For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12, NRSV)
Note that the NRSV translation says “struggle”. We also know that KJV translates this word as “wrestle”. By looking at both these translations, it becomes clear that the fight, the struggle, is not exactly a dignified fencing match. We get close in the nitty gritty. We wrestle. If the fight could be seen with our eyes, I’m sure it would be bloody: on our knuckles, face, etc. Not very neat or stately, I’m sure. But despite the blood and guts that comes from hard fights, there is also the Blood over our heads, which is the Good News (literally). It says in the New Testament that Satan has been overcome “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they did not cling to life even in the face of death” (Revelation 12:11, NRSV).
So, let’s talk about the blood of the Lamb. Clearly God is not afraid to get messy too. In the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament, also known as “the Law”), we read how the priests were to sprinkle blood from animal sacrifices on the walls and the tapestries of the tabernacle, and how they covered the horns of the altar with that same blood. This is clearly messy, yet it was an important part of sealing a covenant (an agreement between God and man), and of setting apart oneself for God, as well as atonement. And think about Jesus, who died on the cross after being beaten, whipped, and spat upon. This is hardly a germaphobe Jesus–He was the Lamb without blemish, but He bore far more than His share of scars. God isn’t afraid to “get dirty” for the sake of making things right– for the sake of accounting us as clean. We shouldn’t be afraid to get messy either.