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Purchasing power is the number of goods or services that can be purchased with a unit of currency. When I was a young boy growing up in rural Michigan, currency was scarce. If I was ever fortunate enough to get my hands on a doll ar, I felt I had the world at my disposal. I would run to the local store and experience real purchasing power. In those days, the stores were stocked with penny candy and one could buy a bottle of Coca-Cola for a dime. Those were the days. I recall my mother driving up to the gas station and saying to the attendant (yes, the gas stations had attendants back then): “Two dollars regular, please.” Gas was ten cents a gallon. Back then we had greater purchasing power. As the older generation is fond of saying today, “A dollar just ain’t what it used to be.”

I have since learned that purchasing power can fluctuate. What you are able to afford with a dollar today, you may not be able to afford tomorrow. Many factors affect purchasing power, such as inflation and erratic swings in the stock market, even if one is in a remote part of the world. All of these and more can affect our purchasing power and cause the value of the currency in our hands to go up or down.

But unlike money, the blood of Christ has purchasing power that is not affected by inflation or erratic swings in the stock market. This power does not fluctuate depending on where you are in the world.

To go to certain parts of the world is to understand the fluctuations in the value of a dollar. The U.S. dollar will buy you more in Canada than it will in the Grand Cayman. Yet the purchasing power and value of the blood of Jesus is the same wherever it goes. Our Lord’s blood has the same purchasing power in Dallas as it has in Darfur. It is purchasing in Singapore the same thing it is purchasing in Switzerland. From East Point to East India, our Lord’s blood has made eternal purchases.

What did Jesus purchase? Or better yet, the question should be, whom did Jesus purchase? According to Acts 20:28, He purchased the church. According to Scripture, the apostle Paul, on the eve of his departure from Ephesus, gathered the elders together and encouraged them to “pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained [litera lly, purchased] with his own blood.”

The Bible reminds us that Jesus purchased a people for His own possession. We understand the nature of possessions. When we purchase something, we expect to take possession of it. We own it. No longer does it belong to the seller. Even when we buy things with credit, like houses and cars, even though we don’t really own them and are making payments on them, we treat them as if they are ours. We think, “These are my possessions because I bought them.” The Bible says that Christ has paid the price for us. He bought us. He owns us. His purchase of His people was not on credit but was paid in full.

Again, the Bible frequently reminds us of the nature of our Lord’s purchase as that which now belongs to Him. In Titus 2:14 and 1 Peter 2:9, the church is called “a people for his own possession.” In 1 Corinthians 6:19, the church is reminded “you are not your own, for you were bought with a price.” The Heidelberg Catechism begins with a grand theme when it asks: “What is your only comfort in life and in death?” The answer rings with the truth of the purchasing power and possession of Jesus Christ: “That I am not my own, but with body and soul, both in life and death, belong to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ, who has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood.”

Our Lord’s blood has purchasing power, not only to obtain us but also to cleanse us, wash us, sanctify us, and to make us righteous and holy. We must remember that heaven does not deal in dollars, pounds, euros, or even gold or silver. The only currency that is of value in heaven and throughout eternity is the blood of Christ. It’s the only currency that is going to get you in.

There is a popular credit card company that likes to ask in its commercials, “What’s in your wallet?” Wouldn’t it be interesting if, when we get to heaven, someone is standing at the gate asking the question: “What’s in your wallet?” At that point, dollars won’t do. Euros won’t count. Silver and gold will be of no service. You better have Jesus. You better have His blood. What’s in my wallet? The blood of Jesus! He has purchased me, and I am His and He is mine forever.

Christ Defeats the Powers

Shadow Versus Substance

Keep Reading Letters from the Abyss

From the February 2011 Issue
Feb 2011 Issue