Sermon 663. Walking In The Light And Washed In The Blood
DELIVERED ON SUNDAY MORNING, DECEMBER 3, 1865,
BY C. H. SPURGEON, AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"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, HisSon, cleanses us from all sin." 1 John 1:7.
THERE are two great powers in conflict in this world. One is the power of good, of which God is the King and the other isthe power of evil, which is represented by the Prince of the power of the air, Satan. The first principle is set forth byJohn under the figure of light. God himself isessential Light and everything which is good in the world is an emanation from Himself. "Every good gift and every perfectgift is from above and comes down from the Father of Lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."
The light is the evident emblem of the Truth of God. Darkness is the symbol of error. Light represents holiness. Darknessis the appropriate figure for sin. Light represents knowledge, especially of spiritual things, since light reveals. Darknessis the fit token of the ignorance under which thenatural mind labors perpetually. By nature we are all born under the dominion of darkness-we grope our way like blind menand when we knew God by the light of His works, we glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in ourimaginations and our foolishheart was darkened.
Naturally, spiritual things are not discernible by man-they are spiritual and spiritually discerned and the carnal mind cannotperceive them-for it walks in darkness. The guilt of sin is a thing too high for the carnal mind to understand. The gloryof the eternal sacrifice it cannotperceive. The excellence of God, the faithfulness of His promise and the validity of His Covenant-all such things as theseare swathed in mist-the carnal mind sees them not. As soon as ever the Grace of God comes into the heart, it makes as greata difference as did theeternal fiat of Jehovah, when He said, "Let there be light," and there was light.
As soon as God the Holy Spirit begins to work upon the soul of man to illuminate him, he perceives at once his own sinfulness.He abhors that sinfulness, he labors to escape from it, he cries out for a remedy-he finds it in Christ- therefore he no longerloves sin, he is not guided anylonger by the darkness of policy and selfishness and error, but he walks after the light of the Truth of God, of righteousness,of holiness, of true knowledge. God has brought him into light-he sees now what he never saw before! He knows, feels, believes,recognizes what henever had known anything of before-he is in the light.
Therefore you constantly find the Christian called a child of light and he is warned that he is of the light and of the day.He is told, "You are not of the night nor of darkness." "You were sometime darkness, but now are you light in the Lord: walkas children of light." You perceive in the text,then, that the Christian is spoken of as a man who is in the light. But there is something more said of him than this. Heis practically in the light, "if we walk in the light." It is of no use to pretend to have light in the brain-so as to comprehendall knowledge, so as tobe sound and orthodox in one's doctrinal opinions-this will be of no vital service so far as the great point of salvationis concerned.
A man may think he has much light, but if it is only notional and doctrinal and is not the light which enlightens his natureand develops itself in his practical walk, he lies when he talks of being in the light, for he is in darkness altogether.Nor is it truthful to pretend or profess that wehave light within in the form of experience if we do not walk in it, for where the light is true, it is quite certain toshow itself abroad.
If there is a candle within the lantern, its light will stream forth into the surrounding darkness and those who have eyeswill be able to see it. I have no right to say I have light unless I walk in it. The Apostle is very peremptory with thosewho so speak. He says, "He that says I know Him andkeeps not His Commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him." The Christian, then, is in the light and he is practicallyin it-his walk and conversation are regulated by the Truth of
God, by holiness-and by that Divine knowledge which God has been pleased to bestow upon him. He walks in the light of faith,in another path than that which is trod by men who have nothing but the light of sense. He sees Him who is invisible and thesight of the invisible God operates uponhis soul.
He looks into eternity, he marks the dread reward of sin and the blessed gift of God to those who trust in Jesus and eternalrealities have an effect upon his whole manner and conversation-from now on he is a man in the light, walking in that light.There is a very strong description givenhere-"If we walk in the light as He is in the light." Beloved, the thought of that dazzles me! I have tried to look it inthe face, but I cannot endure it. If we walk in the light as God is in the light! Can we ever attain to this? Shall poor fleshand blood ever be able towalk as clearly in the light as He is whom we call "Our Father," of whom it is written, "God is light and in Him is no darknessat all"?
Let us say this much and then commend this wonderful expression to your meditations. Certainly this is the model which isset before us, for the Savior Himself said, "Be you perfect, even as your Father who is in Heaven is perfect." And if we takeanything short of absolute perfection as our modelof life we shall certainly, even if we should attain to our ideal, fall short of the Glory of God! Beloved, when a schoolmasterwrites the copy at the head of the page, he does not expect that the boy will come up to the copy-but then, if the copy isnot a perfect one, it isnot fit to be imitated by a child.
And so our God gives us Himself as the pattern and copy, "Be you imitators of God as dear children," for nothing short ofHimself would be a worthy model. Though we, as life sculptors, may feel that we can never rival the perfection of God, yetwe are to seek after it and never to be satisfieduntil we attain it. The youthful artist, as he grasps his early pencil, can hardly hope to equal Raphael or Michelangelo!But still, if he did not have a noble ideal before his mind, he would only attain to something very mean and ordinary. Heavenlyfingers point us to the LordJesus as the great Exemplar of His people and the Holy Spirit works in us a likeness to Him.
But what does it mean that the Christian is to walk in light as God is in the light? We conceive it to import likeness, butnot degree. We are as truly in the light. We are as heartily in the light. We are as sincerely in the light, as honestly inthe light, though we cannot be there in the samedegree. I cannot dwell in the sun-it is too bright a place for my residence-unless I shall be transformed, like Uriel, Milton'sangel who could dwell in the midst of the blaze of its excessive glory. But I can walk in the light of the sun though I cannotdwell in it. Andso God is the Light, He is Himself the Sun and I can walk in the light as He is in the light, though I cannot attain tothe same degree of perfection and excellence and purity and truth in which the Lord, Himself, resides.
Trapp is always giving us the Truth of God in a way in which we can remember it-so he says we are to be in the light as Godis in the light for quality, but not for equality. We are to have the same light and as truly to have it and walk in it asGod does, though as for equality with God inHis holiness and perfection-that must be left until we cross the Jordan and enter into the perfection of the Most High.
Having thus briefly sketched the character of the genuine Christian, observe, Beloved, that he is the possessor of two privileges.The first is fellowship with God. "We have fellowship one with another." And the second is complete cleansing from sin-"andthe blood of Jesus Christ, His Son,cleanses us from all sin." The first privilege we will have but a word upon-it is fellowship with God. As you read thisverse in our translation, it looks very much as if all that was meant was fellowship with your brother Christians. But this,according to able critics, wouldnot convey the sense of the original.
The Arabic version renders it, "God with us and we with Him," and several copies read, "we have fellowship with Him." Ourversion almost compels you to think of fellowship with other Believers, but such is not the intention of the Spirit. "We havemutual fellowship-between God and our soulsthere is communion." This is the sense of the passage. God is Light-we walk in light-we agree. "Can two walk together unlessthey are agreed?" It is clear we are agreed as to the principles which we shall advance-God is the champion of Truth, so arewe. God is thepromoter of holiness, so are we. God seeks that love may reign instead of selfishness, so does the Christian. God hateserror and spares no arrows to destroy it. The Christian also contends earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints.
God is pure, and the pure in heart shall see God. God is holiness and those who are holy are attracted to God from an affinityof nature, even as the needle is attracted to its pole. If the Lord has visited you and made you to walk in light, you shallsurely have fellowship with God your Father. Hethat is in darkness cannot have fellowship with God. Veiled in ignorance, guided by passion, controlled by error, led astrayby falsehood-how can you aspire to talk with your God? Your prayer is but a chattering sound! Your song is the clang of asounding brass, the noise of atinkling cymbal! Your devotion bears you no further than the letter which kills!
But oh, poor Soul, if God should take you out of your darkness and make you to see yourself, to see Him and follow after Truthand righteousness and holiness, why then your prayer would be heard in Heaven, your song would mingle with the sweet notesof celestial harps and even your groans and tearswould reach your Father's heart, for you would enjoy fellowship with Him! If we walk with God as God is in the light, thesecret of God is with us and our secret is with God. He opens His heart to us and we open our heart to Him-we become friends!We are bound and knittogether so that being made partakers of the Divine Nature, having escaped the corruption which is in the world throughlust, we live like Enoch, having our conversation above the skies.
Upon the second privilege we intend to dwell. I have been driven to this text and yet I have been afraid of it. This texthas been handled, the latter part of it, I mean, very often out of its context. Yet it has had such a comforting influenceon many souls that I have been half afraid todiscourse upon it in its true context. And yet I have felt, "Well, if anything I should say should take away any comfortfrom any seeking soul, I shall be very sorry, but I cannot help it." I do feel that it is essential to the Christian ministrynot to pick passages out of God'sWord and rend them away from the context, but to take them as they stand.
As this text stands, it does not seem to me to gleam with the particular ray of comfort which others see in it, but it hasanother beam of joy even more radiant! God's Word must be taken as God speaks it-we have no right to divide the living childof Divine Truth, or wrest it to make it meanother than it does. According to the text, special pardon of sin is the peculiar privilege of those who walk in the lightas God is in the light and it is not the privilege of anyone else. Only those who have been brought by Divine Grace from astate of nature into a state of Graceand walk in the light may claim the possession of perfect cleansing through the blood of Jesus Christ.
In dwelling upon this latter part of the verse, there seemed to me to be seven things in it which any thoughtful reader wouldbe struck with. Considered as the privilege of every man who, however limpingly, is walking in the light, this word, whichtells of pardon bought with blood, is veryprecious-a crown set with jewels! To seven choice pearls I invite your loving gaze.
1. The first thing that struck me was THE GREATNESS of everything in the text. In some places everything is little. You talkwith some men-their thoughts, their ideas are all little. Almost everything is drawn to a scale and aspiring minds generallydraw their matters to as great a scale asthey can find, but that is necessarily a little one. See to what a magnificent scale everything is drawn in our text! Think,Beloved, how great the sin of God's people is! Will you try and get that thought into your minds? How great is your own sin-yoursin beforeconversion-think that over! Your sin while seeking the Lord in putting confidence in your own works and looking after refugesof lies. Your sins since conversion-turn them over.
Beloved, one sin towers up like an Alp! But we have many sins heaped upon each other, as in the old fable of the giants whopiled Pelion upon Ossa, mountain upon mountain! O God, what an aggregate of sin is there in the life of one of Your most pureand most sanctified children! Multiply this. Allthe sin of one child of God-multiply it by the number of those contained in that word "us." "Cleanses us from all sin! Howmany are God's children? God's Word shall answer. "A multitude that no man can number, out of all kindreds and peoples andtongues, stood before theThrone." Can you imagine-deep as Hell's bottomless pit! High as Heaven's own Glory-for sin sought to pluck even God outof His Throne! Wide as the east is from the west! Long as eternity is this great mass of the guilt of the people for whomChrist shed His blood! Andyet all this is taken away! "The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin."
Then observe the greatness of the Atonement offered. Will you inwardly digest those words, "the blood of Jesus Christ, HisSon"? Blood is at all times precious, but this is no blood of a mere man-it is the blood of an innocent Man! Better still,it is the blood of Man in union withDeity-"His Son!" God's Son! Why, angels cast their crowns before Him! All the choral symphonies of Heaven surround His gloriousThrone. "God over all, blessed forever. Amen." And yet He yields His blood! He takes upon Himself the form of a servant andthen is scourged andpierced, bruised and torn and at last slain-for nothing but the blood of Deity could make atonement for human sin!
The Atonement must be no man, merely-He must be the God-Man Mediator, the Fellow of Jehovah, co-equal and co-eternal withHim-He must bear the pangs and bitterness of Divine wrath which was due to sin. Think of this-a sacrifice which no human mindcan ever properly estimate in theinfinity of its value! Here, indeed, we have greatness- great sin, but a great Atonement! Think again-we have here greatlove which provided such a Sacrifice. Oh, how He must have loved, to have descended from Heaven to earth and from earth tothe grave! How He must haveloved, to have chosen us, when we were hating Him-when we were enemies! He has reconciled us unto God by His own death!
Dead in trespasses and sins, corrupt-wrapped up in the cerements of evil habits, hateful and hating one another, full of sinand every abomination-yet He loved us so as to yield up His soul unto death for us. We are dealing with great things here,indeed, and we must not forget thegreatness of the influence which such an Atonement, the result of such love, must have upon the Christian's heart. Oh, thegreatness of the peace which passes all understanding, which flows from this great Atonement! Oh, the greatness of the gratitudewhich must blaze forth fromsuch a sacred fire as this! Oh, the greatness of the hatred of sin, of the revenge against iniquity which must spring froma sense of such love, when it is shed abroad in the heart!
You are citizens enjoying no mean privilege, oh, you blood-bought citizens of a blood-bought city! God has loved you. Youcannot, though I should allot you a whole lifetime-you cannot get to the depth of that love God has loved you and to proveHis love He has died in the Person of man foryou. He loves you and has overcome the dread result of all your fearful sin! And now, by the love which God has manifested,we do pray you let your holiness, your truthfulness and your zeal prove that you understand the greatness of those things.If your heart can really conceivethe greatness of the things here revealed-the great sin, the great Savior offering Himself out of great love that He mightmake you to be greatly privileged-I am sure your hearts will rejoice!
2. The next thing which sparkles in the text is its SIMPLE SOLITARINESS-"We have fellowship one with another." And then itis added as a simple, gloriously simple statement, "the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin." Observethere is nothing said about rites andceremonies. It does not begin by saying, "and the waters of Baptism, together with the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleansesus." Not a word, whether it shall be the sprinkling in infancy, or immersion of Believers-nothing is said about it-it is theblood, the bloodonly, without a drop of baptismal water!
Nothing is here said about sacraments-what some call "the blessed Eucharist," is not dragged in here-nothing about eatingbread and drinking wine! It is the blood, nothing but the blood-"the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son." And if nothing is saidof rites that God has given, ritesthat man has invented are equally excluded. Not a syllable is uttered concerning celibacy or monasticism! Not a breath aboutvows of perpetual chastity and poverty! Not a hint about confession to a priest and human absolution! Not an allusion to penanceor extreme unction! "Theblood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin."
It was well done by a poor woman who, as she lay sick, heard for the first time the precious Gospel of her salvation. Shewas told that the blood alone cleansed from sin. She believed, and then, putting her hand into her bosom, she took out a littlecrucifix which she had always worn, hanging froma chain about her neck, and said to the preacher, "Then I don't want this, Sir." Ah, truly so! And so may we say of everythingthat man has devised as a consolation to a poor wounded spirit. "I have found Jesus and I do not want that, Sir." You whowant it, keep it-but as forus, if we walk in the light as He is in the light-the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, so completely purges us from all sinthat we dare not look to anything else lest we come into the bondage of the beggarly elements of this world!
You will perceive, too, that nothing is said about Christian experience as a means of cleansing. "What?" says one. "Does notthe first sentences of the verse imply that?" Assuredly not, for you perceive that the first sentence of the verse does notinterfere, though it is linked, with the other. IfI walk in the light as God is in the light, what then? Does my walking in the light take away my sins? Not at all! I amas much a sinner in the light as in the darkness if it were possible for me to be in the light without being washed in theblood.
Well, but we have fellowship with God, and does not having fellowship with God take away sin? Beloved, do not misunderstandme! No man can have fellowship with God unless sin is taken away-but his fellowship with God and his walking in light, doesnot take away his sin-not at all. Thewhole process of the removal of sin is here, "And the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin." I beg torepeat it-the text does not say that our walking in the light cleanses us from sin! It does not say that our having fellowshipwith God cleanses us fromsin-these are the result of cleansing, but they have no connection as cause-it is the blood and the blood alone which purgesus from sin!
The dying thief looked to Christ and sin was taken away by the blood. And there is a Brother in Christ here who has had suchan experience of Christ's love for sixty years that his heart is now like a shock of corn, ripe for Heaven. He lives in hisMaster's Presence, he spends the most of his timein his Master's service! But, Beloved, there is not a single atom of difference between him and the dying thief so far asthe cleansing away of sin is concerned! The blood cleansed the thief and the same blood washes this advanced and full-grownChristian, or otherwise he is stillunclean.
Observe, yet again, that in the verse there is no hint given of any emotions, feelings, or attainments as co-operating withthe blood to take away sin. Christ took the sins of His people and was punished for those sins as if He had been Himself asinner, and so sin is taken away from us. But in nosense, degree, shape or form is sin removed by attainments, emotions, feelings or experiences! The blood is the only Atonement-theblood, without any mixture of anything else, completes and finishes the work! "For you are complete in Him."
Now I could enlarge for a very long time on this point, but I do not think I shall. I will rather throw in a sentence or twoand observe that whereas there are some who urge you to look to your doctrinal intelligence as a ground of comfort. I beseechyou Beloved, look only to the blood! Whereasthere are others who would set up a standard of Christian experience and urge that this is to be the channel of your consolation.I pray you, while you prize both doctrine and experience, rest not your soul's weight but in the precious blood! Some wouldlead you to high degrees offellowship- follow them, but not when they would lead you away from the simple position of a sinner resting upon the blood!There are those who could teach you mysticism and would have you rejoice in the light within. Follow them as far as they havethe warrant of God's Word,but never take your foot from that Rock of Ages where the only safe standing can be found!
Certain of my Brethren are very fond of preaching Christ in His Second Coming-I rejoice that they preach the truth concerningChrist Glorified, but, my Beloved, I do beseech you do not place your hope on Christ Glorified, nor on Christ to come, buton "Christ Crucified." Remember that in thematter of taking away sin, the first thing is not the Throne, but the Cross-not the reigning Savior-but the bleeding Savior!Not the King in His Glory, but the Redeemer in His shame. Care not to be studying dates of prophecies if burdened with sin,but seek your chief,your best comfort in the blood of Jesus Christ which cleanses us from all sin-here is the pole star of your salvation-sailby it and you shall reach the port of peace.
3. A third brilliant flash in the light, viz., THE COMPLETENESS of the cleansing. "The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleansesus from all sin"-not from some sin, but "from all sin." Beloved, I cannot tell you the exceeding sweetness of this Word, butI pray God the Holy Spirit to give you ataste of it. There is original sin, by which we fell in Adam before we were born, and there is inherited sin through whichwe were born in sin and shapen in iniquity. There is actual sin-the sin of my youth and my former transgressions, the sinsof my riper years, the sinswhich defile the hoary head and make that which should be a crown of Glory to be a crown of grief-and all these sins, originaland actual, are all gone! All gone!
Sins against the Law, though it is exceedingly broad so that it makes me a sinner in thought, in word, in deed, in heart-theyare all gone! Sins against the Gospel when I kicked against the pricks, when I stifled conscience, when I resisted the HolySpirit as did also my fathers-when Ihated the Truth of God and would not have it because my deeds were evil and I would not come to the light lest my deedsmight be reproved. Sins when I would regard none of the sweet invitations of the Gospel-all cleansed away! Sins against ChristJesus since my conversion whenI have backslidden and my heart has been cold towards Him! Sins against the Holy Spirit when I have followed my own impulsesinstead of the indwelling Deity-all gone!
The Roman Catholic divides sin into venial sins and mortal sins. Be it so-the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin,mortal or venial, deadly or pardonable. Sins of commission-here is a long catalogue-think it over! Sins of omission-that isstill a larger list! Thethings which we have left undone which we ought to have done are probably more numerous than the things which we have donewhich we ought not to have done-all are gone! Some sins are greater than others. There is no doubt whatever that adultery,fornication, murder, blasphemyand such like are greater than the sins of daily life-but whether they are great sins or little sins-they are all gone!That same God who took away the plague of flies from Egypt also took away the plague of thunder and of lightning. All aregone-gone at once!
Pharaoh's chariot is drowned in the Red Sea and the mean Egyptian is drowned in the same way. The depths have covered them.There is not one of them left. There are sins against God-how many there are! Sins of breaking His Day and despising His Word-profaningHis name, forgetting Himand not loving Him-but He blots out all! Sins against my friends and my enemies, against my neighbor, against my father,my child, my wife-sins in all relationships-yet all are gone! Then, too, remember there are sins of presumption and sins ofignorance-sinsdone willfully and unknown sins-the blood cleanses us from ALL sin!
Shall I go on? Surely I need not! But you see the purging is complete. Whether the bill is little or the bill is great, thesame receipt can discharge one as the other. The blood of Jesus Christ is as blessed and Divine a payment for the sin of blasphemingPeter as it is for the sin of loving John!Our iniquity is gone, all gone at once and all gone forever. Blessed completeness! What a sweet theme to dwell upon!
4. The next gem that studs the text is the thought of PRESENTNESS. "Cleanses" says the text-not, "shall cleanse." There aremultitudes who think that as a dying hope they may look forward to pardon, and perhaps within a few hours of their dissolutionthey may be able to say, "My sins arepardoned." Such can never have read God's Word, or, if they have read it, they have read it with unbelieving eyes. Beloved,I would not give the snap of my finger for the bare possibility of cleansing when I come to die!
Oh how infinitely better to have cleansing now! Some imagine that a sense of pardon is an attainment after many years of Christianexperience. For a young Christian to say, "My sins are forgiven," seems to them to be an untimely fig, ripe too soon. But,Beloved, it is not so. The moment a sinnertrusts Jesus, that sinner is as fully forgiven as he will be when the light of the Glory of God shall shine upon his resurrectioncountenance. Beloved, forgiveness of sin is a present thing-a privilege for this day, a joy for this very hour! And whoeverwalks in the light asGod is in the light has fellowship with God and has at this moment the perfect pardon of sin.
You perceive that it is written in the present tense as if to indicate continuance-it will always be so with you, Christian.It was so yesterday-it was "cleanses" yesterday, it is "cleanses" today-it will be "cleanses" tomorrow. It will be "cleanses"until you cross theriver-every day you may come to this fountain for it "cleanses!" Every hour you may stand by its brim, for it "cleanses."I think there is sanctification here as well as justification. I am inclined to believe that this text has been too much limitedin its interpretation andthat it signifies that the blood of Jesus is constantly operating upon the man who walks in the light so as to cleanse himfrom the indwelling power of sin.
And the Spirit of God applies the doctrine of the Atonement to the production of purity till the soul becomes completely purefrom sin at the last. I desire to feel every day the constantly purifying effect of the sacrifice of my Lord and Master. Lookat the foot of the Cross and I am sure you willfeel that the precious drops cleanse from all sin.
5. Now in the fifth place, the text presents to us very blessedly the thought of CERTAINTY. It is not, "perhaps the bloodof Jesus Christ cleanses from sin." The text speaks of it as a fact not to be disputed-it does do so. To the Believer thisis matter of certainty, for the Spirit of Godbears witness with our spirits that we are born of God. Our spirit in the joy and peace which it receives through believingbecomes assured of its being cleansed, and then the Spirit of God comes in as a second Witness and bears witness with ourspirit that we are born of God!
My being cleansed from all sin today is to me as much a matter of consciousness as my being better in health. I was consciousof pain when I lay on my sick bed and so, when I was living in sin, as soon as God gave me spiritual life I was consciousthat guilt lay heavily upon me. I am conscious nowof pain removed and so I am equally conscious of sin removed-I do not hesitate to say it here, that my consciousness ofpardoned sin is at this moment as clear and as distinct as my consciousness of removed pain while I look at Jesus Christ,my Lord, by faith.
So is it often with the Christian. It is frequently with him a matter of consciousness most positive and infallible that heis truly and really cleansed from all sin by the blood of Jesus Christ! It is not merely a matter of consciousness, but ifyou think of it, it is a matter of reasoning. IfJesus Christ did, indeed, take the sins of all who believe, then it follows, necessarily, that I, trusting in Christ, haveno longer any sin-for if Christ took my sin-sin cannot be in two places at once! If Christ bears it, then I do not bear it.And if Christ waspunished for it, then the punishment of my sin has been endured and I cannot be punished for the sin for which Jesus hasbeen punished-unless God should sovereignly punish men-which would be such an insult to the honesty and justice of God thatit must not be toleratedfor a moment in our thoughts!
If Jesus Christ has paid the debt it is paid and-
"Justice can demand no more, Christ has paid the dreadful score."
So the Christian's being cleansed from sin becomes to him a matter of spiritual argument-he can see it clearly and manifestly.Yet more, he is so certain of it that it begins to operate upon him in blessed effect. He is so sure that there is no sinlaid to his door that he draws nearer to Godthan a sinner, defiled with sin, may do. He enters into that which is within the veil-he talks with God as his Father-heclaims familiar communion with the Most High God! And though God is so great that the Heaven of heavens cannot contain Him,yet he believes that thatsame God lives in his heart as in a temple! Now this he could not feel if he did not know that sin is put away. Beloved,no man is capable of virtue in the highest sense of the term till it is a matter of certainty to him that his sin is cleansed.
You say, "That is a strong assertion," but I do assert it-all of you who are doing good works with the view to saving yourselvesare missing the mark of pure virtue. You say, "Why?" The goodness of an action depends upon its motive. Your motive is tosave yourselves-that isselfish-your action is selfish and the virtue of it has evaporated. But the Christian, when he performs good works, doesnot perform them with any view whatever of merit or self-salvation. "I am saved," he says-"perfectly saved. I have not a sinin God's Book againstme-I am clean. Great God, before Your bar I am clean through Jesus Christ-
'Loved of my God, for Him again With love intense I burn.'
What can I do to prove to all mankind how much, how truly I love my God?" You see, then, that this must be a matter of certaintyor else it will never have its right effect upon you. And I pray God that you may suck the certainty out of this text andtaste its sweetness to your own soul's inwardcontentment and be able to say, "Yes, without a doubt, the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin."
6. I hope I shall not weary you, but a few words upon the sixth gem which adorns the text, namely, the DIVINITY of it. "Where?"asks one. Does not divinity gleam in this text? Does it not strike you that the verse is written in a God-like style? TheGod-like style is very peculiar. You can tell thestyle of Milton from the style of Wordsworth, or the style of Byron. Read a verse and an educated person knows the authorby the ring of the sentences. The God-like style is unique in its excellence. You need never put the name at the bottom whenthe writing is of the Lord. You knowit by the very style of it. "Light be! Light was."
Who speaks like that but Deity? Now there is a Divine ring about this sentence-"The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleansesus from all sin." Why, if man were talking of so great an Atonement he would fetch a compass! He would have to go round about!We cannot afford to say such great thingsas these in a few words. We must adopt some form of speech that would allow us to extol the truth and indicate its beauties.God seems to put away His pearls as if they were but common pebbles. "The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us fromall sin"-as if it were asmuch a matter of every-day work as for a man to wash his hands!
Notice the simplicity of the whole process. It does not seem to take weeks or months-it is done at once! Slowly and by degreesis man's action-we must lay the thing to soak, to fetch the color from it, subject it to many processes and expose it to thewind and rain and frost and sunbefore it can be cleansed. But here God speaks and it is done! The blood comes into contact with the guilty conscience andit is all over with sin. As if it were but a handful that moves a mountain of sin, He takes up the isles as a very littlething. He counts great oceans of oursin as though they were but a drop in a bucket. Believing in Christ in a moment, by the Divine and majestic process whichGod has ordained, we get the perfect cleansing of sin.
7. In the last place, just a hint upon the WISDOM of the text. What a wise way of cleansing from sin the text speaks of! Beloved,suppose God had devised a plan for pardoning sin which did not turn the sinner's face to God? Then you would have a very singularspectacle-you would have a sinnerpardoned by a process which enabled him to do without his God-and it strikes me he would be worse off than he was before!But here, before ever the sinner can receive pardon he must say, "I will arise and go unto my Father." And he must come closerinto contact with God thanhe ever came before. He must see God in the flesh of Christ and must look to Him if he would be saved.
I do bless God that I have not to turn my face to Hell to get pardon, but I have to turn my face towards Heaven! That seemsto me to be the wise way, for while it takes away the sin which was like a disease, it takes away the distance from
God which was the true root of that disease. It turns the sinner's face in the direction of holiness and bliss. Observe thebenefit of this plan of salvation in the fact that it makes the sinner feel the evil of sin. If we were pardoned in a waywhich did not involve pain to someone, we should say,"Oh, it is easy for God to forgive it." But when I see the streaming veins of Jesus and mark the sweat of His blood fallto the ground and hear Him cry, "They have pierced My hands and My feet," then I understand that sin is a dreadful evil!
If a man should be pardoned without being made to feel that sin is bitter, I do not know that he would be really any the betteroff-perhaps better unpardoned than pardoned-unless he is led to hate sin. Our gracious God has also chosen this plan of salvationwith the wise design ofmaking man glorify God. I cannot see sin pardoned by the substitutionary Atonement of the Lord Jesus without dedicatingmyself to the praise and glory of the great God of redeeming love. It would be a pity if man could be pardoned and afterwardscould live a selfish, thankless life,would it not? If God had devised a scheme by which sin could be pardoned and yet the sinner live to himself, I do not knowthat the world or the man would be advantaged.
But here are many birds killed with one stone, as the Proverb puts it. Now therefore, at the foot of the Cross, the bandswhich bound our soul to earth are loosened. We are strangers in the land and therefore, "God forbid that we should glory,save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom theworld is crucified unto us and we are crucified to the world."
I leave this text with the Believer, only adding, if any of you would have it, and joy in it, you must walk in the light.I pray God the Holy Spirit to bring you to see the light of the Glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ! Then you will trustHim and then you shall have fellowship with Him!And by His blood you shall be cleansed from all sin. God bless you for Jesus' sake. Amen.
PORTION OF SCRIPTURE READ BEFORE SERMON. -1 John 1,2:1-11.