What does the blood of Jesus actually do?

A basic principle of Christianity is that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. What exactly this statement means has increasingly come under debate in our time. For most of the modern period, Protestantism has almost exclusively understood Jesus’ death on the cross as a punishment that pays a debt, or “penal substitution.” Added to this has been the assumption that the primary problem resolved by the cross is God’s anger about our sin. These are two separate issues. I believe that penal substitution has Biblical support, but it has been drastically over-weighted; I do not believe that a view of the cross as an appeasement of God’s anger is Biblically faithful. One way of exploring this phenomenon (imperfectly) is to look at all the references to Jesus’ blood in the New Testament to see what the Bible says that the blood actually does.
Continue reading

Ugliness Into Beauty #5: Uncursing the World

Many Christians today misunderstand the ancient Israelite practice of sacrifice. The ancient Israelites did not think they were “punishing” the sacrificial animals for their community’s sins, nor did they think that they were placating a capricious God as the pagan religions around them understood sacrifice. The purpose of sacrifice was to purify the community of sin with the life in the blood of the animal (Leviticus 17:11). The reason Jesus is the ultimate sacrifice is because He is the source of all life as the Word of God. Thus His blood is the purest life there is, having the power to remove the curse of sin from our world.

Subscribe to the podcast.

The Bread that makes us one

Sermon preached at Burke UMC LifeSign service 1/28/2012
Text: Exodus 16

I’ve got a daily bread problem. 35 pounds of it to be precise. So I’m not sure I have any business asking God for more daily bread. When I was in college and had much higher metabolism, I used to go picnicking in the Virginia mountains with a loaf of round sourdough bread, a block of cheese, and a block of salami. That was daily bread. But now that I’m trying to reduce, I feel like I should be asking God for my daily Healthy Choice 200 calorie microwavable entrée instead. Continue reading