the Calvary Road p.53-57
The message and challenge of Revival which is coming to many of us these days is searching in its utter simplicity. It is simply that there is only one thing in the world that can hinder the Christian’s walking in victorious fellowship with God and his being filled with the Holy Spirit – and that is sin in one form or another. There is only one thing in the world that can cleanse him from sin, with all that means of liberty and victory – and that is the power of the Blood of the Lord Jesus. It is, however, most important for us that we should see what it is that gives the Blood of Christ its mighty power with God on behalf of men, for then we shall understand the conditions on which its full power may be experienced in our lives.
How many achievements and how many blessings for men the Scripture ascribes to the power of the Blood of the Lord Jesus! By the power of His Blood peace is made between man and God (Co1:20). By its power there is forgiveness of sins and eternal life for all who put their faith in the Lord Jesus (Co1:14; Joh6:54). By the power of His Blood Satan is overcome (Re12:11). By its power there is continual cleansing from all sin for us (1Jo1:7). By the power of His Blood we may be set free from the tyranny of an evil conscience to serve the living God (He9:14). By its infinite power with God the most unworthy have liberty to enter the Holy of Holies of God’s presence and live there all the day (He10:19). We may well ask what gives the Blood its power!
To that question we need to link this other question – how may we experience its full power in our lives? Too often that precious Blood does not have its sin-cleansing, peace-giving, life-imparting power in our hearts, and too often we do not find ourselves in God’s presence and fellowship all the day.
Whence its power?
The answer to the first question is suggested by the phrase in the book of Revelation which describes the Blood of Christ by the tender expression, ‘the blood of the Lamb’ (Re7:14). Not the Blood of the Warrior, but the Blood of the Lamb! In other words that which gives the precious Blood its power with God for men is the lamb-like disposition of the One who shed it, and of which it is the supreme expression. The title ‘the Lamb’, so frequently given to the Lord Jesus in Scripture, is first of all descriptive of His work – that of being a sacrifice for our sin. When a sinning Israelite wanted to get right with God, it was the blood of a lamb (sometimes that of a goat) which had to be shed and sprinkled on the altar. Jesus is the Divine fulfillment of all those lambs that men offered – the lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world (Joh1:29). But the title ‘the Lamb’ has a deeper meaning. It describes His character. He is the Lamb in that He is meek and lowly in heart (Mt11:29), gentle and unresisting, and all the time surrendering His own will to the Father’s (Joh6:38) for the blessing and saving of men. Anyone but the Lamb would have resented and resisted the treatment men gave Him, but He, in obedience to the Father (Ph2:8), and out of love for us, did neither. Men did what they liked to Him, and for our sakes He yielded all the time. When He was reviled, He reviled not again. When He suffered, He threatened not. Not standing up for His rights, no hitting back, no resentment, no complaining! How different from us! When the Father’s will and the malice of men pointed to dark Calvary, the Lamb meekly bowed His head in willingness for that too. It was as the Lamb that Isaiah saw Him, when he prophesied, ‘He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth’ (Is53:7). The scourging, the scoffing, the spitting, the hair plucked from His cheeks, the weary last march up the Hill, the nailing and the lifting up, the piercing of His side and the flowing of His Blood – none of these things would ever have been, had He not been the Lamb. And all that to pay the price of my sin! So we see that He is not merely the Lamb because He died on the Cross, but He died upon the Cross because He is the Lamb.
Let us ever see this disposition in the Blood. Let every mention of the Blood call to mind the deep humility and self-surrender of the Lamb, for it is this disposition that gives the Blood its wonderful power with God. He9:14 for ever links the Blood of Christ with His self-offering to God, ‘how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God …’. And it is this fact that bestows upon it its power with God for men, for this disposition has ever been of supreme value to God. Humility, lamb-likeness, the surrender of our wills to God are what He looks for supremely from man. It was to manifest all this that God ever created the first man. It was his refusal to walk this path that constituted his first sin, and it has been the heart of sin ever since. It was simply because the Father saw this in Him that He could say, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’ (Mt3:17). It was because the shedding of His Blood so supremely expressed this disposition that it is so utterly precious to God and so all-availing for man and his sin.
The second question
We come now to the second question – how can we experience its full power in our lives? Our hearts surely tell us the answer, as we look on the Lamb, bowing His Head for us on Calvary – only by being willing to have the same disposition that ruled Him and by bending our necks in brokenness as He bowed His. Just as it is the disposition of the Lamb that bestows upon the Blood its power, so it is only as we are willing to be partakers of the same disposition of the Lamb, that we shall know its full power in our lives. And we can be partakers of His disposition (Ph2:5; 1Co2:16), for it has been made transferable to us by His death. All the fruits of the Holy Spirit, mentioned in Ga5 – love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control – what are they but the expressions of the lamb-like nature of the Lord Jesus, with which the Holy Spirit wants to fill us? Let us never forget that the Lord Jesus, though exalted to the throne of God, is still the Lamb (the book of Revelation tells us that) and He wants to reproduce Himself in us.
Are we willing?
But are we willing for this? There is a hard, unyielding self, which stands up for itself and resists others, that will have to be broken if we are to be willing for the disposition of the Lamb, and if the precious Blood is to reach us in cleansing power. We may pray long to be cleansed from some sin and for peace to be restored to our hearts, but unless we are willing to be broken on the point in question and be made partakers of the Lamb’s humility there, nothing will happen. Every sin we ever commit is the result of the hard, unbroken self taking up some attitude of pride, and we shall not find peace through the Blood until we are willing to see the source of each sin, and reverse the wrong attitude that caused it by a specific repentance, which will always be humbling. This means that we have not merely to try to make ourselves feel the humility of Jesus. We have only to walk in the light and be willing for God to reveal any sin that may be in our lives, and we shall find ourselves asked by the Lord to perform all sorts of costly acts of repentance and surrender, often over what we term small and trivial matters. Their importance, however, can be gauged by what it costs our pride to put them right. He may show us a confession or apology that has to be made to someone or an act of restitution that has to be done (Mt5:23,24). He may show us that we must climb down over something and yield up our fancied rights in it (Jesus had no rights – have we then?). he may show us that we must go to the one who has done us a wrong and confess to him the far greater wrong of resenting it (Jesus never resented anything or anyone – have we any right to?). He may call us to be open with our friends that they may know us as we really are, and thus be able to have true fellowship with us. These acts may be humiliating and a complete reversal of our usual attitudes of pride and selfishness, but by such acts we shall know true brokenness and become partakers of the humility of the Lamb. As we are willing for this in each issue, the Blood of the Lamb will be able to cleanse us from all sin, and we shall walk with God in white, with His peace in our hearts.