By G. H. LANG.


In the matter of deliverance from the Destroying Angel in Egypt the atoning blood sufficed by itself.  The repentant tax-gatherer “went down to his house justified” solely by the virtue of the sacrifice on the altar (Lk. 18: 13, 14).


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.


1. Blood does not dispense with faith and obedience.


The sprinkling of the passover blood opened the door to escape from Egypt, but the redeemed people had to take the next and immediate step of faith by obeying the order to march off that same night.  If they had not so acted they would not have escaped from thraldom into freedom, though delivered from the Destroyer by the blood.  Pharaoh would have held them still.  It was no small faith that strengthened them for their hasty and complete flight.  Pharaoh was active and angry, his chariots and cavalry were at hand, they had no unity or arms to resist an attack; but faith obeyed and set forth, trusting that God would protect, and make the enterprise successful.


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 God’s 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).


Therefore there is such a thing as being saved from the Destroyer in Egypt and yet falling under his power in the desert.  The blood saves from being condemned at the same time as the world, but did not prevent carnal Christians in Corinth from losing their present life under the chastisement of the Lord (1 Cor. 11: 29-32).  To have received eternal redemption from eternal doom by the blood of Christ does not dispense with the need of continuous faith and obedience by the redeemed, if such are to enjoy present communion with their holy Father and escape severe chastisement.  To exactly the same effect are the solemn warnings in the parables of Christ and those in Hebrews.  The whole Word of God emphasizes the urgent need of a continuous faith and ceaseless obedience in the redeemed of the Lord.  Hence the force of the continuous tense in “eth”: heareth, believeth, eateth, drinketh, and the like words.  See John 4: 13, 14; 6: 54, 46: etc.  No backslidden Israelite or backslidden Christian ever has escaped loss and chastisement through redemption by the blood.


2. Blood does not take the place of food.


The same night that Israel sprinkled the blood they strengthened themselves for the coming hard trek by eating of the lamb and the unleavened bread.  Nor did this initial meal suffice for long: they took dough to make bread for the next meals (Ex. 12: 7-11, 34).  Nor could this provision last for all the journey; shortly, bread out of heaven was given.  Nor was one supply of this heavenly food adequate: the manna had to be gathered and eaten repeatedly and unfailingly.  For us Christ is the Lamb and the unleavened bread and the manna, to be appropriated by faith as the soul’s vital force (1 Cor. 5: 6-8; John 6); and he who would run and not be weary, walk and not faint, mount above obstacles on eagles’ wings, must nourish his soul daily in the words of the faith, even the words of the Lord Jesus, whether spoken by Old Testament prophets, or Himself when here, or by apostles and prophets who spake by the Spirit.  One may be sincerely relying upon the blood of Christ for salvation from perdition, yet be feeble and sick spiritually by not feeding upon Christ in the Word


3. The Blood does not dispense with discipline.


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.


The 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 Corinth.  In that city notorious for vice he had “behaved in holiness and sincerity of God.”


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 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.


4. Blood does not do the work of the sword.


By blood Israel had been delivered from the Destroyer in Egypt, but this did not give victory over Amalek in the desert.  It required the hill-top intercession of their Leader and their own sharp swords.  In the desert they had experienced the continual virtue of blood, water, oil, and the fire of discipline; but this did not give them victory over Sihon and Og: victory demanded their own swords.  They went through Jordan, typifying for us escape by the cross of Christ from the weary effort to suppress the flesh, the “old man” and his corruptions; this did not give them possession of their noble inheritance: possession had to be won at the sword’s point.


Israel in Egypt is the chosen people of God in bondage to the world; Israel in the desert pictures her harassed and often defeated by defilements of the flesh (as fornication and idolatry), and of spirit (as distrust and self-pleasing): Israel fighting giants on the hilltops of Canaan represents our warfare with wicked spirits in the heavenly places.  This ceaseless battle must be waged in our own hearts, watching against evil thoughts, feelings, desires: it must be pressed in home, school, business, church, pulpit, perhaps in prison for Christ’s sake.


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 will only be secured by thy sword.  Therefore, my brother, say resolutely to thy soul


Since I must fight if I would reign

Increase my courage, Lord:

I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain

Supported by Thy word.”


What the blood does has been opened up in the former part of this exposition – [Atoning Blood What it Does and Does Not Do by G. H. LANG.].  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. [R.V.]).