Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Payment in Blood

     The Civil War was in its fourth year in March of 1865.  The South had not yet been defeated.  Hundreds of Thousands of men had died on both sides and more were sure to come.  The end of the War was not yet in sight. The War, that was to ultimately end slavery in America, had gone on far longer than any had predicted.  Some naive generals had boasted that the conflict would be over in 90 days.  They were gravely wrong.
In his Second Inaugural Address, Lincoln hints at what he felt could be the reason why the war had taken so long.  In front of a large crowd of spectators, he spoke these somber words, "Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away.  Yet, if God wills it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword...so still it must be said, the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."
What Lincoln was saying was this, our sins as a nation that tolerated and benefited from slavery was now being paid by those who had allowed it.  There was a price for slavery to be paid.  The blood of  the lash was now being required as payment by the blood being shed on the battlefield.

Sin requires payment.  The sinful policy of Slavery brought on the horrors of the Civil War.  In the same way, there are consequences for our own personal sins.  The Epistle to the Romans says it like this, "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God."  Romans 3:23  Paul goes on to write, "For the wages of sin is death."  Romans 6:23  Who will pay for our sins?  The book of Hebrews answers that question, "Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness."  Hebrews 9:22
Unlike the blood shed by soldiers to end slavery, we cannot ourselves win freedom from the slavery of our own sins.  Someone much greater than Man must pay that price.  Thanks be to God, who won that battle for us.  "For our sake God agreed that Jesus, who was not a sinner, would take our sins on himself, so that in Him we would become righteous before God."  2 Corinthians 5:21
    As the beautiful hymn proclaims it, so do we. "What can take away my sin? Nothing but the Blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again? Nothing but the Blood of Jesus."

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