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December 8, 2008 / beidson

Bloody Hugs and Handshakes

Biblical fellowship is a bloody thing.  The pain, the sorrow, the care, the correction, the rebuke, the encouragment, the love . . . all of these things, in a biblical context, are soaked in blood.  When we gather together for fellowship as Christians, we are doing more than exchanging germs–we are sharing blood.  Every hug and handshake given and received is a testimony to the blood that has brought us together.

We are commanded in Ephesians: “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (4:32).  Our fellowship with former enemies and former sons of disobedience doesn’t happen apart from God’s forgiveness in Christ.  I saw the first half of this verse on a children’s poster hanging on a preschool door and thought, “What happened to the rest of the verse?”  Can we do these things without the cross?  The poster was a tangible contradiction to what was happening on the other side of the door (at least, I hope so).

We cannot hope to properly counsel one another through the joys and sufferings of life unless we soak ourselves in the blood of God’s forgiveness in Christ.  If we begin to hold out hope for change apart from this blood, we may make many friends but we will never have genuine fellowship.  Friendship is temporary.  In heaven we will be brothers and sisters, not friends.  We must come together with a singular hope in the blood of Jesus’ death, knowing that by it we are able to be a family of forgiven sinners.

We do not hug and shake hands like most people.  Sure, we may be sanitized and germ-free, but we are bloody all over.  But this is a good thing.  We love to share blood with one another because it is this blood that has made us part of “one another.”

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