Notice how the Lamb is bleeding into the Communion cup, prepared for all the different kinds of Christians!
FOREVER TRIUMPHANT, Day 29—Lenten Devotional
And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. 11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. 12 Rejoice then, O heaven and you that dwell therein! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”
Revelation 12:10-12 (RSV)
We conquer our enemies—the flesh, the world, and especially the Devil—“by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.” What does this mean? Our enemies cannot harm us unless they have a ground to accuse us. That ground can be that we broke the law, that we are hypocritical in our religion, that we have engaged in sexual immorality, that our theology is heretical, that our entertainment is self-indulgent, that our finances are not transparent, that we are abusive toward family members or coworkers, or any number of flagrant sins. Make no mistake, we are vulnerable to these accusations, and we live in an age where social media make accusations especially abundant and pernicious. It is very hard, in this day and age, to keep sin secret. “The blood of the Lamb” and “the word of our testimony” make us invulnerable, but how?
The death of Jesus, and the regular commemoration of that death in the Lord’s Supper (communion, eucharist, or the mass), is a constant reminder that Jesus has removed God’s condemnation from my life. Without God to back it up, no accusation against me can ultimately “stick.” On a regular basis, at the communion table if nowhere else, I bring my life before the Holy Spirit for His examination and for my repentance. At the moment of my repentance, I am forgiven. This, of course, gives rise to a new accusation—“You are taking advantage of God’s grace as a license to sin.” But grace is not a license to sin. It is God coming near, so we can invite Him to clean us, to change our motivation, to change our behavior. “The word of our testimony,” is our witness to this experience of grace. We now bring any accusation before God, and if there is any truth to the accusation, God uses it not to condemn us but as an occasion for repentance, change, and renewed victory over sin. The result is the elimination of any ground for accusation.
FJ HUEGEL: A student in our seminary came one day to talk with the president, saying that he could no longer continue his studies. Life was unbearable in the seminary as the students were forever razzing him. They gave him no peace. The president asked the young man to hang his hat [there were hats in the 1950’s!] on the wall. Now there was no peg or nail to hang it on. The young man remonstrated that he could find nothing to hang his hat on. He was told to hang it anyway. It fell to the ground. The president ordered the young man again to hang his hat on the wall. When again it fell to the ground, the young man said, “Sir, what do you mean by this?” The answer was, “If the students did not find in you so many susceptibilities, so much regard for self, so much secret vanity, they would leave you in peace.” The student saw the point and left the room a changed man. The students molested him no longer. If Satan can find anything in us to hang on to, he will surely knock us out in the testing time.
PRAYER: Dear God,
Send your Holy Spirit to employ the grace of Jesus in my life in such a way as to render me impervious to any accusation. Grant that when accused, my response would not be defensive self-righteousness, aggressive return accusations, or stupid comparisons (what I did was not as bad as what you did). Instead, may my response to an accusation be to look to the “blood of the Lamb”, how Jesus released my from condemnation on the cross, and the “word of my testimony”, how my experience of your grace is leading me to repentance and to greater surrender to your work in my life. I pray this in Jesus’s name. Amen.