The Blood of Jesus Christ
November 6th, 1960 @ 7:30 PM
THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST
Dr. W. A. Criswell
1 John 1:1-10
11-6-60 7:30 p.m.
Now in our preaching through the Bible, we are nearing the end of it. And tonight, we enter for the first time the epistles of John. If you would like to turn in your Bible to 1 John, we shall read the first chapter, the ten verses of the first chapter of 1 John, almost at the end of your Bible. The First Epistle general of John, let us all of us read it together. All of us sharing our Bibles, all of us reading, the first chapter, the ten verses of the first chapter of 1 John. Now everybody:
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)
That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.
And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.
If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
[1 John 1:1-10]
And the text is the last part of verse 7: "And the blood of Jesus Christ God’s Son cleanseth us from all sin."
A freight train drove ahead to a wreck. The engineer was called before the board of inquiry to ask why he passed the flag and drove his train to disaster. And the engineer replied, "I saw the flag but it was white." And the watchman said, "It was red." The flag was called for and presented before the board of inquiry. It had been red, but the color had gone out of it; so with so much of modern theology, and the new presentation of the gospel of Christ. The blood is left out. The color is gone from it. The offense of the cross has become too much. It’s a stumbling block, and it’s been expurgated and purged out of the hymnals, and out of the sermons, and out of the preaching of the Gospel of Christ.
I held a revival meeting one time in a church where every hymn of the blood had been taken out and where the minister referred to it as an old mediator theology. But the blood of the cross that cleanses us from our sins is the heart of the announcement of the good news of the love of God in Jesus Christ. This is actual blood: "The blood of Jesus Christ God’s Son cleanseth us from all sin" [1 John 1:7]. This is no simile, and it is no metaphor, and it is no figure of speech; this is actual blood!
The Gospel of John was written against the Cerinthian Gnostics who discounted the deity of Christ, who said our Lord was a man just like other men. And in order to prove the deity of our Lord, John wrote the Fourth Gospel, the Gospel of John. This first epistle of John was written against the Docetic Gnostics. The word "Docetic" comes from the Greek word dokeo, which means to seem, to appear. And the Docetic Gnostics said that Jesus was God, and He was Christ, but He was not a man. That’s why John picked up his pen and wrote: "That which we have heard, that which we have seen with our eyes, that which we have looked upon and our hands have handled, the Word of life, that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you" [1 John 1:1-3]. Our fellowship is with God and with that Man, God’s Son, Christ Jesus.
He was an actual man though He was also God, all as much as if He had not been man. And the sacrifice of Christ was the actual sacrifice of the body of a man that had been prepared in the womb of a virgin to be offered as a sacrifice for our sins. And there’s no seeming about His manhood. There’s no dokeo about His humanity. He was God in the flesh; God carnate. And the life that was sacrificed was an actual life, not the appearance of one, not a seeming one, but the actual body of the Son of God Himself. And the blood that was poured out was the blood of the body of Jesus, God’s Son and our Savior. The blood that cleanseth us from all sin is not spiritualized. It is not a metaphor or a figure of speech, but it is actual blood that stained the cross down which it ran, and that crimsoned the earth that drank it up.
And he that saw it bear record, and we know that his record is true [John 21:24]. When the sword pierced His side, and forthwith flowed there out blood and water.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh, sometimes it makes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree? Were you there?
Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?
Oh, sometimes it makes me to tremble, to tremble, to tremble.
Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?
"The blood of Jesus Christ God’s Son cleanseth us from all sin" [1 John 1:7]. This is actual blood. It was offered unto God as an actual atonement. Did you know that for over six months I preached on the ninth chapter of the Book of Hebrews in this sacred place? And the ninth chapter of the Book of Hebrews is this: that the offering of the blood of Christ in the great sanctuary of heaven secured for us an actual atonement, an actual remission of our sins [verses 12, 22-28].
I haven’t time, even to begin to enter this ninth chapter of the Book of Hebrews. It starts off with a description of the tabernacle and then enters into the great Day of Atonement. Every great national day of the Jewish people was a feast day; Passover, Tabernacles, Pentecost, Dedication, Purim. But there was one day in the year that was a day of fast, and of mourning, of affliction, and sorrow, and repentance, and that was the Day of the great Atonement, when the two sacrificial victims were brought before the high priest. And he divested himself of his high priestly garments and dressed in humility, himself a sinner like all other men. And lots were cast, and the lot that fell upon the victim for Jehovah was slain, and his blood brought into the inner sanctuary and sprinkled there upon the mercy seat, then the other victim, over its head, the high priest laid his hands and confessed all the sins of the people and that victim was driven away into the desert. That’s the Day of Atonement; signifying that in the shedding of blood is the remission of our sins, and they’re taken away as that victim was driven out into the wilderness.
This is our Day of Atonement: when our Lord was slain on the tree and when the blood crimsoned the ground of the Hill of the Skull, called Calvary.
This is the communion of the breaking of bread. And this is the communion of the fruit of the vine. The bread which we break, is it not the fellowship between us and God in the sacrifice of Jesus our Lord? And the cup which we drink, is it not the fellowship, the communion, the koinonia, between us and God in the blood that washes us from the stain of all of our sins? [1 Corinthians 10:16-17].
This provides an actual atonement, and the blood of Jesus Christ that cleanseth us from all sin provides for us an actual salvation. It is actual blood. It provides an actual atonement. And it brings to our souls an actual salvation. There was a substitute made on the cross. That’s my death. That’s the judgment upon my sins. My sins nailed Him to the tree. My sins crushed upon His brow the crown of thorns. And the judgment that should have fallen upon me fell upon Him.
"When I see the blood, I will pass over you" [Exodus 12:13, 23] – the angel of death with a sword ready to strike – shielded by the blood. I may not understand; I don’t have to understand. I may not be able to explain; I’m not asked of God to explain. Just that I’m under the blood, sprinkled in the Passover, in the form of the cross, on the lintel and either side, on the doorposts [Exodus 12:7]. And God says, "And when I see the blood, I will pass over you." "For God has made Him to be sin for us, Him who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" [2 Corinthians 5:21]. "And when I see the blood, I will pass over you." And the start of judgment, and of perdition, and of damnation, and of death shall never fall upon us.
"When I see the blood, I will pass over you."
And that propitiation, that expiation, that hilasterion, that mercy seat that covers, the blood that cleanses, not only for us but for all who will turn and look in faith and in trust to Him; "For, my little children, for my little children, if we sin we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and He is the hilasterion, He is the mercy seat, He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world" [1 John 2:1-2].
There is merit enough in the Lord. There is ableness enough in Christ to save not only our souls, but all who shall come by faith and by trust in Him. There is room in God’s kingdom, in the circumference of His love, in the ableness of His atonement; there is room for us all and to spare.
One of the most moving things I think I ever read was the thing that happened a long time ago in the estuary of the Thames River. There was an excursion steamer called the Princess Alice that was sailing down the Thames estuary out toward the sea. And there was a heavy-loaded freighter called the Bywell Castle that was steaming into the port at London. And in the fog of the Thames estuary, the Bywell Castle, the heavy-loaded freighter, plowed into the excursion steamer, the Princess Alice, and cut it down. And that day, there were more than seven hundred souls that found a watery grave in the Thames River.
Among the valiant efforts that were made that solemn tragic day to save those who were lost in the water was a man who had a little boat on the other shore. And when he heard of the awful tragedy that had overtaken the excursion steamer, he rowed his little boat out into the midst of those floundering and drowning people. And he reached overboard, and he pulled to safety all that he could until his little boat was filled and nigh unto sinking. And then he began to row for the shore. And as he rowed for the shore, he rowed through those floundering passengers who were drowning all around him. And as he rowed his little boat to the shore, filled to capacity, these who were drowning cried continuously saying, "Oh, sir! Save me! Oh, sir! Wait for me!" And it deranged the man’s mind, and he stood up in his boat, and holding his hands to God, cried aloud, "O my God! For a bigger boat! For a bigger boat! For a bigger boat!"
Aren’t you grateful, and aren’t you glad, and aren’t you thankful to God that in the Zion ship, in the boat of our salvation, in the lifeboat that saves us, there is room for us all? For you and for you and for you!
And He is the hilasterion, the propitiation, the mercy seat, the Savior, not only for us but for all of the whole world. If any man, anywhere, anytime, will look to Jesus,
There’s life for a look at the Crucified One,
There is life at this moment for thee;
Then look, sinner, look unto Him and be saved,
Unto Him who was nailed to the tree.
["There is Life for a Look at the Crucified One," Miss A.M. Hull]
"And the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanseth us from all sin" [1 John 1:7], room, room, room for you.
While we sing this invitation appeal, somebody you tonight, looking in faith to Jesus, would you come and stand by me? Is there a family that might put their lives with us in the church, would you come and stand by me? Is there just one somebody you, in the balcony round, on this lower floor, coming down the stairway if you’re in the balcony, into the aisle if you’re on the lower floor, and the pastor stands here by the side of the table of fellowship, the koinonia communion with God, and tonight, if you’ll trust Jesus as Savior, would you come and stand by me? Tonight if you’ll put your life with us in the fellowship of the church, coming by baptism, by letter, however God shall say the word, would you come and stand by me? As the Spirit of the Lord shall lay upon your heart the appeal, would you come? Would you make it now, while we stand and while we sing?
OF JESUS CHRIST
1 John 1:7
I. This is actual blood
a symbol or a type, not spiritualizing
encountered during days of John
Cerinthian Gnosticism – said Jesus was just a man
a. John wrote his
gospel in defense of the deity of Christ (John
Docetic Gnosticism – said Jesus was angelic being that just appeared to have a
real body, but not human at all
a. First John is
written against the doceticgnostics(1 John 1:7, 4:3)
John (John 19:34-35, 21:24)
II. The blood provides an actual atonement(Hebrews 9:11-28)
Day of Atonement(Leviticus 16)
day of atonement – when our Lord died on Calvary
is the communion(1 Corinthians 10:16-17)
III. The blood provides an actual salvation
died for us, an actual substitution(Exodus 12:7,
13, 23, 2 Corinthians 5:21)
Christ is the hilasterion, the Mercy Seat, the propitiation for our sins(1 John 2:1-2)