Tuesday, September 24, 2013

For Bloodstained Hands

By David A. Sargent

     In 1893 a great “Parliament of Religions” was held in Chicago, Illinois. Members of all the various cults were gathered in attendance: there were Hindus, and Buddhists, and representatives of all sorts of exotic Eastern religions. It was designed to be a great festival of tolerance and ecumenical brotherhood, but a preacher, Joseph Cook of Boston, offered a reminder that not all religions are equal.
    During one of the sessions he rose and dramatically announced, “Gentlemen, I beg to introduce to you a woman with a great sorrow. Bloodstains are on her hands, and nothing she has tried will remove them. The blood is that of murder. She has been driven to desperation in her distress. Is there anything in your religion that will remove her sin and give her peace?” A hush fell on the gathering. Not one of the swamis or monks said a word.
    In the heaviness of that silence Cook abruptly raised his eyes heavenward and cried out, “John, can you tell this woman how to get rid of her awful sin?” The preacher waited, as if listening for a reply. Suddenly he cried out, “Listen, John speaks. 1 John 1:7 – ‘The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, purifies us from all sin.’”
    Not a soul broke the silence that followed; all the representatives of Eastern religions and Western cults sat speechless. Why? Because ONLY Christianity can make
that statement: only the shed blood of Jesus can claim the power to forgive
“all sin.” *
    This is a sublime truth for ALL of us because “ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  ALL of us have the stain of guilt of sin in our lives.
What can wash away my sin and yours?  Nothing but the BLOOD of Jesus!
    Peter and the other apostles preached to a crowd in Jerusalem that had the blood of Jesus Christ on their hands.  Peter declared, "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36).
    Their response:  “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’" (Acts 2:37).  They wanted to know: Is there anything that can remove our sin and give us peace?
    The answer: “Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’” (Acts 2:38).
    Amazing Grace!  The bloodstained hands of those who cried out for the crucifixion of Jesus could be washed clean by the blood that He shed on the cross!  Jesus made forgiveness possible by dying on the cross as payment for sin (Ephesians 1:7).
    In the same way, OUR bloodstained hands can be washed clean by the cleansing blood of Christ when we respond in faith: placing our trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turning from sin in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confessing Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and being baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38).
    Won’t YOU be washed by the blood of Jesus to have your sins forgiven?

- David A. Sargent, minister for the Church of Christ at Creekwood in Mobile, Alabama, is also the editor of an electronic devotional entitled Living Water."  To learn more about this excellent resource contact David via their website: http://www.creekwoodcc.org

* Source: Paul Lee Tam, Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations, Illustration #479, page 203, as qtd. by Dan Williams, preaching minister for the College Avenue church of Christ in El Dorado, AR, in a sermon entitled “Power in the Blood.”  See www.cacoc.org




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