The Basin and Towel

with Indispensable Churches and Tending the Light


blood of Jesus

1 John 2:1-11

1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

 3 We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. 4 Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: 6Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. . . .

  9 Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. 10 Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. 11 But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.  (NIV)

If the greatest commandment is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and strength and mind” and the second, “love your neighbor as yourself” is its partner, then the greatest sin is to hate and turn away from the Lord who is God and its partner is to hate your neighbor / brother / sister.  It’s not the unforgivable sin – Jesus pleads for us in the presence of the Father as our Advocate, and the Father is faithful and just and will forgive even this sin – but for us who are the children of God and walking in His light it is the sin that colors and darkens everything we do.

But I confess, my brother, that it is entirely my fault, my sin, that I do not love you as Jesus would love you.  I am not willing to give you the time of day sometimes, my sister, much less my entire life, and that is entirely my sin.  There is no sin in you that Jesus has not forgiven and no failure of yours that He does not take to the Father’s throne for overflowing mercy and grace, but there are times when I feel uncomfortable around you.  That is my darkness, not yours.  If I am to walk and live in the true light of Jesus, I must recognize my own darkness so that I can turn from it and reach out my arms of compassion to you.

And will you take me up on the offer of the compassionate embrace?  That’s your decision, one which I dare not influence in any way except to extend the invitation.  The only loving thing I can do for you is to put away my darkness and extend the hand of love, hoping that someday you will take it in yours.

God bless us everyone!

1 John 4:5-7

5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.  (NIV)

The astonishing thing about God is this:  He holds nothing back from us.  If there are things we don’t understand about Him, the darkness is in our own minds.  But He reaches out completely to us in untarnished love, yearning for full fellowship with us.

It’s hard for me to have full fellowship with God if I hold back from Him.  If I keep a secret from Him, there’s still a place where I’m afraid of Him.  If I hide a shame, there’s still a place where I don’t trust Him.  If I disguise a motive, there’s still a place where I don’t value Him.  He holds nothing back from me; He offers Himself fully and freely to me, to walk in loving fellowship with me all the time.  What keeps that from happening are the veils and walls that I put up between us, that mean that much of the time I can’t see where my own feet are landing as I try to walk with Him.  And the veils and walls are so heavy and I’ve put them up so securely that (as He knows only too well) only the blood of His Son Jesus is strong enough to dissolve the fabric and the mortar, to bring down the veils and walls and let me walk in the fellowship of true light with Him.

And the same is true for you and me, brother and sister in Christ, when we walk together with one another.  As long as I hold up a veil between us, we can’t have the fellowship of the true light of God’s love between us.  As long as I hide behind a wall between us, we can’t really walk together, side by side and heart to heart.  We can talk over the fence, I suppose, but each of us in our own separate yards and in our own separate lives going our own separate ways – that isn’t fellowship – that isn’t love – that isn’t the light that the Gospel of Jesus Christ brings us.

The blood of Jesus is powerful enough to dissolve the fabric, knock down the walls, tear up the fences, and let us reach across our dividing lines to embrace one another in love, the way He has embraced us.  The blood of Jesus is merciful enough to do all that without harming us in any way.  The blood of Jesus is grace-filled enough to do all that without leaving any speck of the residue of darkness behind.  And the blood of Jesus is wondrous enough to fill you and me with the courage to lay aside the darknesses in our lives and walk in the light of His resurrection glory.

Please, do that with me.  I reach out my hand to you in His love; will you walk with me in His light?

God bless us everyone!

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