Covered By the Blood
Covered by the blood of Jesus.
That's what I have heard all of my life. Yet it seems to be an incomprehensible metaphor that makes no sense, particularly since my picture of God has started being transformed.
Since I no longer subscribe to the notion that the Father God is so violently angry against sinners that He has to be appeased by the torture and death of His Son to prevent Him from torturing sinners, the idea of the substitutionary blood of His Son stills seems to not fit within my understanding of theology. But I have long been keeping my mind open for clues as to the real meaning of this blood and what it really means to be covered by the blood in a way that transforms a sinner into a saint.
Jesus came to this earth to reveal the truth about the Father's heart and His attitude toward sinners. Very often religion has reversed the concepts of God's feelings toward sin and His feelings toward sinners, ending up with a God soft on sin but very harsh on unrepentant sinners. Jesus came to clarify the confusion about God, but much of the confusion yet remains because most of Jesus' teachings and demonstrations of the truth have been so twisted and distorted by His enemy that we still miss the main point what He came to reveal.
The real power of the blood of Jesus is not really in the blood itself but is in the message revealed by His willingness to allow sinners to torture Him and kill Him in ways that caused Him to bleed so much. It is a mistake to perceive the blood of Jesus from the view that there is some sort of magic in it, that it can be used as part of some sort of formula for protecting ourselves either from an angry God or from the dangers of demons. Although there have been many instances where this opinion appears to be justified, I believe that the core issue, the underlying true power of the blood of Jesus is in a correct comprehension of why Jesus shed His blood and the real motives that were in His heart as He did so.
When we begin to truly grasp what was in the heart of Jesus and come to appreciate the intensity of a love that is far beyond anything we have ever imagined possible, then the effects of that revelation will begin to transform us into a people who will reflect that same kind of love to the point where we will also be willing to shed our blood for the same reasons.
Jesus' body was covered with His own blood by the time He died. This was because sinners and demons were so outraged by His demonstration of love, forgiveness, compassion and humility as was constantly exuding from the heart of Jesus in all of His dealings with them, that they could not restrain themselves from viciously attacking Him to stop such exposure of their own characters. That is the very nature of sin and rebellion; it cannot tolerate being exposed by the light of its opposite. Sin is the fundamental belief in reliance on the principles of force, fear, shame and control over others. It is the opposite of God's kingdom principles that are based on complete freedom from all of these counterfeit principles and is totally motivated by selfless love and service for others.
Sinners find the principles of the kingdom very foreign to them, yet at the same time they are drawn to them because humanity was originally wired and designed to thrive and function within these parameters. The tension resulting from having an internal operating system of sin that is in constant conflict with our original wiring design and purpose creates guilt, dis-ease and a host of other painful consequences of sin. Sin is totally incompatible with God's presence and all that He stands for. Therefore, anytime we choose to resist God's drawing love and grace on us the natural reaction is that ultimately we react with rage and violence against those who demonstrate such humble love.
The very reason that Jesus came to this earth was to demonstrate the perfect principles of God's kingdom in the midst of a world saturated with sin. His torture and death was to demonstrate fully the effects that sin will wreak on a created being whenever it comes into close proximity with God's perfect love, meekness and righteousness. Jesus did not come to intervene between sinners and an angry Father wishing to punish them, but to demonstrate clearly what will inevitably result when God's presence and character provoke the natural reactions that occur in the hearts of everyone contaminated with sin.
Jesus suffered the full consequences of our sin because He was the essence of goodness, and sin hates goodness. At the cross He faced the ultimate concentration of sin and sinners from both the human world and from the demonic realms, all focused on Him during the last hours of His earthly life. He allowed sin to fully expose itself and act out its irresistible impulses against the representative of God so that all the universe would finally see openly what the results are that sin produces in a life. It had to become crystal clear that sin itself is the total cause of pain and death, not God.
So about the metaphor of being covered with the blood of Jesus, I am now starting to see more clearly that the significance of being covered with His blood is the reminder that Jesus was covered with His blood because He refused to engage in a single resentful thought or feeling. Satan had insisted that lurking deep in the heart of God was resentment and anger against sinners and that He would resort to using Satan's methods if things got too tough for Him. At the cross all of Satan's accusations and insinuations about secret desires hiding in the mind of God for vengeance and retaliation against those who disagree with Him were exposed as totally fraudulent.
Jesus exposed Himself there in a most vulnerable form to the worst that sin could bring against Him without ever once deviating from an attitude of complete forgiveness, meekness, kindness, love and mercy. Never once did He desire to get even with His enemies. Never once did He even secretly want to hurt them in any way or wish for punishment against them. All that could ever be flushed out of His heart through all of that abuse was to the very last moment only love, forgiveness, compassion and unremitting love. This was the whole reason that He allowed sinners to cover Him with blood and all the associated pain that produced it. It was to reveal clearly that no matter how much we hate or resent or torture God Himself, that He will still never cease to love us, to demonstrate an attitude of total forgiveness and compassion and care for us. We can do absolutely nothing so horrible as to make God stop loving us even in the slightest amount. Nothing can separate us from the love of God.
When this true understanding of the real meaning of the blood of Jesus begins to come clear to a sinner's heart, the amazement and shock it produces will result in one of two things. Either that person will react in disgust and anger and believe that God cannot be respected if He would stoop to such humility and shame just as Judas felt when Jesus washed his feet, or else the sinner's heart will respond by melting in true repentance in the light of such love and will allow that love to begin to transform his own heart to reflect those same attitudes and motives.
Thus in essence, to be covered with the blood of Jesus is to be covered with an awareness of what was really going on in the heart of Jesus and beginning to share His attitude toward those who hated Him so much they created all that bloody mess.
To be covered with the blood of Jesus is to have the heart of Jesus transplanted from the heart of God into our own souls and to begin to amazingly find that we too are becoming motivated by that same kind of spirit that is willing to be tortured, shamed or even killed rather than to allow resentment, offense and bitterness to govern our lives and spoil our relationships with others.
To be covered with the blood of Jesus means that we have come to believe that God's most unusual way of dealing with sin and His ways of relating to His children are the only ways that are safe for the universe. These principles alone can create a place where complete freedom and respect and love create a safety where we can thrive and live in joy.
To be covered with the blood of Jesus means that we come to believe and trust in His heart, letting Him react from within us under every provocation, reflecting His spirit of instant forgiveness rather than allowing offenses and the dysfunction of sin to control our hearts and reactions.
To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth." When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. (1 Peter 2:21-24 NIV)