The Testimony of the Blood (continued)
An Elect In Bondage (continued)
The preaching of Christ crucified is not the preaching merely of what men did to Him, but of what He allowed men to do, and, in and through what they did, what He did. The death of Christ, in its real meaning, is not man's act, nor is it the devil's act. satan and men had made many unsuccessful attempts to kill Him, but His hour had not come. He fixes the time for what He will do. The rulers said, "Not during the feast" (Mark 14:2), but the Lord Jesus took it out of their hands, and out of the hands of Judas, and precipitated it on that day in the Upper Room; so deftly heading it up that Judas was as one under authority: "That thou doest, do quickly" (John 13:27).
When He 'lays down' His life that He may 'take it again', there is infinitude in the deliberate act, and it relates to universal sovereignty. Sin, as the principle; the old creation, as the sphere; satan, as the ruler in that realm; death, as the consequence; and judgment, as the inevitable prospect and reality: all are involved in the death of Christ. That entire ground was dealt with, and that regime brought to an end, in that death. The whole thing centers in the Person of the Lord Jesus. The same Person must be able both to act as representative of man rejected of God because of sin, and, as representative, receive all the judgment of God upon man and sin, and yet at the same time, because sin is not inherent in Him, but in Himself He is utterly sinless, render death and hell incapable of holding Him. There never was such an One, other than Jesus Christ: Son of Man - Son of God.
The pouring out of His Blood was, on the one side, His voluntary yielding to wrath and destruction from the face of God, as Man for man; and, on the other side, a saying in effect to death, the devil and the grave, "I concede you all your claims unto the last atom, and exhaust all your demands, in being made sin and a curse. But you have another in Me also, over whom you have no power or rights because you have no ground in Him. You cannot hold Me - I defy you; and, what is more, I now take you as My prisoners. Henceforth I am your Lord, and I will plunder your domain and rob you of your spoil."
"O death, what is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting? (1 Corinthians 15:55).
"Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o'er His foes".
"...He invaded death's abode
And robbed him of his sting".
"...He hath crushed beneath His rod
The world's proud rebel king.
He plunged in His imperial strength
To gulfs of darkness down,
He brought His trophy up at length,
The foiled usurper's crown."
So He, because of His sinless perfection, can stand in complete acceptance with God, suitable to God, and this representatively as man (though more than man). His Blood, therefore, representing His sinless and victorious life, is given to us, and in virtue of it there is constituted that princely seed in all the good of His triumph. This does not make us sinlessly perfect, but He Who is in us is so.
What remains to bring us into that good is a spiritual appreciation and apprehension of the transcendent greatness of the Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit revealing Him in us; and then the link of faith unto obedience between what we are not and what He is. The bridge is faith. Some act as though it were a struggle or puzzle, or any one of a number of things which are in the nature of self-effort. It will be found, indeed, that faith is no mere passive acquiescence. But it is not the degree of faith only, but the object of faith. It is, after all, the place which Christ has in the apprehension of His people which makes for the prosperity and ascendency which should characterize them. The supreme days of Israel's history were those when Christ in type was largest and most dominating. The Feast of the Passover was the focal point and the pivot. There never was such rejoicing as then; and, in later times, when idolatry had gained a strong footing, it was after the restoration of this feast that the people instinctively returned to destroy the false system.
Thus the testimony of the Blood is basic to victory, ascendency, and spiritual prosperity, and is the most deadly force against all the works of the adversary.
(continued with # 26 - (A Candlestick All of Gold)