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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

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"Spiritual Apheresis"

"And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins" (Romans 11:27).  "Because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins" (Hebrews 10:4).


Brooksyne and I have given blood all through our marriage beginning our freshman year in Bible College in Springfield, Missouri (even before we got married).  We usually give whole blood through the Red Cross which takes about a pint.  However several years ago we donated a few  times using a procedure known as "apheresis".  In some way they separate the blood and in our case, as I recall, they took only the plasma and returned the rest back into our blood stream.

Since so many English words come from the Greek I was curious as to whether this word had any usage in the New Testament and sure enough the word comes from a Greek word "Aphaireo" which means "to take away" or "separate".

This word is used a number of times in the New Testament and two similar but contrasting truths are shown in the daily texts. 

In Romans Paul is speaking of the covenant that God has with the Jewish people to "take away their sins." This is a foundational aspect of redemption since sin is mankind's biggest problem, separating us from a holy God. The Scriptures teach that Jesus Christ came to take away sin.  "You know that He appeared in order to take away sins" (1 John 3:5). The age old hymnwriter asks and then adamantly answers the essential question, "What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus!"

The writer of Hebrews expresses the impossibility of the blood of bulls and goats "to take away sin."  When we make the effort to donate our blood we want it to be used to extend a person's physical life on this earth, one component in a person's restoration to good health. Several years ago I had surgery that required a blood transfusion and Ester has had several due to her heart surgeries. We are grateful for the people who made the effort and endured the temporal pain to donate blood that made a lasting difference in our health.

One thing's for sure though.  This donated blood will not take away sin!  It provides no spiritual healing, only physical.  Only the blood of Jesus Christ is a once for all complete atonement that takes away the sins for all who believe.  John the Baptist summed up the fundamental mission of Jesus Christ so well; "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29).
Dark is the stain that we cannot hide,
What can avail to wash it away?
Look!  There is flowing a crimson tide;
Whiter than snow you may be today.

Grace, grace, God's grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within.
Grace, grace, God's grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer:  Jesus, we're so thankful for Your redeeming grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt.  For where our sin increased, Your grace increased all the more.  Your refuge for our sin-filled souls took place at the cross of Calvary where You shed Your precious blood so that we might find forgiveness for our sins.  This salvation is marvelous; it is matchless, and it is infinitely greater than the animal blood sacrifice that took away sins for only a season.  Your redeeming blood sacrifice frees us from the penalty of sin in this life and for all eternity.  Thank You for freely shedding Your blood on our behalf.  Amen.

Here is an article about Apheresis

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

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"Nothing But The Blood Of Jesus"  Video

"Nothing But The Blood Of Jesus"  Video  Matt Redman version

"This Blood Is For You"  Video

"When I Survey The Wondrous Cross"  Audio

I appreciate the teaching ministry of John Piper and here's a powerful six minute video gospel presentation.

The photo used at the top of this message is a work of art by Ron DiCianni, one of my favorite artists.  It's actually on a wall in an office building foyer in Springfield Missouri and is probably some eight to ten feet tall and is absolutely stunning. DiCianni has a powerful way of placing modern subjects in his art such as the man in modern dress holding the hammer and nail.

Info about multi-media files used on daily encouragement.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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