“I’ll absolutely die if I can’t have these stonewashed jeans. All my friends have them!”
“Foolish priorities,” we may respond. But what of our own concerns? What are we willing to forego to satisfy our whims? No tickets to the Super Bowl, so we’re willing to concede to the scalpers’ prices? Max the credit cards, go without at the dinner table, delay some prized purchase — all because we simply have to be there?
We all have priorities, and most everything carries a price tag. But the freebies are sometimes overlooked. The greatest freebie of all — salvation — has been grossly underrated, ignored, set aside, all with little thought as to its ultimate value. Free indeed! Yet it did carry a price tag; it cost Someone a lot to provide it for free.
The need for salvation arose soon after Creation, when man’s physiology became infected by sin. Adam had been created in the image of God, with the Creator’s DNA imprinted on him. God also bestowed upon him the ability to choose to either function within the given structure or defy his Creator through disobedience. In Eden’s garden, Adam made a bad choice: He succumbed to temptation and lost a part of his genetic makeup. That spiritual connection was broken, and he took on the DNA of the Evil One.
Realizing their nakedness, Adam and Eve tried to cover themselves with fig leaves. But God provided a better covering for the offenders. An animal had to die to provide those skins, but animal blood could not eradicate their sin. God therefore promised a Messiah who would win the battle between good and evil (Genesis 3:15).
Meanwhile, the animal’s death typified this Savior whose blood would be shed for the world’s redemption. All succeeding generations were born with the prevailing capacity to transgress. With this “gene” passed down from Adam, we’ve all come under the penalty of death.
God’s people tried His patience time after time and attempted to cover their idolatry with a web of deception and lies, but to no avail: “Their webs will not become garments, nor will they cover themselves with their works . . .” (Isaiah 59:6). The only escape would be through the provision of a perfect blood offering and a replacement for their torn, stained garments — garments that revealed their nakedness in the sight of the Creator. Only the promised Savior would be able to redeem the lost and bring them back under God’s grace.
As a test of faith, God told Abraham to offer Isaac, his son of promise, as a sacrifice to Him. Abraham obeyed. As he raised the knife, the angel of the Lord stayed his hand, acknowledging that Abraham had passed the test of his faith and love for God. This was yet another type of the coming Messiah and reaffirmation of the promised deliverance.
Jesus knew that He was that designated Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:18-20). Think of it! He held a position equal to God and was part of the Father God himself: active in Creation . . . living in glory . . . revered by angels . . . greatly beloved by His Father!
Life in the blood
Jesus left the glory that was rightfully His to become the baby within Mary, conceived through the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. He developed over nine months in Mary’s womb, where her blood nourished Him with the oxygen and nutrients needed to grow. Blood: that life-giving elixir that renews and strengthens those who receive it!
Blood is the medium through which oxygen and nutrients are delivered to sustain life. It is vital in that it affects the functioning of all areas of the body. Without blood, the body would soon wither and die. Lungs would refuse to provide oxygen, and heart pumps would shut down, preventing life-giving blood from coursing through veins. Kidneys would cease to release wastes and toxins. Without blood, there would be no life (Genesis 9:4)!
And without a perfect blood sacrifice, there could be no redemption:
“For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17:11; cf Hebrews 9:22).
Jesus Christ thwarted Satan’s every attempt to woo Him, though Satan offered the world if He would but worship him. Thank God that Jesus successfully resisted the wiles of the Evil One. Otherwise, all of us would have been eternally separated from God, and Satan would have been declared the winner of that long-standing conflict. Jesus willingly humbled Himself and became obedient to God’s plan of salvation. He not only died but also rose again, assuring us of our own resurrection and a place in His kingdom. Jesus did His part. Now we need to do ours by allowing the Spirit to transform us into His image.
When converted, we are washed by the blood of the Lamb and adopted into God’s family. Christ’s blood figuratively infuses new life within us and restores the once lost spiritual DNA bestowed upon man at Creation. This special grace comes sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, our guarantee of inheritance in God’s kingdom (Ephesians 1:14). We need the power and presence of Christ in our lives. Our physiology is still infected by sin, but in our new life, God’s Spirit is dominant and provides immunization against the infection so we can fight it.
We may willingly go without other comforts to ensure tickets to a favorite sporting event, but investing in eternity produces far greater rewards. Stonewashed jeans may keep us in step with outward style, but the inward possession of blood-washed genes keeps us in step with the Savior. Salvation is indeed free, yet Jesus paid an exorbitantly high price to purchase it.
The first Adam was responsible for sin’s inception; the last Adam (Jesus Christ) erased the stain of sin through His shed blood (1 Corinthians 15:45). Amazing! Christ’s blood! That life-giving elixir that spiritually renews and strengthens those who receive it! Wrapped in His righteousness — the perfect cover.