Power of the Blood of Jesus – Volume 07
Message Summary by AFT Team
Christians often live under the burden of condemnation. The devil is an accuser who accuses them day and night. They feel that they’re unworthy and that God won’t listen to their prayers; so they approach some ‘man of God’ to get him to pray for them. But the Bible says that there is only one mediator between God and man, and that is Jesus Christ. When we put our faith in this perfect mediator, we do not have to listen to the accuser’s accusation. We saw last week that the Bible tells us how the saints of God defeated the accuser – by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony. It means they confessed with their mouth what the word of God says the blood of Jesus has done for them. But in order to confess with the mouth, we must first know what the word of God says about the blood of Jesus.
“Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, yet we esteemed him stricken; smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement for our peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray. We have turned, every one, to his own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all”. – Isaiah 53: 4, 5, 6
Two of the things that the blood of Jesus grants is forgiveness of sin and healing. Let’s first delve into forgiveness of sin.
MAN’S BASIC PROBLEM – SIN
Martyn Lloyd-Jones is a well-known evangelist and preacher from Wales. Before he became a minister, he had trained to be a medical doctor. He was an accomplished doctor and was the assistant to the famous Dr. Horder, royal physician to the Queen. However, in the course of his practice, Dr. Lloyd-Jones realised that the root-cause of man’s problems was neither physical, emotional nor mental; it was the problem of sin. When Dr. Lloyd-Jones decided to become a preacher, it became the headlines that a successful doctor was throwing away a bright future to become a preacher. He ministered to a community of mine workers for several years, before he was called by the great preacher G. Campbell Morgan to take over after him at the Westminster chapel. People came by the thousands to listen to Dr. Lloyd-Jones’ expository preaching. This great man of God came to the conclusion that ‘sin is the basic human problem’. And rightly so.
What is sin?
If sin is indeed the root of all problems, if we want to overcome life’s problems, we have to understand what sin is. We generally perceive sin as activities like theft, murder, adultery and the like. These are indeed sins, and most people do not commit them. However, the basic definition of sin is
– Failure to give God the rightful place in life.
– Failure to give glory to God.
People get offended that Christians call everyone ‘sinners’, because most of them are decent people who would not commit an evil act. But when we consider this above definition of sin, we understand that all are sinners. God made us, He gave us life, man was made for God – this is the unchangeable truth. When we don’t realise this, and therefore we don’t give God the rightful place and glory, we sin.
REMEDY FOR SIN
The only literature that reveals the human problem as sin is the Bible. The Bible not only clearly points out that sin is the problem, it also offers the remedy to sin. The remedy to sin is through the shedding of blood and the giving of the life of Jesus on the Cross. We saw in detail during earlier weeks (available here) how the blood of Jesus is the only atonement for the sins of mankind.
Let’s briefly look briefly at an Old Testament verse that refers to the blood of Jesus as the remedy for sin.
For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul. – Leviticus 17:11
While this verse is in the context of how the animal’s blood is to be sprinkled upon the altar as atonement for sins, it is also a prophetic verse in that it refers to the blood of Jesus. The life that Jesus had in His blood was the very blood of God, since He did not inherit it from His parents. Therefore it is sinless blood. It is also powerful because it has the life of God Himself. When we are served communion, the person who serves it says, “this is the blood of Jesus shed for you”. When we drink it, we partake of the “Zoe” life of God.
Let’s briefly look at some New Testament verses that tell us in no uncertain terms that blood of Jesus is the remedy for sin.
Our High Priest… …who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. – Hebrews 7:27
The high priest in the Old Testament times had to offer sacrifices first for his own sins and then for the sins of the people. Our high priest, Jesus does not have to offer a “sacrifice for Himself”, since He is sinless. He offered “Himself as a sacrifice” for our sins. While the Old Testament high priest had to it daily, Jesus had to do it only once owing to the value of His blood.
For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God. – Hebrews 9:13,14
If animal blood was effective in cleansing, think how much more the blood of Christ cleans up our whole lives. It says, ‘how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God.’ Why is the “eternal” Spirit referred to here? It is to say that though the blood of Jesus was shed 2000 years ago, its impact and effect are valid for eternity. The sin of all men right from Adam to now and to every man hereafter was borne by Jesus. The blood of Jesus is applicable for all eternity. No other belief system in the world offers such a clear remedy for sin – salvation through this man Jesus, the sinless son of God who died in the most unusual manner as atonement for the sins of mankind, and rose again from the dead and is alive and mediating on our behalf in the presence of God the Father.
Perfect remedy, progressive sanctification
For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. – Hebrews 10:14
Jesus is the perfect sacrifice, perfect and complete. “Perfected forever” means that what He did is perfectly perfect and completely complete. There is nothing left to do, nothing to be taken away and nothing to add. It has been done and finished. Our sanctification however, is a continuous process. That’s what the word ‘being’ signifies. We are being continually and progressively sanctified. While was Jesus did is perfect and complete, we receive the benefits of what He did progressively. This is because we are human beings and we are required to believe and understand these things. We may have mental strongholds that prevent us from accepting and understanding clearly. Moreover, it takes time for us to learn the things of God. We may have doubts and questions, we need these things to be taught to us. As we gradually learn, understand and accept the benefits the Cross has earned for us, we are able to progressively appropriate all the blessings that God has for us.
THE CROSS IS AT THE CENTRE OF THE BIBLE, LITERALLY!
Let’s see how the Cross is placed literally in the centre of the Bible.
The Bible has 66 books. The book of Isaiah also has 66 books.
The Bible is divided as 2 – Old Testament, with 39 books and New Testament, with 27 books. Bible scholars say that Isaiah has 2 divisions – the first part with 39 books (chapter 1 – 39), the second part with 27 books (chapter 40 – 66). This second division of Isaiah is considered as ‘the New Testament within the Old Testament’.
This 2nd division of Isaiah (with 27 books) can be further divided into three for purposes of Bible study. These 3 divisions are chapters 40 – 48, 49 – 57, 58 – 66. The end verse of each of these 3 divisions talk about sin, that sin has to be dealt with and that God does not compromise with sin. Let’s take a look at these 3 verses:
– Isaiah 48, last verse (verse 8) “There is no peace,” says the Lord, “for the wicked.”
– Isaiah 57, last verse (verse 21) “There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”
– Isaiah 66, last verse (verse 24) “And they shall go forth and look upon the corpses of the men who have transgressed against Me. For their worm does not die, and their fire is not quenched. They shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”
Let’s go further into the centre of these 3 divisions. The middle 9 chapters are 49 – 57. The centre of that is Isaiah chapter 53. Now, Bible scholars say that chapter 53 should have actually started with chapter 52:13. That’s because the subject of the suffering of Jesus starts at the last few verses of chapter 52, from verse 13 onwards.
The topic of ‘the sin bearing servant of God’ starts from 52:13 to 53:12. They have further divided this into 5 sections of 3 verses each — 52:13-15, 53:1-3, 53:4-6, 53:7-9, 53:10-12. As you can see, the centre of this is 53:4-6. Scholars say that this happened by divine ordination. God takes the New Testament within the Old Testament and puts right at the centre of it, the Cross, what happened to Jesus Christ on the Cross, and what God did through that. Isaiah 53:4-6 is exactly about what Jesus did on the Cross.
While the Bible literally places the Cross and the blood of Jesus at the centre, some Christians try to leave these out, because they think it’s distasteful in these modern times. They want to remove the Cross and the blood of Jesus, and try to make it sound like a fancy little thing. Without the blood of Jesus, there is nothing. By removing the Cross, they are merely sermonising; their fancy words and nice thoughts may tickle the ears of some listeners, but it cannot do anything for anybody. Without the Cross and the blood of Jesus, there is no forgiveness of sins, no power to change a person, and certainly no new life.
Let’s go that very centre of the Bible and see what it says.
Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all
– Isaiah 53:4 -6
The subject of forgiveness and healing is right at the very centre of the Bible. The Hebrew phrase used here to say ‘griefs and sorrows’ is translated in every other instance in the Old Testament as ‘sickness and pains’. It specifically talks about physical healing. The incorrect translation as ‘grief and sorrows’ had mislead many people away from healing. We’ll deal with that in detail when we come to the part about healing. Now, let’s consider forgiveness of sin.
He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities.
Jesus was punished for our sins. The subject here is the remedy for sin. Sin must be punished; ‘the soul that sins shall die’. Yet Jesus, though He was sinless died. Why? Our sins had to be dealt with, because God does not compromise with sin. The price for sin had to be paid, the punishment for sin had to be meted out. So Jesus bore it and therefore shed His blood and died. Sometimes people say, “Look at Jesus, He couldn’t even save Himself”. He died not because He could not save Himself; He died because He chose to die, He died as a sacrifice for us, He died in our place, He died instead of us.
All we like sheep have gone astray.
We have been wandering and loitering aimlessly like sheep. When I was a youngster, I wasted much time literally wandering and loitering around the neighbourhood aimlessly with my friends. I wish I had had some clarity of purpose then. Even today many people live without a sense of direction; life may be filled with activity, but there is no sense of purpose. The condition of a sinner is that he is lost; he wanders here and there without God-given purpose. But when a person gets saved, he gets connected to His maker, who gives him direction and purpose. Then every morning becomes exciting, because there’s a direction to follow, a purpose to achieve, and a vision to fulfill.
We have turned, every one, to his own way.
There is a Frank Sinatra song ‘I did it my way’ which typifies the first definition of sin – ‘not giving God His rightful place in our life’. Instead of following God’s direction and doing it God’s way, sin urges a person to do it his own way. Sin prevents people from realising that it is God who created them, God who paid the price for their sins, and that God is the very reason for their existence. He has given every person the breath of life, He has placed treasures inside them, He has given them gifts and talents. Sin makes a person think that he can do it his way and that he can live independent of God.
The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
The Hebrew word for ‘iniquity’ is ‘avon’. It does not mean merely ‘transgression’ or ‘sin’, it also encompasses a broader meaning including ‘the consequence for sin’. It does not mean just the sin that a person did, it also contains the punishment for that sin. To better understand it, let us look that the incident of the sin that Cain committed – he killed Abel. God said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground. So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth” – Genesis 4:10-12. This verse talks about the sin Cain committed and the punishment he received for that sin. The consequence of that sin was that his work was cursed and that he would wander. He would work, but it would not be fruitful. His life would be without purpose and direction. ‘Iniquity’ contains both the sin and its consequences. When it says that God laid on Jesus the iniquity of us all, it means that not only was our sin laid upon Him, the consequences of sin were also laid upon him.
THE WONDERFUL EXCHANGE
Jesus bore both our sin and the consequences of our sin. He took all that was due to us, and gave us that was His. He took our sin, and gave us righteousness; He took our curse and gave us blessing; He took our sickness and gave us healing; He took our poverty and gave us abundance. The cross was a place of exchange where God exchanged everything that was good in Jesus for everything that was bad in us.
The word of your testimony is important. So say this aloud, “Jesus was punished, so that I may be forgiven. He was wounded that I may be healed. He was made sin that I may be made righteous. He died my death, so that I may have His life. He became cursed so that I can be blessed. He took my poverty so that I can have his abundance. He took my shame so that I can have His glory. He took my rejection so that I can have total acceptance. My old man died, my new man came alive. Through the Cross I am new person, I am blessed, I am prosperous, I have a great future, I am in Christ. I am forgiven, I am healed. Praise God!”