Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
Revelation 1:5b says something startling, if we think about it. The doxology, or statement of glory, dedicates our devotion "to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood." We can easily understand the idea of someone rescuing us from a variety of dangers "by his blood." For instance, when a soldier dies in battle, we commonly use the metaphor of his purchasing our freedom by his blood. One person loses his life, another lives.
When this idea is applied to sins it becomes much more difficult. After all, we generally think of our sins as something primarily within us, though they poke their heads out and do mischief around us as well. But they are ours to deal with, to control, and sometimes to lose control of.
The Bible takes sin very differently. It considers sin as that which leads to death. The soul who sins must die (Ezekiel 18:20). And the instrument of death is ultimately sin, rather than anything else.
What can we do about this deadly thing that lives within us? How do we take it away. Is it by our good works or our effort? Maybe if we are perfectly sincere? Or perhaps it is by repenting, being sorry for our sins? The problem is that we have to be entirely sorry for our sins, which normally leads us to lying about the severity of our sin or the genuineness of our repentance, which is yet another sin.
What recourse do we have? In Revelation we are told that Jesus is able to die for our sins. It is through his blood, i.e., giving his life, that we receive forgiveness of sins.
This is a battle, just as real as the soldier who dies while protecting us from enemy invasion. But it is one which is applied not to our external world, but to the inside. Our sin is paid for. It is forgiven. Rather than costing us our life, it is costing Jesus his life.
This is the price Jesus willingly pays, out of love for you, love for me. So we give thanks to him. It's all we can do.
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