God's Remedy for Guilt / The Perfect Sacrifice
Derek Prince
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The Four Aspects of the Cross Series
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God's Remedy for Guilt / The Perfect Sacrifice

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Part 1 of 2: The Four Aspects of the Cross

By Derek Prince

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Be encouraged and inspired with this Bible-based sermon by Derek Prince.

Be encouraged and inspired with this Bible-based sermon by Derek Prince.

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Part 1 – God’s Remedy for Guilt

Now one of the things that God is developing amongst His people at this time is the power of proclamation. I know that it’s something very familiar to our musicians here on the platform and to the leaders. I’ve been recently in New Zealand and they’re really laying hold of this, in a way, new weapon of proclamation. It is something that God has been teaching Ruth and me for several years now. It’s a major part of our total spiritual arsenal. We have probably at least fifty passages of scripture that we proclaim. We don’t normally do this in front of a congregation, we do it in our room when we’re praying and I say we’re not talking to the walls, we’re not talking to the ceiling but we’re talking to a vast, invisible, spiritual world. And in this way we are impacting that spiritual world with the purposes of God.

In our audience is God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. And, an innumerable company of angels, I believe in festal array. There’s also a whole world of satanic angels and demonic beings. But, we’re speaking out the word of God. When we’ve come to the end of our own resources and we don’t know what to pray and the pressures are mounting, we resort to proclamation. But we don’t wait for that to happen.

So, we’re going to make a proclamation, one of the ones we regularly make, it’s taken from Daniel 2:20–22 and Daniel 4:34–35. It’s one of those passages of scripture that states so powerfully the absolute sovereignty and authority of our God.

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever; for wisdom and might are His, and He changes the times and the seasons. He removes kings and raises up kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things. He knows what is in the darkness and the light dwells with him. For His dominion is an everlasting dominion and His kingdom from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are refuted as nothing. He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand or say to Him, `What have you done?’”

That’s the God we’re praying to, that’s the God we’re worshiping.

For me personally, I think this is a kind of appointment that God made 36 years ago. Perhaps you may wonder at that statement, I’d like to explain it briefly. In the first half of the 1950s I was pastoring a very small congregation in Bayswater in London. When I say small, I mean small. At that time there was, I would say, no evidence whatever of spiritual life to be discerned anywhere in Britain. The prevailing mood was one of indifference which is, I think, the hardest thing to encounter in the ministry of the Lord. My first wife and I and a number of us gave ourselves to fasting and prayer for revival. We saw, really, absolutely no evidence that our prayers were making any difference.

But, in 1953—and I remember when because it was about a year before the first Billy Graham crusade in Harringay—when, as I say, spiritual life was at its lowest ebb. God awoke me about 2:00 A.M. one night and He spoke to me audibly. I will tell you part of what He said. “There shall be a great revival in the United States and Great Britain.” At that time I was very little concerned about the United States. Then He spoke to me something that is personal and then He closed with these words which I think are very important for us today. “But the condition is obedience in small things and in great things, for the small things are as great as the great things.” I believe if we want to follow through on our prayers that is one essential condition. We’ve invited the Holy Spirit, we’ve yielded to the Holy Spirit and now we have to be willing to obey the Holy Spirit even if He asks us to do things that seem very unconventional or for which we can see no special purpose.

I’m also particularly happy to be in this gathering which, in my experience, is somewhat unique. I’ve preached for many years, I’ve never been in a gathering quite like this. I consider it an honor and a privilege to be here. But about 3 or 4 years ago I was with a friend of mine who may be known by name to some of you, Ross Paterson, in Singapore. We were just looking idly into some shop window without any real thought of making any purchase and Ross said to me spontaneously, “The church has got so many things in its shop window today that they’ve lost sight of the cross.” I thought to myself that really is true. I began to meditate on it and ponder on it and I saw we have put so many other things in the window which are legitimate, scriptural things, but we have forgotten that the only source of every blessing and every mercy of God is the cross. And if we ever get diverted from the cross all these other blessings cease to have any real significance.

As I meditated on that over some years I came to this conclusion which I’ll share with you. The problem in the western church primarily, although it has also other applications, the problem is that two things have been displaced. We have displaced the cross from the center and we have displaced Jesus from His position as head. I’ve come to see that until we make the cross central again Jesus will never have His rightful position as head.

I’ve been asked to teach just briefly on the theme of the cross in relationship to spiritual warfare. I would like to introduce what I have to say by reading from Ephesians 6:12–18:

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood...”

I think the Living Bible says:

“We are not wrestling with persons with bodies but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints...”

You’ll observe there that Paul begins with spiritual warfare and ends with intercession. And it’s my conviction and experience that intercession will inevitably lead to spiritual warfare. Ultimately, you cannot be successful in intercession unless you learn the principles of spiritual warfare.

So, I very simply today want to ask and offer my answer to two questions. First of all, why is there a war? And secondly, why do we need the cross? A lot of Christians today are talking about spiritual warfare. I thank God for it. Forty years ago hardly anybody ever talked about spiritual warfare. It’s a mark of progress in the understanding of God’s people.

But I think a lot of Christians who talk about spiritual warfare aren’t very clear as to why there is a war. Now to answer that question fully I could either write a book or preach for several hours. I’m going to give a very brief answer and I’m not going to turn to a lot of passages of scripture. I would be prepared to do so if time permitted but I want to give a very simple outline answer.

At some unspecified point in the distant past one of the chief angels whose name at that time was Lucifer, the bright shining one, who was apparently head over one third of the created angels, decided that he deserved a position of equality with God. And in seeking that he fell and with his angels was cast out of the heaven of God. There’s a very specific contrast here between him and the Lord Jesus. Satan reached up and fell. Jesus stooped down and was exalted. I have a series of messages to which I give this title, “The Way Up is Down.” The higher up you want to go the lower down you better start. Jesus went lowest of all, finally to the death of the cross. And the very next verse of Philippians 2 says:

“Therefore, God also highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name.”

Why was He exalted? Because He humbled himself. Jesus said in Luke 14:

“Every one who exalts himself will be abased, and every one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

You want to be exalted? There is an absolutely sure pathway, it’s self humbling. And it is not scriptural to pray to God to make you humble. God can do a lot of things for you but He cannot make you humble. There is only one person who can do that and that is you. The Holy Spirit will give you the grace but you have to do it. The scripture invariably says humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God that He may do what? Exalt you in due season.

So this fallen angel whose name was changed to Satan, which means the adversary, the one who opposes God and His purposes and His people, set up a rival kingdom still in the heavenlies. Here is a matter for some speculation. Paul reveals there are three heavens. He talks about the third heaven—and I was a logician before I became a preacher. My logic tells me you cannot have a third heaven unless you have a first and a second. There is no way. I’m not arguing for any more heavens than three but three there are. Some people talk about the seventh heaven. I believe that’s unscriptural. In fact, somebody told me the phrase comes out of the Koran. So, if you’re really feeling good and happy and you want to express it, don’t say I’m in the seventh heaven, just say I’m on cloud nine! Because, we know there are a lot of clouds in heaven.

So, in due course—and again, time is not important—God created a new race, the Adamic race. As far as I understand, the method of creation was unique. No other creatures of God were ever created by the inbreathed breath of God. And it seems to me that one purpose of God for this race was that in some way it would take over some of the position from which Satan and his angels had fallen. For that reason I think Satan has a special hatred and enmity against our race, the Adamic race.

Immediately, Satan went to work—and I’m sure the story is familiar to most of you—he tempted man into disobedience. Adam and the whole race descended from Adam fell into transgression and became by nature rebels.

Now, this is entirely imaginary, this is seen in my imagination. But we do know that Satan even after the fall from heaven had access to the presence of God because in the first chapter of the book of Job it says the angels of God came and Satan came also with them. If you read the passage it seems that the only person who recognized Satan was the Lord. Paul says that Satan is transformed as an angel of light and apparently his disguise worked with everybody except the Lord. The Lord said, “What have you been doing, Satan?” And typically his reply was as if nothing had ever gone wrong. “I’ve been going up and down in the earth, walking to and fro,” and so on. So we do know that Satan at times, at least, has direct access to God.

This is my imaginary scene, it’s just to bring out a certain point. I can imagine Satan saying to God, “God, I know I’m a rebel and these angels of mine are rebels. We all know perfectly well our destination is that lake of fire out there. We know that’s where we’re headed. But God, I just want to remind you of one thing. You’re a just God, you cannot do anything unjust. We’re rebels, we know it. But you see these human beings that you love so much, that you’ve given so much time and care to, they’re rebels too. And when we go to that lake, they’re going to have to go too. So remember that, God, when you send us there.” I don’t know if God ever made any answer but He bided His time. And then the moment came in history when Jesus came to earth and then He went to the cross. And on the cross the scripture says in Isaiah 53:6:

“The Lord laid on Him the rebellion of us all.”

And that Hebrew word, avon, I understand means not only rebellion but all the evil consequences of rebellion. They all came upon Jesus on the cross.

And then in the 10th verse of that chapter the prophet says:

“When you make His soul a guilt offering, He shall see His seed...”

So the soul of Jesus became identified with the guilt of the entire human race. Our rebellion and its evil consequences and all our guilt came upon Jesus on the cross.

And then in the 12th verse of that 53rd chapter it says:

“He poured out His soul unto death.”

And in Leviticus 17:11 it says:

“The soul of all flesh is in the blood.”

So when Jesus poured out His blood on the cross and His body was emptied of blood, He poured out His soul as the guilt offering for all humanity. When we believe in Him and accept Him as our guilt offering we are no longer guilty. So that is God’s answer to Satan. He can with perfect justice, and He will, consign all those rebellious angels to the lake of fire. But He can exempt us from our just punishment because Jesus became the guilt offering for all of us.

And so Paul says there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. I believe the strongest weapon that Satan has against us as believers, as intercessors, as servants of God, is guilt. And that as long as he can keep us in any way feeling guilty we cannot ever do him any serious harm. I believe guilt is the root problem that has to be dealt with, especially in the area of intercession.

Now, there is a great difference between guilt and conviction of sin. The Holy Spirit convicts of sin. It’s specific. He tells us specifically what we have done wrong and He tells us what is required of us to put it right—to repent, maybe to make confession or restitution. But conviction is specific. Guilt is vague. It’s never over. Maybe we didn’t do quite enough, maybe we should have done something more, maybe there’s something that I left out. And that is Satan’s greatest single weapon against humanity. It’s the weapon of guilt.

And so, to become effective in spiritual warfare we have to learn how to be released from guilt through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. When Isaiah said that God would make the soul of Jesus a guilt offering, there’s no word for offering because under the sacrifices of the Old Covenant the offering became the guilt. Many, many Christians don’t realize that in 2Corinthians 5:21 Paul is quoting Isaiah 53:10. And in that verse he says:

“God made Him [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

There was an exchange. Our guilt came upon Jesus. He poured out His soul to death as the final all-sufficient sacrifice for our guilt and by God’s decision the righteousness of Jesus is now reckoned to us. I want to quote that verse again.

“God made Jesus who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

Do you believe that? Have you ever really grasped that? That it’s God’s purpose that you should be made righteous with the righteousness of God! Not the best you can do. In fact, in Isaiah 64:6 the prophet says:

“All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.”

The best we can do is totally unfit for God’s presence and for heaven. So don’t ever come to God on the basis of your righteousness but accept by faith that Jesus was made sin with your sinfulness that you might be made righteous with His righteousness. Ponder on that for a moment, the righteousness of Jesus Christ, a righteousness that has never known sin, a righteousness that has nothing to repent of, a righteousness that has no guilty past, a righteousness against which Satan can bring no accusation. In Isaiah 61:10 the prophet looks forward to this transaction and he says:

“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord. My soul shall be joyful in my God, for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness.”

See, there are two things there. There’s salvation and righteousness. Salvation in being saved from the consequences of sin and many other things. Many, many Christians who have put on the garments of salvation have never realized that they’ve been covered with a robe of righteousness. There’s nothing that Satan can say against you because you are totally covered with the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ. And Isaiah says I will greatly rejoice. My soul shall be joyful in my God. Do you feel that way?

I grew up in this country, regularly attending the national church, going through all its various ordinances. But in my teens, like many other people—and I think I was about one generation ahead—I became extremely critical, mainly of my elders and betters. I concluded they might be old, they weren’t really that much better. Sitting through the beautiful Anglican Sunday morning service with all its wonderful phrases, I would watch the people at the end walk out of the church and I would say to myself, “I wonder if they really believe what they’ve been saying?” I had a little mental picture of some distinguished lady walking out and dropping her beautiful lace handkerchief. I pictured myself running up behind her, picking up the handkerchief and handing it to her. Somehow I felt she would be much more excited about getting her handkerchief back than about all the things she’d been saying in church.

So, I want to challenge you. Have you really put on the robe of righteousness? Do you realize that you’re clothed with a righteousness that is not your own? That you can never achieve it by all your churchgoing, by all your prayers, by all your good works, by everything? At the end of it all you’re still infinitely far away from that righteousness which is ours through faith in Jesus Christ. I want to ask you here to consider for a moment the difference between guilt and conviction of sin. Conviction of sin is very real. If the Holy Spirit has been moving as we’ve been praying and convicting you of sin, you need to repent, you need to confess it and you need to claim God’s forgiveness and cleansing. But, if it’s not conviction of sin, if it’s some vague uneasy feeling of guilt and unworthiness, that’s not from the Holy Spirit. That’s Satan’s number one weapon against us. He is called the accuser of the brethren. Why does he accuse us? What is his aim? Tell me. What does he want to make us feel? Let’s hear the word. Guilty, that’s right, because he knows that when he has us feeling guilty he has us defeated. We can never seriously threaten his kingdom until we’re relieved of guilt. And the only way to be relieved of guilt is to put on the robe of righteousness. Really, we don’t put it on; God covers us with it. But, we have to accept that we’ve been covered.

The 8th chapter of Romans, as I interpret the Bible, is the pinnacle of the Christian life. It’s life in the Spirit, free. Life that’s filled with love, with praise and with prayer. The center part of that chapter is devoted to intercession in the Spirit. But there’s only one doorway to Romans 8 and that’s verse 1. You can’t get into that chapter any other way. You know what verse 1 says? Let’s hear you.

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Are you in Christ Jesus? Then you are not condemned. If there’s a sin that you have to confess and repent of, that’s another matter. And don’t search for them. If you search, there’ll be no end to your search. If the Holy Spirit puts His finger on something, that’s another matter.

But I want to suggest to you here that as a prelude to really getting hear to God and reaching out on behalf of sinners and the unconverted and those who are backslidden, we’re going to have to get rid of all guilt out of our lives. We’re going to have to put on not merely the garments of salvation but a robe of righteousness.

Part 2—The Perfect Sacrifice

Those of you that were here yesterday will have learned by now that Ruth and I began by making a proclamation. This one today is, in a sense, a prayer which is taken directly from scripture, but we apply the words of scripture personally. Where Paul says you, we say we. In other words, we take it and turn it for ourselves. This is in line with what I hope to be speaking about in a few minutes, it’s a prayer of Paul and an assurance from Paul in 1Thessalonians 5:23–24.

“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify us completely, and may our whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls us is faithful who also will do it.”

The theme of this convention is “Make Way For the Cross.” And as the brother said who introduced me, it is a theme that is very close to my heart. In fact, Ruth and I have been praying personally for probably at least four years for the cross to be restored to its central place in the message of the church. And so, we see this convention as just an assurance from God that He really is answering that prayer.

I would like to base what I want to say this afternoon on personal experience before I turn to the scriptures. I had a dramatic personal encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ in the summer of 1941 while serving as a local, acting, unpaid, lance corporal in the British army. I was a confused person, I had been a student of philosophy, had been elected into a fellowship in King’s College, Cambridge and then was pitchforked into the British army—which was probably the best educational experience of my life. I had grown weary of philosophic theories and I really searched everywhere I knew without finding an answer. So, in desperation I decided to take the Bible with me into the army and read that. I said to myself at least it can’t be any sillier than a lot of the theories I’ve been listening to. So I bought myself a nice, new, black Bible—I couldn’t conceive of a Bible being any color but black—and I took it with me. I hadn’t really made allowance for the impact of somebody reading the Bible in public in the British army. The first night in the barrack room with twenty-four other new recruits I sat down on my bed, pulled out my Bible and started to read at Genesis 1:1 which seemed to me to be the logical place to start to read the Bible. I can still recall the uneasy hush that fell on the whole barrack room when they realized that somebody was reading a Bible! The thing that baffled them most was that when I wasn’t reading the Bible I didn’t live the least bit like somebody who regularly reads the Bible. I’ve no desire to go into a catalog of my sins but many of them were very obvious.

And then I had an encounter with some strange people in Scarborough in Yorkshire. I couldn’t understand them and they certainly couldn’t understand me but I discovered that they had had some experience which I didn’t understand and didn’t know anything about. I said to myself I think this is what I’m looking for. But, I had no idea how to get it and the jargon that they used to explain things to me really didn’t communicate.

So, eventually I decided to do something very unconventional, I decided to pray one night until something happened. I had no idea what would happen. For about one hour I struggled in vain to pray. I didn’t know who I was praying to, I didn’t know what I was to say; it was totally frustrating. And then round about midnight—and I was the only person awake in the room—I was aware of someone present with me. I didn’t know who the person was but I found myself crying out to this person, “Unless you bless me I will not let you go.” And each time I said those words “I will not let you go,” I meant them more than the previous time. Then something came over me and carried me off the stool I was sitting on, deposited me on the floor and in the middle of the night in my underwear I was on my back on the floor for probably one or two hours. I got what those people had. I still didn’t know the name for it but I had it. And that one encounter completely, radically and permanently changed the whole course of my life. From that next morning onwards I was a totally different person. I wasn’t a perfect person but I was a different person. I’ve never been the same since. That was 48 years ago and if a thing last for 48 years it probably is permanent.

Then the army sent me overseas and I found myself for the next three years in the deserts of Egypt, Libya and the Sudan. I realized that there’s a purpose in going through the desert. God led His people to the Promised Land through the desert. The desert strips you of a lot of nonessentials and brings you down face to face with things that you really need to survive.

There in the desert I became sick with a condition of the skin which the doctors in that climate and in those days were not able to cure. I spent almost exactly one year on end in military hospitals in Egypt. After I’d been in hospital a good many months, a most remarkable lady, one of the most unusual ladies I’ve ever encountered, she was a lady brigadier in the Salvation Army. She was a brigadier because her husband had been a brigadier. When he died she automatically took his rank. What made her very unusual was she was a tongue speaking Salvation Army brigadier and she was as militant about tongue speaking as Salvationists are about salvation. She got hold of a small car and a New Zealand soldier to drive it and took her American coworker who was from the State of Oklahoma, a young woman, and made the journey—which was a difficult journey to make at that time—of more than 50 miles to visit me in that hospital. She marched into the ward in her full Salvation attire with a bonnet, ribbons, a long skirt and a lot of other things; overawed the nurse and obtained permission for me to go out and sit with them in the car and pray. She didn’t ask me whether I wanted to pray, she just decided we were going to pray. I found myself sitting on the back seat of this very small four-seater car beside the American lady from the State of Oklahoma. I don’t think much British people know much about the State of Oklahoma but I could say this, that culture wise a don from Cambridge and a young lady from the State of Oklahoma were about as far apart as you could find in the English-speaking world.

After we’d been praying a while this young lady beside me began to speak in tongues, which I had already become familiar with. Not merely did she speak in tongues, she began to vibrate. She was shaking. And then I realized that I was shaking. Then I realized that everybody in the car was shaking. Then I realized that the whole car was shaking! It was stationary, the engine was not running, but it was shaking and vibrating as if it had been going a considerable speed on a rough road. Instantly I realized God was doing all this for my benefit.

After she had spoken in an unknown tongue this lady gave the interpretation in English. And I happen to have specialized in Shakespearean English and I was so impressed by the beauty of the English that she spoke. I don’t recall most of what was said but there was one or two sentences which were burned into my consciousness and have been there ever since. I knew that the words were spoken to me. She said:

“Consider the work of Calvary. A perfect work, perfect in every respect, perfect in every aspect.”

And having studied Greek since I was 10 years old, my mind immediately went to the Greek New Testament and the final word that Jesus spoke on the cross, “It is finished”—which is a very inadequate translation—is the perfect tense of a verb that means to do something perfectly. So you could say it’s perfectly perfect or it’s completely complete. And so when she spoke those words, “a perfect work, perfect in every respect, perfect in every aspect,” I immediately said that’s the Holy Spirit’s interpretation of what Jesus said, “It is finished.” I realized that God was showing me that the answer to my need was to be found in what Jesus had done on my behalf on the cross, that every need that could ever arise in my life had been provided for by that sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. It was perfect in every respect, it didn’t matter what the need might be, whether it was spiritual or physical, material or financial, temporal or eternal—it was covered. It was perfect in every aspect. It didn’t matter from what point of view I viewed the cross, it was perfect.

When I got out of that car I was just as sick as I had been when I got in but I knew that God had showed me where to find the answer to my needs. And for the next probably three to five months in the hospital I did what the Holy Spirit told me to do. I considered the work of Calvary. And when I had become sufficiently convinced that on the cross Jesus not merely bore my sins but He also took my sicknesses and by His wounds I was healed, I was discharged from the hospital and within three months I was perfectly healed. But I did not get out of the hospital until I had come face to face with what Jesus did for me on the cross.

I want to tell you here this afternoon it doesn’t matter what need you have in your life, it doesn’t matter what your problem is, it doesn’t matter what you’re praying for—whether it’s personal, individual or whether it covers the whole church, the whole nation or the whole world—there’s only one basis on which God will meet you and answer your prayer. That is the cross. But that’s an all sufficient basis. You never can come to God through the cross in vain. Every need, every situation, every problem is covered by the cross.

Now let me turn to the scripture. Just one passage from Hebrews 10, beginning at verse 11. This passage is a contrast between the priests of the Old Testament and Jesus as the High Priest of the New Covenant. And the contrast is brought out in two positions: the priests of the Old Covenant always stood, they never sat down; but the priest of the New Covenant, after He offered one sacrifice forever, sat down at the right hand of God. There’s the contrast. Why did the Old Testament priest remain standing? Because their task was never complete. Why did Jesus sit down? Because His task was totally complete, He would never have to do it again.

Let me read those words.

“Every priest [that’s Old Testament priest] stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices which can never take away sins; but this man [Jesus] after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting until His enemies are made His footstool. For by one sacrifice He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.”

That’s the strongest possible linguistic forms for expressing the completeness of what Jesus did. By one sacrifice He has perfected. We have again exactly the same thing as the word that He spoke on the cross, it’s the perfect tense of a verb that means to do something perfectly. And the perfect tense means it’s done and it’s finished. It never has to be done again, it never needs to be repeated. And it says He has perfected forever. It covers all time and all eternity. By the one sacrifice He has perfected forever.

And then we come to the human element, those who are being sanctified. And here the tense changes. Now, if you have the Old King James Version it doesn’t have the correct tense there. This New King James got the tense right. It’s those who are being sanctified. What Jesus has done is perfect. Our appropriation of it is progressive. It’s so important to understand that. You will meet people who tell you I got it all when I was born again. I sometimes respond to that if you have it all, just show it to us, let’s see it. Don’t just talk about it. But it’s perfectly true. Legally you did get it all when you were born again. You became a child of God, an heir of God and a co-heir with Jesus Christ. The entire inheritance was legally yours. But experientially you didn’t yet have it. Let’s be honest. None of us has yet appropriated all that Jesus has done for us on the cross. We are being sanctified. There’s a process going on in us through which what Jesus has done on the cross is being worked into our lives.

I personally think you could express the Christian life this way, it’s the transition from the legal to the experiential. When you’re born again, legally it’s all yours. But, experientially you’ve got to make it yours. In John 1 it says about the new birth:

“As many as received Him [Jesus], to them He gave authority to become children of God.”

What you get at the new birth is wonderful, it’s authority to become. But authority means nothing unless you use it. How much use have you made of that authority in your life since you were born again? How much have you become and how much do you still have to become?

And the process by which we become is described here in Hebrews as being sanctified. Sanctified is a word that troubles a lot of people today. Although it’s a very important word, you really can’t understand the New Testament unless you know what to sanctify is. Literally it means to make holy. And particularly it means to set apart to God. So, by a process that began at the new birth, we are entitled to appropriate the total provision of Jesus through His death on the cross. But the process is being sanctified. That’s why Ruth and I quoted that scripture, 1Thessalonians 5:23:

“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify us completely, and may our whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

What an amazing prayer! To be sanctified completely—spirit, soul and body. If you’re like me, there’s something in your that rises up and says that’s what I want. I haven’t got there yet but I don’t want to stop short of it. Spirit, soul and body.

Let me just say something more about being sanctified. In John 10:36 Jesus says of Himself that the Father sanctified Him and sent Him into the world. You might say how can Jesus need to be sanctified, He was always perfectly holy. That’s true but He was sanctified by the Father in the sense that He was set apart to a special task for which the Father was sending Him into the world which only He could fulfill. So, the Father sanctified Jesus, set Him apart to the task to become the savior of the world, the king of all nations.

But in John 17:19, in His great high priestly prayer, Jesus says to the Father:

“Sanctify them [the disciples] through thy truth. . .”

Then He says in case we should have any doubt about the agent of sanctification:

“. . .thy word is the truth.”

Do you believe that? It’s important to decide whether you believe it or not because many, many churchgoers today don’t believe that. Would you be willing to say that? “Thy word is the truth.” Can you say that with me? “Thy word is the truth.” Let’s say it again. “Thy word is the truth.” Once more. “Thy word is the truth.”

And then Jesus said:

“For their sakes I sanctify myself.”

There’s the two steps in sanctification. First of all, God sanctifies us. It all begins with God. Anything that’s of any importance in the Christian life, the initiative must come from God. God sanctifies us, He has a special task in life, a special work for each of us to accomplish, a special goal for each of us to reach. He sanctifies us, He sets us apart. But it only becomes effective when we make the response that Jesus made. I sanctify myself. Whatever God has chosen for me to do, whatever task He has in life for me, whatever place in the body of Christ, I now set myself apart to that. I make that my goal, I make that my ambition. I make that my supreme objective in living. I sanctify myself to be an intercessor, to be a part of the body of Christ, to have some ministry. It may be a very inconspicuous ministry or it may be a very dramatic ministry but it’s not you to choose.

I feel today—I didn’t plan this—but I feel I’d be stopping short of the will of God if I were not to give you one opportunity to make a decision here. Those of you who are called to be intercessors—not everybody is called to be an intercessor—and you need to know whether you’re called to be an intercessor or not. I want you to ponder on that for a moment. And, if you’re uncertain, don’t act. But those of you who know in your heart that’s what God called you to be is an intercessor, a priest, the highest ministry because king and priest go together and we are a kingdom of priests. The only people entitled to be in the kingdom are priests. If you really feel here today, if the Holy Spirit is quickening it to you right now—intercession, that’s my role—maybe some of you have been groping and you’re looking at other Christians and thinking maybe I ought to do this or do that. But since you’ve been here in this wonderful atmosphere, since you’ve seen some patterns of intercession, you’ve said that’s what God has called me to. Primarily, not necessarily exclusively. Right now you would like to do what Jesus did, to sanctify yourself to that particular role which God has assigned to you. You say I sanctify myself to the task of intercession. If you want to do that and I’m trying to make it not a matter of emotion, emotion isn’t the decisive thing, it’s the will, the understanding. But, if you want to do that I believe you’d please God today if you’d set yourself apart. You may have been set apart for years but this is a decisive moment when you set yourself apart to be an intercessor.

Now, if you’re not called, please, there are many other exciting and wonderful tasks. But what the church needs more than anything else at the moment is intercessors.

Now, the people on the platform haven’t authorized me to do this but I feel God is pressing me to do it. If you’d like to set yourself apart now to God for that—this is a solemn moment because it’s going to determine the priorities in your life, it’s going to determine the way you spend your time, it’s going to determine how much time you spend talking to people when you could be talking to God. It’s going to determine how much time you spend with your Bible. But, God is speaking to you and you’d like to respond. I’d just like you to do one thing, stand to your feet right where you are if you say today, “I am sanctifying myself as an intercessor to God.” Then I’m going to ask the leadership here to come and pray for you.

“Lord Jesus Christ, you who are the great intercessor and the great high priest, we thank you now for every one who has been prompted by your Spirit to make that response. We lift them up to you now, we pray that you will stretch out your invisible but mighty army, lay your hand upon them right now and anoint them and set them apart just like the priests in the tabernacle were set apart by the holy anointing oil. Let the anointing oil of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, come upon each one who is standing here now. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

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Code: MV-4309-100-ENG
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