I John 2:8-23-Covered Up with Grace-Sunday Morning, August 25, 2013

The blood got to England two weeks ahead of D-Day. The original date for the Normandy invasion was 5 June, 1944, not 6 June, but the weather did not cooperate on 5 June and barely then on 6 June. Great matters, but the blood was there and ready. New medical breakthroughs meant the Allied blood could be kept for two whole weeks without spoilage. So, the blood supply arrived two weeks to the day prior to the scheduled invasion. This supply was kept completely secret, disguised as anything but blood, for if the Axis had known the blood had arrived, they would know the invasion had to be no more than two weeks away.

Two and a half units were set back for each anticipated casualty. That’s right, someone who knew how to do the numbers determined the number of surviving casualties (wounded) and how much blood would be necessary to keep each man one alive.

There were more casualties than even the most pessimistic medico estimated but, again, no matter. They had brought extra just in case.

How do ones figure human need day by day, today? What is the number of abused children, battered women, lonely oldsters, hopeless addicts, despairing unemployed men and women? While all human need matters, here is a great Biblical truth. There is enough blood to cover them all. Jesus’s blood covers all human need.

 

I.

The Blood of Jesus, which is the Work of God, covers all our bad relationships,  I John 2:7-11. The Biblical writers, at the Holy Spirit’s urging, alternately refer to Jesus as the Way, the Truth, the Life, the Bread of Life, the Water of Life, The True Vine, The Good Shepherd. The writer of John’s Gospel gets so frustrated as he tries to explain Jesus, he just closes his long, theological treatise by writing, “If I tried to tell you everything about Jesus, it would fill all the books in all the libraries in all the world…”

Many times several writers refer to Jesus as the Word (logos), the leading point of education/information. He is the Word of God, the presence of God in all knowledge. Here, John the Good Pastor conveys this truth: Jesus is the Truth and His gracious blood covers all things, including our various damaged relationships.

And we all have damaged relationships. Church people have as many damaged relationships among family, friends, colleagues, crowds, et al, as the general population. Here is the difference about our damaged relationships. We must still love those who hurt us if we would say that God is in us.

In point of fact, one of the necessary means by which we know we are under the Blood of Christ is to see our love for one another. And how may we see this love? In various ways, which include promotion of our brother/sister, staunch refusal to listen to or speak evil of them and a complete willingness to let go of any grudge.

Bishop Butler, an Anglican of some centuries ago, for instance, states it thus: When can know we are on our way to forgiving our offender when we no longer spend time actively plotting against them.

How is this possible? How may we forgive our offender? We can let go of the evil thought when we know we are with God in God’s work, under the divine blood that conveys grace.

II

And our Good Pastor writes most strictly to men, young and old, who have the most difficulty in accepting forgiveness to live under the blood, I John 2:12-14. In fact, John seems to stop his general writing to say he focuses on men specifically. Why would he do this?

John here insists with his language, “Guys, I am talking to you, as well.” Through the ages, women have displayed greater spirituality than men. In the First Century persecutions, women proved harder to shake under torture than men. Men would recant more readily, on supposes with the intent to live and get even. Women endured the torture of the Romans, we read, and held to their faith.

John, who knows a bit about persecution (and will know more), here says, “Fellows, young and old, children of God, you too are under the blood. You live under the civilizing force of this new/old faith. Stand strong, as you wan to do, and live up to the truth.

We used to say, in evangelism, go after the man/husband, and the family will follow. This was current up to the 1960’s. Since then, witht he marriage rate plummeting, there is less seldom a man/father to reach than ever. The marriage rate among under 40’s in America is now under 32%. Too many times there is just no traditional family to reach, meaning our church programs, based on traditional families, must change.

Can you see, if any culture ever needed a word directly to men about the faith it is ours? Men, fathers, stay at home. The best thing you can do for children is love their mother. Young men, live under the Blood, and so be purified. Live that way. Ask God to purge your soul and control your lusts. Men, live under the Blood of our Lord and so take part in His work.

III

John, the Good Pastor, as with other New Testament writers (along with the early and later Church) insists on Jesus, the Christ, as exclusive Savior. We can decide we do not believe that Jesus is the Son of God, the Living Christ, the Lamb that Takes Away the Sin of the World, but we cannot deny this is exactly what the early writers teach about Jesus. He is the Way and His is the Blood.

John closes this portion of Scripture by saying, repeatedly, “And you know.” You know the Truth, you know all things, you know; the difference between right and wrong, well you know. You know how to live. You know.

How do early churches know, so we can know? They know (and we can know) because the God who pursues them, the love-crazed God who precedes their path and mops up the aftermath, this God simply never quits. God prevents the path to destruction for them (us!), holds the line, attracts them (us!) to Godself, pardons, makes holy, keeps and holds. God never errs, never asks us to err and God never, ever quits.

The blood that came to England two weeks before D-Day, you remember, was carefully gathered, painstakingly typed, steadfastly transported to the site of battle. But, how would it reach the wounded soldier? The blood supply was shipped out to sites nearest the battle grounds and kept in place. When a soldier fell wounded (and so many did fall down hurt) the persons who applied the blood had only to call. The blood was there, gathered, typed and transported. They had only to call.

The work of God is in the Blood of Christ. No, we did not ask God to bleed for us. We are, yes, squeamish about blood things, anyway, but we all need rivers of blood in our life time. We just have to have it to function. In the realm where God pardons and sanctifies us, we also need perfect blood, rivers of the stuff. And it is available in the True heart of God, who never errs and never, ever quits.

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