The Scarlet Dot

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 7
A critic was standing in Turner's studio, examining one of the latest of the great artist's productions. Apparently he was perplexed; the picture seemed all mist and cloud, hazy, indefinite and incomprehensible.
But Turner was a master of his art, and the critic did not venture to express his opinion as freely as he would have done if he had been surveying the work of a less famous man. He could, however, make nothing of the picture and was about to turn away, discomfited, when Turner himself stepped forward, and with his brush added a single dot of scarlet to the picture.
The result was startling. That scarlet dot brought all the parts of the picture into proper relation to one another, suggested the proper point of view, and made the whole work intelligible.
Is there among my readers one to whom the plan of salvation seems hazy and incomprehensible? Does the outline appear to lack definiteness, and is the whole scheme wanting in that clearness and simplicity which one feels to be so necessary in a matter of such vital importance? Does the subject seem to be beset with difficulties?
Perhaps you are leaving out of your account the scarlet dot! The "scarlet dot" of the gospel plan is its keynote. It makes every part of the picture clear and intelligible.
What do I mean by "the scarlet dot of the gospel plan?" I mean the atoning blood of Christ.
The blood of Christ exhibits, first, in all its gaunt and ugly ruggedness, the sinfulness of men. For if nothing could purge away our sin but the blood of God's Son, how great must be the sin! If nothing else could atone for our misdeeds, how unspeakable must be the horror of them! If nothing else could cancel our guilt, how deep must be the dye of it! The exceeding sinfulness of sin, then, is brought into clear relief by "the scarlet dot."
Not less clear, by means of that same precious blood, appears the righteousness of God. We learn thereby that God could not possibly pass over sin without its penalty being borne. He must, in righteousness, smite sin with His wrath, even when the sin-bearer is His own Son. The blood declares that God is a God of uncompromising righteousness, who never clears the guilty without atonement being made. He who imagines that God can be merciful at the expense of justice does not know the God of the Bible and cannot read aright the meaning of "the scarlet dot."
But there is yet another truth thrown into striking prominence by the blood of the cross: the greatness of God's love. For, if righteousness could not pass over our sins, love could and did give Jesus to die for them. In the blood that He shed for our sakes we learn, as nowhere else, the magnitude of His love. Rather than let us perish without hope, He delivered up His Son to death. Could love go further? Could a more tender, a more eloquent, a more convincing proof of God's love be found than that which the precious blood of Christ affords? No! That love is seen in all its immensity by means of "the scarlet dot."
Reader, have you ever gazed at the great gospel picture in the light of the scarlet dot? Have you learned the lessons which the blood of Christ teaches? Are you impressed with your own sinfulness and God's infinite abhorrence of sin and, at the same time, His mighty love for you?
If so, sure am I that you will never attempt to arrive at a settlement of the great outstanding question between God and yourself in any other way than by the precious blood of Christ! It will be your only hope, your only plea. It will be the foundation on which you build for eternity.
"It is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul" (Leviticus 17: 11).