Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which He was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?
Veterans Day always brings stories of bravery and sacrifice that make me consider, at least for a day, what has been done for me and allows me to live the life I live today. This year, The Doolittle Raid seemed to grab my attention. This is the account of 80 airmen who volunteered for an unknown mission that carried with it the likelihood of death. That mission was to bomb Japan by launching 16 B-25 bombers off of the carrier USS Hornet. Launching a bomber off of a carrier? Never been done, and that was the lowest hurdle to get over. How were these bombers going to make it all the way to Japan, carrying a sufficient number of bombs, and have enough fuel to crash land in free parts of China? This was April, 1942, only four months after Pearl Harbor, and the Pacific front was not going well. While there was not much meaningful damage inflicted on Japanese assets, this surprise raid significantly raised the morale of the American forces and caused Japan to move valuable resources closer to home to defend its small island. This raid became the turning point in the Pacific and gave the U.S. the opportunity to recover and win the war—much like the severe sacrifices of D-Day in June two years later. These events dramatically influenced the life we live today in America. Thank you, Doolittle Raiders.
Do we really appreciate the Greatest Generation and the sacrifices they made for us? Yes, we do for a day or two each year, but we don’t generate daily gratitude for what they did for our sake, despite its impact on how we live daily. We forget. However, the writer of Hebrews considers the Greatest War and does not allow us to forget the sacrifice that turned the battle against sin in our favor.
Hebrews tells us, “Counting the blood of the covenant by which He was sanctified as a common thing.” The blood of Jesus a common thing? I don’t know about you, but I live a fairly comfortable life with friends and family and attend to my daily duties with a carefree attitude of safety. Have I forgotten what life (and death) would be like without Jesus’ rescue mission? Do I really understand what the consequences of losing this sin battle will mean? Do I really grasp the grace of God—receiving a gift that I didn’t deserve? Do I count the blood of Jesus as a common thing? The writer of Hebrews equates this attitude with trampling the Son of God underfoot. That’s not good. Knowing my earthly and cultural condition, I think I need to check under the hood and see if I’m guilty of such an attitude.
In Revelation 3:17 John describes the Laodiceans as having this attitude: “I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” but they don’t know “that they are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.” Ouch. That’s a pretty bad job of due diligence on the heart. The Laodiceans’ culture looks very familiar—they were relying on themselves and not on the blood of Christ. Do I feel like I have much to offer my God and that His blood sacrifice has diminished in value? Am I increasing in value while my Savior is decreasing?
I Peter reminds us of what the rescue mission does and doesn’t look like: “And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (I Peter 1:17-19).
The blood of Christ is precious. It’s uncommon, of value, in high demand, cherished. It is not like my earthly, corruptible efforts to be good enough. It’s not living up to the traditions of my fathers: “I go to church every week”; “I am an elder”; “I give money”; “I am a loving parent.” It’s the blood of Jesus…period. My life was worth it to Him to offer such a valuable price. Even though I am “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked,” He has put a price on my heart that is beyond the true market value I have here on earth. I want to celebrate that knowledge more than one “Veterans Day” a year.
In Saving Private Ryan, Captain John H. Miller leads his regiment to find and save the last surviving Ryan brother. With the ultimate “blood” sacrifices taking place, Captain Miller tells Private Ryan to “earn it,” and Private Ryan lives his long life with this gratitude and debt in his heart. I would like to live my life with this gratitude for the sacrifice given for me; however, my God didn’t tell me to earn it—He said to enjoy it.
His love for me makes me want to cherish this gift every day like Jesus’ parable in Mathew 13, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field” (Matthew 13:44). Isn’t that great? OK, I don’t celebrate this every day; in fact, I don’t celebrate it very much. But the grace of God hits me sometimes, and I am drawn to a deep place of gratitude for His picking me out of the depths of hell and saving me. Until I see Him face-to-face on the other side of heaven, I will have this up and down battle.
Are you in this battle as well? Look under the hood. It didn’t take our generals long to figure out that conditions were desperate after Pearl Harbor, and the Lord will reveal our desperate condition when we pursue Him honestly. Consider if you have counted the blood of Jesus as a common thing. He doesn’t count you as common.