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We’re going to begin again this session by repeating Hebrews 10:14 together in unison. This is our key verse. Are you ready?
“For by one sacrifice he has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.”
In the previous sessions we dealt with this theme that the death of Jesus on the cross was not an accident, it was not something that was forced upon Him, it was not something that God had not foreseen; but it was a sacrifice that God had ordained in which Jesus, as the priest, offered Himself to God as the sacrifice. And by that one sacrifice He made provision for all the needs of the whole human race in every area of our lives for time and for eternity.
I explained that the essence of the sacrifice was that it was a divinely ordained exchange. I want to emphasize this. I would say, in my experience, it took me years to see this clearly. But when I saw it, as they say, it was like a light went on. I really understood what had been accomplished. In this divinely ordained exchange all the evil that was due by justice to our sin came upon Jesus that all the good that was due to the sinless obedience of Jesus might be made available to us. More simply, all the evil came upon Jesus that all the good might be offered to us.
And you remember that I related how God spoke to me in a car in the compound of a hospital in Egypt? He said, “Consider the work of Calvary: a perfect work. Perfect in every respect, perfect in every aspect.” And so, what we are doing is looking at different aspects of that perfect work. Altogether in these studies we’ll probably look at about eight or nine or ten different aspects of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.
Yesterday we concluded by dealing with the first two aspects which are unfolded in Isaiah 53:4–5. We won’t turn there immediately but simply say the first is that Jesus was punished for our sins that we might be forgiven. And having been forgiven that we might have peace with God.
And then on the physical plane, or if you like, in the physical aspect, Jesus was wounded physically that we might be healed physically. This is a truth which has been concealed from millions and millions of Christians over the years. The physical aspect of the atonement.
I pointed out to you that in the New Testament, in the Greek, the standard word for “to save” is used probably a dozen times to describe physical healing, deliverance from demons, and even a little girl being raised from the dead. So that all this is included in the provision of God through the sacrifice of Jesus.
I’d like to say those two exchanges, I invite you to say them with me. Remember, we use our left hand for the bad things and our right hand for the good things. And remember that your left hand is on the opposite side to my left hand because we’re facing one another. Okay? And just be careful you don’t hit your neighbor on the nose. All right, are you ready? “Jesus was punished that we might be forgiven. Jesus was wounded that we might be healed.” If you really believe that there’s something you have to do. What’s that? Say thank you, that’s right. See, I’m going to come later when I explain how to appropriate that the real way to appropriate all the things we have to do are very simple. And one of the simplest and most practical ways to appropriate what God has done is to thank Him for it. If you really believe it you’re bound to say thank you. Or else you’re a very ungrateful person. And so, when you say thank you, you are actually releasing your faith. The Bible says in everything give thanks. In how many things? That’s right.
All right. Now we’re going to the next aspect of the exchange which is very simply sin and righteousness. We have to distinguish between sins plural and sin singular. Sins plural are the sinful acts that we have committed. And Jesus was punished that those sinful acts might be forgiven. Sin singular is the evil power or the evil nature that causes us to commit sins plural. Have you got that, it’s important. There’s sin singular which is an evil power, an evil nature, that causes us to commit sins plural. And until that evil power has been dealt with, our deliverance from sin is not complete. But the revelation of scripture in Isaiah is that on the cross the soul of Jesus was made sin as a sin offering with our sinfulness.
Now what’s the opposite of sinfulness? It’s righteousness. That we might be made righteous with His righteousness. Let’s look at that now in the scriptures. Again, this is a truth which I find most, quote, Evangelical or Charismatic or whatever kind of Christian you call yourselves are not really aware of. It’s like the devil has tried to steal our inheritance from us. If you really grasp what I’m trying to teach you this morning you will have to be excited. And if you’re not excited I’ll know you haven’t grasped it.
I’m a logician by background. I’m not talking about emotionalism, I’m talking about the only logical response to what God has done for us. So we’ll be checking on you to see.
Isaiah 53:10, still a part of this great atonement chapter, says:
“Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him [him is Jesus], he has put him to grief...”
I’d like to comment on that but it would take too long.
“...when you make his soul an offering for sin he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.”
There is a clear prediction of the resurrection of Jesus. After He had been made the sin offering it says He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. That couldn’t happen if he remained dead.
But let’s focus on that statement that God the Father, as I understand it, made the soul of Jesus the sin offering, or the guilt offering. The key word there really is guilt. Now we have to understand that the sacrifices of the Old Covenant were just a preview of what God was really going to do through the sacrifice of Jesus. Under the Old Covenant, if a man committed a certain type of sin he was required to find the appropriate offering. It might be a bull, it might be a goat, it might be a sheep. And, he would bring it to the priest at the tabernacle and confess his sin. And the priest would lay his hands on the head of the animal, and by that act symbolically transferred the man’s sin from the man to the animal. And then when the sin had been transferred to the animal the priest would exact the penalty from the animal and not from the man. And he would kill the sacrificial animal. The animal, in a certain sense, paying the penalty for the man’s sin.
But in that ceremony the sin of the offerer was transferred from him to the sacrifice. All that is just a picture of what happened when Jesus was on the cross. God the Father transferred the sin of humanity to the soul of Jesus. And we have this amazing statement which none of us will ever fully fathom, that His soul was made the sin offering for the human race. When we consider the absolute purity and holiness of Jesus, none of us can even begin to see what was involved in making His soul the sin offering to humanity. I think many of us, if we were to think back on our past lives, would think of things that we wish would have never happened, things that we’d be embarrassed to remember. And we’d feel a kind of revulsion. But think of the sinless Son of God taking upon Himself the total sinfulness of the entire race. I believe that was the cup that He was reluctant to drink. I don’t think it was primarily the physical suffering, although that was very real, but I think it was the awful burden of human sin that he was going to take upon Himself that He said, “If it be possible, let this cup be removed from me.” But then He said, “Nevertheless, not my will but thine be done.”
So on the cross Jesus was made sin with our sinfulness. Now we need to turn to the New Testament, to 2 Corinthians 5:21. Many of you have read this without realizing that Paul was quoting Isaiah 53:10. Because, we have to understand that the sin offering became sin so that the same word is used for sin or guilt and for the guilt offering. It’s one of the same words, it’s not different. So now, reading in 2 Corinthians 5:21 it says:
“God made Jesus, who knew no sin, to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
Now, there’s the exchange very, very clear. Jesus was made sin with our sinfulness—now I want you to be ready to complete this—that we might be made righteous with His righteousness. Not ours but His. It’s the righteousness of God. This is staggering but it’s scriptural. We could never apprehend this by simply trying or being good. There’s only one way to apprehend this, that’s by faith. We have to believe, I would say, incredible statement that Jesus was made sin with our sinfulness that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Now I want to say before you this morning I believe that. I don’t believe it because I’ve earned it or because I’ve tried to. I believe it because I believe the Bible and it’s in the Bible. It’s a breathtaking revelation.
In the Old Testament, again in the prophet Isaiah who is often called the gospel in the Old Testament, Isaiah 61, we have a very beautiful picture of this exchange and its results. Isaiah 61:10:
“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord.”
Not I will be moderately happy but I will greatly rejoice. The Hebrew is so emphatic. The word for “to rejoice” in Hebrew is sous. And when you’re really emphatic in Hebrew you repeat the verb. So this is sous asees adoni. I will rejoice rejoicing in the Lord.
“My soul shall be joyful in my God...”
Now why? Here’s the reason.
“For he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness.”
Notice there’s a double transaction. First of all, salvation. God takes away the filthy garments of our sin and clothes us with the garments of salvation. I trust that everybody here has been clothed with the garment of salvation. This is a personal matter, you have to make your mind up. But what I want to tell you is it’s wonderful to be clothed with the garment of salvation but don’t stop there because that’s not the end. He has also covered me with a robe of righteousness. One of the modern versions says “he has wrapped me around with a robe of righteousness.” So when I am saved, if I will accept it, I can be clothed with the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ. And the technical religious word for that is justified.
Now you need to know that in the Biblical language just and righteous are the same word. So justified means made righteous, made just. I’d like to give you just a little sort of picture of what it means to be justified because a lot of people use this religious phrase and don’t really see any meaning in it. Let’s suppose you are being tried in the supreme court of the universe for a crime which you’ve been charged with for which the mandatory penalty is death. And you’re sitting there awaiting the verdict and the verdict comes back not guilty. Believe me, you’d be excited. You wouldn’t walk out of that courtroom and shake the judge by the hand and say, “Thank you, judge, it was a nice message,” tell the people that you’re sharing with, “We had a good meeting this morning.” You would be so excited you’d embrace your wife, you’d jump up and down, you’d say, “I’m free! I’m acquitted! I’m not guilty!” A tremendous burden would roll off your shoulders. That’s what it is to be justified. Your case has been tried in the supreme court of heaven and the court has handed down the verdict—not guilty. Amen. Not guilty!
I’ll give you a few words which sum up justify. You’re acquitted, okay? You’re not guilty. You’re reckoned righteous. That’s one of the meanings of the Greek word. But you’re not merely reckoned righteous, you’re made righteous. Same word. So, you’ve probably heard this, I think I’ve done a lot to propagate it in the Body of Christ. When I say I’m justified I mean I’m “just-as-if-I’d” never sinned. Let me say that again. Why don’t we say that? You say it after me if you really believe it. “I’m justified, I’m just-as-if-I’d never sinned, because I’ve been made righteous with the righteousness of God.” Which has never known sin. It has no guilty parts, there’s nothing on which the devil can put his finger and say you’re guilty. Nothing left, it’s totally abolished.
See, I tell you, if you really understood that you couldn’t help being excited. When I attended the Anglican Church over the years as a boy in Britain, and this is no criticism of the Anglican Church. It has the most beautiful liturgy and the most lovely words. But in my critical teenage mind I looked at the people who said those words and I said to myself it doesn’t seem to me they really believe what they’re saying. I had a little mental picture of one of these dignified ladies walking out of the church and I walking behind her. And she dropped her lace handkerchief. So I run up behind her, pick up the handkerchief and say, “Madam, here’s your handkerchief. You’ve dropped it.” And she’d get much more excited about getting her handkerchief back than all the things she’d said in church. Because, they’d never been made real to her.
What I’m seeking to do this morning is make real to you the fact that you are justified. There’s nothing in the record of heaven against you. There’s nothing that the devil can accuse you of if you keep your position in Christ.
See, the devil’s primary weapon against humanity is guilt. I would warn you to be very careful about anything or anyone that makes you feel guilty. Because, I don’t believe that comes from God. The Holy Spirit convicts of sin, of righteousness, of judgment. That’s totally different. When the Holy Spirit convicts of sin, He says, “You did that and you did that. It was wrong. You need to repent and you need to put it right. And this is how you put it right.” And when you’ve repented and put it right, the matter is closed. There’s no afterthoughts, there’s no further maybe you should have or perhaps I didn’t. But guilt is not that way. With guilt you never quite know if you’ve done enough. Somebody says you didn’t treat me right and you rejected me and I feel upset and hurt. It doesn’t matter what you say or do to that person, it’s never enough. That’s not the Holy Spirit, that’s another power.
Be on your guard against anything that makes you feel guilty because, in my opinion, it is never God. It’s a denial of the work of the cross. Don’t reject the conviction of the Holy Spirit, that’s totally different. The conviction of the Holy Spirit is specific. It says this and this is what you did and you need to repent. And when you’ve confessed and repented and maybe done whatever was necessary to make restitution, that’s it, the book is closed.
Let’s look at just a couple of scriptures about the devil’s attempt to make Christians feel guilty. And he’ll succeed unless you base your stand on the sacrifice of Jesus. There’s no other basis on which we can meet the devil and win but the basis of the cross. Isaiah 54:17. This is a promise to God’s people and to each child of God.
“No weapon formed against you shall prosper.”
That’s good news, isn’t it? Nothing the devil can do as a weapon against you will succeed. Just relax for a moment, he’s not going to succeed. He’ll try hard but he’ll fail. And then it says:
“And every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn.”
Notice, God doesn’t say I’ll condemn, He says you condemn. On the basis of what Jesus has done for you on the cross, you reject those accusations, you do not come under the guilt and the condemnation. You know what Romans 8:1 says?
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
And you’ll notice if you study Romans, Romans 8 is the picture of the Spirit controlled life. But verse 1 is the entrance. And the only entrance is no condemnation. You cannot live the Spirit controlled life if you’re under condemnation. You have to learn to deal with condemnation. God says you condemn them.
And then he says why. I’ll read it again.
“Every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage [the inheritance] of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from me, says the Lord.”
It’s not your righteousness, it’s my righteousness I’ve transferred to you. And on that basis you can reject every accusation against you. You are not guilty. You’re covered with the robe of righteousness. It doesn’t matter from what angle the devil approaches you. All he sees is the righteousness of Christ.
Let’s look at one final scripture, Revelation 12:10–11. This is, I believe, a picture of the final conflict of the ages which is primarily a spiritual conflict between the people of God and the kingdom of Satan. This is my view of it. And it says:
“The inhabitants of heaven said, ‘Now salvation and strength and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ have come. For the accuser of our brethren who accused him before our God day and night has been cast out.’”
I believe this is still in the future. Who is the accuser? I didn’t hear you. Satan. You do know that. What is he doing? Accusing us. Where? Before the throne of God. That’s amazing but we can’t go into that. Why is he accusing us? What does he want to prove us? One word, guilty, that’s right. That’s his weapon. Continual accusation. And believe me, if you don’t know how to keep yourself, he has access to your mind and he’ll have all sorts of accusations.
Then it says:
“They [God’s people] overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony...”
How do we do that? We testify personally to what the word says the blood of Jesus does for us. That’s how we overcome him. I’m going to say that again and we close. We testify personally to what the word says the blood does for us. And Satan has no answer.
Part 6 – Death vs. Life
Our theme with which we’re continuing is the divinely ordained exchange which took place when Jesus hung and died on the cross. So far we’ve looked at these aspects of the exchange, which I will recapitulate very briefly.
Jesus was punished that we might be forgiven.
Jesus was wounded that we might be healed.
And Jesus was made sin with our sinfulness that we might be made righteous with His righteousness.
And what do you say next? Thank you, that’s right.
All right. Now we’re going to go on to the next aspect of the exchange which is very simple. Jesus died our death that we might share His life. I think we’ll say that together, you can handle that. “Jesus died our death that we might share His life.” You remember He said in John 10:10:
“The thief [that’s the devil] only comes to steal, to kill and to destroy; but I have come that they might have life, and have it more abundantly.”
But it cost Him His life to make life available to us. A familiar scripture in Romans 6:23 which all good soul winners always know, Romans 6:23:
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
You’re aware, I’m sure, that there’s a deliberate contrast there between two things, wages and free gift. Your wages are what you’ve earned for what you’ve done. They’re justice. Anyone who withholds your wages is unjust. But the free gift is something that you cannot earn. Lots of people say, “All I want is justice.” It’s a very foolish thing to say. Because, if you want justice, God is absolutely just and you will get it. But justice demands that you receive your wages, and your wages are death. As a matter of fact, I think it was Loren Cunningham who related this little incident which illustrates this, about the lady who wanted to have her portrait photograph taken. She went to the studio and posed, the photograph was taken. She went back to look at the proofs and she didn’t like what she saw. So she said to the photographer, “These don’t do me justice.” He looked at her and said, “Madam, you don’t need justice, you need mercy!” And I’ve thought about that ever since. From time to time I say to myself I don’t need justice, I need mercy.
So, the alternative to justice is mercy. If you decline your wages you qualify to receive the free, unearned gift which is eternal life. But that only comes because Jesus took our wages, He took the wages of sin which were due to us and He received them in our place.
Hebrews 2:9 states this very clearly. It’s a reference to a prediction of Jesus being glorified and everything being put under His feet. But the writer says at the present time that prediction has not been completely fulfilled. He says:
“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that he, by the grace of God might taste death for every one.”
So Jesus tasted death on behalf of, or in the place of every descendant of Adam. He was the last Adam. You remember the two titles from 1 Corinthians 15? First of all, He was the last Adam, then He was the second man. As the last Adam he terminated the whole evil inheritance that was due to Adam and all his descendants, including you and me. And when He died He said it is finished, that’s the end. When He was buried it was buried with Him. And then when He rose again on the third day He was the second man, the head of a new race.
We need to look back into the Old Covenant to the principles of divine justice to understand precisely the nature of this exchange. I pointed out to you that the Bible is the only book which as a source reveals the human problem, which is sin, and reveals the divine solution, which is the atonement. So, it is foolish to look outside of the Bible for some alternative solution. Let’s turn, therefore, to the principles of justice which were laid down in the law of Moses. I want to turn to Exodus 21:23–25. Speaking about a situation in which one person has wrongfully injured another, this is the principle:
“If any lasting harm follows, then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.”
So the principle is there has to be something of equal value in place of that which was destroyed. The first sentence says you shall give life for life. We need to face the fact that translation sometimes obscures some of the meaning. This is very true with the word life both in the Old Testament and in the New. In the New Testament actually there are three completely different words, all of which are translated in English life. I don’t want to get involved in this but one is psuche which is soul, one is zoe which is eternal life, and one is bios which is natural life. But they’re all translated life in most versions. In the Hebrew there is a word, a very interesting word, which is the word for soul. When it says Adam became a living soul, this is the word. I won’t write it up in Hebrew because that won’t mean much to most of you. But that is the word, nefesh. Can you read that, my rather squiggly writing? Now, that means soul, soul or life. Or, person. There are various other meanings but those are the main translations. So, Adam became a living nefesh, a person. Out of the union of the Spirit of God and clay there emerged something totally new, a person, a new life, a new personality, a nefesh.
And so, when it says life for life, the Hebrew says nefesh for nefesh. Soul for soul. In other words, if one person has died, another soul has to pay the penalty. That’s the principle. Just to look again in Deuteronomy 19:21, you find the same principle again, just to look at it there.
“Your eye shall not pity, but life shall be for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.”
Where it says life shall be for life, the Hebrew is nefesh in place of nefesh, one soul in place of another soul.
This is, I would say, one of the great basic revelations of the Old Testament which has been obscured, I think, for a good many Christians who only read in translation. I think the same would probably apply to people who read in the Scandinavian languages or German or French, or various other languages. I’m not too sure of that, I don’t make a positive statement about it.
Now, going to Leviticus 17:11, we have:
“For the life of the flesh is in the blood...”
And it’s God speaking, this is a marvelous prophetic scripture.
“...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.”
If you look to the beginning of the verse it says “the life of the flesh,” the Hebrew says nefesh. The soul of the flesh is in the blood. See, man has spirit and soul and body. And when the spirit leaves he ceases breathing. When the soul leaves, his blood no longer flows, it no longer circulates. We mustn’t get involved in that, we’ll be dealing with that next month, but let’s leave that out for the time being.
So, the soul of the flesh is in the blood. And then God says, “I have given it [the soul or the life] on the altar to make atonement for your soul.” One soul has to make atonement for another soul. Do you understand that? But the making of the atonement, the giving of the soul life is in the blood, it’s in the blood that the soul resides. There are a lot of implications to that. For instance, I have to be careful of what I say because who knows where this will end. But my wife Ruth at present is on medication that thins her blood, which a lot of other people are on too, incidentally, we’ve discovered. And it has a certain effect on your personality. It’s not just physical, it goes further than that because soul is in the blood. Do you understand? There’s just a practical indication of how real this is.
Now, we come to the great atonement chapter and here is one of the wonderful revelations of scripture, going back to Isaiah 53, the closing verse, this is speaking about the servant of the Lord and what he has done in his sufferings. And then his resurrection, you remember, because in verse 10 it said “he shall prolong his days, the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper his hand.” It says therefore, because of all that he’s done:
“I will divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul unto death, and he was numbered with the transgressors, he bore the sin of many, made intercession for the transgressors.”
Notice that statement “he poured out his soul unto death.” I’m inclined to think that some of the other modern translations probably use the word life, is that right, in place of soul? You understand, you always got those options in translation.
Now, here is the essence of the whole revelation, how did Jesus pour out His soul to death? In what? I want to hear you say that. In His blood, that’s right. So that when Jesus’ body was emptied of His blood on the cross, His soul was given on behalf of all humanity. Personally, as I read the account of the crucifixion I form the impression that basically His body was emptied of blood. First of all, they pierced His hands and His feet. They lacerated His back. He was bleeding profusely and after He had actually expired, you remember, a soldier thrust a spear into His heart and there came out water and blood. It was like the whole blood contents of His body was poured out on the cross. This was His offering of His soul on behalf of all the Adamic race. He was the last Adam.
How shall I try to express this? For years I believed in the atonement, I believed that Jesus was the sin offering. I believed that somehow it made provision for forgiveness for all humanity. But it was really only when I began to meditate on this truth about the soul in the blood that it became really vivid and logical to me. See, I’m a logician by background. And I can accept things by faith and believe them but sooner or later I want them to click logically. And I thought to myself the soul of the Son of God was given on behalf of humanity.
And then I thought about value and I thought about the life of God, the Creator, is infinitely more valuable than the life of all the creatures He’s ever created. And so, the soul of the Son of God was more than a sufficient atonement for all the souls of the whole human race. Do you understand what I’m saying? And it says in the book of Psalms, “God has provided redemption in abundance.” In other words, He not merely paid but He overpaid. And if you can grasp this it will somehow make Jesus infinitely more precious, I believe. His one soul which He gave on the cross through His blood was the offering for the redemption of the whole human race on the principle of a soul for a soul.
So, I want to emphasize that we need to be very, very careful about how we speak about the blood of Jesus. I’ve heard even Evangelical and Charismatic ministers in some way speak about the blood and say, “Well, the blood was merely negative, it’s merely paid the price of sin.” I don’t believe that. I advise you to be very careful never to entertain any negative thinking about the blood of Jesus. Of course, the church is absolutely permeated with all sorts of teachings. And some of the denominations today have removed from their hymn books every reference to the blood of Jesus. Who’s behind that? That’s right, you said it, not me.
You see, the life is in the blood. Life is not negative, is it? Life is the most positive thing that you can ever encounter. The life of God is in the blood of Jesus.
Now, if you can receive this, let’s turn on to John 6. Furthermore, I believe that when we express our appreciation of the blood of Jesus we attract the Holy Spirit. There’s that beautiful hymn of Charles Wesley, “The Spirit Answers to the Blood.” And when we really proclaim the truth about the blood of Jesus the Holy Spirit says, “That’s a meeting I like to be in. I’d like to be there. Those people are saying things I like to hear.” Because, believe me, the whole of heaven views with abhorrence anything that downgrades the blood of Jesus, as all heaven was a witness to the sacrifice in which He poured out every drop of His life blood.
So here are the words of Jesus in John 6. I want to warn you in advance that these words offended some of His disciples, they didn’t follow Him any longer. And these words still offend people today. After all, there is something, in a way, offensive about blood. Whenever I think of blood, something inside me just begins to turn over. When I was a small boy I couldn’t look at blood without vomiting. It took me years to get over this revulsion. And there’s something in every one of us that just doesn’t like the thought and the spectacle of blood. Is that right? Well, some things that are offensive are necessary. The cross is an offense. But without the cross there’s no redemption. The blood is offensive to some people but without the blood we have no hope. Our hopes are entirely dependent upon the merits of the blood of Jesus. So here we are, John 6:53 and following:
“Then Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly I say to you, unless the eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.’”
Why? Because the life is where? In the blood, that’s right.
“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is food indeed [or my flesh is true food], and my blood is true drink. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live by the Father, so he who feeds on me will live by me.”
So, our having life depends on our living by Jesus, on our appropriating what is in His blood. See, as I understand it, the only person in the universe that has life in Himself is God. And God granted to Jesus to have life in Himself, He tells us that. None of us have life in ourself, none of us are the origin of life. Every one of us is dependent for life on some other source. Actually, that’s the very essence of the word nefesh. I can’t go into it but it describes life that is dependent, it does not initiate but is dependent.
It says in 1 Corinthians 15 “the second man was made a life giving spirit.” He’s the only one who gives life. Adam was made a living soul, he had a life that was dependent on the inbreathed breath of God that came into him. So we are dependent upon God for life. And the only channel of eternal life that God has given us is the blood of Jesus. If we want life, it comes to us through the blood of Jesus. And I would suggest to you the more you learn to meditate on and honor and appropriate the blood of Jesus in your life, the fuller and more abundant your life will be in God. Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” I believe the only channel of that life is the blood of Jesus.
Now, how do we feed on the blood of Jesus? I by no means am suggesting that I have all the answers. But it so happens that I began my ministry in l946 in an Arab town in the land of Israel which is called Ramallah, which is a lot in the news these days. In those days it was a small Arab village. And although I was never fluent in Arabic, the language that we used in our home at that time was Arabic. When the Arabs want to take the Lord’s supper, do you know what they say? How would you know! “Let us drink the blood of Jesus.” So I grew up, in a certain sense, with that concept that taking the Lord’s supper is drinking the blood of Jesus. Of course, you understand, it’s not literal. I’m sure you understand that. But as I understand it, that is the way or a way in which we appropriate the life, the soul life, of the Lord Jesus that He’s made available to us.
You see, when Jesus died on the cross and poured out His blood, the life of God was released into the universe. And it’s available to anybody who will receive it through faith in Jesus. Up to that time the life of God had been confined within God. The thought of what took place when Jesus died on the cross staggers the human mind. But in the blood of Jesus poured out freely was released the total life of God. And it’s available to us only through His blood. There is no other channel of life but the blood.
I’m going to tell you something personal. When I tell this I always want to be careful that I don’t give the impression everybody ought to do what I do. But Ruth and I lead a very nomadic life, we’re always on the move. And one of the things we’ve learned is we have to have certain things that give us stability. And one thing that we do is every morning I, as the priest of the house, give communion to Ruth and myself. Come and stand up here now. And as we take communion we have learned to say—I didn’t give her any rehearsal of this and I hope it’s right:
“We thank you that in the blood of Jesus we receive the life of God—divine, eternal, endless life.”
That’s what I believe.