Monday, May 23, 2005

The Life is in the Blood

Forbidden to partake of a lesser life, the law demanded that the blood of the Old Covenant sacrifice be spilt upon the ground. For it was written…
For as for the life of all flesh, its blood is identified with its life. Therefore I said to the sons of Israel, 'You are not to eat the blood of any flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood; whoever eats it shall be cut off (Leviticus 17:14).
Bidden to partake of a greater life, the blood of the New Covenant sacrifice is to be consumed. For it is written…
And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins (Matthew 26:27-28).
Our participation in His blood is a participation in his life, for the life and the blood are one. How else are we to understand communion then, except that it represent a participation in the very life of Christ? The blood of Christ which is poured out for the forgiveness of sins is not simply spent upon the altar. It is shed into our souls. The spiritual consummation of his blood therefore, through the mysterious indwelling of his Holy Spirit, becomes a communion of life for those who partake. The sap of the vine becomes the sap of the branch and those who eat of this flesh and drink of this blood—this life—will never die.

To what then do we owe our participation in this grace? With what do we come before the Living One? Nothing else but the blood of Christ shed into the veins of those who are reborn, feasting on his life and receiving from him the remission of sins. No lesser life will suffice. It is not for nothing that he said, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves,” nor that it was said, “Unless a man be born again he shall not enter the kingdom of heaven”

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