"THE PRECIOUS BLOOD OF CHRIST"
Text.— "The precious blood of Christ." —I Peter i. 19.
It is clear, then, that blood was ever precious in God’s sight, and He would have it so in ours.
in ordinary cases the shedding of life be thus precious,
can you guess how fully God utters His heart’s meaning when
He says, "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the
death of his saints"? If the death of a rebel
be precious, what must be the death of a child? If He will
not contemplate the shedding of the blood of His own enemies
and of them that curse Him without proclaiming vengeance,
what think you concerning His own elect, of whom He says,
"Precious shall their blood be in his sight"?
Will He not avenge them, though He bear long with them?
Shall the cup which the harlot of Rome filled with the blood
of the saints, long remain unavenged? Shall not the martyrs
from Piedmont and the Alps, and from our Smithfield, and
from the hills of covenanting Scotland, yet obtain from
God the vengeance due for all that they suffered, and all
the blood which they poured forth in the defence of His
The precious blood of Christ is useful to God’s people in a thousand ways: we intend to speak of twelve of them. After all, the real preciousness of a thing in the time of pinch and trial, must depend upon its usefulness. A bag of pearls would be to us, this morning, far more precious than a bag of bread; but you have all heard the story of the man in the desert, who stumbled, when near to die, upon a bag, and opened it, hoping that it might be the wallet of some passer-by, and he found in it nothing but pearls! If they had been crusts of bread, how much more precious would they have been! I say, in the hour of necessity and peril, the use of a thing really constitutes the preciousness of it. This may not be according to political economy, but it is according to common sense.
1. The precious blood of Christ has a
REDEEMING POWER. It redeems from the law. We were all under
the law which says, "This do, and live." We were
slaves to it: Christ has paid the ransom price, and the
law is no longer our tyrant master. We are entirely free
from it. The law had a dreadful curse; it threatened that
whosoever should violate one of its precepts, should die:
"Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law,
being made a curse for us." By the fear of this curse,
the law inflicted a continual dread on those who were under
it; they knew they had disobeyed it, and they were all their
lifetime subject to bondage, fearful lest death and destruction
should come upon them at any moment: but we are not under
the law, but under grace, and consequently "We have
not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but we
have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba,
2. The value of the blood lies much in
its ATONING EFFICACY. We are told in Leviticus, that "it
is the blood which maketh an atonement for the soul."
God never forgave sin apart from blood under the law. This
stood as a constant text—" Without shedding of blood
there is no remission." Meal and honey, sweet spices
and incense, would not avail without shedding of blood.
There was no remission promised to future diligence or deep
repentance; without shedding of blood pardon never came.
The blood, and the blood alone put away sin, and permitted
that man to come to God’s courts to worship, because it
made him one with God. The blood is the great at-one-ment.
There is no hope of pardon for the sin of any man, except
through its punishment being fully endured. God must punish
sin. It is not an arbitrary arrangement that sin shall be
punished, but it is a part of the very constitution of moral
government that sin must be punished. Never did God swerve
from that, and never will He. "He will by no means
clear the guilty."
3. Thirdly, the precious blood of Jesus
Christ has A CLEANSING POWER. John tells us in his first
Epistle, first chapter, seventh verse, "The blood of
Jesus Christ his Son, cleanseth us from all sin."
Sin has a directly defiling effect upon the sinner,
hence the need of cleansing. Suppose that God the Holy One
were perfectly willing to be at one with an unholy sinner,
which is supposing a case that cannot be, yet even should
the pure eyes of the Most High wink at sin, still as long
as we are unclean we never could feel in our own hearts
anything like joy, and rest, and peace. Sin is a plague
to the man who has it, as well as a hateful thing to the
God who abhors it. I must be made clean, I must have mine
iniquities washed away, or I never can be happy. The first
mercy that is sung of in the one hundred and third Psalm
is, "Who forgiveth all thine iniquities."
4. A fourth property of the blood of
Christ is ITS PRESERVING POWER. You will rightly comprehend
this when you remember the dreadful night of Egypt, when
the destroying angel was abroad to slay God’s enemies. A
bitter cry went up from house to house as the firstborn
of all Egypt, from Pharaoh on the throne to the firstborn
of the woman behind the mill and the slave in the dungeon,
fell dead in a moment. The angel sped with noiseless wing
through every street of Egypt’s many cities; but there were
some houses which he could not enter: he sheathed his sword
and breathed no malediction there. What was it which preserved
the houses? The inhabitants were not better than others,
their habitations were not more elegantly built, there was
nothing except the bloodstain on the lintel and on the two
side posts, and it is written, "When I see the blood
I will pass over you."
5. Fifthly, the blood of Christ is precious
because of its PLEADING PREVALENCE. Paul says in the twelfth
chapter of his Epistle to the Hebrews, at the twenty-fourth
verse, "It speaketh better things than that of Abel."
Abel’s blood pleaded and prevailed; its cry was "Vengeance"
and Cain was punished. Jesus’ blood pleads and prevails;
its cry is "Father, forgive them!" and sinners
are forgiven through it. When I cannot pray as I would,
how sweet to remember that the blood prays! There is no
voice in my tongue, but there is always a voice in the blood.
If I cannot, when I bow before my God, get farther than
to say "God be merciful to me, a sinner," yet
my advocate before the throne is not dumb because I am,
and his plea has not lost its power because my faith in
it may happen to be diminished.
6. Sixthly, the blood is precious where perhaps we little expect it to operate. It is precious, because of its MELTING INFLUENCE on the human heart. "They shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one that mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn." There is a great complaint among sinners, when they are a little awakened, that they feel their hearts so hard. The blood is a mighty melter. Alchemists of old sought after a universal solvent: the blood of Jesus is that. There is no nature so stubborn that a sight of the love of God in Christ Jesus cannot melt it, if grace shall open the blind eye to see Christ. The stone in the human heart shall melt away, when it is plunged into a bath of blood divine. Cannot you say, dear friends, that Toplady was right in his hymn?
terrors do but harden
Sinner, if God shall lead thee to believe this morning in Christ to save thee; if thou wilt trust thy soul in His hands to have it saved, that hard heart of thine will melt at once. You would think differently of sin, my friends, if you knew that Christ smarted for it. Oh! if you knew that out of those dear languid eyes, there looked the loving heart of Jesus upon you, I know you would say, "I hate the sin that made him mourn, and fastened him to the accursed tree." I do not think that preaching the law generally softens men’s hearts. Hitting men with a hard hammer may often drive the particles of a hard heart more closely together, and make the iron yet more hard; but oh, to preach Christ’s love—His great love wherewith He loved us even when we were dead in sins, and to tell to sinners that there is life in a look at the crucified One—surely this will prove that Christ was exalted on high to give repentance and remission of sins. Come for repentance, if you cannot come repenting. Come for a broken heart, if you cannot come with a broken heart. Come to be melted, if you are not melted. Come to be wounded, if you are not wounded.
7. But then comes in a seventh property
of the precious blood. The same blood that melts has A GRACIOUS
POWER TO PACIFY. John Bunyan speaks of the law as coming
to sweep a chamber like a maid with a broom; and when she
began to sweep there was a great dust which almost choked
people, and got into their eyes; but then came the gospel
with its drops of water, and laid the dust, and then the
broom might be used far better. Now it sometimes happens
that the law of God makes such a dust in the sinner’s soul,
that nothing but the precious blood of Jesus Christ can
make that dust lie still. The sinner is so disquieted that
nothing can ever give him any relief except to know that
Jesus died for him.
8. We can only spare a minute now upon ITS SANCTIFYING INFLUENCE. The apostle tells us in the ninth chapter and the fourteenth verse that Christ sanctified the people by His own blood. Certain it is, that the same blood which justifies by taking away sin, does in its after-action act upon the new nature and lead it onward to subdue sin and to follow out the command of God. There is no motive for holiness so great as that which streams from the veins of Jesus. If you want to know why you should be obedient to God?s will, my brethren, go and look upon Him who sweat, as it were, great drops of blood, and the love of Christ will constrain you, because you will thus judge, "That if one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all, that we which live might not henceforth live unto ourselves, but unto him that died for us and rose again."
9. In the ninth place, another blessed property of the blood of Jesus, is ITS POWER TO GIVE ENTRANCE. We are told that the high priest never went within the veil without blood; and surely we can never get into God’s heart, nor into the secret of the Lord, which is with them that fear Him, nor into any familiar intercourse with our great Father and Friend, except by the sprinkling of the precious blood of Jesus. "We have access with boldness into this grace wherein we stand," but we never dare go a step towards God, except as we are sprinkled with this precious blood. I am persuaded some of us do not come near to God, because we forget the blood. If you try to have fellowship with God in your graces, your experiences, your believings, you will fail; but if you try to come near to God as you stand in Christ Jesus, you will have courage to come; and on the other hand, God will run to meet you when He sees you in the face of His anointed. Oh, for power to get near to God! But there is no getting near to God, except as we get near to the cross. Praise the blood, then, for its power of giving you nearness to God.
10. Tenthly—a hint only. The blood is very precious, in the tenth place, for ITS CONFIRMING POWER. No covenant, we are told, was ever valid, unless victims were slain and blood sprinkled; and it is the blood of Jesus which has ratified the new covenant, and made its promises sure to all the seed. Hence it is called "the blood of the everlasting covenant." The apostle changes the figure, and he says that a testament is not of force, except the testator be dead. The blood is a proof that the testator did, and now the law holds good to every legatee, because Jesus Christ has signed it with His own gore. Beloved, let us rejoice that the promises are yea and amen, for no other reason than this, because Christ Jesus died and rose again. Had there been no bowing of the head upon the tree, no slumbering in the sepulchre, no rising from the tomb, then the promises had been uncertain fickle things, not "immutable things wherein it is impossible for God to lie," and consequently they could never have afforded strong consolation to those who have fled for refuge to Christ Jesus. See then the confirming nature of the blood of Jesus and count it very precious.
11. I have almost done; but there
remains another, it is the eleventh one, and that is THE
INVIGORATING POWER of the precious blood. If you
want to know that, you must see it set forth as we often
do when we cover the table with the white cloth and put
thereon the bread and wine. What mean we by this ordinance?
We mean by it, that Christ suffered for us, and that we
being already washed in His precious blood and so made clean,
do come to the table to drink wine as an emblem of the way
in which we live and feed upon His body and upon His blood.
He tells us "Except a man shall eat my flesh and drink
my blood, there is no life in him." We do therefore,
after a spiritual sort, drink His blood, and He says "My
blood is drink indeed." Superior drink! Transcendent
drink! Strengthening drink? such drink as angels never taste
though they drink before the eternal throne.
12. Lastly, and twelfthly—twelve
is the number of perfection. We have brought out a perfect
number of its uses—the blood has AN OVERCOMING POWER.
It is written in the Revelation, "They overcame
through the blood of the Lamb." How could they do otherwise?
He that fights with the precious blood of Jesus fights with
a weapon that will cut through soul and spirit, joints and
marrow, a weapon that makes hell tremble, and makes heaven
subservient, and earth obedient to the will of the men who
can wield it. The blood of Jesus! sin dies at its presence,
death ceases to be death: hell itself would be dried up
if that blood could operate there. The blood of Jesus! heaven’s
gates are opened; bars of iron are pushed back. The blood
of Jesus! my doubts and fears flee, my troubles and disasters
disappear. The blood of Jesus! shall I not go on conquering
and to conquer so long as I can plead that! In heaven this
shall be the choice jewel which shall glitter upon the head
of Jesus—that He gives to His people "Victory, victory,
through the blood of the Lamb."
from sin, I walk at large;
God grant it may be so, for His name’s sake. Amen.