The Testimony of the Blood (continued)
An Elect In Bondage (continued)
Think of the sons of the "Prince of God" engaged in building store-cities for Pharaoh, and thus adding wealth and glory to his world-system instead of serving the Lord in freedom and victory! Such is the state of the elect, more or less. From the position of servitude to sin, self, the world and the devil before salvation, through all the stages and phases of spiritual weakness and defeat to paralyzing introspection and spiritual self-analysis, the true dignity of princeliness, of sonship, is assailed.
Now, if we did but know it, there is always some ground for bondage. satan must have ground. his power cannot function without ground. he was utterly impotent in the case of the Lord Jesus because there was no ground. "The prince of the world cometh: and he hath nothing in Me" (John 14:30). The ground which issues in defeat and bondage at the hands of the adversary is as varied as the bondage itself.
Is it the natural condition of the sinfulness of human nature, that what is in man is quite unfit and unsuitable for the presence of God? Is it that the Divine will represents a standard of perfection in moral excellence which sets back from God even the very best among men? Is it a secret thing, hidden in the inward parts, which in itself becomes a weapon in the enemy's hand to knock us down? Is it sin done in ignorance, where the intention was good, but where fuller light reveals that it was wrong after all? Is it sin unconsciously committed, in the sense that we did not even know that we did the thing?
Yes, all these, and many more, are grounds that satan uses - and rightly so, if we fail in one all-embracing respect. This failure is in the matter of recognizing the virtue of the precious Blood, and the worth of Him Who shed it.
In saying this we are but bringing into view the offerings of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. A close study of these offerings will reveal two things. One is that God has searched out sin and tracked it to its most hidden and secret lair, even to the place of unconsciousness. The accidental, unwitting, and unsuspected is all taken into His consideration. He regards sin no as a state, not merely as a matter of a deliberate act. It is here, universal, operating in innumerable ways and finding common ground of affection in the whole race. This all comes out so clearly in a careful reading of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers.
But, having tracked sin to its remotest haunt, God has made provision for dealing with it to the very last suggestion.
1. A whole Burnt offering, that the believer may stand accepted and perfect in relation to all the will of God (Col. 4:12; Lev. 1; Hebrews 10).
2. A Meal offering, that he may be able to come into possession of moral perfection, not his own, but presented by faith. (Lev. 2; Romans 12:1-2; Hebrews 10:10; 13:21, etc.).
3. A Peace offering, that there may be not only access and standing, but fellowship and oneness with God (Lev. 3; Col. 1:20; Romans 5:10, etc.).
4. A Sin offering, that sin in its more positive aspects, and sin in ignorance and without consciousness, may not interfere with living fellowship by bringing in spiritual death, either through our own failure or through the contamination of contact (Lev. 4; 5, etc.).
And not only in the matter of our relationship with God does the Blood make an all-sufficient provision, but in cooperation with God by priestly ministry, in effective spiritual service in its many-sidedness.
So, then, the first and primary thing in a living testimony to the complete overthrow of the dominion of satan and the destruction of his works is a due and adequate apprehension and appreciation of the Lord Jesus in the value of His Blood.
There is something almighty in the death of Jesus Christ. Many of God's people have failed to recognize the important distinction between His crucifixion and His death. The crucifixion is man's side. The death is His own. All the crosses ever made, and all the men who ever conceived them, could never have brought about the death of the Lord Jesus, apart from His own voluntary act of laying down His life. "I lay down My life ... No man taketh it from Me ... I lay it down of Myself. I have power (jurisdiction) to lay it down, and I have power (jurisdiction) to take it again.. This commandment have I received of My Father" (John 10:17-18).
(continued with # 26)