions. It is amazing what can be determined by the blood.

The word blood is used in the Bible approximately 406 times depending on what version of the Bible you are reading.

The word blood is also used in clichs to describe different aspects of life i.e. anger, for example, "my blood was boiling," for killing, the phrase "blood shed," what is essential to sustain life, "life blood," people that are feuding or showing malice "bad blood," what defines being ruthless or heartless "cold blooded."

These words and phrases are used in our vocabulary and have been for years.

God said of blood in the Levitical Law, Leviticus 17:11-14 (ESV), "For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life."

The blood in the Old Covenant, the Levitical Law, expressed life for life, and soul for soul, it was a type of sacrifice and atonement that ultimately Christ would make.

The Scripture teaches us that there is no remission of sins without the shedding of blood; Hebrews 9:22 (ESV) says, "Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins."

In Hebrews 10:4 (ESV), "For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins." The blood sacrifice was the only way, under the law, to atone for sin or to be purified from sin. However the Scripture says, "It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins."

There had to be recognition of sin, which the law pointed out and then the part that the blood played in the sacrifice to make atonement.

The word blood is used in about every aspect of life, and it is used in such a way that generally has to do with something serious, as in the doctor's diagnosis, as in the clichs that have specific meanings about different aspects of life, and in the seriousness of the Bible and the cross of Christ.

The blood is an important part of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. There was no other way for him to pay for the cleansing of men and women from sin.

We are reminded that, because of the shed blood of Christ, the "purchase price" for men and women, we are admonished to keep watch over ourselves and the flock, i.e. the Church of God. Acts 20:28 (ESV), says "Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood."

The Scripture is talking about the church universal, not a denomination of local congregation. One cannot be a part of the church without accepting, recognizing, and acknowledging the price that was paid for our salvation.

The church was bought and paid for by Jesus Christ himself, with his life, and with his blood.

Without the shed blood of Jesus, there would be no such thing as the church. All through the Scripture in the Old Testament we are taught about the blood sacrifices and they were a type of Christ that ultimately led to his shed blood.

Peter gives us more clarification on just what the purchase price was in 1 Peter 1:18-19 ESV, "knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot."

Jesus was the only perfect sacrifice in all of time, a lamb without blemish or defect. Notice Peter called the blood of Jesus "precious."

The word "precious" from the Greek is translated to mean; valuable, that is, costly. Christ willingly shed his "precious" blood. Words cannot describe or capture the depth of the unconditional love that Christ proves by his action, the value of our souls that he calls the church, and what she is worth.

We were born into sin, spiritually dead, depraved human beings. The effects of sin are devastating and the consequences even more so, and at times irreversible with regard to the consequences.

But God made a provision through Christ so that we are able to have peace and be forgiven, and be cleansed. He can and will, if we allow him, change us forever.

Those who have surrendered to Christ have been redeemed by the blood of the lamb; they have been washed in the blood, cleansed and made whole again.

We sing the words to that old hymn of the faith, "Oh precious is the flow, that makes me white as snow. No other fount I know nothing but the blood of Jesus."

Rev. Bruce Wilson, pastor of Trinity Point Church of God in Clarion.