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May 2, 2009 / beidson

Carnivores At War: The Spirit and the Flesh as Blood-Consuming Enemies

At the end of it all, there were two kinds of persons standing there: one kind were guilty men with murderous blood on bloodyliontheir hands; the other, a guiltless Man with sacrificial blood on his.  Jesus’ body was bloody for two reasons.  And so are ours.

We are carnivores.  We are blood thirsty.  But for two reasons.  In our flesh, we are murderers.  Scripture says we “bite and devour one another” (Gal. 5:15).  Like Cain, we destroy when we are not praised and served.  Our bodies are relentless in their pursuit of earthly passions.  We are predators in the most primitive sense.  From our rebellion and fall, the thoughts and intents of our hearts have been only evil continually.  Our sinful nature has an all-consuming drive to tear others apart.  We seek to have dominion over one another rather than over the earth.  We thirst for Abel’s blood because we hate the righteousness it represents.  We are carnivorous, consuming cannibals.  And for this, we are destined to drink the cup of God’s wrath.

But the Spirit of Christ in us is blood thirsty too.  He is not a murderer, but he is a killer.  He is relentless in his pursuit of our conformity to Christ.  He demands that our flesh be beaten and crucified, even mutilated.  He sprinkles our consciences clean with the blood of Jesus.  By the Spirit we put to death the deeds of the body, beating our bodies into subjection and mortally wounding our flesh.  The Spirit makes us to drink the cup of blood together as brothers and sisters.  Unlike Cain, we do not rise up in anger against one another to take away life; rather, we give ours up for one another.

Both the Spirit and the flesh pursue death.  Both desire to see Jesus hanging from the cross.  Both are hungry for blood.  But the Spirit works for a different blood.  He is not envious of the Brother for obeying the Father; rather, he exalts the blood of Christ and presents it to dead hearts so that they might live again.  He searches our hearts for the blood of Christ, and when we are accused, he comforts us with the reality of a redeeming blood spilled for us.

Peter drew out a sword in a bloodthirsty rage to oppose the will of the Father for his Son, but it was the Spirit who sent the Son into the wilderness and then on to the cross.  The Spirit longed for a better blood to be shed, not  to quench evil rage but to satisfy divine wrath.  He knew the salvation that would be ours when the Lamb was given over to hungry wolves.  It was a glorious blood, much unlike that which poured from Malchus’ ear and from Abel’s limp body.  It was a merciful blood which has given serpentine slaves new life.

We do not wrestle against flesh and blood.  There is a snake-king who slides in the shadows, a roaring meat-eating lion looking for someone to devour–he is our enemy.  But the Spirit and the flesh wrestle for blood–the flesh for a blood that condemns sinners before God, the Spirit for a blood that reconciles sinners to God.

There are two reasons to be bloody.  At the end of your life, which blood will be dripping from your hands?

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