… the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin 1 John 1:7 (NIV)
A medical author, Ronald J. Glasser, says that “No matter how we may wish to view ourselves, despite all our fantasies of grandeur and dominion, all our fragile human successes, the real struggle … has always been against bacteria and viruses, against adversaries never more than seven microns wide.” Glasser’s comment reminds us of a chilling reality: Viruses have killed more people than all wars, fires, floods and earthquakes put together.
In the fight against viruses Jenner, Pasteur and others have given us immunization. Immunization involves a vaccination that exposes the body to a virus in a safe form; either a weakened or ‘tired’ virus or a ‘killed’ virus with its outer shell intact to stimulate antibody production. Immunization gives the body an advantage. When a virus attacks someone who’s been immunized there are a prepared assortment of antibodies in the blood that can quickly target, deploy and fight off the invading disease.
Dr Paul Brandt tells how, as a child in a remote part of India, his parents were involved in vaccinating people for smallpox. With limited quantities of vaccine and no refrigeration in outlying areas, they had to rely on runners bringing the vaccine up mountain paths. As soon as the runners arrived, the tubes of lymph would be broken open and the people vaccinated. “Later, from one infected arm enough lymph would be drawn to vaccinate ten other Indians. Those ten yielded enough to vaccinate a hundred more. The blood of each vaccinated person locked away the memory of the pox virus so that any contact with smallpox alerted an army of defenders capable of overcoming the threat.”
In the spiritual realm there’s a fight against the virus of sin. To overcome sin a “vaccination” is required – one that can be shared from Person to person – one that works through the blood. So God became man, and in medical parlance, entered our microbe world with the genetic material needed to correct it. By so doing, Christ overcame the virus of sin by taking on the shell of a victim cell of the sin virus in order to immunize humanity against it. What a phenomenal achievement! “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Life in the blood . . . In Hebrews 2:14-18 we learn that the blood of Christ has overcome sin and the devil! When we are included in Christ we’re inoculated with the “serum” that enables us to overcome sin, not by our own resilience or vitality, but as a result of the immunity we’ve received in Christ’s blood. In the words of the hymn writer: “There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Immanuel’s veins; and sinners plunged beneath that flood, lose all their guilty stains” (W. Cowper).