"The Precious Blood of Christ"
“The precious blood of Christ.”— 1 Peter i. 19.
IT is frequently my fear lest I should full into the habit of preaching about the gospel than directly preaching the gospel, and hence I labour to return to the first principle, of our faith, and often take a text upon which it would not be possible to say anything new, but which will compel me to recapitulate in your hearing those things which are vital, essential, and fundamental to the life of our souls. With such a text as this before me, if I do not preach the gospel, I shall do violence both to the sacred word and to my own conscience. Surely I may hope that while endeavouring to unfold my text, and to proclaim the saving word, the Holy Spirit will be present to take of the things of Christ and to show them unto us and make them saving to our souls.
Blood has from the beginning been regarded by God as a most precious thing. He has hedged about this fountain of vitality with the most solemn sanctions. The Lord thus commanded Noah and his descendants, “Flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.” Man had every moving thing that liveth given him for meat, but they were by no means to eat the blood with the flesh. Things strangled were to be considered unfit for food, since God would not have man became too familiar with blood by eating or drinking it in any shape or form. Even the blood of bulls and goats thus had a sacredness put upon it by God’s decrees. As for the blood of man, you remember how God’s threatening ran, “And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” It is true that the first murderer had not his blood shed by man, but then the crime was new and the penalty had not then been settled and proclaimed, and therefore the case was clearly exceptional, and one by itself; and, moreover, Cain’s doom was probably far more terrible than if he had been slain upon the spot: he was permitted to fill up his measure of wickedness, to be a wanderer and a vagabond upon the face of the earth, and then to enter into the dreadful heritage of wrath, which his life of sin had doubtless greatly increased. Under the theocratic dispensation, in which God was the King and governed Israel, murder was always punished in the most exemplary manner, and there was never any toleration or excuse for it. Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, life for life, was the stern inexorable law. It is expressly written, “Ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer which is guilty of death: but he shall surely be put to death." Even in cases where life was taken in chance-medley or misadventure, the matter was not overlooked. The slayer fled at once to the city of refuge, where, after having his case properly tried, he was allowed to reside; but there was no safety for him elsewhere until the death of the high priest. The general law in all cases was, “So ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: for blood it defileth the land: and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it. Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit, wherein I dwell: for I the Lord dwell among the children of Israel.” Strange is it that that very thing which defileth, should turn out to be that which alone can cleanse. It is clear, then, that blood was ever precious in God’s sight, and he would have it so in ours. He first forbids the blood of beasts as food of man, then avenges the blood of man shed in anger; and, furthermore, takes care that even accident shall not pour it out unheeded. Nor is this all, for we hear within us the echo of that law. We feel that God has made blood a sacred thing, for though some can, through use and habit, read the story of war with patience, if not with pleasure; though the sound of the trumpet and the drum, and the tramp of soldiery will stir our heart, and make us for the moment sympathize with the martial spirit; yet, if we could see war as it really is, if we could only walk but half across a battle-field, or see but one wounded man, a cold shiver would shoot through the very marrow of our bones, and we should have experimental proof that blood is indeed a sacred thing. The other night, when I listened to one who professed to have come from battle-fields of the American war, I felt a faintness and clammy sweat steal over me, as he shocked and horrified us with the details of mutilated bodies, and spoke of standing up to the tops of his boots in pools of human gore. The shudder which ran through us all was a sure confirmation of the sanctity with which God has for ever guarded the symbol and nutriment of life. We cannot even contemplate the probability of the shedding of blood without fear and trembling; and comforts which entail high risks in their production or procuring, will lose all sweetness to men of humane dispositions. Who does not sympathize with David in his action with regard to the water procured by his three mighties! The three heroes broke through the hosts of the Philistines to bring David water from the well of Bethlehem, and as soon as he received that water, though very thirsty, and much longing for it, yet he felt he could not touch it because those men had run such dreadful risks in breaking thrice through the Philistine hosts to bring it to him, and therefore he took the water and poured it out before the Lord, as if it was not meet that men should run risk of life for any but God who gave life. His words were very touching, “My God forbid it me, that I should do this thing: shall I drink the blood of these men that have put their lives in jeopardy? for with the jeopardy of their lives they brought it.” I wonder at the cruelty of the great crowds who delight to see men and women running such fearful risks of life in rope-dancing. How is it that they can feed their morbid curiosity on such dreadful food, and greet the man who is foolish enough to run such hazards with acclamations because of his foolhardiness? How much more Christ-like the regret of David that he should have led any man to risk his life for his comfort! How much more laudable was his belief that nothing short of the highest benevolence to man, or the highest devotion to God, can justify such jeopardy of life!
Further permit me to observe, that the seal of the sanctity of blood is usually set upon the conscience even of the most depraved of men, not merely upon gentle souls and sanctified spirits, but even upon the most hardened; for you will notice that men, bad as they are, shrink from the disgrace of taking blood-money. Even those high priests who could sit down and gloat their eyes with the sufferings of the Saviour, would not receive the price of blood into the treasury; and even Judas, that son of perdition, who could contemplate without horror the treachery by which he betrayed his master, yet, when he had the thirty pieces of silver in his palm, found the money too hot to hold; he threw it down in the temple, for he could not bear or abide the sight of “the price of blood.” Another proof that even when virtue has become extinct, and vice reigns, yet God has put the broad arrow of his own sovereignty so manifestly upon the very thought of blood that even these worst of spirits are compelled to shrink from tampering therewith.
Now, if in ordinary cases the shedding of life be thus precious, can you guess how fully God utters his heart's meaning when he says, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints?” If the death of a rebel be precious, what must be the death of a child? If he will not contemplate the shedding of the blood of his own enemies and of them that curse him without proclaiming vengeance, what think you concerning his own elect, of whom he says, “Precious shall their blood be in his sight?” Will he not avenge them, though he bear long with them? Shall the cup which the harlot of Rome filled with the blood of the saints, long remain unavenged? Shall not the martyrs from Piedmont and the Alps, and from our Smithfield, and from the hills of covenanting Scotland, yet obtain from God the vengeance due for all that they suffered, and all the blood which they poured forth in the defence of his cause?
I have taken you up, you see, from the beast to man, from man to God' s chosen men, the martyrs. I have another step to indicate to you: it is a far longer one— it is to the blood of JESUS CHRIST. Here, powers of speech would fail to convey to you an idea of the preciousness! Behold here, a person innocent, without taint within, or flaw without; a person meritorious, who magnified the law and made it honourable— a person who served both Cod and man even unto death. Nay, here you have a divine person— so divine, that in the Acts of the Apostles Paul calls his blood the “blood of God.” Place innocence, and merit, and dignity, and position, and Godhead itself, in the scale, and then conceive what must be the inestimable value of the blood which Jesus Christ poured forth. Angels must have seen that matchless bloodshedding with wonder and amazement, and even God himself saw what never before was seen in creation or in providence; he saw himself more gloriously displayed than in the whole universe beside.
Let us come nearer to the text and try to shew forth the preciousness of the blood of Christ. We shall confine ourselves to an enumeration of some of the many properties possessed by this precious blood. I felt as I was studying, that I should have so many divisions this morning, that some of you would compare my sermon to the bones in Ezekiel’s vision, — they were very many and they were very dry; but I am in hopes that God’s Holy Spirit may so descend upon the bones in my sermon, which would be but dry of themselves, that they being quickened and full of life, you may admire the exceeding great army of God’s thoughts of loving-kindness towards his people, in the sacrifice of his own dear Son.
The precious blood of Christ is useful to God’s people in a thousand ways: we intend to speak of twelve of them. After all, the real preciousness of a thing in the time of pinch and trial, must depend upon its usefulness. A bag of pearls would be to us, this morning, far more precious than a bag of bread; but you have all heard the story of the man in the desert, who stumbled, when near to die, upon a bag, and opened it, hoping that it might be the wallet of some passer-by, and he found in it nothing but pearls! If they had been crusts of bread, how much more precious would they have been! I say, in the hour of necessity and peril, the use of a thing really constitutes the preciousness of it. This may not be according to political economy, but it is according to common sense.
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 earthern 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 to-morrow, 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 hath 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.
“Though in myself defiled I am,
And black as Kedar’s tents appear,
Yet when I put thy garments on,
air as the courts of Solomon.”
You have no spiritual beauty, beloved, apart from Christ; but, having Christ, he himself saith, “Thou art all fair my love, there is no spot in thee.” Oh, precious blood, which makes the blackamoor white as snow and takes out the leopard’s spots! 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 us; 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? The preserving power of that blood should make us feel how precious it is. Beloved, let me beg you to try and realize these points. You know, I told you before, I cannot say anything new upon the subject, neither can I embody these old thoughts in new words. I should only spoil them, and be making a fool of myself, by trying to make a display of myself and my own powers, instead of the 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 hath 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 lead captive, and sovereign mercy bound to bless every favoured child? What if I say that the wounds of Jesus have become doors 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 commands 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 died, 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, and you may sing with the rest of us,
“Now, freed from sin, I walk at large;
The Saviour’s blood’s my full discharge,
At His dear feet my soul I’ll lay,
A sinner saved, and homage pay.
God grant it may be so, for his name’s sake. Amen.