WHAT IT DOES AND WHAT IT DOES NOT DO
G. H. LANG
"Now it is high time for you to awake out of sleep; for now is salvation nearer to us than when we first believed."
In keeping with the theme of the rolling text (Rom. 13: 11, R.V.), as show above the following most informative and excellent work by G. H. Lang is presented.
May our Lord be pleased to use it to awaken us from our spiritual slumber; and may His grace and mercy grant to us, a holy love, an obedient heart, and a reverent fear: for if these characteristics are ours and if they are exercised daily in our lives, then they will help to keep us in the narrow way (Matt. 7: 13, 14; Lk. 13: 24), and enable us to attain that "inheritance from the Lord as a reward" (Col. 3: 23, 24, N.I.V.).]
The taking of life in the service of God and to the advantage of man began immediately after man sinned.† It appears that the Creator Himself originated the practice.† That the fallen pair might not be always exposed to His indignation as naked, and thus unsuitable to His eye, and that their nakedness might be hidden from each other, "Jehovah God made for Adam and his wife coats of skin, and clothed them" (Gen. 3: 21).† It is presumed that this involved the death of victims to provide the skins.
While the basic instinct to worship the Deity is inherent in man it could scarcely have been otherwise than by Divine instruction that Abel slew a firstling of his flock and offered this, including the richest element, the fat (Gen. 4: 4).
When the judgment of the Flood had swept away the wicked, and a new era opened for the cleansed earth, Noah consecrated all to God by offering clean beasts and birds, and these must die and be burned in fire on an altar.
This distinction between living creatures, that some were "clean," suitable to and acceptable to the Deity, and some were not, continued in the remembrance and observance of the race, even after mankind had again revolted from the only true God.† Of early Babylonian sacrifices Sayce says: "It is noticeable that it was only the cultivated plant and the domesticated beast that were thus offered to the deity.† The dog and swine, or rather wild boar, are never mentioned in the sacrificial list." *
A. H. Sayce, The
Religions of Ancient
This essential distinction was revived and amplified by Moses.
In the same way Abraham drew near to God at altars he built, and Godís covenant with him was ratified by the sacrifice of clean animals and birds (Gen. 12: 7, 8; 13: 4; 15: 9, 10).† This ground of approach to God culminated in the offering of Isaac his son on an altar and the substitution of a clean animal, a ram, for the deliverance of Isaac (Gen. 22.).† Isaac and Jacob similarly drew near to God at altars (Gen. 26: 25; 35: 3, 7).† During that same period Job likewise offered burnt-offerings on behalf of his family, in case their hearts had failed in reverence to God (Job 1: 5).
All this is Biblical and historical evidence that from the very beginning of manís history God had taught him that, being a sinner, he could draw near to God only upon the basis that a death had taken place to redeem him from death as the consequence of his transgression of the Divine law.† Death as the penalty of sin cannot be remitted but must be exacted; only it may be exacted by means of an innocent substitute dying instead of the culprit.
Down to this stage the Divine records have summarized two and a half thousands of years of manís history, and no mention has been made of the blood of the sacrifices.† But it were wrong to infer from this that the use of the blood in sacrificing was unknown in earliest times and that the emphatic use of the word is a later addition not warranted by primitive usage.† When writing this brief summary of the salient events of most ancient times Moses knew well (1) that the sacrificial use of blood was practised universally and known by his hearers and readers; (2) that he had already, before writing his records, explained and enforced this usage upon Israel; and (3) that in the next following sections of his history (Exodus and Leviticus) the theme would be enlarged.† Thus no one of those times would make the false inference suggested, or would regard the extensive use of the blood as an innovation.
This leads to our first topic,
WHAT THE BLOOD DOES.
But before considering its atoning virtue it is most necessary to notice first its opposite power, as the background of its atoning power.
This God had sternly emphasized in the earliest years when He said to Cain: "the voice of thy brotherís blood crieth unto Me from the ground.† And now cursed art thou from the ground, which hath opened its mouth to receive thy brotherís blood; when thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee its strength" (Gen. 4: 10-12). This, as other first events in manís history, must have been well known to Noah, seeing that for 600 years he was contemporary with Methusaleh who had been contemporary with Adam for 243 years, and that during that period the race formed but one society in one region.† The memory of those words of God to Cain would, it may be taken for granted, be fresh in Noahís mind when, directly after the Flood, God added this declaration fundamental to human society: "Every moving thing that liveth shall be food for you; as the green herb have I given you all.† But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.† And surely your blood, the blood of your lives, will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it: and at the hand of man, even at the hand of every manís brother, will I require the life of man.† Whoso sheddeth manís blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made He man" (Gen. 9: 3-6. R.V.).
These early Divine statements are basic to the affairs of earth and man as viewed by God.† They have never been abrogated but rather amplified.† These essential points are to be observed:
blood shed unrighteously brings Divine judgment on the very land it stains.† This was incorporated into the Mosaic law.† Speaking of murder Moses said: "blood it polluteth the land"
(Num. 35: 33).† Considering the torrents of blood that have
been shed without Divine warrant how defiled this earth must be before God, and
what judgments must hang over it. How heavy must be the wrath of heaven
accumulating against, say, the
2. Blood is the vehicle of bodily life.† This also forms the basis of sin being atoned by blood, which will be considered later from Lev. 17.† Life is the gift of God alone.† No one else can impart it, though one may rob another of it. †To take life therefore is to rob God.† He sets upon human life such value that He exacts reparation from the man who takes it and even from the beast which takes it.† Such is the control of the Creator over every creature, even the wild creatures.† What an awfully solemn title of God is this.† "He that maketh inquisition for blood" (Ps. 9: 12).† It is said that when Metternich urged Napoleon to agree to peace and to spare human life, the Emperor replied by cursing human life.
"He that maketh inquisition for blood" could not overlook this.
3. The penalty of shedding manís blood, so taking his life, is that the murdererís blood must be shed.† Capital punishment is by express Divine command. †It is not simply a deterrent against murder, though it is this: much more it is demanded by equity.† Life is of higher value than anything else; as Satan truly said, "all that a man hath will he give for his life" (Job 2: 4).† Therefore nothing else could be accepted from the murderer in place of his life, for nothing else could be equivalent to the other manís life he had taken (Num. 35: 33).
4. Hence arises the prohibition against eating blood, or flesh with the blood un-drained from it.† It is self-appropriation of an article which belongs exclusively to God, its only Giver, its permanent and solitary Owner.† The prohibition was heavily enforced upon Israelites (Lev. 17: 10: Deut. 12: 16, 23), and duly re-enacted upon Gentile Christians (Ac. 15: 20; 21: 25).† The ground for it admits of no exceptions.
In its highest aspect war is a Divine judgment upon peoples for their sins (Ezek. 14: 2 1).† Yet even so, David, the God-fearing soldier who executed this judgment on the surrounding nations, and was supported by God in his campaigns, was disqualified from the honour of building Godís house at Jerusalem because he had shed much blood (I Chron. 22: 6-8).† Let the soldier who is a Christian ponder this.† It emphasizes the value that God sets on human life, and that, even when war is viewed ideally, it is a lower service that disqualifies for the highest service.† Suppose that the extermination of some degraded tribe or nation be a Divine judgment, required for the general moral good of mankind, yet clearly a Christian soldier who, by order of his superiors, carries out that extermination cannot build up Godís spiritual house, the church, among that people he destroys.
Thus does blood shed defile man and land and cries aloud for vengeance, which cry God hears.
being the case when any common man is murdered, how much louder must be the cry
for vengeance of the holy blood of the murdered Son of God.† What an incubus of guilt and penalty His
murderers accepted when they shouted in a frenzy of rage "His blood be on us, and on our
children" (Matt. 27: 25).† That penalty is not yet exhausted because, as
a people, the descendants maintain the attitude to Christ of their
ancestors.† The observant sojourner in
fourteen centuries B.C. God was dealing judicially with the richest and
dominant nation on earth, the Egyptians.†
The visitor to the monuments of that period can see the damning records
the people left of their vileness and cruelty.†
These make fully credible the account of Moses in Exodus of the
enslavement and bitter oppression of
The haughty monarch of the ruling nation on earth was not prepared to see his supremacy pass to this hated race of slaves and he doggedly rejected the demand.† After much patience, and when it had become evident that the king and his people would not yield, the execution of the Divine decree was ordered, which Moses announced in these words:
"Thus saith Jehovah, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt: and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of cattle." (Ex. 11: 4, 5).
1. God acts personally. †It is to be noted that: A judgment
so extensive and terrific was superintended by God personally: "I will go out into the midst of
Lesser situations on earth might be left to angel or human rulers in the execution of powers entrusted to them by God as the universal Sovereign, but on such solemn and fearful occasions He personally superintended for the securing of strict and impartial justice.† See further Josh. 5: 13 - 6: 2; Ezek. 8. ; 9., esp. 3, 4; Rev. 5; 6: 1; 19: 11-16; 20: 11: etc.
2. The Destroyer acts.† The recognition of this personal presence of God is essential to a true understanding of the events in Egypt that fateful night, even as Jehovah said: "I will go out into the midst of Egypt," and as Moses added, "Jehovah will pass through to smite the Egyptians," but he adds, "Jehovah will pass over the door, and will not suffer the Destroyer to come into your houses to smite you" (Ex. 11: 4; 12: 23).† This great Destroyer is a distinct figure in Holy Scripture.† He acts here; he smote Israel in the days of David (2 Sam. 24: 15, 16; 2 Chron. 21: 14, 15); he destroyed I85,000 Assyrian soldiers in one night (Isa. 37: 36); and in Rev. 9: 11, in connection with one of the appalling judgments of the End Days, his very name is given in its Hebrew and Greek forms, Abaddon and Apollyon, both meaning Destroyer.† All the ancient world knew of him and dreaded him.† To him they attributed the unexpected deaths of men, as the Greeks said, "Apollo has shot him with his arrow."† Abaddon is here described as the angel ruler of the Abyss, the world of the dead.† The word is found at Job 26: 6; 28: 22; 31: 12; Ps. 88; 11; Prov. 15: 11; 27: 20 only.† In each case it is associated with Death and Sheol, the world of the dead; and the passages range from about 1000 B.C. to 1700 B.C., which includes the period of the Exodus.
was therefore a terrible threat that this mighty Angel of Destruction should be
let loose on
is not past history only.† Pharaoh and
his servants had hardened their necks, and had not obeyed the truth as to the
true God, Jehovah, and His will, brought to their knowledge by Moses.† On the contrary they had obeyed
unrighteousness; upon them had been poured out Godís "anger, wrath, indignation, and distress." Romans 2: 8 denounces against all in every age who
so defy God "wrath and indignation,
tribulation, and anguish," the same solemn terms with which the
Psalmist described the judgments on
3. Justice distinguishes. †The words of our Lord just quoted
from Matthew show that when God executes judgment His wrath is guided with
strict discrimination.† He distinguished
between Abel and Cain: He saved Noah and his family: He delivered righteous Lot
from the overthrow of
upon what ground in Divine law could the Israelites be rightly exempt?† Morally and religiously they were no better
than the Egyptians.† The strict laws and
severe penalties which Moses had to impose on them after their deliverance from
4. The Passover Blood. †The answer given in the famous account found in Exodus 12. is that for each house a lamb without blemish was to be killed, and "they shall take of the blood, and put it on the two side posts and on the lintel, upon the houses wherein they shall eat it ... And the blood shall be to you a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and there shall no plague be upon you to destroy you when I smite the land of Egypt ... ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the basin: and none of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning.† For Jehovah will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when He seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, Jehovah will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come into your houses to smite you" (Ex. 12: 5-7, 22, 23).
term "pass over" in verse 13 is distinct from the "pass through" of verse
12 (A.V.), which distinction the R.V. indicates by
its rendering "go through."† The latter means to go
through in judgment; the former to pass over and preserve.† Yet "passover" obscures the picture and the
manner of deliverance.† The real sense
is found in Isa. 31: 5, which speaks of a deliverance of
This gives significance to the phrase in verse 23 above that "Jehovah will not suffer the destroyer to come into your houses to smite you."† That great Destroyer, being an evil angel prince, would have gone into every house blood or no blood, but God Himself restrained him as to the houses sprinkled with blood.† Hence the prophet as he recalls the past says of Jehovah, "So He was their Saviour" (Isa. 63: 8).† And He spared and saved solely out of regard to the blood.
must not be supposed that this striking method of preserving a house from
danger of death was new at that time.† On
the contrary it was practised in early
"Still more interesting it is to find in the ritual of the prophets instructions for the sacrifice of a lamb at the gate of the house, the blood of which is to be smeared on the lintels and doorposts, as well as on the colossal images that guarded the entrance."
And he shows that the most ancient customs may persist the ages through, long after their meaning may have been lost, by adding:
"To this day in
It is evident that neither Moses, nor a supposed later redactor or imposter, invented this story to serve some imagined religious end.† God on this occasion was reviving, purifying, and applying a primeval rite, one which we must presume had formed part of an original body of instructions given by Himself as to how sinful men could be granted Divine mercy without dereliction of Divine justice.† This means of grace was that life must be sacrificed that life might be spared, an unblemished substitute dying in place of the death-doomed sinner.† And in this history of the Passover there comes the heaviest possible emphasis upon the use of the blood as the agent of salvation: "When I see the blood" I will spare and preserve.
Thus in the one case the blood cries for just vengeance, yet in the other case protects from just vengeance.
Abelís blood for vengeance
Pleadeth to the skies,
But the blood of Jesus
For our pardon cries. (E. Caswell).
July 21st, 1914, with the Egyptian summer sun at full blaze, I stood
alone, in the stillness of the desert, amid the roofless, ruined houses of Pithom, the treasure city built by Pharaohís cruelly
oppressed slaves of
morning dawned the whole redeemed people of
as yet the time and the people were not ripe for open unrestricted access to
the immediate presence of God in the
The need for and benefit of that annual atonement, as distinct from and in addition to the daily, weekly, and monthly sacrifices, was this: These latter provided forgiveness for all sins of which individuals were conscious, which they confessed and forsook, as well as for general corporate guilt and defilement.† But over and above such acknowledged transgression there remained the accumulated guilt of the multifarious sins and failures which God alone detected and which He must punish. This guilt and defilement would have prevented Divine favour being upon the people: but God in grace made provision for removing it by the atonement of this chief day of the year.† The Chief Priest laid his hands upon the head of the goat that was to bear away the sin, and confessed "over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, even all their sins ... and the goat shall bear upon it all their iniquities unto a solitary land" (Lev. 16: 22, 21).† And the blood of accompanying sacrifices was taken into the holy Presence and sprinkled.
But this plenary atonement did not permit an Israelite to commit sin wilfully* and conceive that the annual sacrifice would protect him from penalty incurred.† No, he must do all that he knew of the will of God, must avoid conscious transgression, must offer every personal atoning sacrifice prescribed for failure recognized, and only so would his unrecognized transgressions, iniquities, and sins be held covered by the annual atonement.† For us [regenerate believers] today this is the truth stated in 1 John 1: 6, 7: "If we say we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we [we and God] have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin."† But when we know that we have sinned it is vain and wicked to presume that the full atonement of Calvary renders it needless for us to desist and be humbled, for the Scripture goes on in verse 9 to assure us that it is "if we confess our sins He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."† The plenary virtue of the death of Christ is not available that the Christian may be careless and presumptuous.† In all times and for all persons the holiness of God demands this inflexible rule: "He that covereth his transgressions shall not prosper; but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall obtain mercy" (Prov. 28: 13).
[* See Heb. 26-30.† ďFor if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgement, and a fierceness of fire which shall devour the adversaries.Ē Ö ďVengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense.† And again, The Lord shall judge his people.Ē]
This subject will be enlarged later.
Even if we did not or could not know the reason for any command of God it were still our duty and safety to obey it; but God desired men to be intelligent as to His requirements and appointments; therefore when He ordained in Israel the sacrifice of blood He explained the ground of His orders.† This is found in Leviticus 17.† Giving to Noah the ancient prohibition against eating flesh with the blood in it God had said that the blood is the life of the flesh.† This prohibition was repeated to Israel by Moses seven times.*† They as a people were to maintain the rights of God by keeping His laws, which the other nations had long since rejected, and this law against eating blood was prominent and its re-enactment was emphatic.† It was again solemnly stated that God Himself would exact the penalty of death: "I will set My face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people" (verse 10). **
[* Gen. 9: 4; Lev. 3: 17; 7: 26, 27; 17: 10-14; 19: 26; Deut. 12: 16, 23, 24; 15: 23.
** This shows that the phrase to "be cut off from his people" meant death, for this was the penalty of eating blood, as before announced to Noah (Gen. 9: 5, 6).]
The basis of this is now declared in three concise sentences (Lev. 17)
"For the life of the flesh is in the blood" (verse 11);
"the blood thereof is all one with the life" (verse 14);
"the life of all flesh is the blood" (verse 14).
After 3000 years manís investigations have informed him that what the Creator said to Noah and Moses was fact, even that the blood and the life are inseparable.† There is therefore physical reality under the notion of the savage that by drinking the blood of his slaughtered foe he becomes possessor of his vigour and courage.† Blood transfusion is further proof that the blood and the life are one.
Therefore, when on that dread night in Egypt blood was seen all round the door of a house, that was visible proof that death must have occurred to provide so much blood; therefore life had been taken, the sentence of death had been already executed in that house, and justice did not permit that the Destroyer should exact the penalty again.
It was essential that there should be proof indisputable that Jesus, the Son of God, the sinnerís Substitute, had really died. Without positive certainty of this there could be no assurance that the penalty of sin had been met and deliverance from eternal death secured.† The Gospel narratives of the crucifixion supply distinct proofs of His actual death, leaving no possible ground for any such suggestion as that perhaps the Sufferer sank into a coma, was taken down only apparently dead, and later revived in the tomb.† Had this been so there had been no atoning death and no life-imparting resurrection: we should all be still in our sins.† But the details given exclude this notion.† (1) At the moment of His death the Lord was still strong and conscious, for He "cried with a loud voice" (Matt. 27: 50; Mk. 15: 37; Lk. 23: 46).† (2) He dismissed His spirit by His own act, saying, "Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit" (references as before).† (3) He bowed His head of His own will: it did not sink helplessly as in a faint or coma (John 19: 30).† It was when the centurion saw that the Crucified "so gave up the spirit" that he was convinced that somewhat supernatural was involved.† He had seen many die, but never a death like this (Mk. 15: 39).† But (4) the final proof that the Saviour had literally died was that, upon the piercing of His side there flowed out a stream of blood and water (John 19: 34).† John most explicitly asserts that he saw this take place and gave true witness to the fact; and on another occasion he emphasized that "Jesus Christ came not in [the power or virtue of] water only, but in [that of] the water and in the blood" (1 John 5: 6).
Of course, God the omniscient did not need visible proof that the lamb had been slain in the houses of the Israelites or that Jesus had really died.† As to the latter fact, He had received back the surrendered spirit, devoid of which the bodily life of man cannot be maintained.*† But the Supreme Ruler carries on the administration of the universe under the scrutiny of men and angels, and of these many are His enemies and critics.† No ground must be allowed for these to complain that His government is not always and wholly just.† Fallen man and fallen angels are ready so to complain.† Adam promptly hinted that God was to blame that he had been tempted: "The woman that THOU gavest me" led me astray (Gen. 3: 12).† Adamís descendants are still all too eager to blame the Almighty as to His ordering of affairs.† Satan did not hesitate to suggest that God had been unduly favourable to Job, making life too easy for him (Job 1: 9-11).
[* The animating spirit must be distinguished from the soul and body.† The spirit returns to God at the time of death; the soul descends into Hades Ė the place of the dead; and the body decomposes into dust: this is what the scriptures teach.† It is impossible to ascend into heaven before the time of Resurrection; only then will all three component parts of man be reunited.]
particular, Satan, as the chief executioner of the Divine sentence of death
against the sinner (Heb. 2: 14: "the one having the power of death, the devil"),
must be left no right to complain that some are withdrawn from his sphere of
action without warrant in law and against justice.† And even as in
Thus by means of death Christ annulled the power of Satan over those who rely on Him and delivers them from fear of death; for these "fall asleep through Jesus" (1 Thes. 4: 14) and are in His charge and company as was the repentant thief (Lk. 23: 43), for they "die in the Lord" (Rev. 14: 13).† Of this real and blessed deliverance by death the blood of the Victim is the justification, being proof that death, the penalty of sin, had been exacted, for Jesus on the cross had made Himself answerable (Isa. 53: 7, Lowth, Newberry).
When the debt is paid the court bailiff loses right of entry and execution.† If by a miscarriage of justice an innocent person was executed for a crime, and later the real culprit should confess or be discovered, the latter would escape execution.† The law would hold that its full penalty having been actually paid another could not be made to meet it. And
ďGod will not payment twice
First at my bleeding Surety's hand,
And then again at mine.Ē
The blood is the proof of death, and death delivers from death.† As an epitaph reads:
the death of death
Had given death to death
By His own death,
The gate of eternal life had been closed.Ē
the moral grading of creation a beast ranks lower than a man.† If a murderer were to offer to redeem his
life by the slaughter of a thousand sheep or bullocks justice would reject the proposal.† Therefore "it
is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins"
(Heb. 10: 4).† The sacrifices from Abel onward had no
inherent saving virtue.† They did indeed
secure a real benefit to the devout offerer: "Jehovah had respect unto Abel and to his offering"
(Gen. 4: 4). On the basis of such sacrifices
He made an eternal covenant with Abraham (Gen. 15.).† Out of regard to the blood of the lambs He
spared the firstborn in
Yet because the life offered was not a just equivalent for the life forfeited the former could not provide for the latter a complete redemption, and the offender, though pardoned for that offence, did not attain a permanent righteousness before God.† Hence those sacrifices needed to be constantly repeated, because the worshipper did not acquire consciousness of having been completely cleansed from sin (Heb. 10: 1 -4).† The inadequacy of those sacrifices could have been justly inferred from Godís declaration to Noah that nothing less than the shedding of the murdererís blood could expiate his guilt for having shed a neighbourís blood (Gen. 9: 5, 6); human life could be balanced only against human life, for man having been made in the image of God transcends in dignity the lower creatures, the death of which cannot therefore in law correspond to his death which that law demands against his sin.† This was made specially clear under the law of Moses by there being a long catalogue of major crimes for which no sacrifice could be accepted to deliver the culprit from the capital penalty. †Murder, adultery, idolatry, blasphemy, and sabbath breaking were among these crimes.
holy God could grant that former measure of pardon without dereliction of
justice because He foreknew that in due course a Sacrifice would be offered
which would carry that inherent saving virtue which all other sacrifices
lacked.† These were but anticipatory of
that, and derived from it what benefit they brought.† Any discounting of the future by man is of
necessity a speculation since he cannot guarantee the future; but this is not
so with God, for He can certainly bring to pass the event on which He counts
and in anticipation of which He acts. His lamb was foreknown before the
foundation of the world (1 Pet. 1: 20).† The absolute certainty of His atoning death
justified God in "passing over sins done
aforetime," that is, before the sacrifice of Christ at
the same declaration of God to Noah it could have been further inferred that
the substitute needed for the sinner must himself be man, since only human life
could answer for human life.† This had
been announced by God in
But as no sinner could offer his life to redeem another sinner, his own life being already forfeited by his own sin, therefore this Redeemer-Man must be without sin, inherited or committed.† This necessitated such a birth as should prevent the transmission to Him of a sinful nature and grant to Him a pure nature which, being without sin, could live without sinning.† His birth of a virgin by the direct act of the [Holy] Spirit of God was a necessity.† Without deity the Substitute could not act for all the race of man; without humanity He could not represent mankind at all; without sinlessness He could not atone for sinners.† To deny either of these features is to leave the human race without a Saviour, exposed to the inflexible justice that demands death as the inescapable and just penalty of sin.
There was no other good
To pay the price of sin,
He only could unlock the gate
Of Heav'n and let us in. (C. F. Alexander).
"But now once at the consummation of the ages hath He been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself" (Heb. 9: 26).† Whose blood saves?† "Ye were redeemed ... with precious blood, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot, even the blood of Christ,"† "in Whom we have our redemption, through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses according to the riches of His [God's] grace" (1 Pet. 1: 19; Eph. 1: 7).
(a) In the possibility, the whole human race, indeed the whole creation.† It is declared distinctly that the sacrifice of Christ cleanses the heavenly things, defiled by the sin of angels (Heb. 9: 23), and that the whole creation is to be relieved from the curse which sin has brought (Rom. 8: 18-25).*† This defiling of the heavenly regions where God dwells by the sin of angels has its earthly counterpart, in that the Holy Places of Tabernacle and Temple, where God dwelt, had to be purified annually on the day of Atonement from the defilement occasioned by the sins of Israel (Lev. 16: 16: etc.).
[* Here is scriptural proof of the
It is shown beyond doubt that the love of God, which provides eternal life for sinners, is toward "the world" (John 3: 16), and that the Righteous One is the propitiation [the turning away of Godís anger] not only for such as have already believed on Him, but "for the whole world" (1 John 2: 2).† It is false dealing with the Word of God to make this last passage mean that He is the propitiation for the world of the elect.† In ch. 5: 19 of the very same Epistle the same Apostle uses again the same contrast between believers and others when he says, "We know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in the Evil One."† Evidently the "whole world" is all of the human race in contrast to those who have been born of God.† Who would think of adding here that it is the whole world of the elect that are in the sphere and power of Satan?
It is contrary to the infinite dignity of the Divine Substitute to imagine that He could offer a limited redemption; it is derogatory to the divine virtue of His precious blood to attach any restriction to its scope.† Since the Creator transcends the creation, so must His sacrifice transcend its need.† Therefore that His saints should intercede for "all men ... is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, Who wishes [thelo] all men [emphatic] to be saved ;" unto which end the one Mediator between the one God and men, Christ Jesus, Himself man, "gave Himself a ransom for all" (1 Tim. 2: 1 -6).† As Anselm, in a passage to be given later, long since argued, a payment which more than covers the debt must needs justify complete remission of it.
Words could not be more explicit.† Salvation through the blood of Christ is available for all men.† He who knows this has strong confidence as he announces the good news to every man, and he feels also that he is "debtor" to all men, for he holds a treasure intended for every man (Rom. 1: 14, 15).
(b) But this universal possibility can become effective to those only who repent of sin and are willing to be delivered from its power and penalty, and who for this purpose accept personally the benefit of the atoning blood of the Lamb of God. "He pardoneth and absolveth all them that truly repent and unfeignedly believe His holy gospel."† God has not changed His mind as to the gifts and calling bestowed on man (Rom. 11: 29).† Therefore He uniformly respects the grant to angels and men of freedom of action.† Man sins willingly and therefore must repent and believe willingly.† God constrains but does not coerce.† He persuades but does not force.
essence of the faith that saves is seen in the action of the man in
shows that obedience is of the essence of faith.† Therefore the gospel requires "obedience of faith," and "a great company of the
priests were obedient to the faith" (
(1) Atonement. †The principal, because the basic, benefit of atoning blood is that it atones.† Of it God said: "I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls [lives]: for it is the blood that maketh atonement by reason of the life," with which it is all one (Lev. 17: 11).
The Hebrew word translated "atonement" has the picture "to cover."† Thus the ark was covered with pitch (Gen. 6: 14), where the same noun and verb are used as "atonement" and "atone."† That which is covered is hidden from sight, and true here is that saying "out of sight, out of mind."† The same thought is expressed by another word meaning to smear over, and so erase a record.† It is used negatively and positively as a term of judgment: positively, "let their name be blotted out" (Ps. 109: 13, 14).† In Neh. 4: 5: "let not their sin be blotted out" is parallel with another word meaning "to cover ... cover not their iniquity."† This word for "to cover" has the picture of clothing which covers, and so conceals, the person of the wearer. It is therefore similar in meaning to the former word for "to cover," to render unseen, and it is used in Isa. 44: 22 in connection with yet another picture of hiding from sight: "I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and as a cloud, thy sins: return unto Me, for I have redeemed thee."
Thus there is a triple picture of the hiding of sin from sight, the pitch hid the wood of the ark, the substance smeared on the book hides the record of the offence, the cloud hides the earth from the view of one on the mountain top.† By words and pictures God has taken pains to encourage the repentant and believing [regenerate] sinner to be assured that He removes the guilt which hinders fellowship and demands punishment.† It is the atoning blood which effects this saving change of status Godward.
first of the words for "to cover"
has a unique application.† One form of it
is used exclusively of the golden lid that covered the ark of
the covenant in the
That the Hebrew word "to cover" is the equivalent of the Greek word "propitiate," used in the Septuagint and the New Testament, shows that the truth of atonement is in the New Testament though the word is not.
But though that golden covering sufficiently hid from sight the tables of the law, this did not by itself secure the sinful people from the judgment of God, for not gold but blood is that which shows that death, the full penalty of sin, has been executed and the broken law repaired.† Therefore that golden lid had to be sprinkled annually with the atoning blood that erased the record of the sins of the people and hid these from the sight of God as a thick cloud blots out the landscape, being proof visible that the sins had been expiated by equivalent penalty.† The divinity of our Lord could not by itself save sinners, it being no equivalent whatever for the forfeited life of men.† It was indispensable that He, being God, should become man so as to meet the whole legal demand of God that death must follow sin.† Therefore, as the passage quoted from Romans 3: 25 says, "God set Him forth to be a propitiation ... in [the virtue of] His blood."
That precious blood covers for ever the sins of those who truly repent and un-feignedly believe.† Upon this their submission God puts His laws in their hearts as the rule of life and writes them in their minds as moral light and the instinct of duty.† Of such He says, "their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more" (Heb. 10: 15-18).† Blessed, indeed, is he whose transgression is forgiven, and whose sin is covered (Ps. 32: 1), being hidden from the eye of God, as the body is hidden by clothing.† Precious, indeed, is the atoning, covering blood of Christ, which only can hide ought from Omniscience and cause the Infinite Mind to forget.
ATONEMENT includes other features connected with salvation. (2) Propitiation. This word is not used in the English Old Testament to translate any Hebrew word connected with atonement.† It is used in the New Testament to render certain Greek words with the same meaning, and these Greek words were used by the Seventy to translate Hebrew words.† Thus the truth expressed by the word "propitiation" is found everywhere in the Bible.† This truth is that, on the ground of atoning sacrifice, the Holy One is propitiated, is warranted and enabled to take a favourable attitude to the culprit He must otherwise have rejected and punished.
Our Lord described a tax-gatherer coming to the entrance of the temple, standing in humility some distance back, expressing contrition by smiting his breast, acknowledging his utter wickedness, and appealing for Divine mercy by crying, "God, be propitiated to me the sinner" (Lk. 18: 13).† On the brazen altar before him, and between him and the holy God, there was consuming away in the fire of judgment the innocent victim which had died on his account, and the meaning of his prayer was, "0 God, out of regard to the death of my substitute be favourable to me!"† The choice of the word "propitiated" showed that his prayer was intelligent.
The appeal was granted because the lamb spoke to God of His Lamb Who would shortly die for the tax-gathererís sins, and Who would do so by express provision of God, for it was He Who sent Christ forth to be "a propitiation, through faith, by His blood" (Rom. 3: 25). Thus the Son of God "became a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people" (Heb. 2: 17).† "He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the whole world," and "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (1 John 2: 2 ; 4: 10).† He is the divine reality typified by the propitiatory, the mercy-seat, in the tabernacle and temple, where of old the atoning blood was sprinkled to secure the safety of Israel and the continued favour and presence of God.
(3) Reconciliation. The tax-gathererís prayer "God, be propitiated to me" was an appeal for a change of attitude on the part of God. †Propitiation brings reconciliation.† The Greek noun and verb (katallagee, katallasso), translated in the New Testament "reconciliation," are not used in the Septuagint in connexion with atonement, but in the New Testament are very definitely so connected.
The passages are :
(1) Rom. 5: 10, 11: "For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be kept safe (Moule) in His life ... through Whom we have now received the reconciliation."
(2) 2 Cor. 5: 18, 19 : "But all things are of God, Who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave unto us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not reckoning unto them their trespasses, and having committed unto us the word of reconciliation."
These statements make evident that
(a) God is the Reconciler;
(b) Christ is He Who effects the reconciliation;
(c) It is by His death that He effected this;
(d) The scope of the reconciliation is universal, cosmical (kosmon katallassown);
(e) The gospel is the proclamation and appeal of this reconciliation;
(f) The individual must personally avail himself of it by responding to the changed attitude in God made possible by the death of Christ.
meaning of the Greek word is certain. In 1 Cor. 7: 11 it is directed that a Christian woman
living away from her husband is to remain unmarried "or else be reconciled to her husband."† A change of heart is indicated in the Septuagint
at Jer. 48: 39
: "how has he changed!
Such change in man is easy to grasp but some refuse to admit of such a change in God, for they stress that He is ever well-disposed toward man and loves the sinner in spite of the sin which He hates.† It is certain that the Greek word can include such a change in God.† It is used four times in the Greek of the Apocrypha in 2 Maccabees: 1: 5: "May God be at one with youĒ v. 20:The great Lord being reconciled 7: 33: "He shall be at one again with His servants" 8: 29; "They besought the merciful Lord to be reconciled with His servants."
Nor was such a change in God a new conception or limited to Hebrew, Greek, or Latin thought.† In early Egyptian times a suppliant, Mes-em-Neter, turned in heart from false gods and prayed thus to the God of Right and Truth:
Behold, the god hath shame of me, but let my faults be washed away and let them fall upon both hands of the god of Right and Truth.† Do away utterly with the transgression which is in me, together with [my] wickedness and sinfulness, O god of Right and Truth.† May this god be at peace with me!† Do away utterly with the obstacles which are between thee and me ... grant thou that I may bring to thee the offerings which will make peace [between thee and men] whereon thou livest, and that I also may live thereon.† Be thou at peace with me and do away utterly with all the shame of me which thou hast in thy heart because of me.*
[* See The Book of the Dead, trans. Budge, 32.]
This remarkable prayer descends from within a measurable period after the Flood.† It shows how there lingered among men recollections of the true God, His character and demands.† The suppliant was aware of his own wickedness and sinfulness and that these were obstacles to fellowship with God; but he knew that there were sacrifices which could remove these, and create peace between God and men.† He knew also that the God of Truth was ashamed of him the sinner, and he longed that this shame on his account might be removed from the heart of God; yet this could be effected by the act of God alone.
Thus did this suppliant of ancient times in a vile heathen land know well that there must be induced a change in God toward himself, the sinner, and that offerings were requisite which could remove utterly his wickedness and transgressions.† How parallel is this to the statement concerning Jehovah that, as He contemplated the corruption and violence of men before the Flood, He changed His mind as to having created man and was grieved in heart (Gen. 6: 5, 6).† This was a change of heart indeed from the day when He had seen that everything He had made was very good, and it was a change which resulted in the destruction of the unrepentant race.
The seeming mystery is resolved by the statement "if ye call on Him as Father" remember that "without respect of persons He judgeth according to each manís work" (1 Pet. 1: 17).† God is both father and judge.† In the highest relationship He is the heavenly Father of those who have been born again of His Spirit upon faith in His Son: in the creatorial sense He is the father, the cause of existence, of all spirits (Heb. 12: 9; Eccl. 12: 7).† This includes all orders of beings, heavenly as well as earthly, for from Him "every fatherhood in heaven and on earth is named" (Eph. 3: 15), which fact Paul kept in mind when approaching Him in prayer.
Now in the former sense God, the Father of all, loves with Divine affection all souls that He has made; it is His nature to do so. On the other hand, as the Ruler and Judge of all, and for the well-being of all, "God is a righteous judge, yea, a God that hath indignation every day" (Ps. 7: 11).† It cannot be otherwise as to either attitude; neither excludes the other, a truth which Peter pressed upon the children of God in Christ to whom he was writing.† Cases have been known where human judges magnified the law and made it honourable by fining culprits according to law, and then gratified their innate instinct of mercy by themselves paying the fine.† As humane, such a judge is merciful at heart; as righteous, his mind is set against the criminal.† His own payment of the penalty changes this latter and just attitude and liberates the quality of mercy, so that without failure of justice he can discharge the offender.† The satisfaction of law made by the voluntary payment reconciles him as judge to the law-breaker against whom his heart as judge was definitely antagonistic.
The fact mentioned above (d) that the reconciliation affects the cosmos, "God was in Christ world-reconciling unto Himself," must surely imply that the change meant here is on Godís part, since the cosmos, whether fully universal or the whole of mankind, is not a corporate entity with a single heart capable of a collective change of feeling towards God. But the sacrifice of the God-man, being of universal validity, gives to the universe collectively a new aspect before God and warrants a change of treatment from strict justice to the offer of mercy. Yet as before remarked under 6., "Whom does the blood save?" this universal opportunity of mercy benefits each individual only upon individual faith.
Scripture says that the Lamb of God "taketh away the
sin of the world" (kosmos).
If this is not universal then that region of the universe not affected must
remain for ever defiled and un-reconciled.†
Apart from the blood of Christ the heavens must, in that case, remain
for ever unclean in Godís sight, which is contrary to Heb.
9: 23.† That typical
We must indeed keep in mind R. B. Girdlestoneís words :
"When we speak of Christ reconciling His Father to us (see the second article of the Church of England) we are not to picture up an angry judge being propitiated by a benevolent Son - this would be an entire misrepresentation of the Christian Faith.† Rather we should regard the Son as sent by the Father to die for the sins of the world, in order that He might remove the bar which hindered the free action of Divine love on the heart of man." (Old Testament Synony.MS, 217.)
Therefore Griffith Thomas rightly says :
"There is practical unanimity among scholars that reconciliation in St. Paul means a change of relation on Godís part towards man, something done by God for man, which has modified what would otherwise have been His attitude to the sinner.† Thus, reconciliation is much more than a change of feeling on manís part towards God, and must imply first of all a change of relation in God towards man.† It is this that the Article [No. II] was intended to express by the phrase, "To reconcile His Father to us." If it should be said that such a change in God is unthinkable, it may be answered that even in forgiveness, if we are to understand it aright, there must be some change of attitude, for God cannot possibly be in the same attitude before as after forgiveness " (The Principles of Theology, 53).
Upon the passage quoted above from 2 Cor. 5: 18, Alford wrote:
"Observe, that the reconciliation spoken of in this and the next verse, is that of God to us, absolutely and objectively, through His Son: that whereby He can complacently behold and endure a sinful world, and receive all who come to Him by Christ.† This, the subjective reconciliation - of men to God - follows as a matter of exhortation", ver. 2o.
On Romans 5: 10 Moule says:
"When we were hostile to His claims, and as such subject to the hostility of His Law, WE WERE RECONCILED TO OUR GOD THROUGH THE DEATH OF HIS SON (God coming to judicial peace with us, and we brought to submissive peace with Him); [and in a Note he adds] Katallassein, Katallagee.† It is sometimes held that these words denote "reconciliation" in the sense of manís laying aside his distrust, reluctance, resistance towards God, not of Godís laying aside His holy displeasure against man ... But Katallagee (and its verb) is as a fact used in the Greek of the Apocrypha in connexions where the thought is just that of the clemency of a king, induced to pardon. [Two of the passages cited above from 2 Maccabees are given] ... And there is no place in the New Testament where the meaning, conciliation of an offended party, would not well suit katallassesthai, etc.† The present passage (Rom. 5: 10, 11) would be practically meaningless otherwise.† The whole thought is of divine mercy, providing a way for accepting grace." (Expositor's Bible, Romans, 138, 141.)
The passages in 2 Maccabees support Mouleís statement that the Greek words can carry the thought of God being reconciled to the sinner.† His remark that this is implied in Rom. 5: 11 seems just; for reconciliation is not presented in this verse as something wrought in man but as something that man "receives," as a benefit offered for faith to accept.† In the preceding verse the other aspect may be in view: "we were reconciled to God," though this can mean that we, His enemies, were made acceptable to God "through the death of His Son."
Upon the Greek words katallagee, etc., H. P. Liddon wrote that they must be taken passively, not merely or chiefly actively -
reconciliation is accomplished, not only in the hearts of men, but in the Heart
of God. Men are reconciled with God in Christ, in such sense, that God, seeing
them in union with His Beloved and Perfect Son, abandons His just wrath which
their sins have kindled, and admits them to His favour and blessing. This, the
constant faith of the Church, was scientifically worked out by S. Anselm of
The conclusion of Anselmís demonstration is given in his chap. 20.
"So, the mercy of God, which whilst we were considering Godís justice and manís sin, seemed to you to vanish away, we now find to be so great and so perfectly consonant with justice as that neither greater nor juster could be conceived of.† For what can be understood as being more merciful than that God the Father should say to the sinner who was condemned to eternal torments, and who had nothing wherewith to redeem himself† Take My Only-Begotten Son, and offer Him for thyself"; and the Son Himself [should say] : "Take Me, and redeem thyself?"† But they do, as it were, speak thus when they call and draw us to the Christian faith.† And what can be more just than that he [God the Father], to whom is given [by the Son] a payment greater than all that is owing to him, should, if this be given in payment of what is wrong, remit the whole debt ?]
Now although it is true that the essential nature of God is
unchangeable Love, yet the living action of Godís love in the human world has
been hindered and impeded by sin.† In
reality Godís Love is identical with His Righteousness.† But sin has produced an apparent antithesis
between these Attributes.† Although God
eternally and unchangeably loves the world, His actual relation to it is one of
opposition, because the Unity of His Attributes is disturbed and the action of
His Love ad extra [to
that which is outside His own being], is restrained by
sins.† The orgee
tou Theou [wrath
of God] is an expression which implies, that in virtue
of the Eternal necessities of His being, Godís relation of Love to the human
world is unsatisfied, owing to the agency of sin, since sin contradicts His
essential nature.† It is not then His
unchangeable Character, but His relation (produced by sin) to the world of men, that is really affected by the katallagee
No mere man could affect that relation by his personal conduct. Jesus
Christ, the Eternal Son of God, Who also as the Pattern or Ideal Man
represented the whole human race, could, and did, by the consummate expression
of His obedience on the Cross, establish a new relation between the active
manifestation of the Love of God and all those who by faith are associated with
His own supreme self-sacrifice. (Explanatory
Blessed indeed is he who knows from his own joy in God that he has been reconciled to Him by the death of His Son; happy is the man who can exultingly sing Wesleyís ecstatic lines
His pardoning voice I hear;
He owns me for His child,
I can no longer fear;
With confidence I now draw nigh,
And Father, Abba, Father! cry.
A further element in salvation is described by the term (4) Forgiveness. The old covenant repeated often the guarantee of God to the offender that, upon the appointed sacrifice having been offered, and its blood sprinkled, "the priest shall make atonement for him, and he shall be forgiven" (Lev. 4: 20, 26; etc.). Under the new covenant, written for the assurance of the believer, it stands that "in the Beloved we have our redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His [God's] grace." (Eph. 1: 7). Now the criminal whom the king pardons is not executed.
But the atoning blood of Christ secures more than pardon, even
(5) Jusification. †"We are justified freely by Godís grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth to be a propitiation, through faith, in His blood," in order that God "might Himself be righteous, and the Declarer righteous of him that hath faith in Jesus" (Rom. 3: 24-26).
A judge may declare that the man before him was justified in law in doing the deed in question, that is, that in doing it he acted within his legal right and is righteous before the law.† But the judge cannot declare a man righteous who has broken the law, riot until he shall have rendered full satisfaction to the law by meeting its full penalty for his trespass.† Thus a bankrupt may secure discharge from further proceedings to recover debts, but the record that he failed to meet his liabilities stands against him and his character is thereby impaired before the law.† He is let off payment because he has no resources that can be passed to his creditors, but the law does not justify him for having failed to pay twenty shillings in the pound.† But should he later pay the debts in full, with interest, the court record against him is withdrawn, the former failure is cancelled, and thenceforth he is regarded by the law as a righteous man, as if he had not before failed.† And this will be the case just as completely should another have provided the payment in full.† Thus the adverse record is "blotted out," and the former default is no more remembered officially.
This is justification; the acquiring by the bankrupt of a new and perfect standing in law.† Plainly it is more than simple forgiveness.† A debt may be forgiven, and the creditor suffer the loss; but this does not put the debtor upon the same morally satisfactory footing as if either he had never defaulted or that he or a mediator or surety for him, had satisfied the creditor by payment in full.
The sacrifices offered under the law of Moses could not provide for the sinner more than forgiveness.† They did not in themselves adequately compensate the Divine law that had been infringed, and moreover the more heinous crimes were not within the range of that sacrificial system.† Only the blood of the Son of God could meet fully the claims of God; but He having died, the glorious proclamation could be made, "Be it known unto you therefore, brethren, that through this man is proclaimed unto you remission of sins: and by Him every one that believeth is justified from all things from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses" (Ac. 13: 38, 39).† Against one that the law has declared righteous no proceedings can lie.
(6) Remission. The text last quoted speaks of remission of sins.† The force of the word is seen in the commercial phrase "to make a remittance," to send something away to another person and place.† On the day of the annual atonement in Israel, the live goat, to which ceremonially the sins of the people were transferred, was sent away from the camp into the wilderness, and "the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities into a solitary place" (Lev. 16: 21, 22).† Thus, in the fulfilment of the type, did the holy Sin-bearer go out into the darkness of being forsaken by His God and take away our sins into that solitude. "Apart from shedding of blood there is no remission" (Heb. 9: 22), but in Christ "we have redemption through His blood, the remission [same word] of our trespasses" (Eph. 1: 7); for He is "the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1: 29), because He "put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself" (Heb. 9: 26).
Sometimes an estate owner knows that his tenants are unable to pay their rent and he decides to bear the loss himself.† He therefore "remits" all or part of what is due.† He suffers loss and they escape payment.† Thus did God in Christ suffer for our sins and these are remitted.† By faith in Godís announcement of this remission we receive assurance of salvation, for the messenger of the Lord is sent "to give knowledge of salvation unto His people in the remission of their sins" (Lk. 1: 77).
Another vast benefit secured by atoning blood is
(7) Redemption. †An Israelite might mortgage his house, land, or crops, but the law gave a right of redemption. Or he might even have dedicated a field unto Jehovah, but right of redemption was granted.† Or he might have mortgaged his liberty and labour, and become a bondservant.† In some cases his nearest kinsman was required by law to redeem him.† The regulations are found in chaps. 25. and 27. of Leviticus, and the proceedings as to redeeming land are shown in the pleasant history of Naomi and Ruth.† The relative who thus intervened was known as the goel, the kinsman-redeemer, and was a forerunner of Him Who became man that He might redeem men.
The essence of all such transactions, ancient and modern, is that a person or article was under some control, had passed under bondage to another, and the redeemer released him or it from that control, and restored freedom.† And further, this liberation could be effected only by payment of an adequate price.
The chief New Testament word for this transaction (lutroo) meant originally to release captives, taken in war or by robbers, by means of a ransom, and then to manumit a slave.† Thus did Christ, having by incarnation become our kinsman, act as our Kinsman-Redeemer, and "give His life a ransom for many" (Matt. 20: 28; Mk. 10: 45).† No less price could redeem our forfeited life; no more could be demanded.† Man is in a threefold bondage: (a) to his sins, which enslave him; (b) to the law of God that condemns him for his sins; (c) to death, their penalty.† From this bondage Christ sets free the believer in Him.
(a) Tit. 2: 13, 1O: "Our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ; Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity," that is, from the iniquities themselves, not only from the consequences.† This is the point of the first statement regarding Him found in the New Testament: "thou shalt call His name JESUS; for He is the one that shall save His people from their sins" (Matt. 1: 18).
(b) Gal. 3: 13 speaks of the curse of the law pronounced upon all who break its precepts, even the sentence of death: but "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law having become a curse for us; for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree."† Through sin each man was fallen under this dread condemnation of the law of God, but Christ in wondrous grace and condescension, consented to be "born under law, that He might redeem them that were under law" (Gal. 4: 4, 5).† There is here no article; simply "under law" ; not "the law," as if meaning the Mosaic law; Christ was "born under law, that He might redeem them that were under law;" and ver. 8 shows that the passage is directed to Gentiles, idolators, not only to Jews: "ye were in bondage to them that by nature are no gods."† All men are liable to the law of God that death is the penalty of sin. (c) A different word for redeem is used here exagorazo.† It carries two thoughts; (1) the publicity of the transaction, for the root agorazo meant to buy in open market (agora, market place); and (2) the completeness of the purchase, for the prefix ex gives the emphasis of our phrase "I bought him out, I acquired all his holding in the Company;" and therefore the sacrifice made by Christ sets the believer wholly free from the grip of the outraged law by completely satisfying its demand on the sinner.
This verb is found elsewhere in the New Testament at Eph. 5: 16 : Col. 4: 5, "redeeming the time."† At whatever cost of care and sacrifice the believer, being himself redeemed completely from sin and doom, is himself to redeem completely every minute from being mis-spent and wasted.† He is to buy up every opportunity to do the will of God.† This leads us to notice a fourth sphere and aspect of redemption.
(d) 1 Pet. 1: 18 : "ye were redeemed (lutroo) not with corruptible things, with silver, or gold, from your vain manner of life, handed down from your fathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot, even the blood of Christ."† Men everywhere have thought it natural and sufficient to live as did their forbears. Nor is there virtue in change for its own sake.† But the Christian is under a sacred and imperious obligation to remember that manís ways are not Godís ways (Isa. 55: 8, 9); that nothing that originates in the worldís system of life is of God (1 John 2: 16); so that to follow the way our fathers took is surely to miss the way of God.† And this is a "vain manner of life" - it produces no true satisfaction now and its vanity will be fully evident when the world passes away and sinners have only to say
are in the yellow leaf,
The flowers and fruits of life are gone
The worm, the canker, and the grief
Are mine alone. (Byron).
To save us from this lamentable fate the Son of God shed His precious blood.† He bought us out of that wretched enslaved condition that we should live worthily for Him and eternity. †The redeemed slave who continues in bondage is false to himself and his Redeemer.
in redemption there are bondage, purchase, and freedom, and naturally the chief
emphasis is on the last. It was by no means the thought of God that the blood
of the passover lamb should merely
deliver from the Destroyer yet leave the delivered still slaves in
Thus our Saviour Jesus Christ redeemed us from all iniquity (the past life) in order that a present effect may flow out, even that He may "purify unto Himself a people for His own possession, zealous of good works" (Tit. 3: 14).† And Peter teaches that our redemption by the blood of Godís Lamb demands that we shall gird up the loins of our mind, be sober, and "set your hope perfectly [undividedly] on the favour that is being brought unto you [the divine process is already in movement] at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Pet.1: 13).† Present holiness is the pathway to future glory, which they shall reach who press through the wilderness to Canaan.
was sent by God to
Similarly in Romans 3: 24, redemption is connected with our justification, but chap. 8: 18-25 looks on to the goal, when the body also shall be emancipated from present frailty and pain, and in heavenly liberty and glory shall be a house suitable to the sons of God.† Of this sublime consummation the indwelling Spirit of God is firstfruits and gives foretastes, but we still groan, waiting for and expecting our "adoption, the redemption of our body."† Thus Christ Jesus is made unto us from God wisdom on all the chief necessities of our case, and the means of fulfilment of all the great and gracious desires of God; He is our righteousness before God, our justification; He is our sanctification, in present liberty from the tyranny of sin; and He is our redemption, the Fulfiller to the utmost of Godís purpose that men of faith shall be glorified (1 Cor. 1: 30).† For Christ is "the Mediator of a new covenant, that a death having taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant, they that have been called may receive the promise of eternal inheritance" (Heb. 9: 15).† The purchase price of this glorious programme and prospect was His own blood, and as this effected a redemption that is eternal (Heb. 9: 12),† He rests for ever from that work, but carries out and develops its results unto their full completion.† The pathway to this lies through many tribulations (Ac. 14: 22), and we must suffer with Him if we would be glorified with Him (Rom. 8: 17); but when, as this age draws to its end, these sufferings for His sake reach their greatest intensity, then may we "look up" hopefully, and "lift up our heads" with joy and confidence, for then will our redemption have drawn nigh (Lk. 21: 28).
mighty scheme, proposed by Divine love, devised by Divine wisdom, based upon
Divine sacrifice, will be consummated by Divine power.† Its climax will be the glorifying of the
church of God with the Son of God in His proper heavenly realm; but there is
included a repentance, recovery, and re-establishment of Israel in their land
and honour as Godís chosen people for the earth. For this "redemption of
Nor shall only the church,
(8) Sanctification. Gen. 2: 3 states that "God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it." Exodus 13: 2 tells that God said "Sanctify unto Me all the firstborn."† In the Hebrew "hallow" and "sanctify" are the same word, as in the A.V. the force of the word is seen in Lev. 26, which refers to the sanctifying unto the Lord a house (14), or land (16), that is, it was devoted to the service of God and could not be used for a secular purpose while so devoted.† Conversely, no one could voluntarily so devote the firstling of a beast or the tithe of his produce because these were already, by statute, the Lordís property.† The meaning therefore is that the person or thing sanctified was set apart from common use to be devoted to God, it ceased to be common, profane, secular and became sacred.
It is to be observed that this primary meaning of the term is irrespective of the inherent quality of the object sanctified.† The firstborn child or animal might prove healthy or weakly, the produce of the consecrated field might be rich or poor, but the law of the consecration read "He shall not alter it or change it, a good for a bad or a bad for a good" (vers. 10, 33), under penalty that both should be deemed sanctified.
The Hebrew word and its cognates come some 260 times. In the Greek Old Testament they are represented by Greek words of the same primary meaning, and which are used in the New Testament in the same sense.
In the setting apart unto God for sacred use something that had before been common the atoning blood took a primary place. It is written of the altar of burnt offering that "Moses took the blood, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about with his finger, and purified the altar, and sanctified it, to make atonement for it" (Lev. 16: 15); and of the person of the priest likewise we read in the same chapter that "Moses took of the anointing oil, and of the blood which was upon the altar, and sprinkled it upon Aaron, upon his garments, and upon his sons, and upon his sonís garments with him, and sanctified Aaron, his garments, and his sons, and his sonís garments with him" (ver. 30).
Thus the spot where in grace the Holy One met the guilty with pardoning mercy was sanctified for the purpose by the blood that atoned for guilt.† The cross of Christ would not have become the meeting place in peace for God and man had not the Redeemer there atoned for sin by the blood He shed to cover sin.† Therefore it is said that "Jesus sanctified the people by His own blood" and that "we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Heb. 13: 12 ; 10: 10).† He who has accepted the atoning blood of Christ is to remember that, not only has he thereby received pardon for his sins, but he has thereby consented to regard himself henceforth as set apart unto God as a vessel dedicated wholly to sacred use, as it is written, "Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Cor. 10: 31, and see Col. 3: 17).
Here it is necessary to recall what has just been mentioned, that this setting apart unto God does not depend upon the personal condition of the one thus sanctified. At his consecration as priest Aaron was not altered in actual character by that solemn ceremony. He was the same man, still "compassed with infirmity" (Heb. 5: 2) ; but he had been set apart entirely for God, which very fact must itself have conduced to greater watchfulness over his heart and conduct, in order that he might walk worthily of his high and priestly calling.† For he bore upon his forehead a golden plate inscribed "Holy [set apart] to Jehovah" (Ex. 28: 36).
The believer is not to wait until he feels some marked change in his nature before dedicating himself unto God; he is to accept the searching and ennobling fact that, by having accepted atonement by the blood of Christ, he has already been set apart to God to do His holy will.† Himself, his garments, his surroundings are to be regarded in detail as sacred, as belonging to God.† It is in this sense that all believers are called "saints," dedicated ones.
Of this sense of the word "sanctify" the highest and quite unique example is that of the Son of God.† He said of Himself that the Father had sanctified Him and sent Him into the world, and added, "Sanctify them in Thy truth ... And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth" (John 10: 36 ; 17: 17, 19).† It was clearly no question of His personal character being purified, for He was inherently without sin or imperfection.† The sense is that the Father had set apart the Son for a definite service on earth and the Son had correspondingly set Himself apart to render that service. The thought is that of consecration and dedication, and He prayed that the truth He had taught His disciples might work effectually unto their dedication of themselves to God and His service.
is yet more.† Atoning blood is the basis
of and preparation for the anointing oil.†
When the backslidden leper in
A national fulfilment of this type awaits Israel in the day when they shall repent of their national backsliding from God, with its culminating wickedness in the murder of their Messiah, for thereupon God will sprinkle upon them "clean water" (Lev. 14 : Num. 19), that is, water by which the blood will be applied, the [Holy] Spirit bringing home to the conscience the saving virtue of the death of Christ; and then will God put within them His Spirit, Who will cause them to listen to Godís commandments with an understanding mind and ready heart, so that by the Spiritís strength they will do the will of God, and will walk gladly in His ways (Ezek. 36: 24-27).
a present fulfilment is available already for such as repent of their sin,
abandon it, and accept the cleansing of the conscience, so having the heart
sprinkled from a consciousness of evil because of appreciating and
appropriating the atoning virtue of the blood of Christ.† Pentecost follows
Thus is there not only sanctification by the blood of Christ but a further "sanctification of the Spirit" (1 Pet. 1: 2). He it is Who so presents Christ to the heart that the obedient find every spiritual need met, every godly desire satisfied in Him; with the consequence that in the power of the heavenly anointing the dedication to Him which is demanded by the atoning blood is rendered out of love and gratitude.
oil was put only where blood had first been put. Pentecost did not precede
The atoning blood is the basis of holiness, of a life fully consecrated to God, and the Spirit, typified by oil, is its power.
(9) Access. This subject is now resumed.† The dignity of the king, as superior to all
his subjects, has caused it to be regarded as a special honour to have access
to his person, especially on State occasions.†
From the book of Esther we know that
in Persia it was at risk of death that one should approach the kingís throne in
the inner court of the palace without having been first invited (Esth. 4: 11).†
So far did this seclusion rule in that
same principle of seclusion ruled in
How striking is the difference revealed in the New Testament.† The people of God of this age are exhorted to "draw near with boldness unto the throne," to find it a "throne of grace," where they can obtain mercy as to failures and grace to help as may be, needed (Heb. 4: 16).† Of this mighty change the rending of the veil of the temple at the death of Christ was the public notice, the Holy Spirit signifying thus that from that hour the way into the holy places is made manifest, is thrown open to every believer.
principal facts contribute jointly to this marvellous change and mighty
privilege: the Mediator and His precious blood.†
Jesus stated an unchanging and universal fact when He said: "I am the way; no one cometh unto the Father but through Me" (John 14: 6).† No one can have access to the sovereign of
even the high priest in
The veil is rent; Lo! Jesus
Before the throne of grace,
While clouds of incense from His hands
Fill all that glorious place.
His precious blood He sprinkles there,
Before, and on the throne;
And His own wounds in heaven declare
His work on earth is done.
Within the holiest of all,
Cleansed by His precious blood,
Before Thy throne Thy children fall,
And worship Thee, our God.
Boldly our heart and voice we raise,
His name, His blood, our plea;
Assured our prayers and songs of praise
Ascend by Him to Thee. - (J. G. Deck)
Blessed is he who can thus sing, not merely as recital of privilege, but out of real heart experience of the presence of God.† It was one who, though a king, could not act as priest, who envied that honour and exclaimed
Blessed is the man whom Thou choosest, and causest to approach,
That he may dwell in Thy courts. (David, Ps. 65: 4).
David could only visit the great public court: priests could dwell before God.† It is possible that prayer may be only like the sending of a petition to the king, instead of talking with him in his very presence.† "Let us draw near;" let us learn how to realize this as a genuine experience of the spirit.† Being asked if he knew the way to heaven a plain man replied, "I lives there!"
(10) Victory. †And when this becomes fact, what then?† Then, of course, the spiritual anticipation and counterpart of pearly gates and golden streets and golden harps!† Then peace like a river and joy like a fountain, because,
The Fatherís face in radiant
Shines now in light on me.
Yes, and of this we might and ought to know much more.† We ought to be able to sing with ecstasy
And oh, to know this place is
Though yet by faith, in measure small:
To breathe its air, to sip its wine,
To dwell where God is all in all- -
This, this is LIFE, before the throne,
And all is death save this alone.
this is only one aspect of being seated with Christ in heavenly places.† The same epistle that early lifts us there,
closes by dwelling upon the dread fact that in those same heavenly places we wrestle against wicked spirits (Eph. 2: 6; 6: 12); and he who most abides there in
Christ knows most of this conflict.† In
Egypt Israel did no fighting: they were slaves.†
During forty years in the desert they fought only two battles with
outside foes: in the one they conquered by faith and prayer in the other
self-confidence brought defeat (Ex. 17: 8-15; Num.
14: 39-45).† In those years
their own fleshly lusts were their entanglement.† The devil does not need to bother much
about Christians who live after the flesh.†
But as soon as
Nor is this warfare located only in the inner man of the Christian; it has also the character of legal proceedings in Court, the Court of heaven.† It is the throne to which we draw near.† In Bible times the king sat thereupon as the supreme judge.† It was the final Court of appeal (1 Kin. 2: 12; 3: 16).† From very early times we see this High Court of heaven in action (Job 1. and 2.: 2 Chron. 18: 18-22; Dan. 4.; 7: 9, 10, 26; Lk. 22: 31, 32).† This situation continues on till the close of this age, for Rev. 12: 7-12 tells of the casting of Satan out of that heavenly realm, until when he continues as the Accuser of Godís people, even as he was of Job.† This casting down is to be a little before Christ establishes His kingdom on earth.
Of this continuing reality few believers are aware, or few teachers either.† It means that Satan, the Adversary of Godís church (Lk. 28: 1 -8; 1 Pet. 5: 8-10), is the Prosecutor General of the universe, and either invents calumnies, as he did against Job, or bases charges on the sins of believers.† If he carries the day in that Court, then, as Peter and the other disciples found, the Christian is left to him to be disciplined, as corn is tossed in a sieve. The end intended and permitted by God is the removing of the chaff, but the tossing will be severe (Amos 9: 8-10).
How urgent therefore is the question of how the attack of the Prosecutor is to be defeated and the character cleared before that Judge and Court.† A main object of Satan in tempting the believer into sin is to stop his mouth, to prevent him witnessing of Christ and his salvation.† The battle on earth is therefore mainly that the Christian shall so live that he shall be able consistently to talk of Christ and invite Satanís slaves to secure their liberty from his thraldom and doom; as it is written: "they overcame him ... because of the word of their testimony," in giving which they were prepared even to die, "they loved not their life even unto death" (Rev. 12: 11).
But how are they, or their Advocate before that Court on high (1 John 2: 2; Lk. 22: 32; Heb. 4: 14), to defeat the Accuserís plea that the failures of Christians ought to be punished.† In that Court they must rely solely upon the argument that the due penalty of their sins as believers has been already met by the death of their Substitute: "they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb" (Rev. 12: 11).† The Lordís words to Peter, "Satan obtained you by asking" (Lk. 22: 31, mgn.), represent a technical legal word (exaiteo) meaning to demand that a culprit be punished.† If a Court orders that a certain sum be paid by a given date and it be not paid, a demand can be made that the defaulter be punished for having disobeyed the Court.† The answer in law would be to show that the order had been obeyed and the sum paid.† This would be an equally valid answer irrespective of who had made the payment, the debtor or a surety.
There is no other possible way of overcoming the Accuser than to plead the blood of Christ; but this plea, when presented by the repentant believer, and endorsed by the heavenly Advocate, cannot fail.† But it must be remembered that this plea cannot be urged or accepted so long as the sin remains unrepented, unforsaken, unconfessed. †Our Advocate is not there to enable us to continue in any sin, but to deliver us from the Accuser if we walk in the light of God's will.† This has been shown in section 3. above on 1 John 1: 6, 7.† On this condition victory is assured through the blood of the Lamb.
"A kingdom" - that is, a governing body, as it
was said of a queen, "thou art come to the
kingdom" (Esth. 4: 14), and of a king, "Darius the Mede received the kingdom" (Dan. 5: 31).†
But these rulers were to be also a body of priests, thus royal
priests.† This was not a new idea.† It was the general practice of the nations
that the king should be the chief priest of his people. Melchizedek was a
fairly recent instance from the time of their father Abraham.† It was therefore the grand privilege of
But beyond this lay the nobler thought, that this programme would
bring Israel into close association with the Son of God, Who Himself, from the
beginning of creation, had been its appointed Sovereign and the Priest through
Whom God held relations with all His creatures, heavenly and earthly.† A Royal Priest, combining both offices in one
Person, is the ideal to which God works, and which He will restore in heaven
and on earth. †For though
Yet even so, this will fulfil the plan of God for the earth only. But He has said that He has put all things under manís feet (Ps. 8: 6). Truly, as it is said in Heb. 2: 8, we "see not yet all things subjected to him," man, although in His purpose God has "left nothing that is not subject to him" (man: ver. 7).† But we do see the promise receiving fulfilment in one man, the man Jesus, already on the throne of God.† And God is now working by His Spirit through the truth to "bring many sons unto glory" (ver. 10), to share the glory and authority and royal priesthood of His Divine Priest King.† And this shall include authority over the heavens as well as the earth, for "know ye not that the saints shall judge the world? ... Know ye not that we shall judge angels?" (1 Cor. 6: 2, 3).
For the church as for Israel the realization of this supreme dignity
and service is conditional, for it is "if so be
that we suffer with Him that we may be also glorified with Him"
(Rom. 8: 17), and "if we endure we shall also reign with Him,"
and obtain, not only salvation, but "salvation
with eternal glory" (2
Tim. 2: 10-13).† As the
Every royal priest in that heavenly company will declare
"I stand upon His merit,
I know no other stand,
Not eíen where glory dwelleth,
In Immanuelís land."
And the four and twenty Elders, the present royal priests, who will then give up their crowns, when the Conqueror and His fellow-conquerors shall take the throne (Rev. 3: 21), will endorse that declaration and will say to Him,
"Worthy art Thou to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for Thou wast slain and didst purchase unto God with Thy blood men of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation, and madest them to be unto our God a kingdom and priests ; and they reign upon the earth" (Rev. 5: 9, 10).
Thus the atoning blood of Godís Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, is the eternal basis of all Godís gracious work with a sinner, from its commencement in salvation from doom to its crown and completion in the glory of heaven.† Rightly do we sing:
Precious, precious blood of
Shed for rebels, shed for sinners,
Shed for me.
Precious blood that hath redeemed us,
All the price is paid;
Perfect pardon now is offered,
Peace is made.
Precious blood! by this we conquer
In the fiercest fight,
Sin and Satan overcoming
By its might.
Precious blood, whose full atonement
Makes us nigh to God!
Precious blood, our song of glory,
Praise and laud! - (F. R. Havergal).
the matter of deliverance from the Destroying Angel in
Thus for the redeemed Israelites the blood was the commencement and basis of all future relations with God, it was the doorway out of estrangement into a life of faith and communion.† Moreover, all through the life thus entered there continued various sprinklings of blood, showing that it remained perpetually the basis of intercourse with God.† Nor is the place and efficacy of atoning blood at all diminished by the abrogation of repeated sacrifices and sprinklings through the one complete and final sacrifice of the cross, because the virtue of that death, and of the blood of Christ there shed, is eternal and is the perpetual basis of all communion with God.
Nevertheless the door is not the road or its goal, the foundation is not the superstructure, the blood by itself serves its ends but not all ends; deliverance from the judicial penalty of sin is not the same as deliverance from the practical power of sin, freedom from servitude in Egypt must advance to conquest in Canaan, turning from idols is to develop into service to a living and true God.† For the numerous phases and necessities of this developing life the blood is ever the basis but is not by itself sufficient.† There are things which blood cannot do and does not do, which it is not its function to do.† In particular, as all histories and types show, it does not (1) dispense with the obedience of faith, or (2) with need of bread, or (3) do the work of water, or (4) take the place of oil, or (5) act as fire and serve the ends of discipline, or (6) do the work of the sword.
sprinkling of the passover
blood opened the door to escape from
How many there are today who have rested their hope of safety from eternal death upon the precious blood of Christ, but have failed to break with the world, and so they continue entangled by its pleasures and enslaved by its Prince. Either they never heard the call and command to break every yoke with unbelievers, or they have lacked the energy and decision of faith to do this.† Protected by the blood they yet remain enslaved by the world, the flesh, and the devil.† The apostle rejoiced greatly in the continuing faith of his children in the faith (Eph. 1: 15: Col. 1: 4; 1 Thes. 1: 3), and gave thanks to God when he knew that it "grew exceedingly" (2 Thes. 1: 3).† He was keenly aware of the practical dangers attendant upon a failure of faith in children of God.† He stressed heavily that the disasters that overwhelmed Israel in the wilderness, though they were the redeemed of the Lord, can have counterpart in the experience of Christians, for, he says, "these things happened unto them by way of example [Greek, figure]; and they were written [put into Godís historical records] for our admonition upon whom the ends of the ages are come" (1 Cor. 10: 1 -13).† These disasters befell "most of them" that had been redeemed by the blood of the lamb and brought into liberty and fellowship with God.† They were sufficiently spiritual to know that manna and water had spiritual counterparts and to partake of these latter: "they did all eat the same spiritual food; and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of a spiritual rock that went with them: and the rock was Christ."
In the face of these explicit assertions of Scripture as to the spiritual state of those concerned, and in the face of the direct application of their experiences to Christians in Corinth, it is wholly without warrant to say that they were not real believers and that the application here made is to mere professors of this age, not to true believers.† Such treatment of Scripture would mean that all but a very small number of the Corinthian Christians were either hypocrites or self-deceived, for of those who were examples for them only three or four of the men who left Egypt did not die in the desert.† Jude refers to the same ancient events and says, "I desire to put you in remembrance, though ye know all things once for all, how that the Lord, having saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not" (verse 5).*† This is exactly how Paul warns us in the passage cited, saying, "Neither murmur ye, as some of them murmured and perished by the destroyer" (verse 10).
[*In like manner, regenerate
believers disbelieve the Word of God; and near the end of their journey in the
wilderness Ė(this evil age) - refuse to advance toward their earthly
inheritance in the ďageĒ to come..† They disbelieve God relative to His
Therefore there is such a thing as being saved from the Destroyer in
[* The Fatherís chastisement of His redeemed children, takes place during their lifetime in this world; and it will also take place Ė (if repentance and obedience is not found) Ė in the underworld Ė that is, in Hades, the place of the dead. Rev. 3: 19, 21; Luke 16:30. Cf. Luke 20: 35; John 15: 1, 10, 14, 16.]
same night that
It may be thought needless to argue something so self-evident.† In fact there is the most urgent need to do so and at length, for Evangelical theology and belief are almost universally false on this point.† This is to be seen especially in hymns, though also in many competent writers.
ďThere is a fountain filled with
Drawn from Emmanuel's veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains.
The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day;
And there have I, as vile as he,
Washed all my sins away.Ē
It is to be asserted categorically, and with the utmost emphasis, that no such fountain or flood of blood exists, that to be plunged in blood is a purely pagan idea, and that no person or his sins ever have been washed in blood.† The whole conception is both obnoxious and mischievous.† The heathen had a most offensive rite, the tourobolium, in which the man was deluged with blood from above, but God never sanctioned any such ceremony nor does His Word admit even the idea.
The one verse that could be fairly quoted for the conception was Rev. 1: 5 in the A.V., "Unto Him that ... washed us from our sins in His blood."† The Revisers, following the better Greek text, read "loosed us from our sins," set us free, liberated us from our sins, as a debtor is freed from his debts by the payment of them.† The difference between the two Greek words is only one letter.† To free is luo, to wash is louo.† Whether the introduction of the first "o" was the accidental mistake of a copyist, or a conscious correction by him to accommodate the verse to a popular conception which he thought true, or a deliberate perversion to inculcate error it had the baneful effect of forcing this verse into plain contradiction with the whole typology and theology of Holy Scripture and of hiding indispensable truth.
There is one other statement, also in Revelation (ch. 7: 14), often misread and misused to the same effect: "they washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."† This does not say that these washed and whitened their robes in the blood: there are here two separated verbs describing two operations, "they washed their robes, and whitened them in the blood," the "and" being disjunctive as well as conjunctive; the two operations belong together but the latter is additional to the former.† This is indicated by the comma after "robes."† We shall see the force of this when considering certain types, and that the washing was with water and the blood was applied by sprinkling.*
[* Rev. 1: 5 and 7: 14. "The idea of washing or whitening robes in blood is therefore not present, whether en to haimati tou arniou [ Ďin the blood of the Lambí] goes with eplunan ... kai eleukanan ['washed ... and whitened'] or with eleukanan ['whitened'] only." - F. F. Bruce.]
passage from the Old Testament upon which the hymn quoted is doubtless based is
Zech. 13: 1: "In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of
David and to the inhabitants of
(2) But no sooner had the people redeemed by blood entered the life of fellowship with God in the desert than the necessity for water arose: they went three days in the wilderness and found no water (Ex. 15: 22).† Anyone who has tramped the desert for one day, under the Egyptian sun, will know how hard it was to go three days without water, and will not throw stones at them for murmuring.
the first water they reached was bitter (Ex. 15: 23).† The type teaches that something more
and better than earthís supplies is needed for spiritual refreshment. †God changed that bitter water and made it
drinkable and healthful.† God has skill
to turn lifeís bitter experiences into soul-refreshment, health-giving and
vivifying; for still He uses such occasions as He did then, to grant
"precious and exceeding great promises, in
order that by means of these we may become partakers of divine nature"
(2 Pet. 1: 4).† This will bring us, as
in a desert the need of water is perpetual and the lack of it easy occasion for
a grumbling spirit (Ex. 17: 1-7).† Oh, how
readily the redeemed soul reaches its Massah and Meribah, testing God instead of trusting Him, chiding
instead of praying.† But as has been
noticed above, their gracious God provided henceforth water from the Rock which
accompanied them the rest of their journey (1 Cor. 10: 4).† That Rock was Christ, smitten on the cross
once for all, water of life being thus made
permanently available and free.† Now
the blood that had redeemed had been shed once for all in
The Lord Jesus is He Who shed His blood to redeem: He it is Who also gives the living water.† In John 3 we hear Him tell Nicodemus that it is Himself lifted up on the cross to whom the sinner must look in order to receive the gift of eternal life.† To Nicodemus He spoke of the cross, for He was showing that the source of eternal life lies in His own death; but in the next chapter (4), when showing a sin-parched thirsty soul how this need could be met, He did not speak of blood but of water. They are many who have reached John 3, having experienced the new birth by faith in the death of Christ, but who have not advanced to John 4, for they have no experience answering to the Lordís rich promise, "whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst" (verse 14).† The promise is emphatic: "for ever shall in no wise thirst," and the reason is notable, "the water that I shall give him shall become in him a spring of water always welling up unto eternal* life."† Here is an inward experience that never could have been possible had the blood not covered our sin but which manifestly is something additional to this latter, and which many never reach though knowing they are redeemed and pardoned.† And they will remain thirsty and weak as long as their attention is confined to the blood; it is water they need.† What water typifies, wherever it is spoken of figuratively, is shown in the Lordís words spoken in the temple, as explained by John "Jesus stood and cried, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth into [vital union with] Me, out of his innermost being shall flow torrents of living water" (Variorum Bible)."But this spake He of the Spirit which they that believed on Him were to receive" (John 7: 37-39).
[* Keep in mind: the word translated ďeternalĒ can also be translated ďage-lastingĒ if the context is suitable..† Brother Lang rightly believed the Holy Spirit does not indwell any disobedient regenerate believer, therefore ďthe SpiritĒ could will not be always be with those whose ďinnermost being shall flow torrents of living water.Ē† If this is so, then the ďlifeĒ cannot ďeternalĒ but ďage-lastingĒ: and the only ďlifeĒ a regenerate believer can lose -(who presently has ďeternal LifeĒ as a ďfree giftĒ through faith alone) - is ďlifeĒ in the next ďageĒ Ė the Millennial Kingdom of Christ.]
Better class houses in the East are frequently built as a square, with windows and doors opening only on to an interior court, save perhaps in some cases a door into a walled garden, and the heavy door leading to the street.† If now a tumult arises in the town the occupants can retire into their house, bar the stout door, and stay within till quiet returns.† Only they must be well stocked with food, and still more must have their own well in the inner court.† Thus can the believer be inwardly secured and fortified against the tumults that disturb the outer life: by the indwelling [Holy] Spirit he can have his full supply of peace and joy springing up in his own heart, and so copiously that the streams will overflow to others, as Jesus promised.† Only those redeemed by blood can experience this; nor will such know it save by drinking continually of the water, by living constantly in communion with the Holy Spirit.
(3.) The second principal use of water is for washing.† Both the person and the clothing require this.† For this purpose water is the natural and only suitable agent.
(a) Lev. 14.† The leper in
But (3) there was a third stage in the restoration.† Cleansing was not yet complete.† The man had now to wash his clothes, shave off all his hair, and bathe himself in water.† Every external sign of defilement, the whole output of sin, had to be removed.† The blood was sprinkled upon him by another, the priest; the washing he had to do himself.† God supplied the water; the man had to use it, to apply it to himself.† The Lord gives the [Holy] Spirit; the believer has to receive and apply* His empowering grace.
[* That is, we apply the Holy Spiritís empowering grace by obeying the precepts of Jesus Christ.]
It is obvious that the clothing is not the man.† Garments are articles we make, and put on or put off.† They represent those qualities of character and practice which we form and wear; they are the externals which both reveal and conceal our real self.† They must be kept unspotted (Jas. 1: 27), they must be washed when necessary (Rev. 7: 14); it is possible, and far better, to keep them undefiled (Rev. 3: 4).† This making clean and keeping clean of our outer life is wrought by the grace of the Spirit of holiness, the heavenly "Water."
the formerly grossly immoral heathen at
Scripture solemnly and repeatedly warns [regenerate] believers that if the marks of the old life are not removed, if they continue to allow
the old defiling practices, they will thereby forfeit any inheritance
this shows the vast and important part water has in the life of the
redeemed.† The atoning blood has its
indispensable initial place and work, but it cannot do the work of the
(b) Leviticus 8. The Priest.† The tax-gatherer was justified by the blood through faith without the use of water; but he went down to his own house, he could not go up into Godís house, for he was not a priest.† The banished leper was healed and cleansed, first by blood and water, the former applied to him once for all, by sprinkling, the water by himself and repeatedly. This restored him to intercourse with God and His people.† But he also could not go into Godís house and serve there.† He was not a priest.
To the priest were granted the higher dignities of entering the house where God dwelt, of presenting the showbread and feeding upon it, of burning the incense of worship, of interceding for the people without, and of going forth from that sacred Presence with power to bless others (Num. 6: 22-27).
perfect sacrifice having provided eternal redemption, the Great Priest over the
house of God being permanently before Him, the veil is rent, that
In Israel all the devout could stand at the gate and look beyond the altar to the house; they could all present, their petitions and secure Godís answer, as did Solomon (1 Kings 8.), or Hanna who there prayed and praised (1 Sam. 1. and 2.).† And this is as far and as near as many Christians get.† They attend public worship and never open their lips to lead it.† They say Amen to prayers but do not pour out intercessions for others; they sing hymns but do not offer their own praise; nor do they go forth from the realized presence of God to distribute His bounties to needy hearts, saved or unsaved.† Moreover it is, alas, sadly possible for one to engage publicly in all these outward functions of the house of God without being in His presence in heart consciousness and without leading others there.† Priests by position, such are not priests by practice.† Why is this?
It is principally because though they know the sprinkling of blood
they do not regularly wash with water.† They have
received Christ but not the [Holy] Spirit, they have reached
Leviticus 8 shows the first stage of the remedy.† The priest to be consecrated was
1. Stripped of his former clothing.
2. Bathed in water.
3. Clothed with priestly garments, the crowning item of which was a golden plate on his forehead inscribed "Holy to Jehovah" (verse 9: Ex. 28: 36).
4. He was anointed with oil.
5. Sacrifices followed and the blood was sprinkled.
At the cleansing of the leper (Lev. 14) the sprinkling of blood came first and washing with water later; at the consecration of the priest, water and oil were used first, and afterward the blood. †Why this difference? †Because Aaron and his sons, the priests, were already on a right footing before God as His redeemed people: but for access to His holy presence in priestly service a right standing by blood was not all that was demanded; they must also be thoroughly clean outwardly, attired suitably, wholly dedicated to God, and empowered by His Spirit, the holy anointing Oil.
Peter wrote to his fellow-believers as a "royal priesthood" (1 Pet. 2: 9). †He says they had already "obtained a like precious faith with us in the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2 Pet. 1: 1). †Their standing as justified was secured; but addressing them as priests he says that they have been chosen by God "in sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience, and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ" (1 Pet. 1: 2). †Here is the same order: first, sanctification by the Spirit; second obedience (as signified by the engraving on the high priestís forehead); and then the sprinkling of blood. †Unless this order, in its present spiritual significance, is known experimentally by the power of the Spirit of God the man may be saved and safe because of the atoning blood, but he will not be really a priest unto God.
One may be a clergyman, minister, elder, deacon, evangelist as to position in the church of God, he may be a teacher, preacher, Sunday School worker, but he will not be a priest unless he has "put off the old man with his doings, and has put on the new man, which is ever being renewed unto knowledge [experimental, not merely theoretical knowledge, epignosis] after the image of Him that created him" (Col. 3: 9, 10). †In the sight of God the "old man" is morally ugly and deformed, his clothes are filthy rags, and he cannot be tolerated before the throne on high, where nothing that defiles can enter. †A [regenerate] believer who displays the tempers, cravings, conduct of the "old man" has not begun to be a priest unto God, for he has not stripped himself of his old garments, nor been bathed and purified outwardly, nor put on the new garments, the "new man," on which person and clothes alone the holy Oil can be poured.
But why must there be still the sprinkling of blood even though there has been that stripping, purifying, clothing, and anointing? †The reason is a rebuke to the unwarranted notion that practical sanctification can ever reach absolute perfection in this life and the Christian be sinless in heart and ways. †Though the believer has once and for all disowned his "old man" by reckoning that he died on the cross with Christ (Rom. 6: 6), and constantly reckons himself dead unto sin; though he has once for all turned his back on the world as his moral sphere of life, as Israel forsook Egypt; though he is living daily and carefully and usefully in the communion of the Spirit of God; yet he has to remember that the all searching eye of the Searcher of hearts sees iniquity in even the holy things of His people; not only in their unholy ways and works (Ex. 28: 38). †Hence the strong words of George Whitefield: "you must be brought to see that God may damn you for the best prayer you ever put up;" or that saying of the godly Thomas Boston: "My Sabbath day duties were enough of themselves to damn me." †These expressions may be thought too severe, but such keen perception of the degree to which sin can permeate and vitiate even our holy exercises is all too rare. †It is only because of our High Priest that we can ever be "accepted before Jehovah," as the verse just cited shows. †Paulís words are to be pondered: "I know nothing against myself" - his conscience was clear: this is the possible standard beneath which no Christian should live - "yet am I not hereby justified: but He that judgeth me is the Lord," and He may know something against me of which I am unconscious (1 Cor. 4: 4).
explains the statement as to the "great
multitude coming out of the great tribulation," standing before
the throne of God arrayed in white robes (Rev. 7:
14). †They had not lived as
cleanly as those at
Such brilliance of holiness, such resplendence of character is beyond the utmost effort of the most diligent saint: but the blood of Jesus "cleanses from all sin;" it removes the faintest trace of the "old man" still lingering upon the believer who walks in the light. †But this application of the blood, that is of the virtue of the atoning death of Christ, is after the diligent washing of the leperís clothes, after the bathing and robing of the priest. †It is not that initial attributing of the redeeming virtue of the atonement by which the sinner or the backslider is reckoned justified. †The legal righteousness thus obtained secures safety before the law: to this must be added the actual, external holiness by the Spirit and the Word if the justified man is at last to stand before the throne.
And there is a yet higher privilege than "to stand before the throne." †Those who had not defiled their garments are promised by the King that "they shall walk with Me in white; for they are worthy." †"The conqueror shall thus be arrayed in white garments," and be a constant, intimate companion of the Sovereign of the universe (Rev. 3: 4, 5). †For that King of glory has "fellows," or more exactly "companions" (Heb. 1: 9). †Therefore "take heed, brethren, lest haply there be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief ... lest any of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin: for we are become companions of the Messiah if indeed we hold fast the beginning of our confidence firm unto the end" (Heb. 3: 12-4). †The beginning of our confidence in Christ secured our eternal standing as righteous in law; but it is the final stage, the end of our confidence, that will secure the dignity of being the personal companions of the Lord in His glory; and this stage demands the diligent use of the water as well as of the blood. This is most firmly declared by all the types, prophecies, and promises. †It arises from the very holiness of God.
(c) The Laver. This last is the pre-eminent lesson of the laver in tabernacle and temple. †The directions as to its construction and use are as follows: "And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying, Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and the base thereof of brass, to wash withal: and thou shalt put it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein. †And Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat: when they go into the tent of meeting, they shall wash with water, that they die not: or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn an offering made by fire unto Jehovah: so they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not: and it shall be a statute for ever to them, even to him and to his seed throughout their generations" (Ex. 30: 17-20).
(1) Its position was between the altar of burnt offering at the entrance gate and the house itself where God dwelt, so that to reach the laver one must first pass the altar.
(2) Its use was for priests, that they might habitually keep clean their hands and feet, their practice and walk.
(3) The frequency of this washing was striking. †On every occasion without exception when a priest was about to enter the house to serve God or to go to the altar to serve man he was to wash his hands and feet.
(4) The penalty of non-observance was death, twice denounced against non-compliance with the regulation to wash.
On the very day of their consecration as priests Nadab and Abihu dared to enter the house to burn incense using fire not taken from the altar of atonement and therefore not sanctified by the atoning blood. †They were slain by fire from Jehovah (Lev. 10: 1,2; 16: 12). †Thus was solemnly emphasized that blood is indispensable to acceptable worship.
At the beginning of this dispensation Ananias and Sapphira dared to enter the present house of God, the church, with defiled hearts and unclean hands, and they too fell dead in the presence of God (Ac. 5: 1-11). †Thus was solemnly emphasized that the sanctification secured by "water" is indispensable to acceptable service.
Under the Old Covenant it was asked
"Who shall ascend into the hill of Jehovah?
And who shall stand in His holy place ?"
And the searching answer was,
"He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart" (Ps. 24: 3, 4). †Under the New Covenant the apostle says,
"I desire therefore that the men pray in every place, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and disputing [a pure heart]"(1 Tim. 2: 8).
The Corinthian Christians ere carrying on the public gatherings of the church, but with hearts impure by strife, jealousy, and selfishness, and with bodies defiled by immoralities and greed; and they were sick, ill, and dying prematurely under the judgments of God (1 Cor. 11: 26-32). †That place of blessing, the table of the Lord, is a dangerous place to the carnal believer, as was the altar of incense to Nadab and Abiliti.
Here then is the inexorable condition of priestly standing and service. †Does this explain why, though the saved are many, priests are few?
(d) Water. †What then is the "water" so indispensable to communion, worship, and service? †What enables the believer to be a saint? †By what means may person and garments, the inward man and the outer life, be kept clean? †The answer is given in Eph. 5: 25-27: "Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself up for it; that He might sanctify it, having cleansed it by the washing of water with the word, that He might present the church to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish."
This teaches (1) That the love of Christ is the fountain of every blessing for all His people. †(2) That His sacrifice of Himself unto death is the ground of His redemptive right, His ownership of the church. †(3) That the goal He has set before His heart is to present the church to Himself as a bride to a husband. †The whole context is of this relationship, and it would be helpful in translating, and would display the figure used, to follow the feminine gender of the Greek word "church" and render, "gave Himself up for her ... that He might sanctify her ... that she should be holy and without blemish." †At present His people are as a betrothed virgin (2 Cor. 11: 2, 3); but in due time the heavenly hosts will rejoice because "the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife bath made herself ready" (Rev. 19: 7). †But (4) unto this great end it is needful that she shall be completely perfect, so as to be pleasant to her royal Bridegroom. †She must be glorious, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but so holy as to be without blemish. †All these terms refer to external appearance, to visible beauty.
How is this perfect condition to be attained by the bride? †The answer here is that Christ Himself sanctifies her. †Not otherwise were it possible, but He can bring her to this height of beauty and glory. †But by what process does He do this? †It is by the use "of the laver [composed of] water in the word." †The brazen laver of old pointed to the words of God, now preserved for us in Holy Scripture. †The water in the laver spoke of the Holy Spirit of God. †He who obeys what the Lord says receives the purifying energy of the Spirit that abides in the word. †The Lordís instructions direct us to holiness, but we must obey those commands if we are to be sanctified. †A command disobeyed cannot benefit but only condemn; a command obeyed removes the moral blemish against which it is directed or supplies the virtue lacking.
Obviously the picture is of a slave girl upon whom a prince sets his heart. †He thereupon redeems her and acquires all rights in her. †His purchase price completely releases her from her former bondage but at the same time makes her entirely his property. But he cannot take her direct from the slave market to sit with him on his throne. †She must be bathed, clothed, adorned, trained for regal glory, and in this she must co-operate by obedience to his requirements and acceptance of the training appointed. †All she will ever have her prince supplies, but she must use it so as to render herself correspondent to him and suitable for her noble calling. †It were vain for her to argue that the redemption price alone sufficed for every requirement. †It would not: it sufficed to set her free from the old life and introduce her to her new standing and relationship, but it would not take the place of and render needless the water, the royal garments, the ornaments, and fragrant ointment. These she must accept and employ with all diligence, as did Esther. †Hence the two statements, complementary to each other, that Christ sanctifies the church, but she makes herself ready and arrays herself for the marriage.
And therefore while Paul says of his converts that he espoused them as a chaste virgin, that he might at last present them unto Christ on the marriage day, yet he feared lest any of them should prove faithless in heart to the heavenly Lover, and be corrupted and defiled, and thus unready. †For as Satan seduced Eve from God, so he will seduce the Christian from Christ if he be unwatchful as to heart and ways (2 Cor. 11: 2, 3). And then
O grief for words too sore!
The bridal day is nigh,
The virgin, that no more,
Is left to weep and sigh:
All sullied by the foul embrace,
She lost for aye her queenly place.
(Jas. 4: 4; Phil. 3: 13, 14)
This use of the water is shown in many Scriptures. †David, recovered from moral leprosy, his sin put away by God, his sentence of death annulled, prayed, "Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean: Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow" (Ps. 51: 7). †The hyssop was used to sprinkle the blood (Ex. 12: 22: Lev. 14: 6, 7; Heb. 9: 19-21); the washing was with water, not with blood. †No hymn to the contrary should be used. †It fixes in the mind the false idea that all that God requires is gained at the altar, so that the laver is neglected and holiness retarded. †Of every thousand allusions by preachers to the altar and the blood is there more than one mention of the laver? †Again, Heb. 10: 22 shows that the water is as requisite as the blood for full assurance of faith: "let us draw near with a true heart in fulness of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our body washed with pure water;" the inward consciousness relieved by faith in the blood of Christ, the "body," the outward conduct, purified by obedience to the Word and the Spirit.
It was to a justified believer and sincere follower that the Lord said, "If I wash thee not thou hast no part with Me;" and emphasizing this need of practical cleansing, under the figure of a branch in a vine having been stripped of dead bark and other impurities which hinder fruitfulness, He added, "Already ye are clean because of [by the effect of] the word which I have spoken unto you" (John 12: 8-10; 15: 3). †This external cleansing requires to be maintained and advanced by diligent washing of the feet at the laver, and only so will the pilgrim through this squalid world (2 Pet. 1: 19) arrive at length at the bridal hall "clean every whit." †The application of this last phrase to cleansing by the blood at the altar is in utter disregard of the words as spoken by Christ to Peter. †It was while He was graciously washing his feet with water that He said, "He that is bathed has no further need than to wash his feet." †This being done he is "clean every whit;" but obviously a guest will not be clean every whit so long as his bare and sandalled feet are soiled by the dust and mire of the street.
Of the first bathing of the priest at his consecration baptism is an appointed figure, "the laver of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit" (Tit. 3: 5), but baptism is not in view in the main passages on holiness and priestly service, such as Eph. 5: 25-27 and Heb. 10: 22.
Let no Christian beguile himself, or be beguiled by erroneous teaching, into thinking that he acquires by the sacred blood what can only be gained by the equally sacred water. †He needs both equally; the blood to secure his standing before God, the [Holy] Spirit to cause his state to correspond to his standing. †It is by water that the thirst of the heart is quenched, the soul refreshed, the life made to overflow with grace; it is by water that the practice of daily life is cleansed and kept clean. †And God be praised that this heavenly Water is ever at hand; the spiritual Rock goes with us through the desert; Christ accompanies His people and gives the [Holy] Spirit to them that obey Him. †Therefore from His riven side there flowed both water and blood, and therefore rings out His gracious promise "I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely," and therefore "blessed are they that wash their robes" (Rev. 21: 6; 22: 17, 14).
In the process of cleansing the leper, after the blood of atonement had been put upon his ear, hand, and foot, oil was sprinkled before Jehovah, was put upon the blood on the ear, hand, and foot, and poured upon the head of the man being cleansed. †It was the last act but one of the ceremony and without it cleansing was not complete (Lev. 14: 16-18). †The same features found place in the consecration of priests (Lev. 8). †The king was consecrated by anointing with oil (1 Sam. 10: 1; 16: 13: 2 Sam. 5: 3). †Elisha was to be anointed as prophet (1 Kings 19: 16). †The Son of God was anointed at His baptism. †Peter intimates what the oil signified and effected when he said of Jesus "God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and power," so that "He went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him" (Ac. 10: 38). †This anointing with the Spirit was distinct from that measure of the Spirit which had been the portion of the Lord Jesus all His private life. †Its consequence was that "God was with Him" in a sense that was additional to the former fellowship with His Father. †Its effect was an accession of spiritual energy for public service; He was anointed with the Holy Spirit and power, as it is written of that event, that "Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee" (Lk. 4: 14), and showed the power of the anointing in victory over disease, sorrow, Satan.
In like manner the first disciples received power by the Holy Spirit coming upon them (Ac. 1: 8) and became mighty witnesses to Christ glorified.
This anointing can be given to those only who have accepted the sprinkled blood as atonement for sin. †But why are so many who do this without power to witness and serve? †The solemn fact is undeniable: what is its reason? and what the remedy? †Let each ask himself, Have I consented that my ear shall be marked with blood, so that I purpose to listen only and constantly to the voice of God? †Have I dedicated my hand to do only His will, His works? †Am I, as blood-bought, resolved to walk only in the footsteps of my Lord? †Have I sought and received an anointing with the Spirit and power? or do I suppose that all this took place when first I went to the altar and accepted pardon by blood ?
It might have been thus, for so it was with Cornelius and his company (Ac. 10: 44-48); but was it so with you? †Is the readerís life as a believer marked by power or by weakness? †Be not beguiled by theory, but receive the reality by faith. †Dedicate your person to Christ to serve Him alone and wholly, so shall the anointing of oil be added to the blood, and you shall have power to know the mind of God (1 John 2: 27), to go about doing good, to conquer the devil in your own life and in others.
But be assured that blood without oil does not produce those blessed God-glorifying results. †To service as prophet or priest or king the anointing with oil was a distinct and known event.
The classic instance of this is David after his lapse and recovery (2 Sam. 12: 12-14). †He was pardoned, his sin put away, the capital punishment remitted, and all this because God was able to give the repentant offender the benefit of the blood Jesus would shed. †But to the announcement of pardon the sentence was added that his child should die and the sword would harass his house to the end. †He had sinned publicly and had given great occasion to the enemies of his God to blaspheme, and that holy God was bound to vindicate His holiness and to show publicly that He does not tolerate sin in His people. †The after life of David showed that he humbly bowed to this severe chastisement and was benefited by it.
leading passage on parental discipline by God is Hebrews
12: 1-17. †This follows the great
exposition of remission through the blood and of cleansing by the water. †Can discipline, then, add ought to these? †The passage declares that the Father "scourges every son whom He receiveth," and
that this is a proof of His love and of their sonship. †The object of this severe treatment is "for our profit, that we may be partakers [eis to metalabein, so that
we may partake] of His holiness" (verses 6-10). †Every one of His sons has already been
reckoned righteous by faith in Christ. †But that is something imputed, securing a
clear and safe standing in law; this holiness is the actual character and
activity of God infused into and wrought out in His sons. †The only other place of this exact word in the
New Testament is 2 Cor.
1: 12, where Paul uses it of his practical conduct at
For the furthering of this needful and noble end chastisement is employed by God our Father, and neither blood, water, nor oil dispenses with it. †Gold is freed from dross by neither of these but by fire (1 Pet. 1: 7). †This is set in direct connexion with the believer being found unto "praise and glory and honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ." †Our passage in Hebrews puts heavy emphasis upon this same connexion by exhorting us to "follow after peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one shall see the Lord" (verses 14-17), that is, God the Father, for every eye is to see Christ and every knee to bend before Him at one or other session of His judgment seat.
In my commentary on Hebrews it was shown from many Scriptures that there is a possibility that this "scourging" of a child of God may continue after death. †An indignant critic complained in a magazine that it seems that what the blood cannot do, a thousand years in purgatory is to do. †I had shown that the process proposed differed radically and essentially from the Roman Catholic conception of purgatory in that the Catholic doctrine makes [eternal] salvation dependent upon such purgation, which is false. †The critic ignored this. †His phrase was clever, well calculated to catch the unwary and mislead the uninstructed by a seeming honouring of the blood: but it revealed the common and regrettable theological error that the blood is like money and answereth for all things. †Yet it is very evident that in this life at least the atoning blood does not serve the end that chastisement serves, nor, if discipline be resented, will the blood compensate by perfecting holiness in the child of God. †To lead the people of God to rest on this misconception is injurious to their souls and to their prospects. †It retards growth in holiness, induces unwarranted confidence, and conduces to lethargy.
Hast thou sheltered under the precious blood of Christ, then thou art secure from eternal damnation; but take not thou for granted that all the privileges and advantages of the new life in Christ, in time and eternity, are certain to become thine. †Not so, not so! †Thou must put on the whole armour of God, and use the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Eph. 6). †Therefore challenge thy heart with the question, Am I fighting the good fight of faith? †"Am I a soldier of the cross? " Thy new birth grants thy title to inherit in Christ; the atoning blood has removed the legal obstacle to thy inheriting, even thy sin; but possession [of the future millennial inheritance] will only be secured by thy sword. Therefore, my brother, say resolutely to thy soul
ďSince I must fight if I
Increase my courage, Lord:
I'll bear the toil, endure the pain
Supported by Thy word.Ē
What the blood does has been opened up in the former part of this exposition. †The God of all grace be praised for the rich and establishing truth there set forth. †Yet it is very necessary that the Christian should understand what the blood does not do, in order that he may feel his need of water and oil, may set himself to the life of detail obedience to the will of God declared in His Word, may thus enjoy the communion of the Holy Spirit and "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. †To Him be the glory both now and unto the day of eternity. Amen." (2 Pet. 3: 18).