A Sermon Delivered On Sunday Morning, August 22, 1875, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington. *4/8/2012
And the blood shall be to you for a sign. [Ex 12:13]
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1. You remember that last Sunday morning we spoke upon the witness within the child of God. [See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1250, “The Priest Dispensed With” 1241] We tried to show that believers did not need any man to assure them that they are forgiven, that they could get on exceedingly well without absolution from a priest, and could know their salvation altogether apart from the ghostly father, seeing that they have the evidence of it in their own souls by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. We shall not think or speak much of that miserable impostor, the priest, this morning, for he really is not worth thinking about, but we shall continue our consideration of the witness which the Lord has given to his believing people concerning their safety in Jesus Christ. May the Holy Spirit help us while we meditate upon the most vital of all subjects, which lies at the very heart of true religion.
2. There are some, as we have said, who desire a sign of their safety from man, a poor thing when they get it, and not worth asking for; and there are others who desire it from God in the form of a sign or a wonder, or else they will not believe. “Show me a sign for good” is a prayer which is often used in a very mistaken sense. They desire some special transaction of providence, or remarkable dream, or exceptional feeling; but God says to all those who desire a sign for good, “The blood shall be to you for a sign.” What more can we desire? All the squadrons of the angelic host could not better assure us if each one brought a message from heaven. The best of all evidences of divine love is the cross. The strongest of all assurances of safety, the surest of all pledges of favour, the best sign of grace that a man can possibly witness is the sprinkled blood, by which he is cleansed from sin. “The blood shall be to you for a sign.”
3. Before we dive into this subject, let us notice that the blood which was a sign for God’s people was not merely what had been shed by the sacrifice of an unblemished lamb, but blood which had been caught in a basin, had been taken by the person at the head of the household in his own hand, and recognised as shed for him. Then the bunch of hyssop was laid in the basin to soak, and afterwards the blood was sprinkled upon the lintel and the doorposts; this blood when appropriated like this was the sign. By an appropriating faith we must take Christ to be ours; we must, in a word, believe in the atonement which he has made, for an atonement which is not believed in is no atonement for us. Our Lord Jesus laid down his life for us, but he who does not believe in him shall by no means partake of any of the blessings of his death.
The sprinkled blood preserved the houses of the Israelites; and
it is the blood of Jesus accepted by us, relied upon, and applied to
our consciences which delivers us from death. This sprinkling,
moreover, was done in a very public manner; they stained the lintel
and the two side posts, so that every passerby might see it, yes, and
must see it. So salvation is premised not only on believing, but also
on confession with the mouth. “He who believes with his heart, and
makes confession of him with his mouth shall be saved”; and so the
grand commission at the end of the gospel by Mark states it, not “he
who believes shall be saved,” but “he who believes and is baptized
shall be saved”; for if we believe in Christ we must not be ashamed
of him. Shame about faith would argue insincerity of faith. True
faith in the Saviour is so potent a principle of our lives that it
must be seen whether we proclaim it or not, and we must be willing
that it should be seen: yes, this should be the most visible point in
our lives, our glory and our delight, that we indeed believe in the
Saviour Jesus Christ. Oh that every one of you, my dear hearers, used
the cross for its proper purpose! I grieve that any among you should
need to have it asked of you —
Is it nothing to you,
Oh you that pass by,
Is it nothing to you
That Jesus should die?
The Lamb is slain but you have never caught the blood, you have never
sprinkled it with the hyssop of faith, and consequently you are not
saved. Oh that each one of you could say, “My faith is resting in
the substitutionary work of Jesus.” I could, indeed, sing that
blessed hymn just now, and I drank it in with all my heart, and I
heartily wish you could all sing it too —
Complete atonement thou hast made
And to the utmost farthing paid
Whate’er thy people owed:
Nor can his wrath on me take place,
If shelter’d in thy righteousness,
And sprinkled with thy blood?
5. Now, to the text, the blood of Jesus Christ is a sign to Christians, and in order to bring out the whole sense we must have five words: it is a distinguishing sign, an assuring sign, a significant sign, a love sign, and a recognition sign.
6. I. First, then, the blood shall be to you for a sign, A DISTINGUISHING SIGN.
7. You could tell where the Israelite lived, for the blood mark was there that night, you knew the Egyptian’s home, for he knew nothing of the sign. Nothing so truly distinguishes a genuine Christian as the blood of Jesus Christ. Where the blood is not believed in nor prized there you have dead Christianity, for “the blood is its life.” A bloodless gospel is a lifeless gospel; if the atonement is denied or frittered away, or put into a secondary place, or obscured, in that proportion the life has gone out of the religion which is professed. But we, brethren, bear this distinguishing sign, the mark of the blood.
8. Our faith is, in many respects, a very exceptional one — one open to a world of objection and ridicule from carnal minds; one which always has been criticised, and always will be: for we believe, first, that our sin deserves death. We do not believe transgression to be a trifle, or a mere misdemeanour of the first class, but we know it to be a capital offence, deserving the death penalty. When the Lord says, “The soul that sins, it shall die,” our conscience says “Amen” to the sentence of the Most High. The blood on the doorpost meant that those who lived there confessed that they deserved to die as much as others, and would have done so had it not been for the paschal lamb. The crimson mark was virtually a confession of a crime worthy of death. So every believer feels that his sin is great and grievous, terrible and overwhelming. He does not subscribe to theories which make little of man’s guilt. He has no patience for those who try to mitigate the penalty, and endeavour to make the guilt appear small. He does not call sin a mistake, a failure, a lapse. I think I have heard all those words recently used about sin, by those who say, “Poor unhappy man! so mistaken, seeking after the light and crying after God in the dark; how sad that he should stumble! Surely God will not be so harsh as to punish him for ever.” Such talk has no charm for us; we acknowledge the heinous criminality of sin, and the justice of the awful sentence which declares that the wicked shall go away into everlasting punishment. Our God is just, and takes vengeance on iniquity. The God who struck all the firstborn of Egypt, and overthrew Pharaoh in the Red Sea, is the God whom we adore; and as we bow before him we admit that he might righteously have stricken us also, and have utterly destroyed us. For us the blood mark is virtually an acknowledgment that we have the sentence of death in ourselves, and dare not trust in ourselves.
9. We are peculiar enough to believe in substitution. The blood upon the lintel said, “Someone has died here instead of us.” We also hold and rest in this truth, that Christ died, “the just for the unjust, to bring us to God.” We believe that “he was made a curse for us, as it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.’ ” The belief in the greatness of sin distinguishes Christians from Pharisees, and all other self-righteous individuals; and the belief in substitution separates Christians from all those philosophical adulterators of the gospel who are willing to hold up Christ’s example, but cannot endure his expiatory sacrifice, who will speak to you of Christ’s spirit and the power of his teaching but reject his vicarious death. We do not subscribe to the lax theology which teaches that the Lord Jesus did something or other which, in some way or other, is, in some degree or other, connected with the salvation of men: we hold as vital truths that he stood in his people’s place, and for them endured a death which honoured the justice of God, and satisfied his righteous laws. We firmly believe that he bore the penalty due for sin, or what, from the excellency of his person, was fully equivalent to it. My brethren, this is and always will be attacked, but it is the keystone of the gospel arch. Just as at Waterloo all the battle seemed to rage around the chateau of Hugoumont, so does the conflict centre around the doctrine of the atoning death of our great Substitute: but we are not going to surrender our ground for a moment, nor to adopt any other phraseology. We stand by the literal substitution of Jesus Christ in the place of his people, and his real endurance of suffering and death in their place, and from this distinct and definite ground we will not move an inch. Even the term “the blood,” from which some shrink with the affectation of great delicacy, we shall not cease to use, whoever may take offence to it, for it brings out that fundamental truth which is the power of God to salvation. We dwell beneath the blood mark, and rejoice that for us Jesus has poured out his soul to death when he bore the sin of many.
10. But we believe more, and what will seem very strange to some, — we believe that we died in Jesus. The Israelite knew that when the angel went through Egypt he meant to take a life at every house, and so he exhibited the blood, as much as to say, “The firstborn is dead here.” The lamb has died instead of the firstborn, and virtually the firstborn is dead, and there is no reason for striking, because the striking has been done. So, when Jesus died his chosen died in him, and their sins received the vengeance due in that day when on the accursed tree he yielded up his life a ransom for many. How can we die? We are dead in him already, and have been buried with him by virtue of our union with his blessed person. This is a most precious truth, and those who hold it are distinguished by it from the rest of mankind.
11. Believing this, we next come to the conclusion that we are safe, for when the Hebrew had struck the blood upon the doorposts of his house, he went in to feast, not to fret, — he went into the house to eat the lamb whose blood had been sprinkled, and to stand at the table fully dressed, not expecting to die, but to go out to a land which the Lord his God would give to him. This is the distinguishing mark of a Christian that he knows himself to be saved, and therefore he keeps the feast rejoicing in the Lord, and, standing fully dressed, expecting to be called away soon to the land which the Lord his God has given to him, so that he may inherit and live in it for ever. Other men are not saved, nor dare they profess that they are. They admit that they have a great deal to do before they will be saved, they do not know present salvation; or if they think they are saved, yet they dream that their continuance in it depends upon themselves, there is something still lacking beside the sprinkled blood. The Israelite needed nothing except the blood, he was perfectly satisfied with that, and so is the believer: he has believed in Christ as dying in his place, he is delighted to know that he is complete in him and accepted in the Beloved, and he waits until the summons shall come, and he shall be called to ascend to the glory land, where Christ has gone to prepare a place for him.
The Israelite in Egypt made this distinction prominent. As we have
already said, he put it upon the upper part of his door and upon the
two side posts too. We read in the Revelation that those who received
the mark of the beast sometimes bore it in their forehead, but
sometimes also in their right hand: while he who had the mark of God
always received it in his forehead, never in his right hand, where it
could be hidden within the palm. It has been very well observed
that there is a backdoor to hell, but there is none to heaven. The
way to heaven is the King’s highway, a way which is not made for
concealment, but for honest travellers who have nothing to hide.
Believers must be seen, for they are the lights of the world; yet
there are some who try to go to heaven up the backstairs, and serve
the Lord only by night. It must not be. Strike the blood where all
can see it, and let men know that you are a believer in the Lord
Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice: whether they like it or not, let
them know that this is all your salvation and all your desire. I had
the pleasure of riding into the Leonine city in Rome a short time
after the Italian troops had taken possession, and I noticed that
every house had marked up most conspicuously the arms of the kingdom
of Italy and the name of Victor Emmanuel. They were not content to
have it over their doors, but all over the front of the houses you
read “Victor Emmanuel, King of Italy,” showing that they were very
glad to escape from the dominion of the Pope, and to affirm their
allegiance to a constitutional king. Surely if for a human monarch
and the earthly freedom which he brought men could set up his
escutcheon [a] everywhere, you and I who believe in Jesus are bound
to exhibit the blood red sign, and to keep it always conspicuous.
Let others believe the priest, we believe Jesus. Let others trust
their works, we trust the sprinkled blood. Let others rely on moods
and feelings, discipline and development, we believe in Jesus Christ
and him only; and we nail the blood red banner of the atoning sacrifice
to the mast.
My faith is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus name.
On Christ, the solid rock, I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
So much, then, upon the blood as the distinguishing sign.
13. II. Now, secondly, the blood was AN ASSURING SIGN.
14. When we intend to do a special kindness for a friend it may be we say to him; “So that you may be sure I shall do it, here is a sign of my faithfulness.” God gave to his people the blood of sprinkling, as the sign that he would preserve them safely; and surely, the more the Israelite studied that sign the more at ease would he be, for he would say, “God has appointed this unblemished lamb to take our place, and seeing that he appointed it, and the lamb has been slain, we are sure he will not go back on the substitution which he has himself ordained, and we are perfectly safe.” Now, I want you just for a few minutes, especially you who have any doubts and fears, to look upon the blood of Christ and see its suitableness to be an assuring sign for your consciences.
15. Remember, first, what it was, — blood, the sign of suffering. Your sin deserves suffering; Christ has suffered for sin. Think what suffering he endured, what opposition from sinners, and what forsaking of his Father. Permit no one to depreciate the physical sufferings of Christ, but still remember that his mental sufferings were greater; his soul sufferings were the soul of his sufferings. Go to dark Gethsemane, go to shameful Gabbatha, go to deadly Golgotha, and as you see your Lord and witness that wondrous spectacle of woe, will you not feel that he can put away your sin, and that if he suffered so terribly you need not suffer? God has accepted an expiation worthy of his justice; that heaven rending cry, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” shows how sharp were the pangs with which our hope was born.
16. Think, further, blood indicates not only suffering but death, for our Lord could only put away sin by actually dying; all his tears, all his holy living, even all his painful sufferings, could not be punishment for sin until the death penalty was paid, for death was what God had appointed as the wages for sin, and Jesus died. Oh see him die, — see HIM die! Was there ever such a spectacle? Every drop that distils from his pierced hand cries aloud, “Safety for the believer! The ransom price is paid.” That gash in his side, like the mouth of love, speaks eloquently to our hearts, “Pardon, acceptance, love eternal!” I cannot see that bowed head, and those eyes glazed in death, and that dear body taken down to be laid in the tomb without feeling, “If Christ has died there must be boundless mercy for the guilty sons of men.” Think of it, and I pray God the Holy Spirit to lead you to see the sweetness and comfort which lie in this sign.
17. Remember, too, that you rest, not merely on suffering and death, but on the excellence of the person so suffering and dying. Ask whose suffering and death is it? In the Israelites’ case it was an unblemished lamb; in your case and mine it is the spotless Lamb of God. Oh, brethren, think of the life of Jesus in its innocence and selflessness. Was there ever such a life, was there ever such a death of such a sacred person? But he was God, “very God of very God.” Those hands that were pierced had healed the sick with their touch, and those nailed feet had trod the sea! Those eyes all closed in death had looked into men’s hearts, and those silent lips had spoken miracles. It was God himself who on the bloody tree offered expiation for sin against himself. There must be power in such a death as that to put away sin. Do you not admit that it must be so? Is not the sign full of comfort for you?
18. Think again that it was not merely the lamb, but it was the Lamb of God. That is to say, when the Israelite killed the lamb he was doing what God commanded him to do, and when Jesus died in our place, he did not die as an amateur Saviour, but as one appointed by God. Now, if God appointed the atonement he must accept it. Surely if he said that Christ should die in our place, if he “laid upon him the iniquity of us all,” then the atonement must be accepted since God himself presented it, provided it, and ordained it. How sweetly do I rest on this. I feel when I look up to my dear Lord, and I always desire to do so, as if I could say to the justice of God, “What can you argue against me? Do I not present to you all you can demand — a death? I bring before you a death which you appointed to be instead of my death! If you have appointed it, I know you will not refuse it.” This is one of the sweetest parts of the whole matter of atonement, and fills the sign with assurance.
19. One other thought, and a sweet one, this sign was that of blood which was shed: not to be shed, but shed already. They had killed the lamb, they had taken the warm blood in the basin, and smeared the doorposts, it was all done and all over with; you and I also are resting in a finished sacrifice, not in a sacrifice to be offered, nor in a sacrifice which continues to be offered, according to this Anglican Popery which reeks in so many parish churches, but a complete sacrifice, for “by one offering he has perfected for ever those who are set apart.” There is no continuance of the offering of Christ in the sacrifice of the mass, it is a barefaced lie before Almighty God, for Christ declares that, when he had once offered himself, he sat down for ever at the right hand of the majesty in the heavens. By that word “It is finished!” he has put an end to all sacrifices and offerings by way of expiation for sin, because they are not needed, one death has accomplished it all. Beloved, what joy is here! Suffering, suffering to the death, the suffering of the Son of God, a suffering ordained by God to be the vicarious sacrifice, and a suffering which is perfect and complete! Let us look at the sign, and let our hearts be glad within us from now on and for ever. One of our kings once gave a ring to his favourite, and said to him, “I know that at the council tomorrow a charge of heresy will be brought against you; but, when you come in, answer them if you wish, but you need be in no fear: if you find yourself about to be condemned, simply show them the ring, and they will go no further.” It is even so with us; the Lord has given us the precious blood of Christ to be like a ruby ring upon our finger, and now we know how far conscience may go, and how far accusations from Satan may go: we have only to produce that sign and halt all further proceedings. “He who believes in him is not condemned,” neither can he be. God cannot and will not renege on his promise, the blood is the faithful assurance of the security of all the saints.
20. III. But now, thirdly, this is A MOST SIGNIFICANT SIGN. Signs generally mean something; some inner sense is implied in them. Now, our sign of the blood means four things.
21. When the Jew struck the blood upon the lintel and the two side posts he meant redemption; he as good as said, “We are redeemed by blood, the people who live in this house are free, they have been slaves but they are redeemed, and they are going out tomorrow morning, and old Pharaoh and all his army cannot stop them.” That is just what the blood of Jesus Christ means to us. We are bought and paid for, and we are a free people, and if the Son has made us free we are free indeed. “Oh Lord, I am your servant, I am your servant, you have released my bonds.” You have brought me up out of the house of bondage, and out of the iron furnace, and have broken all my chains — the sprinkled blood declares it.
22. Then the blood meant next that the people who lived beneath that sign belonged to God. It was the mark of the Lord’s property: “You are not your own, you are bought with a price.” He who redeemed us ought to possess us. The blood when it bought us also set us apart to be the property of the Redeemer for ever. Whenever you think of Jesus crucified think of yourself also as crucified to the world, as no more belonging to self or sin or Satan; no longer bound by worldly customs, fashions, maxims, or laws, but under law to Christ, for you are the Lord’s freeman. Surrender the members of your body to his service, yield them as servants to righteousness, because you have been purchased, spirit, soul, and body, not with corruptible things as with silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ as of a lamb without blemish, and without spot. The sign testified to our redemption, and also to God’s ownership of us.
23. This sign next means acceptance. He who has the blood of Christ sprinkled on him has what shows him to be acceptable before the Lord. There has been a war, and a wounded soldier comes home, and he goes to the house of a father and mother who have a son out in the army, and he enquires, “Does so-and-so live here?” “Yes.” “Can I see him?” “Yes.” “I have a letter from your son, whom I left in the army, he was my dear comrade.” “Are you sure you have such a letter?” The man looks disreputable, his garments are torn, and he is evidently very poor, but he replies, “Yes, I have a letter from your son.” He puts his hands into his pockets, and he cannot find it. The master of the house is angry, and says “It is of no use your coming here with this idle tale, you are deceiving me.” He still fumbles in his pockets, and at last he brings it out. Yes, there is the sign, the father knows the handwriting of his dear boy. The letter says, “Father, this is a choice companion of mine, and I want you, when he reaches home, to treat him kindly for my sake. Tell mother that anything she does for him shall be the same as if she had done it for her own boy.” Do you see how well he is received at the sight of that sign, and even so when we present the blood mark we say to the Lord, “There is the sign that we are Jesus’ friends,” and the Lord does not look at the rags in which our poor nature is arrayed, but he looks at the sign of his own Son’s blood, and accepts us for his sake. What surer and more suggestive sign could we desire? When cleansed in the blood of Jesus we are made attractive by his beauty, and dear to the heart of God for his Son’s sake.
24. Yes, beloved, and it moreover means perfect safety. As soon as ever the blood was on the lintel those inside the house were perfectly secure; the angel could not strike them, for if he had done so he would have struck his Master, and insulted the Lord of angels. To use his sword while the divine shield was exhibited outside the door would have been to defy God’s honour, and that no angel of God could ever do. Oh, brethren, there is no shield for a guilty soul like the blood red shield of the atonement. Stand beneath the purple canopy of sacrifice, and the great hailstones of wrath can never fall upon you, you must be safe if Christ’s atonement interposes between you and God.
25. So you see the sprinkled blood is a very significant sign. As I went awhile ago through a piece of forest much overgrown with underwood and saplings I noticed certain straight young trees distinguished by a red mark, and I discovered that the woodmen were about to cut down all the underbrush and clear the ground for the better growth of the timber, and these marked trees were to be spared to become large oaks. I can see the red marks and the small trees in my mind’s eye at this moment, and there come the woodmen chopping down everything with their axes and scythes. Down goes all the brushwood, and many a tree falls too, but they stop at the marked trees, these must not be touched, the red mark saves them. So it is with you and with me if we have known the sprinkling of the blood, the Lord will not only say, “Leave them alone this year also,” but he will say to the destroyers, “Do not come near to those upon whom the mark is.” By this sign you may know that you shall live and not die. Like Rahab, we hang this scarlet line in our window, and when all Jericho goes down with terrible destruction our house must stand, for the red line secures it for evermore.
26. IV. The fourth point is that THE BLOOD IS A LOVE SIGN.
27. The blood is a sign of ancient love, for it was shed almost two millennia ago. Oh my soul, the Lord has given you an ancient sign which illustrates his great love by which he loved you, even when you were dead in trespasses and sins. Before you were born the blood was poured out, which is today the ensign and pledge of everlasting love.
28. It is a sign of intense love, for it is a pledge taken from the heart of Christ, and it denotes not the love of the lip, not love which begins and ends with outward deeds of mercy, but a love which wells up from the essence of the Redeemer’s being, from his innermost heart, which was reached by the cruel spear. What a sign this is, a sign taken not from the lilies of my Lord’s garden, nor from the jewels of his crown, nor even from the hair of his head, but drawn from the inner sanctuary of his soul, from that Holy of Holies, the heart of Emmanuel, God with us. Oh believer, since you have such a sign as this you should be ready to die sooner than doubt the love of the Lord.
29. It is a sign, too, of mighty love, for it testifies that he who gave it possessed a conquering flame of love, which many waters could not quench nor death itself destroy. See, he gives you the blood which is the sign of death, his death for you, and thus shows that he went to the grave for your sake, “and death by dying slew.” Wear this sign next to your heart, I urge you, for it is the richest that was ever given by the hand of love to the choicest object of affection. Oh you who are our Well Beloved, you have loved us even to the end, for you have loved us to the death.
30. It is a sign, too, of a wise all seeing love, for it shows that our Lord knows our sin, and has met it all. When he gives us the blood he as much as declares, “My child, I am aware of the evil which is in you, for I have suffered its penalty; I know your sin, but you shall know it no more, for I have carried it away, and cast it into the depths of the sea.” By this sign believers know that their sin is covered, and that in the sight of the Lord they are “all fair,” for he has cleansed them from every stain. The day is come when if their sin was searched for it shall not be found, yes, it shall not so much as exist, for the blood has washed them white.
31. And it is the sign of an unlimited love which will deny nothing to its object. “He who did not spare his own Son, but freely delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” If you have received the blood of his dear Son, what will the Lord refuse you? Do you think your God will deny you providential mercies when he has already given the bleeding heart of Jesus to redeem you? Do you imagine that he will leave you without food and water, or clothes to cover your backs, when he has yielded up the jewel of his soul, the delight of his heart, to you? Prize the sign of his love, and look at it until your soul weeps for very joy. Blessed is that man to whom the Lord has said, “The blood shall be to you for a sign.”
32. V. Lastly, it is A RECOGNITION SIGN.
33. The man who has this sign is known to the angels as one of the heirs of salvation to whom they minister. As soon as they see the blood applied to the soul by faith, there is joy among them, for this is a sure sign of repentance. All God’s children have this family mark at their birth, and there is no mistaking it, so that at the sight of it the angelic guardians commence their tender care, and begin to bear up the newly begotten one in their hands lest at any time he dashes his foot against a stone.
34. The devil also knows that mark, and, as soon as he sees it, he begins to assail the man who bears it, seeking in all kinds of ways to destroy him. If the believer is not destroyed, it will not be for lack of enmity or industry on the devil’s part. He knows the mark of the “seed of the woman,” and he roars and rages, but at the same time he trembles, for he knows very well that he cannot prevail. At the sight of the sacrificial sign the great enemy stands confounded; like a raging lion he would gladly devour the sheep of the Lord, but the mark of the blood upon them saves them from his teeth.
35. And, brethren, this blood mark is known among the saints themselves, and has a wonderful power for creating and fostering mutual love. I have often noticed that as soon as we begin to discourse upon the atoning death of our divine Lord, we are at home with each other. There may be brethren present from various churches, and they may not be well at ease when we handle other subjects, but when we come to the precious blood we come to the heart of the matter, and are all agreed. This is one of the secret signs of our spiritual freemasonry. I have had my heart warmed and cheered against my own will sometimes by devout writers, whose doctrinal theories I do not believe, and whose church I could not join, and yet when they write about my Lord they win my heart. “Aliquid Christi,” as one old divine used to say: the something of Christ in them awakens our affections and draws us near. Even books which are corrupt with sacramentarianism have occasionally such a sweet savour of Christ in them that we cannot utterly throw them away, but feel bound very carefully to peal the apple, and cut out the rotten places, and remove the objectionable core, for the sake of the sweet morsels flavoured with the love of Christ. Just as the sweet honey bearing flowers attract the bees, so does the name of Jesus draw all his saints to him, and so to each other. Give me your hand, my brother, for if you also know my Lord we belong to the same family, the infallible mark of the redeemed is upon us both.
36. Best of all, the Lord knows this sign too. When we go to the mercy seat, if we wish to prosper we must produce the sacred passport of the precious blood. With this it is impossible to fail. The Primitive Methodist brother when he was in a meeting where a friend could not pray, cried out, “Plead the blood, brother!” and the advice was wise. Indeed, plead that, and say, “For Jesus’ sake: by his agony and bloody sweat, by his cross and passion.” What mighty blows are given to the gate of heaven by that battering ram. These are arguments to which heaven always yields.
Our God recognises the blood mark in the hour of death, and attends
his people through the solemn article. Death’s terrors are gone to
him who has the blood for a sign. Lay me down on my bed! There let me
endure the allotted pain and weakness, until the clammy sweat stands
on my brow, and needs to be constantly wiped away: lay me down, I
say, and I will calmly fall asleep like a child tired with a day’s
play, if I only have the sign. Distresses and poverty and anguish of
body may molest me, yet I shall be perfectly at ease, and ask for no
exchange. Why is this? Many a man possessed with health and wealth is
not one half so blest as the poor saint upon his deathbed. Where does
this blessedness come from? Here is the secret. The Lord has passed
by, and given a sign. “A sign,” you say, “what is it? Is it some line
extracted from the golden book of God’s election? Is it a gem taken
from the diadem which is prepared for him in heaven?” No, no, it is
not this. “Has he in his sleep beheld a vision and seen the shining
ones walking the golden streets, or has he heard an audible celestial
voice saying to him, ‘You are mine’?” No, he has none of these, he
has neither dream nor vision nor anything that men call superhuman,
but he is resting in the precious blood, and this blood is the sign
of friendship between God and his soul; by this he knows the love of
God, and by this God communes with him. They meet at the blood. God
delights in the sacrifice of Christ, and the believing soul delights
in it too; they have thus a common love and a common joy, and this
has bound the two together by a bond which never can be broken.
It is this which makes some of us sing —
And when I’m to die,
Receive me, I’ll cry,
For Jesus has loved me,
I cannot tell why;
But this thing I find,
We two are so joined,
He won’t be in heaven
And leave me behind.
Oh what a blessing to feel that the blood of Jesus has united us to him eternally.
Permit this last word. Some of you perhaps have said, “Oh, I wish I
had the blood of Jesus Christ for a sign.” Then let me tell you first
that you do not have to provide a sacrifice, for that is done, the
lamb is slain, the blood of the everlasting covenant is always before
the presence of God. What do you have to do? You have nothing to do
except to have the blood sprinkled upon you. You know how they
sprinkled it, it was with a bunch of hyssop. Hyssop is a common herb
to be found everywhere in and around eastern cities, growing even on
walls where very little soil is found. It was a plant with a great
many stalks, so that it would hold the blood and act as a kind of
brush; indeed, its only excellence was its power to hold the blood.
Now, faith is a very simple thing, and it is the act not of refined
and educated minds only, but of the poorest and simplest. The
efficacy of the hyssop did not lie in what the hyssop was, but in its
being put into the basin to soak up the blood. My poor faith is just
as common as a bit of hyssop pulled up from the wall, but then I lay
it to soak in the atonement; while I muse upon who Jesus was, and
what he suffered, and for what purpose, until it is wet, saturated,
and all crimsoned with the vital blood. The hyssop was an
insignificant item in the whole business, it is only mentioned once,
the second time the sprinkling is commanded it is not mentioned at
all; and so after all faith is only the humble instrument of
salvation; the blood is the main matter, it is the life, the shelter,
the sign, the everything. Let your trembling faith lay soaking in the
precious blood and then say, “I believe you, Jesus, and I tell the
world I do believe you. Sinner as I am, your precious blood was shed
for me, and I trust in you alone.” So you crimson the lintel and the
doorposts. Let all men know that whatever you may have been, and
whatever you now are, you now believe in the substitutionary death of
Jesus, no matter who opposes you. Witness, you men and angels and
demons, that Jesus’ blood is our sole hope. He who thus believes is
saved. Brother, go your way, and leap for joy. No man ever perished
who from his heart rested in the atoning blood. May God bless you.
[Portion Of Scripture Read Before Sermon — Ex 12:1-15,21-25]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Adorable Trinity in Unity, Doxology to the Trinity” 152]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Sufferings and Death — The Attraction Of The Cross” 280]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Names and Titles — Substitute” 404]
[See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3564, “Publications” 3566 @@ "The Interpreter"]
[a] Escutcheon: The shield or shield-shaped surface on which a coat of arms is depicted; also in wider sense, the shield with the armorial bearings; a sculptured or painted representation of this. OED.
The Adorable Trinity in Unity, Doxologies to the Trinity
1 Bless’d be the Father, and his love,
To whose celestial source we owe
Rivers of endless joy above,
And rills of comfort here below.
2 Glory to thee, great Son of God!
From whose dear wounded body rolls
A precious stream of vital blood,
Pardon and life for dying souls.
3 We give thee, sacred Spirit, praise,
Who in our hearts of sin and woe
Makes living springs of grace arise,
And into boundless glory flow.
4 Thus God the Father, God the Son,
And God the Spirit, we adore;
That sea of life and love unknown,
Without a bottom or a shore.
Isaac Watts, 1709.
Jesus Christ, Sufferings and Death
280 — The Attraction Of The Cross
1 Yonder — amazing sight! — I see
Th’ incarnate Son of God
Expiring on th’ accursed tree,
And weltering in his blood.
2 Behold, a purple torrent run
Down from his hands and head,
The crimson tide puts out the sun;
His groans awake the dead.
3 The trembling earth, the darken’d sky,
Proclaim the truth aloud;
And with th’ amazed centurion, cry,
“This is the Son of God!”
4 So great, so vast a sacrifice
May well my hope revive:
If God’s own Son thus bleeds and dies,
The sinner sure may live.
5 Oh that these cords of love divine
Might draw me, Lord, to thee!
Thou hast my heart, it shall be thine!
Thine it shall ever be!
Samuel Stennett, 1787.
Jesus Christ, Names and Titles
404 — Substitute <8.8.6.>
1 From whence this fear and unbelief?
Hath not the Father put to grief
His spotless Son for me?
And will the righteous Judge of men,
Condemn me for that debt of sin,
Which, Lord, was charged on thee?
2 Complete atonement thou hast made,
And to the utmost farthing paid
Whate’er thy people owed:
Nor can his wrath on me take place,
If shelter’d in thy righteousness,
And sprinkled with thy blood.
3 If thou hast my discharge procured,
And freely in my room endured
The whole of wrath divine:
Payment God cannot twice demand,
First at my bleeding Surety’s hand,
And then again at mine.
4 Turn then, my soul, unto thy rest;
The merits of thy great High Priest
Have bought thy liberty:
Trust in his efficacious blood,
Nor fear thy banishment from God,
Since Jesus died for thee.
Augustus M. Toplady, 1772.