Have you ever filled out a form that asked after your marital status? Usually it’s the government that wants to know, either for tax or census reasons, but consumer surveyors and banking institutions are also interested. The options are fairly typical: married, single, or divorced. If you were filling out such a form for the Church, you would have to mark “other.” You see, we aren’t single or divorced, but we’re not married either.
The wedding feast, of course, was a joyous occasion. Unless the couple was direly poor, both dressed as royalty. They wore resplendent robes, sparkling jewels, and polished crowns. If the father of the bridegroom was exceptionally prosperous, he would even furnish festive robes to the guests. Imagine the consternation of a king who had graciously supplied something that his guest refused to wear! As our parents were robed of God in animal skins, so we have need to be clothed with Christ. His garments have been given to us, but we have to put them on.
We live in a rushed culture of fast food, minute managers, and instant messaging. Compulsive impatience is rampant. I blame the microwave. What used to take an hour to cook we can now have in less than five minutes. It eats away at our skill for handling postponed gratification. Food is among mankind’s strongest desires, and now we no longer have to wait for it. Is it any wonder that such a culture considers wedding ceremonies to be long affairs? And yet, compared to the weddings we read about in Scripture, ours seem to be microwave events.
God put Adam to sleep, took a rib from him, and formed the woman. Does that sound fantastical? Does it seem strange? Well, it’s no stranger than God taking a lump of clay and making Adam in the first place. I figure He must have done a bit finer job with the woman, seeing that He already had a head start! For man, He only had dirt to work with. The woman He crafted out of bone. And since blood is produced in the bone marrow, the apostle correctly stated that God made from one blood all the nations of the earth.
Of all celebrations known to man, none is as joyous as a wedding. Who among us cannot help but be captivated when the bridal procession begins? The married guests find their hearts taken on a journey backward in time to the day their vows were spoken. Singles start dreaming of what their special day might be like. Little girls stare wide-eyed at the beautiful bride arrayed in white. And little boys smile, knowing that the cake is now much closer at hand. Everybody is nervous, yes, but the excitement of the day wins out against the stress and strife of preparation.
Unless they are exceptionally well-trained, our souls are more comfortable being carnal than they are being spiritual. This is why the Scripture exhorts us to be spiritually minded. As priests of God, we are called upon to invoke the blood of Jesus Christ. I can do this from a soulish perspective by taking into account only the historicity of the blood. And even though the shed blood on Calvary’s cross is humanity’s greatest historical event, what would happen to my faith if I understood and believed that the blood is a present spiritual reality that when invoked actually fell on an individual and did something?
The blood of Jesus Christ flows through His body, the Church. Blood performs specific vital functions in our physical beings. The blood of Jesus Christ is no less vital in the spirit realm. And we can learn of the reality of one from the science of the other. In the natural, blood is made up of red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and plasma. Let us look at each in turn to learn more about what the blood does in the body of Christ.
Jesus of Nazareth shed the blood that was in His body for the sins of the world nearly two thousand years ago. If you had a sample of it as it was before the resurrection and placed it under a microscope, I doubt you would be able to find anything extremely remarkable about it. Floating in the plasma, you would see the red and white blood cells and platelets that are common to us all. As such, that spilled blood congealed and hardened. And yet, that it atones, reconciles, speaks, reveals, and heals today tells us that it is presently alive, active, and effective.
Not only are we spirit beings who live in material bodies; we are also members of a larger spiritual body—the body of Christ. Are you used to thinking of this as merely a figure of speech? I know that I used to look at it in this way. But this is not just an analogy; it is a spiritual reality. We really are the body of Christ.
1 Corinthians 15 contains a wealth of information and is probably the most frank discussion in all of Scripture regarding the nature of resurrection. We are told that as we have a natural body, we shall also have a spiritual body. A day is coming when we will have much more in common with angels than we presently share. Be that as it may, we are still spirits that live in physical bodies. This does not make our spirits unsubstantial. Our spirits have shape and form and can impact the physical realm.