2Pe 3:3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
2Pe 3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
2Pe 3:5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
2Pe 3:6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
2Pe 3:7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
It's Still the Blood part 2
"For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul" (Leviticus 17:11)
If it’s Christ plus tithing, or Christ plus bible-reading, or Christ plus circumcision (in Paul’s letter to the Galatians) or whatever - can’t you see that it is the plus part that finally puts you over the top, that finally pushes you over the finish line? It's not that those things are necessarily bad in themselves. They are great if coming from a heart that loves God. Paul himself circumcised Timothy for the sake of Jewish evangelism, but literally damned those who commanded it for justification (Galatians 1:9)! Can you see that the thing added becomes the most important part, without which Christ’s part means nothing? This is the fatal flaw of salvation by works. When the excitement of seeming success wanes, or by virtue of time and failure we come to see our pitiful impotence toward righteousness, we are left in despair. But that despair brings us to God who robes us in the righteousness of His Son.
I sat in church for years inwardly wincing at the oft-repeated phrase “our part”. Jesus was largely viewed as having completed His part (the cross), and all that was left was “my part”. It was presented as the only part that could change the outcome, the only part I could control. I had to save myself. It was up to me and my “free will”. Wow. I was right back where I started before Christ.
I have spent most of my life in the barren wilderness of that system, and just as the Reformers warned, I have no more assurance - even less because of my Christian failures - than when I started. The 1986 movie “The Mission" concerned two brothers who loved the same girl. The older brother (Robert De Niro) kills his younger sibling, and ends up doing penance by repeatedly climbing up a muddy slope in the pouring rain with a 100 pound weight on his back. How much is enough? When do the scales tip in his favor? When will God decide to like us again? What final act will take us off parole and give us an eternally perfect record? Christ’s act is the only one that can do that.
The Reformation was serious stuff. It was about how to attain eternal life. How do you get more serious than that? We are reminded that Luther had failures. So what? You mean God uses flawed vessels? What else does he have? What about Abraham who kept pawning off his wife as his sister? Or King David and Moses the murderers? Womanizing Samson anyone? Job, who insisted he was righteous, or Paul the Christian killer? Which servant of the Lord save Jesus has been perfect? Peter who denies Jesus and is still a coward at the Jerusalem council in acts 15? Luther’s failures are irrelevant. What the Word of God says is what’s relevant, and Luther tells it like it is!
If we are ever to be brought out of the bondage of legalism into the life of faith, the life of Christ and the fruit of the Spirit it naturally brings, we must understand that we are eternally accepted and beloved of God the Father solely by the perfect blood of the perfect Lamb. It was the blood alone that Moses sprinkled upon the people that sanctified, that made them holy. It was the blood that was sprinkled upon the Altar that set it apart and made the sacrifices offered thereon acceptable in the sight of God. It was the blood sprinkled upon the holy vessels and finally upon the seat of mercy that dwelt between the cherubim atop the Ark of God. It was the blood of an innocent lamb, once raised, playing and cavorting in the house of the Hebrew offerer, now slaughtered and drained of his blood, whose red ichor emblazoned the doorways of the believing on the eve of the Death Angel’s midnight ride. It was not about the state of their sanctification - it was about faith. The terrifying messenger of death was told to look for one thing . . the crimson token. The blood. The blood of God. Are we comparing the worth of any work of Man to the worth of God’s blood??
That blood shed on that dark day . . there is no scene more filled with pathos, more profound with irony and meaning than that lone, naked Jew wailing “Forgive them!” from his death stake. And we call God into the dock of Man over His judgement of a world rejecting the value of that blood? How could the meek and mild carpenter from Nazareth ever utter “I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment” (Isaiah 63:3).
When Jesus stood in the synagogue in Capernaum and read Isaiah 61 he stopped in the middle of verse 2, leaving the final phrase unfinished, “and the day of vengeance of our God". But that day will come when the great day of God’s wrath comes, and every heart shall fail. There is a score to settle, and God is just, terrifyingly so, and will say “For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come” (Isaiah 63:4).
What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus-
What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus
What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus
O, precious is the flow, that makes me white as snow-
No other fount I know - nothing but the blood of Jesus
Robert Lowry 1876