Every once in awhile, you come across something that is so good, so timely, and so perfect that it just CANNOT be improved upon! Such is the case with the message that I want to share with you for this Easter Season! As I was studying and preparing for my own Easter Message this year, I came across a classic message from a preacher from days gone by, Charles Spurgeon. His message, REDEMPTION!, is so amazing, and so well done, that I wanted to share it with you! It's long, but definitely worth the read! Enjoy!
1. The precious blood of Christ has a REDEEMING POWER. It redeems from the law. We were all under the law which says, "This do, and live." We were slaves to it: Christ has paid the ransom price, and the law is no longer our tyrant master. We are entirely free from it. The law had a dreadful curse; it threatened that whosoever should violate one of its precepts, should die: "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us." By the fear of this curse, the law inflicted a continual dread on those who were under it; they knew they had disobeyed it, and they were all their lifetime subject to bondage, fearful lest death and destruction should come upon them at any moment: but we are not under the law, but under grace, and consequently "We have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but we have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father."
We are not afraid of the law now; its worst thunders cannot affect us, for they are not hurled at us! Its most tremendous lightnings cannot touch us, for we are sheltered beneath the cross of Christ, where the thunder loses its terror and the lightning its fury. We read the law of God with pleasure now; we look upon it as in the ark covered with the mercy seat, and not thundering in tempests from Sinai’s fiery brow.
Happy is that man who knows his full redemption from the law, its curse, its penalty, its present dread. My brethren, the life of a Jew, happy as it was compared with that of a heathen, was perfect drudgery compared to yours and mine. He was hedged in with a thousand commands and prohibitions, his forms and ceremonies were abundant, and their details minutely arranged. He was always in danger of making himself unclean. If he sat upon a bed or upon a stool, he might be defiled; if he drank out of an earthen pitcher, or even touched the wall of a house, a leprous man might have put his hand there before him, and he would thus become defiled.
A thousand sins of ignorance were like so many hidden pits in his way; he must be perpetually in fear lest he should be cut off from the people of God. When he had done his best any one day, he knew he had not finished; no Jew could ever talk of a finished work. The bullock was offered, but he must bring another; the lamb was offered this morning, but another must be offered this evening, another tomorrow, and another the next day. The Passover is celebrated with holy rites; it must be kept in the same manner next year. The high priest has gone within the veil once, but he must go there again; the thing is never finished, it is always beginning. He never comes any nearer to the end. "The law could not make the comer thereunto perfect."
But see our position: we are redeemed from this. Our law is fulfilled, for Christ is the end of the law for righteousness; our passover is slain, for Jesus died; our righteousness is finished, for we are complete in Him; our victim is slain, our priest has gone within the veil, the blood is sprinkled; we are clean, and clean beyond any fear of defilement, "For he hath perfected for ever those that were set apart." Value this precious blood, my beloved, because thus it has redeemed you from the thraldom and bondage which the law imposed upon its votaries.
2. The value of the blood lies much in its ATONING EFFICACY. We are told in Leviticus, that "it is the blood which maketh an atonement for the soul." God never forgave sin apart from blood under the law. This stood as a constant text—" Without shedding of blood there is no remission." Meal and honey, sweet spices and incense, would not avail without shedding of blood. There was no remission promised to future diligence or deep repentance; without shedding of blood pardon never came. The blood, and the blood alone put away sin, and permitted that man to come to God’s courts to worship, because it made him one with God. The blood is the great at-one-ment. There is no hope of pardon for the sin of any man, except through its punishment being fully endured. God must punish sin. It is not an arbitrary arrangement that sin shall be punished, but it is a part of the very constitution of moral government that sin must be punished. Never did God swerve from that, and never will He. "He will by no means clear the guilty."
Christ, therefore, came and was punished in the place and stead of all His people. Ten thousand times ten thousand are the souls for whom Jesus shed His blood. He, for the sins of all the elect, hath a complete atonement made. For every man of Adam born, who has believed or shall believe on that, or who is taken to glory before being capable of believing, Christ has made a complete atonement; and there is none other plan by which sinners can be made at one with God, except by Jesus’ precious blood. I may make sacrifices; I may mortify my body; I may be baptized; I may receive sacraments; I may pray until my knees grow hard with kneeling; I may read devout words until I know them by heart; I may celebrate masses; I may worship in one language or in fifty languages; but I can never be at one with God, except by blood; and that blood, "the precious blood of Christ."
My dear friends, many of you have felt the power of Christ’s redeeming blood; you are not under the law now, but under grace: you have also felt the power of the atoning blood; you know that you are reconciled unto God by the death of His Son; you feel that He is no angry God to you, that He loves you with a love unchangeable; but this is not the case with you all. O that it were! I do pray that you may know this very day the atoning power of the blood of Jesus. Creature, wouldst thou not be at one with thy Creator? Puny man, wouldst thou not have Almighty God to be thy friend? Thou canst not be at one with God except through the at-one-ment. God bath set forth Christ to be a propitiation for our sins. Oh, take the propitiation through faith in His blood, and be thou at one with God.
3. Thirdly, the precious blood of Jesus Christ has A CLEANSING POWER. John tells us in his first Epistle, first chapter, seventh verse, "The blood of Jesus Christ his Son, cleanseth us from all sin." Sin has a directly defiling effect upon the sinner, hence the need of cleansing. Suppose that God the Holy One were perfectly willing to be at one with an unholy sinner, which is supposing a case that cannot be, yet even should the pure eyes of the Most High wink at sin, still as long as we are unclean we never could feel in our own hearts anything like joy, and rest, and peace. Sin is a plague to the man who has it, as well as a hateful thing to the God who abhors it. I must be made clean, I must have mine iniquities washed away, or I never can be happy. The first mercy that is sung of in the one hundred and third Psalm is, "Who forgiveth all thine iniquities."
Now we know it is by the precious blood that sin is cleansed. Murder, adultery, theft, whatever the sin may be, there is power in the veins of Christ to take it away at once and for ever. No matter how many, nor how deeply-seated our offences may be, the blood cries, ?Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." It is the song of heaven,— "We have washed our robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." This is the experience of earth, for none was ever cleansed except in this fountain, opened for the house of David for sin and for uncleanness.
You have heard this so often that perhaps if an angel told it to you, you would not take much interest in it, except you have known experimentally the horror of uncleanness and the blessedness of being made clean. Beloved, it is a thought which ought to make our hearts leap within us, that through Jesus’ blood there is not a spot left upon any believer, not a wrinkle nor any such thing. Oh precious blood, removing the hell-stains of abundant iniquity, and permitting me to stand accepted in the beloved, notwithstanding all the many ways in which I have rebelled against my God!
4. A fourth property of the blood of Christ is ITS PRESERVING POWER. You will rightly comprehend this when you remember the dreadful night of Egypt, when the destroying angel was abroad to slay God’s enemies. A bitter cry went up from house to house as the firstborn of all Egypt, from Pharaoh on the throne to the firstborn of the woman behind the mill and the slave in the dungeon, fell dead in a moment. The angel sped with noiseless wing through every street of Egypt’s many cities; but there were some houses which he could not enter: he sheathed his sword and breathed no malediction there. What was it which preserved the houses? The inhabitants were not better than others, their habitations were not more elegantly built, there was nothing except the bloodstain on the lintel and on the two side posts, and it is written, "When I see the blood I will pass over you."
There was nothing whatever which gained the passover for Israel but just the sprinkling of blood. The father of the house had taken a lamb and killed it, had caught the blood in a bason, and while the lamb was roasted that it might be eaten by every inhabitant of the house, he took a bunch of hyssop, stirred the bason of blood and went outside with his children and began to strike the posts, and to strike the door, and as soon as this was done, they were all safe, all safe: no angel could touch them, the fiends of hell themselves could not venture there.
Beloved, see, we are preserved in Christ Jesus. Did not God see the blood before you and I saw it, and was not that the reason why He spared our forfeited lives when like barren fig trees, we brought forth no fruit for Him? When we saw the blood, let us remember it was not our seeing it, which really saved it; one sight of it gave us peace, but it was God’s seeing it that saved us. "When I see the blood I will pass over you." And to-day, if my eye of faith be dim, and I can scarce see the precious blood, so as to rejoice that I am washed in it, yet God can see the blood, and as long as the undimmed eye of Jehovah looks upon the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus, He cannot smite one soul that is covered with its scarlet mantle.
Oh, how precious is this blood-red shield! My soul, cower thou down under it when the darts of hell are flying: this is the chariot, the covering whereof is of purple; let the storm come, and the deluge rise, let even the fiery hail descend, beneath that crimson pavilion my soul must rest secure, for what can touch me, when I am covered with His precious blood?
Let me ask you to get here, right under the shelter of the cross. Sit down now beneath the shadow of the cross and feel, "I am safe, I am safe, O ye devils of hell; or ye angels of God—I could challenge you all, and say—Who shall separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus, or who shall lay anything to my charge, seeing that Christ bath died for me."? When heaven is on a blaze, when earth begins to shake, when the mountains rock, when God divides the righteous from the wicked, happy will they be who can find a shelter beneath the blood. But where will you be who have never trusted in its cleansing power? You will call to the rocks to hide you, and to the mountains to cover you, but all in vain. God help you now, or even the blood will not help you then.
5. Fifthly, the blood of Christ is precious because of its PLEADING PREVALENCE. Paul says in the twelfth chapter of his Epistle to the Hebrews, at the twenty-fourth verse, "It speaketh better things than that of Abel." Abel’s blood pleaded and prevailed; its cry was "Vengeance" and Cain was punished. Jesus’ blood pleads and prevails; its cry is "Father, forgive them!" and sinners are forgiven through it. When I cannot pray as I would, how sweet to remember that the blood prays! There is no voice in my tongue, but there is always a voice in the blood. If I cannot, when I bow before my God, get farther than to say "God be merciful to me, a sinner," yet my advocate before the throne is not dumb because I am, and his plea has not lost its power because my faith in it may happen to be diminished.
The blood is always alike prevalent with God. The wounds of Jesus are so many mouths to plead with God for sinners—what if I say they are so many chains with which love is led captive, and sovereign mercy bound to bless every favoured child? What if I say that the wounds of Jesus have become donors of grace through which divine love comes forth to the vilest of the vile, and doors through which our wants go up to God and plead with Him that He would be pleased to supply them? Next time you cannot pray, next time you are crying and striving and groaning up in that upper room, praise the value of the precious blood which maketh intercession before the eternal throne.
6. Sixthly, the blood is precious where perhaps we little expect it to operate. It is precious, because of its MELTING INFLUENCE on the human heart. "They shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one that mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn." There is a great complaint among sinners, when they are a little awakened, that they feel their hearts so hard. The blood is a mighty melter. Alchemists of old sought after a universal solvent: the blood of Jesus is that. There is no nature so stubborn that a sight of the love of God in Christ Jesus cannot melt it, if grace shall open the blind eye to see Christ. The stone in the human heart shall melt away, when it is plunged into a bath of blood divine. Cannot you say, dear friends, that Toplady was right in his hymn?
"Law and terrors do but harden
All the while they work alone,
But a sense of blood-bought pardon,
Soon dissolves a heart of stone."
Sinner, if God shall lead thee to believe this morning in Christ to save thee; if thou wilt trust thy soul in His hands to have it saved, that hard heart of thine will melt at once. You would think differently of sin, my friends, if you knew that Christ smarted for it. Oh! if you knew that out of those dear languid eyes, there looked the loving heart of Jesus upon you, I know you would say, "I hate the sin that made him mourn, and fastened him to the accursed tree." I do not think that preaching the law generally softens men’s hearts. Hitting men with a hard hammer may often drive the particles of a hard heart more closely together, and make the iron yet more hard; but oh, to preach Christ’s love—His great love wherewith He loved us even when we were dead in sins, and to tell to sinners that there is life in a look at the crucified One—surely this will prove that Christ was exalted on high to give repentance and remission of sins. Come for repentance, if you cannot come repenting. Come for a broken heart, if you cannot come with a broken heart. Come to be melted, if you are not melted. Come to be wounded, if you are not wounded.
7. But then comes in a seventh property of the precious blood. The same blood that melts has A GRACIOUS POWER TO PACIFY. John Bunyan speaks of the law as coming to sweep a chamber like a maid with a broom; and when she began to sweep there was a great dust which almost choked people, and got into their eyes; but then came the gospel with its drops of water, and laid the dust, and then the broom might be used far better. Now it sometimes happens that the law of God makes such a dust in the sinner’s soul, that nothing but the precious blood of Jesus Christ can make that dust lie still. The sinner is so disquieted that nothing can ever give him any relief except to know that Jesus died for him.
When I felt the burden of my sin, I do confess all the preaching I ever heard never gave me one single atom of comfort. I was told to do this and to do that, and when I had done it all, I had not advanced one inch the farther. I thought I must feel something, or pray a certain quantity; and when I had done that, the burden was quite as heavy. But the moment I saw that there was nothing whatever for me to do, that Jesus did it long, long ago, that all my sins were put on His back and that He suffered all I ought to have suffered, why then my heart had peace with God, peace by believing, peace through the precious blood.
Two soldiers were on duty in the citadel of Gibraltar, one of them had obtained peace through the precious blood of Christ, the other was in very great distress of mind. It happened to be their turn to stand, both of them, sentinel the same night; and there are many long passages in the rock, which passages are adapted to convey sounds a very great distance. The soldier in distress of mind was ready to beat his breast for grief: he felt he had rebelled against God, and could not find how he could be reconciled; when, suddenly, there came through the air what seemed to him to be a mysterious voice from heaven saying these words, "The precious blood of Christ." In a moment he saw it all: it was that which reconciled us to God; and he rejoiced with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
Now did those words come directly from God? No. They did as far as the effect was concerned?they did come from the Holy Spirit. Who was it that had spoken those words? Curiously enough, the other sentinel at the far end of the passage was standing still and meditating, when an officer came by and it was his duty of course to give the word for the night, and with soldier-like promptitude he did give it, but not accurately, for instead of giving the proper word, he was so taken up by his meditations that he said to the officer, "The precious blood of Christ." He corrected himself in a moment, but however, he had said it, and it had passed along the passage and reached the ear for which God meant it, and the man found peace and spent his life in the fear of God, being in after years the means of completing one of our excellent translations of the Word of God into the Hindoo language.
Who can tell, dear friends, how much peace you may give by only telling the story of our Saviour. If I only had about a dozen words to speak and knew I must die, I would say, "This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." The doctrine of substitution is the pith and marrow of the gospel, and if you can hold that forth, you will prove the value of the precious blood by its peace-giving power.
8. We can only spare a minute now upon ITS SANCTIFYING INFLUENCE. The apostle tells us in the ninth chapter and the fourteenth verse that Christ sanctified the people by His own blood. Certain it is, that the same blood which justifies by taking away sin, does in its after-action act upon the new nature and lead it onward to subdue sin and to follow out the command of God. There is no motive for holiness so great as that which streams from the veins of Jesus. If you want to know why you should be obedient to God?s will, my brethren, go and look upon Him who sweat, as it were, great drops of blood, and the love of Christ will constrain you, because you will thus judge, "That if one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all, that we which live might not henceforth live unto ourselves, but unto him that died for us and rose again."
9. In the ninth place, another blessed property of the blood of Jesus, is ITS POWER TO GIVE ENTRANCE. We are told that the high priest never went within the veil without blood; and surely we can never get into God’s heart, nor into the secret of the Lord, which is with them that fear Him, nor into any familiar intercourse with our great Father and Friend, except by the sprinkling of the precious blood of Jesus. "We have access with boldness into this grace wherein we stand," but we never dare go a step towards God, except as we are sprinkled with this precious blood. I am persuaded some of us do not come near to God, because we forget the blood. If you try to have fellowship with God in your graces, your experiences, your believings, you will fail; but if you try to come near to God as you stand in Christ Jesus, you will have courage to come; and on the other hand, God will run to meet you when He sees you in the face of His anointed. Oh, for power to get near to God! But there is no getting near to God, except as we get near to the cross. Praise the blood, then, for its power of giving you nearness to God.
10. Tenthly—a hint only. The blood is very precious, in the tenth place, for ITS CONFIRMING POWER. No covenant, we are told, was ever valid, unless victims were slain and blood sprinkled; and it is the blood of Jesus which has ratified the new covenant, and made its promises sure to all the seed. Hence it is called "the blood of the everlasting covenant." The apostle changes the figure, and he says that a testament is not of force, except the testator be dead. The blood is a proof that the testator did, and now the law holds good to every legatee, because Jesus Christ has signed it with His own gore. Beloved, let us rejoice that the promises are yea and amen, for no other reason than this, because Christ Jesus died and rose again. Had there been no bowing of the head upon the tree, no slumbering in the sepulchre, no rising from the tomb, then the promises had been uncertain fickle things, not "immutable things wherein it is impossible for God to lie," and consequently they could never have afforded strong consolation to those who have fled for refuge to Christ Jesus. See then the confirming nature of the blood of Jesus and count it very precious.
11. I have almost done; but there remains another, it is the eleventh one, and that is THE INVIGORATING POWER of the precious blood. If you want to know that, you must see it set forth as we often do when we cover the table with the white cloth and put thereon the bread and wine. What mean we by this ordinance? We mean by it, that Christ suffered for us, and that we being already washed in His precious blood and so made clean, do come to the table to drink wine as an emblem of the way in which we live and feed upon His body and upon His blood. He tells us "Except a man shall eat my flesh and drink my blood, there is no life in him." We do therefore, after a spiritual sort, drink His blood, and He says "My blood is drink indeed." Superior drink! Transcendent drink! Strengthening drink? such drink as angels never taste though they drink before the eternal throne.
Oh beloved, whenever your spirit faints, this wine shall comfort you; when your griefs are many, drink and forget your misery, and remember your sufferings no more. When you are very weak and faint, take not a little of this for your soul’s sake, but drink a full draught of the wine on the lees, well refined, which was set abroach by the soldier’s spike, and flowed from Christ’s own heart. "Drink to the full; yea, drink abundantly O beloved," saith Christ to the spouse; and do not thou linger when He invites. You see the blood has power without to cleanse, and then it has power within to strengthen. O precious blood, how many are thy uses! May I prove them all!
12. Lastly, and twelfthly—twelve is the number of perfection. We have brought out a perfect number of its uses—the blood has AN OVERCOMING POWER. It is written in the Revelation, "They overcame through the blood of the Lamb." How could they do otherwise? He that fights with the precious blood of Jesus fights with a weapon that will cut through soul and spirit, joints and marrow, a weapon that makes hell tremble, and makes heaven subservient, and earth obedient to the will of the men who can wield it. The blood of Jesus! sin dies at its presence, death ceases to be death: hell itself would be dried up if that blood could operate there. The blood of Jesus! heaven’s gates are opened; bars of iron are pushed back. The blood of Jesus! my doubts and fears flee, my troubles and disasters disappear. The blood of Jesus! shall I not go on conquering and to conquer so long as I can plead that! In heaven this shall be the choice jewel which shall glitter upon the head of Jesus—that He gives to His people "Victory, victory, through the blood of the Lamb."
And now, is this blood to be had? Can it be got at? Yes, it is free, as well as full of virtue,—free to every soul that believeth. Whosoever careth to come and trust in Jesus shall find the virtue of this blood in his case this very morning. Away from your own works and doings. Turn those eyes of yours to the full atonement made, to the utmost ransom paid; and if God enables thee, poor soul, this morning to say, "I take that precious blood to be my only hope," you are saved!