The church at the center of God’s salvation

Last week, I wrote, “The church of God is at the center of God’s salvation in every way.” What do I mean by that? What is the relationship of the church to salvation?

The saved are added to the church

Nobody joins the church of God. You can join a denomination, but you can’t join the body of Christ (which says a lot about what a denomination is and is not). This is the work of God, just as it is his work to cleanse from sin when we are immersed in water. That first moment of the gospel makes clear what the process is: Continue reading “The church at the center of God’s salvation”

Through the door

I recently heard a travel writer encourage people who were considering traveling abroad to just go through the door. Doors are opportunities or obstacles. Often our perspective determines reality. If we view doors as obstacles, that is what they are. To this travel writer, one needed to see the doors as opportunities for adventure, growth, and perspective.

Scripture speaks often of doors, both literal and figurative. Continue reading “Through the door”

Three reasons to watch and warn

The church is precious. Oh, I’m not talking about human divisions and denominations, but the one, true church of God established by Jesus Christ. Even the denominationalists diminish the importance of their divisions, separating them (and properly so) from the process of salvation, and then schizophrenically talk them up and exalt them. But the church of God is at the center of God’s salvation in every way.

What the apostle Paul had to say to the Ephesian elders applies generally to all Christians, as far as watching against false teachers, because of the price paid for the church: Continue reading “Three reasons to watch and warn”

Even the blood of wild animals

“Any one also of the people of Israel, or of the strangers who sojourn among them, who takes in hunting any beast or bird that may be eaten shall pour out its blood and cover it with earth” (Leviticus 17:13).

Many years ago I took a course on meat preparation and was introduced to “Kosher” meats. That is the term used of meats approved for eating by Orthodox Judaism. At that time at least the processing of Kosher meat not only meant to select only “clean” animals as sources of food, but also the complete removal of all blood from the carcass. As I recall the lessons, Orthodox Jews only ate beef or mutton that had been de-veined. Simply bleeding the carcass out was not sufficient – the veins themselves had to be removed. Since the hind quarters of a cow (steer) could not be feasibly de-veined, those who required Kosher meat could only eat the front quarters (shoulders). Think of all the wasted T-bone steaks! Continue reading “Even the blood of wild animals”

By the blood

The story of Christianity is the story of victory at great cost.

Hunted, beaten, starved, imprisoned, tortured, and murdered, this was the life for many Christians in the first century. Just as their Savior, they chose temporal suffering for eternal satisfaction.

This contrast between victory and loss is seen in vivid colors in the Revelation of Jesus Christ. Following the great worship scene in chapter four, we find an equally awesome display of worship to the Son viewed as a Lion. But that glorious praiseworthy setting is enhanced by the suffering of that Son who became a Lamb slain (Revelation 5:6-8). Continue reading “By the blood”

The Rider with the robe dipped in blood

The first and last times a word is mentioned in the Bible may not be doctrinally significant, but I find them fascinating nevertheless. Indulge my fascination for a moment.

In Revelation 19.13 appears a description of Jesus with the word “blood” — our theme for this month. It is the last occurrence of the word in the Bible.

We usually associate blood with our cleansing from sin, and rightly so. John takes a different tack here. Continue reading “The Rider with the robe dipped in blood”

Drink indeed: What it means to drink Christ’s blood

“Then Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him’” (John 6:53-56 NKJV).

In all of the paradoxes that constitute Jesus Christ and the gospel of salvation which he delivered to mankind there may be nothing so startling and difficult to comprehend than his statements about drinking his blood. Those of us who were never under the Law of Moses and were not raised to avoid even the taste of blood under any circumstances may not have the innate aversion to the very idea that devout Jews have long considered an essential aspect of their identity. Continue reading “Drink indeed: What it means to drink Christ’s blood”

Family is everything, unless Jesus is

Michael J. Fox is quoted as saying, “Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.” Mr. Fox is not alone, this is a common refrain among many.

Family is important. Some disregard, ignore, or abuse their family. Many give themselves over to their work, their hobbies, or their friends at the expense of their children or spouse. Many of the most successful people have chosen business over family. Continue reading “Family is everything, unless Jesus is”

Eat his flesh and drink his blood

my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink” (John 6:55)

Jesus’ discourse in John 6 about eating his flesh and drinking his blood is surely one of the strangest of his sayings. The content was so offensive to some that they turned away from him, never to return (John 6:66). All these years later we can probably appreciate Jesus’ metaphor better than the original hearers did.

Of course, the meaning of the saying is important: “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you” (John 6:53). It is indeed a metaphor and it involves something like, “Take me for what/who I am.” It is also parallel to statements like, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me” (Mt. 11:29). Continue reading “Eat his flesh and drink his blood”