Washed by the Blood and Spirit
Topic: Creeds and Confessions Passage: 1 John 5:1–5:12
The church John wrote to in this passage was making the same mistake that the apostle Paul crticized the church of Corinth for making--they were missing the point of the gospel of Jesus Christ. In particular, they were trying to sanitize the gospel by glossing over Jesus's crucifixion.
This is not such an unusual thing, when we think about it. Talking about how Jesus met a brutal and bloody death can be unsettling--especially in the context of baptism, which is supposed to be a joyful event. In the time John wrote his letter, the idea of God being crucified was also scandalous; there were some other religions at that time that had accounts of gods dying and being resurrected, but only Christianity had God being mocked, whipped, spat upon, and executed like a common criminal. The people the apostle John wrote this passage to were sweeping that aspect of the gospel under the rug, and focusing on other aspects of Jesus's life. In short, they were trying to edit all the suffering and death out of the gospel.
This, however, is a dangerous mistake. The death of Jesus Christ is not something we can just set aside, in an effort to avoid shocking or nauseating people. On the contrary, it is the very center of our faith. Without the sacrifical death of Jesus, there is no resurrection of Jesus; without the resurrection of Jesus, we have no hope whatsoever of salvation. Jesus was not just a great moral teacher, or even a miracle worker. He was, and is, and forevermore shall be the conqueror of sin and death, and all who have faith in him will also conquer sin and death by his power.
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