Whenever I hear, or read about the Blood of Jesus, I feel itchy, stinky, disturbed.
I don’t like blood, nor the smell, neither the taste, or the color.
But I came to a great piece of commentary from J.M.Boice on Romans and now finally I get it.
I get the blood of jesus. I mean, the Blood of Jesus.
No itch, no stink, just joy and sadness.
The BIG 4 enemies
Thanks Boice, I discovered that Moral code, Feelings, Knowledge and Faith (seriously?) are our most embarrasing and strong enemies, against ourself, against the Blood of Jesus.
Do you know which one is working against you? Mine is knwoledge, but often faith.
Sorry to spoil the surprise.
As a previous catholic, previous agnostic, previous scientific boy, previous careless one, and present protestant christian, I find easy to talk about the Moral code as an enemy.
Jewish people in the Old Testament are always told as pharisaic, description of a person who cares about actions over intentions. Catholic people are seen as pharisaic too, by protestant people.
What MORAL code? When I judge myself Just and Honest; and worthy of divine judgement because I don’t steal, I don’t kill, don’t lie (are you sure?), don’t cheat, don’t swear; and when I do some of them, I repent in time (before death), with penance, whether is a bloody sacrifice of old times, or a repetition of nursery-rhyme-prayers.
The enemy of MORAL code is in thinking you can save yourself because you are a good guy.
No need of whatever Blood of Jesus. Good guy.
FEELINGS on my skin
I often hear this tip: “enjoy your life, as long as you can“.
And it means “life is shit, my life tastes like shit, your life will too. So have good sex, good food, no regrets. Because your life will be like mine, years later”
Do you hear this? Do you believe it?
Feelings are the first wrong instinct we meet. Little babies live by feelings. Big man live (unconsciously) by feelings. We all talk about “my gut“, “your gut” and we trust them so much.
Why an enemy? We are driven by our emotions all the day.
We feel sad, we feel guilty. We are happy, we feel life is worthy.
So we go up and down through our days, and we bring with us our view of life, the purpose of our life. We are sad, and suddenly God is not enough. Or too much to bear.
We are happy, and suddenly life is amazing, God is good, trust and obey, and so and so.
Dear enemy, friendly feelings, I don’t care how I feel, if I trust God, my God, I know He is always beside me. It’s me, bending, failing, falling and jumping. God is beside me, always straigth and perfect.
The enemy of FEELINGS is in thinking you can save yourself because you feel good about yourself. Or that you are lost because you feel lost.
No need of any itchy smeel of the Blood of Jesus. Flow with emotions.
My hero is a guy who used to read a book a day. SIX book a week!
I love books, any kind, being around books, the smell of them.
You can believe you know God, because you know a great deal of theology.
Memorize Bible verses as a daily exercise, and call them back whenever.
Boice told me a story of Wesley who knew God since 1725 at least, when he was ordained. Wesley tells that he KNEW God only in 1738 for real.
Wesley, who started the methodist movement, had knowledge of God in his mind for at least 13 years before he experienced God presence in his life. Knowledge of God means experience, relationship and walking together. Not just theory, and memory.
It sounds easy, but it is not. Think about Wesley who was a preacher, and didn’t know God for many years. In his heart.
The enemy of KNOWLEDGE is in thinking you can save yourself because you know a great deal of God and His word, and doctrine..
No need of whatever Blood of Jesus. Keep carrying your Bible with you.
This is tricky. Boice admits it immediately: “how faith can be an enemy between you and God?”
The problem start with little words, and go on with wrong understanding.
Paul says in Romans 3:22-26 “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. ”
See it? Faith is not the reason of your justification, of your salvation. Faith is the means, the channel, through which we get salvation. Faith is a door we open, salvation enters through it and by it in the form of the Blood of Jesus.
See it, now? It is scary, isn’t it? I realize I didn’t know either before Boice explained to me. I had faith in my salvation because of my faith. So silly, stupid, prideful mind.
Say with me:
My salvation comes only because of the Blood of Jesus. No merit of my own.
The enemy of FAITH is in thinking you can save yourself because of your faith..
No need of whatever Blood of Jesus. My faith saves me.
ENEMY 1: Moral code.
No action, nothing you can do, can bring you closer to God.
Christianity recognized this immediately, thanks to Saint Paul. We know strongly this, again, since reformation happened, thanks to Calvin, thanks to Luther.
FAIL: we cannot DO anything to save ourselves.
ENEMY 2: Feelings.
Your feelings are no related to your relationship with God.
Different christian denomination failed through centuries, namely the Puritans with their sadness, some Evangelicals with over joy, Catholic of certain age of the church with their grief.
FAIL: we cannot rely on our MOOD, to decide if God loves us or not. He loves us.
ENEMY 3: Knowledge.
Bible is the word of God, but Bible alone cannot save anyone.
Our mind tricks us with honor and glory, applause and fame. This is Paul in Romans 3:27 saying “Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded“. He was a great man, with knowledge. He was one boasting because of his superior studies, rethorical skills.
I love to quote Kierkegaard in “Jesus didn’t come to teach us Salvation, He came to save us“.
FAIL: we cannot rely on our UNDERSTANDING of God, to get to heaven.
ENEMY 4: Faith.
The worst, trickiest one. Sounds right, sounds exactly what the Bible says, but it is not.
Our faith may be strong, may be right, but it is still a HUMAN thing. Not stinking human stuff can cleanse our sin, our separation from God.
FAIL: we cannot rely on our FAITH, to know we are saved. We need to rely only in our decision to have faith in the Blood of Jesus.