THE BLOOD OF JESUS
"But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin." – 1 John 1:7
Faith in the precious blood of the Lord Jesus is the touchstone by which to test every man's religious faith and character. We hear a great deal of nice talk about Jesus as our example and His beautiful life, but we must not stop short of Calvary. Let us remember that blood is life, and the life of Jesus reaches us only through His shed blood. Hence, a crimson salvation is the only salvation. To reject Christ's blood is to reject the whole plan of salvation and the three Divine Persons in the Godhead. Therefore, salvation or damnation hinges on our attitude toward the shed blood. All the types and shadows of the Old Testament pointed toward this. The bleeding sacrifices and smoking altars were just God's kindergarten, leading up to Calvary; then as we pass over into the New Testament, we still trace the crimson stream.
John hardly gets started in his letter, before, with a holy hush, he comes to "The Blood." There are two outstanding things in his Epistles: One is the dark stain of sin, and the other is the precious blood of Jesus. First, he introduces us to the sin question. "The fact of sin is closely bound up with the problem of redemption. Sin constitutes the necessity for redemption, and the degree in which we realize the turpitude of sin will determine our view of our need of a Saviour. In John's thinking, sin is not an accident, it is not a mistake, it is not a slip in the cog of development, but it is an awful reality."
John has several things to say about the blood. First, that it cleanses. No sweeter music ever fell on mortal ears than this comforting message. It is sweeter than the sound of the evening bells or the note of the silver bugle which announced the dawn or the birth of the Year of Jubilee, when all debts were canceled and all slaves went free. Sin burdens the conscience, saddens the life. Many a man would give his millions and even part with his right hand, if by so doing, he could get rid of a stinging conscience. All kinds of methods have been resorted to in order to purify the soul. In the dark ages, long whips were plaited and faithfully applied to the bare body, thinking that sin would evacuate the soul. But John says that it is the blood that cleanses. This verse ought to cheer millions of human hearts. There is nothing in penance, tears, suffering or punishing the body to cleanse the soul from sin. There never has been a soul yet that was saved from all sin that did not come the blood route. The Bible says that "The blood cleanseth." and that is enough whether we understand the process or not. Is it not strange after God made such a wonderful statement about the blood that men will look elsewhere for cleansing! There is nothing in the flight of years to cleanse the soul. Time is no Saviour. It is the blood, and the blood alone that cleanseth.
The second comforting thought made about the blood is that it cleanseth from all sin. This goes further and deeper than the first statement. No matter what the sin is or what caused one to sin, if they will bring it all to God with a Godly sorrow, the blood will cleanse from the last and least remains of sin. The blood can go deeper than the serpent trail has ever gone.
The third comforting thought made about the blood is that it cleanseth from all sin now. Then, if it cleanseth now, why should one wait a week, day, hour, or a single minute for the soul purification and restoration? This one verse dashes to pieces the old Dark Age Theology, where Time, Bodily Humiliation, Peter's Pence and Pilgrimages were invested with atoning, saving, sanctifying power, and so Christ was robbed of His glory. To this day, evangelical Christianity is burdened with these old, false, middle-age teachings. God did not say when I see your good work, or how much you have fasted and prayed and suffered, "I will pass over you," but the blood and the blood alone cleanseth from sin. The heart that believes this is sure to find light, liberty, purity, and everlasting victory.
The fourth comforting thought is that the blood atones for mistakes, blunders and human failures. Numbers of God's people have made shipwreck of their faith right here. Because of some mistake or blunder after they received the light and blessing of sanctification, and for the lack of teaching on this subject, they cast away their confidence, gave up in despair and went into soul darkness. Let it be known that a soul does not forfeit its justification, nor sanctification because of some failure, provided they will go at once to the blood.
I will never forget, to the dying hour, some forty years ago, how I was lifted out of doubt and despair, after going through almost the tortures of the damned because I had grieved the Spirit in sharply rebuking a brother at a prayer meeting. I apologized and asked for forgiveness, but Satan rushed in like a dark cloud and tormented me with the thought that I had committed the unpardonable sin. Through doubting, I lost the victory out of my soul. God only knows the lonely hours I spent in prayer in the grove; not knowing the secret of going to the blood. It was my thinking that it took suffering and agony to get God's favor again. However, the way only grew darker, because I was depending on my prayers, tears, and suffering to restore me. Great is the mistake! It does not take suffering to restore us; the blood and nothing but the blood does the work. There is nothing in the bodily mortification, and the flight of years to cleanse the soul.
During these three months of darkness which hung over me like a thick cloud, in the providence of God, someone presented me with that great book, "Heart Talks," by that wonderful author, B. Carradine. When I came to the chapter on "The Cleansing Blood," the writer went on to say,
"Deplorable as it is to fall into sin, yet God never intended that we should sink in paralyzing despair and perish. In case of wrong thought, word or deed, He would have His grieving child instantly confess all to Him, promise to be more faithful in the future, and believe that the blood of Christ cleanseth him from his most humiliating of sins, a sin committed after the reception of grace and light and Christ has become the Lord and Master of the heart and life. Thank God for the blood that cleanseth even there!"
Such a wonderful statement was like a divine flash from the skies. Right then and there my heart melted and a fountain of tears broke loose. Amidst the falling tears, I looked up and cried out, "Lord, I do believe what thy word says about the blood!" No sooner had I uttered these words than the Spirit, like a flash of lightning, reappeared. All darkness and gloom was immediately gone; the Heavenly choir began to sing and a peace like a river with increasing power flowed through my soul.
Reader, that has been over forty years ago, and I have never quoted that passage about the blood over once or twice without the warm spirit answering to the blood.
Oh, when will men believe what God says about the precious blood? "If the heavy hearts, silent lips, drooping souls, troubled consciences and sin-defiled people around us could just let this wander into their minds and hearts, that the blood cleanseth from all sin now, they would be transformed in one moment into joyful-lipped, sunny-hearted Christians." Thank God for the great remedy, the cleansing, keeping blood, the Omnipotent Grace in Jesus Christ, which cleanseth now and will continue to cleanse till the clouds part and He comes again. Right now, while I pen these lines, He is saving thousands of souls throughout the world. With such a Redeemer and Saviour, how can the heart sink and the faith fail? Let us leave our case in His hands, who is able to keep that which we have committed unto Him, and present us unblameable in love before the throne with great joy, in that Day.
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