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The Wednesday Word: The Gospel: Our Best Friend

How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? Hebrews 9:14.

We often feel that we are not worth saving … and this, of course, is an accurate assessment. As Spurgeon said, “When you feel yourself as totally unworthy you have hit the truth.” That is why, as we grow in grace, the Gospel is our best friend.

Let me illustrate. The story is told of how the devil sought to discourage the mighty reformer Martin Luther by continually making him feel guilty. Satan, it seems constantly reminded the great preacher of the list of his sins. When the devil had finished, Luther purportedly said, “Think harder: you must have forgotten some.” And the devil did think, and he listed more sins. When he was done enumerating the sins, Luther said, “Now, with a red ink write over that list, “The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin.” The devil had nothing to say in the light of Luther’s best friend … the Gospel.

As we look by faith to the Lord Jesus, and see His shed blood, we find healing for our wounded conscience. By faith, we understand that His blood has satisfied all claims that unalterable divine justice made against us.

The Gospel is our best friend.

Our sins have been purged perfectly by a perfect offering made with perfect blood. These are the truths to continually feed to the troubled conscience.

If we are regularly condemned by the consciousness of our past sins, we have an evil conscience (Hebrews 10:22). However, the Gospel gives us a perfect conscience that is free from the guilt and condemnation of sins.

The Gospel is our best friend.

I will admit that the legalist in me is sometimes uncomfortable with this arrangement. Maybe you are like me, resistant, at times, to the accomplishments of grace? This is why we need to continually saturate our minds with the Gospel. When we find ourselves more conscious of our former sins than we are of the accomplishments of Christ on our behalf, we need to cleanse our thinking by applying Finished Work teaching to our thinking.

The Gospel is our best friend.

Do you know that your sins are forgiven? Someone says, “I can’t say that they are, but I am doing my best to change my life.” That’s great, but it will never work! You can do your best to reform, but that will never purge your conscience. Only applying the blood of Christ can do that.

The Gospel is our best friend.

Christ, as a man, was the Servant of Yahweh, the one in whom the Father delighted. It was the Father’s purpose to save and cleanse a people for Himself, and His plans were flawlessly executed by His beloved Son, the God/Man. It is only by the shedding of His blood that we are saved, and that blood was shed 2000 years ago at Calvary. The work is finished. He gave His life a ransom for the sins of His people (Isaiah 53:10). Do you know this? Is this truly personal to you?

Our best religious efforts cannot cleanse the conscience. But the Lord wants us to hear him say “Be of good cheer; your sins, which are many, are forgiven” (Matthew 9:2).

What can prevent us going to Him? Our sins? No, it is our sin that is the reason to approach Him. Let us go to Him with freedom of speech (see Hebrews 4:16) to obtain mercy and grace to help in the time of need. He alone can purge the guilty conscience and give peace to the troubled mind.

The Gospel is our best friend.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

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The Wednesday Word: Thank you Jesus for the Blood

Many people continually worry about whether or not they are doing okay spiritually. They ask themselves,

“Have I been good enough?”

“Have I read the Bible enough?”

“Have I witnessed enough?”

“Have I prayed enough?”

“Have I given enough?”

Let’s be honest; the answer to these questions is probably ‘no.’

But here’s the Good News. When Jesus Christ died on the Cross, His Blood took care of all our sins. Not just the bad sins but the Father put all our sins on Christ, the God/Man. We don’t, therefore, need to always be ducking and diving away from God. Our accounts are fully and finally settled.

The Blood of the cross has completely blotted out and cleansed our sins. As the prophet Micah said, they have been cast into the depth of the sea (Micah 7:19). The Father has already blessed us in Christ for “Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin” (Romans 4:7-8).

The Father doesn’t see the sins that we commit. Why? Because of the Blood. We are in Christ. He sees only the Finished Work.

But what happens if we sin? And we do sin … so, what happens? What happens is this, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (1 John 2:1-2). But what if a person knows that God will not impute sin to them yet they stubbornly continue in known sin?

The first consequence is that he grieves His friend, the Holy Spirit.

The second consequence is that he breaks his fellowship with God. However, because of the blood, although the sin breaks fellowship with, it doesn’t change his relationship to the Father. Willful, deliberate sin brings chastisement, but it is a loving and gracious chastisement. There is no wrath in the Father’s discipline. His wrath was exhausted on Calvary for the Elect.

Nevertheless, let’s never forget that God hates sin. He is of purer eyes than to look upon iniquity (Habakkuk 1:13). This is a shocking truth which exposes our lostness outside of Christ. There is no way for us to be accepted in heaven unless the Father sees us as completely perfect. But here’s the genius of the matter, when Jesus Christ went to heaven, He took us with Him, and seated us there with Himself as justified, righteous and perfect believers (Ephesians 2:6).

Now, as we begin to apply Gospel truth, we realize that the Father can never again see us in sin. We are cleansed by the blood and seated (perfect tense) with Christ in heavenly places. It is a finished work, and we are hidden with Christ in God in heaven. Never again will He impute sin to us. We are ransomed by the Blood and saved for time and eternity.

The Blood has redeemed us. The blood has bought and purchased us (Titus 2:14; Mark 10:45). The blood has paid for us in full (1 Peter 1:18-19).

Now, the Father only sees the Son, and as He sees the Son, He beholds every believer. Why is this?

It’s because the Lord Jesus, the God/Man, has graciously hidden us in Himself (Colossians 3:3).

Because of redemption, we are now members of His body (Ephesians 5:30). He, therefore, sees no flaw in us (Song of Solomon 4:7).

Because of righteous grace, He sees us without spot or wrinkle (Ephesians 5:27).

Because of the Finished Work, we are in Him by the purchase of the Blood.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: The Overcoming Blood

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” (Revelation 12:11).

Satan knows that if he can cause us to be occupied more with our failures than with the Gospel, he can destroy our peace and thus our effectiveness. The Lord, however, wants us to know that those old sins, those sins that cast long shadows, those particular, shameful, embarrassing sins that loom up in the rear view mirror to condemn us are all done away with through the blood. It is crucial that we grasp this truth and let it soak into our thinking. We must continually remember that God has dealt graciously and justly with all our failures through the blood of Jesus Christ.

But, how do we make this knowledge work practically?

Let’s say you are a believer in Jesus Christ, but you have just sinned. You disobeyed a clear command in God’s Word. Maybe it was anger or lust or swearing or stealing or whatever. The Holy Spirit immediately convicts you of sin. So, you repent and confess to God and appropriate His cleansing (1 John 1:9).

So far so good!

But, then the enemy comes and whispers, “A fine Christian you are! Do you really think your sins are forgiven? Ha! You’re not even saved! You’re guilty my friend, and you know it. Forget all of this nonsense about being saved by grace!”

How do we answer him? It would seem that he is right. We claim to be Christians and yet we deliberately and knowingly sinned against God. Here’s what we do. Respond to the devil’s accusations by the Gospel. Tell him, “You’re right, Satan, I did that sin. Nevertheless, my salvation does not rest on my performance, but on the perfect performance of the Lord Jesus who shed His blood for me. I’m trusting in Him and His shed blood. So the Lord rebuke you, Satan!” (Zechariah 3:1-5).

Now notice what our text says about overcoming the devil, “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony!”

Did they overcome by ceaseless incantations? No!

Was it by the casting out of demons? No!

“But what formula did they use to overcome?” None!

“Did they overcome by binding and loosing?” No!

They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by making their testimony what the blood had done. They testified that their sins had been taken away by the Lamb.

No accusation against us can stand before the throne of God because all Satan’s charges against us fall on deaf ears in heaven. That’s the power of the blood!

The blood of the Lamb is sufficient for our victory over Satan. Throughout the ages, the blood of Christ, the sacrificial lamb, has been the refuge and fortress to those who believe. By faith, we know and claim that the blood of Christ is entirely effective. It’s like this, either the Lord Jesus put away sin, or He didn’t. If He did not, how will it ever be put away? If He did, then Believers are in the clear.

By the way, when the enemy attacks us and accuses us, we shouldn’t take it personally. The attack is not against us. It’s against the Lord Jesus and His honour. The Devil always loves to attack the integrity and effectiveness of the blood as he insinuates that the Cross has not done enough for us. How he delights to cast aspersions on the Lord Jesus. How he enjoys trying to get believers to lose confidence in the blood of the Lamb.

However, the blood of the Lord Jesus is the conquering weapon. Had He not poured out His soul unto death, had He not been numbered with the transgressors we should have had no weapon with which to overcome the evil one.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: Triumphant Blood

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death (Revelation 12:11).

I once heard a preacher say; “Imagine that a man is drowning in the middle of a lake. If I row out to him and give him a book on swimming, and nothing more, this doesn‘t save him. If I tell Him to swim harder, he still isn’t saved; if I drag him within 2 feet of dry land, he is still not rescued. But when I get into the water, lift him out and place him safely onto the shore, then and only then is he safe!”

So it is in the Gospel. We are saved, rescued and delivered by the work of the Lord Jesus. Our salvation is in, by and through Jesus and His shed blood! Believers are not half saved or partially redeemed. We are saved, entirely, utterly and eternally by the doing, dying and rising again of the Lord Jesus. There is no such thing as us swimming along behind the row boat of salvation. Christ must save and Christ alone

To be “Saved” means to be rescued and delivered from all harm and danger. If we are still in actual danger, then we are not saved! If there is the slightest danger that we can lose our salvation, then either we are not saved, or Christ did not accomplish anything on our behalf in His doing and dying. But we are saved, saved by blood, the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. This makes us safe! We are His sheep and He is our shepherd. Satan cannot destroy us.

In scripture, we discover terms such as:

False brethren,

False prophets,

False witnesses,

False accusers,

False Christs,

False apostles and

False teachers.

But never do we encounter false sheep. Sheep are sheep, they are 100% genuine. The Lord Himself gives his sheep eternal life, and they shall never perish (John 10:27-28). They are blood bought, purchased by the Good Shepherd who gave His life for His sheep. The Shepherd’s sheep are chosen from all eternity, given to the Son by the Father and regenerated by the Holy Spirit. They are safe (John 10:26-28, John 6:37).

Satan, however, attacks the sheep by sending false teachers to try to lead them astray. Nevertheless, they overcome by the blood of the Lamb. In 1 John 2:13-14 we are said to “have overcome” the evil one. Yet, we read that false teachers will lead many astray and that if it were possible, they would mislead the very elect (Mark 13:22). The sheep learn, however, to weigh and judge each teaching by the Gospel. Yet, these false apostles pay lip service to the blood and mention the blood, but Finished Work, Gospel-centered teaching is neither in their hearts nor minds. False teachers will always say they believe the Gospel, but, in actuality, their subjective centered doctrine usually reverts to doing and performance in return for heavenly favour and endorsement. The sheep, however, overcome such nonsense by holding firmly to the truths of Christ crucified.

I need no other argument,

I need no other plea,

It is enough that Jesus died,

And that He died for me.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: Sanctified by the Blood

Hebrews 13:12: Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without (outside) the gate.

The blood of Christ is so pure that it has purged every one of our sins and set us apart unto God. The all-seeing, all-piercing eye of Yahweh could discover no flaw in Christ’s blood for it contained no tinge of sin. It was and is the blood of the Lamb without blemish and without spot (1 Peter 1:19). The Lamb’s blood was unpolluted, untainted and clean and, therefore, it alone was exclusively suitable to sanctify us.

When Jesus Christ went to heaven, in the ascension, He took us with Him and positionally seated us there with Him as ransomed, redeemed and sanctified believers (Ephesians 2:6, 1 Peter 3:18). From that point forward, the Father could never again see us in sin or see sin in us. Our growth in grace and the knowledge of God will be greatly accelerated as we grip this truth and this truth grips us. It is finished. Now the big question that should occupy our mind is, not what we can do, but rather, what He has done (Colossians 3:1). Our lives are now hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3). We are complete in Him (Colossians 2:10). He will never reckon sin or sins to us. We are washed and sanctified by the blood.

If we sin, (and to our shame we will), we have the privilege of instantly bringing our wretchedness to our High Priest. Our sins may cause us to cower in alarm as we think of God’s potential sore displeasure, but it is the blood that tells us what the Father really thinks of us. He sees us as set apart and already sanctified unto him. Because of the blood, we cannot be taken from Him. Spurgeon tells us;

“The apostle says that we who are the priests of God have a right as priests to go to God’s mercy-seat that is within the Vail, but it were to our death to go there unless we were perfect. But we are perfect, for the blood of Christ has been sprinkled on us, and, therefore, our standing before God is the standing of perfection.”

CHS: New Park Street Pulpit: Sermon No. 232: Delivered on Sabbath Evening, January 2nd, 1859.

If, however, we insist on remaining in defiance and rebellion, then, although our standing before God is un-altered, we reap what the sin produces and what the Holy Spirit of God must do to bring us away from the love of our sin. This does not mean, however, that we are in any way legally separated from the One to whom we have, by grace, already been attached. We can never be separated from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

Does this give us a license to sin? God forbid (Romans 6:2; Romans 6:15)! The true believer thrives on fellowship with the Father. But, if we sin and grieve the Holy Spirit, there is no way we can enjoy fellowship in the plan of God. Therefore, as we grow in grace, the Spirit of God begins to teach us a holy hatred of sin. However, this holy hatred does not qualify us to approach God. The blood has already brought us to God. The blood has already made us fit to come to God. Our holy hatred of sin cannot improve on what the blood has already done.

We, as sanctified believers, have continual access with boldness to the throne of grace, and we may come there with all our needs. Because of the blood, we are always perfect and always qualified to come to His throne, whatever our doubts, whatever our sins.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: Speaking Blood

But you are come ….. to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaks better things than that of Abel (Hebrews 12:24).

In our text, we have both the blood of Abel and the blood of Jesus. Both men were murdered! Both men presented a sacrifice before the Father. Both sacrifices were accepted but, strictly speaking, Abel’s sacrifice was accepted only because of Christ’s future work at the cross. It was impossible that the blood of Abel’s lamb could, in and of itself, take away his sin. But it did, because the Father accepted it, as it were, by credit, based on the final payment for sins that was yet to be made at Calvary.

Abel’s sacrifice had no merit in it, but Christ’s sacrifice was so overflowing with value that it encompassed Abel’s sacrifice of his lamb. When Abel’s lamb died, the blood was the blood of an everyday lamb. Although it was a far inferior sacrifice to Christ’s sacrifice, it was accepted because it was offered by faith and pointed to Christ.

Christ’s blood, however, was atoning blood, poured out once for the sins of His people from every generation. It was a well pleasing and satisfactory sacrifice which guaranteed that no charge made against us would prosper.

There is, however, a deeper meaning to this verse in that Abel’s own blood, is to be contrasted with that of Christ’s. Abel’s blood was speaking blood. God said to Cain, “What have you done, the voice of your brother’s blood cries unto Me from the ground” (Genesis 4:10). So here we have two men, two sets of blood, two voices. What’s the difference? The difference is this, Abel’s blood called for vengeance and vindication, but Christ’s blood calls for mercy!

Both Abel and Christ were murdered. Abel was killed by his brother and Christ was murdered by his “own” for, “He came to His own, and His own received Him not” (John 1:12). And there at the cross, Jesus bled and died. But listen and listen intensely. Do you hear it? Listen to what? The silence! There is only silence from Christ’s blood on the subject of vengeance. We hear no call for vengeance upon His people. But listen again to what Christ’s blood is saying. It is speaking mercy and salvation to those who believe. Abel’s blood cries out for justice and judgment, but Jesus’ blood declares redemption and acquittal. Christ’s blood makes a much better speech than that of Abel’s.

Spurgeon said it like this,

“You came to the blood with no merits of your own. Guilty, lost, and helpless, you came to take that blood, and that blood alone, as your everlasting hope. You came to the cross of Christ, with a trembling and an aching heart; and oh! what a precious sound it was to you to hear the voice of the blood of Jesus! ….it cries “It is finished; I have made an end of sin; I have brought in everlasting righteousness.”

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: Gospel Peace

And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, (Colossians 1:20 a)

The blood of Christ gives us a profound insight into God’s estimation of sin. God, being the God of justice, will by no means clear the guilty (Exodus 34:7). Sin has earned an awful debt, and all debts must be paid. We ought not to fool ourselves into thinking that God is some easy going, doddery, old grandfather who doesn’t notice sin. He notices and has done so from the beginning. And because He saw our sin, the Lamb of God went to the cross with this scripture in mind, “It is the blood that makes atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17:11). Because Christ poured out His blood, peace has now been established between God and us. Indeed, there is only one foundation for peace, and that is the blood of Jesus. To enjoy this peace, therefore, our daily spiritual occupation is to, “Behold the Lamb of God” (John 1:29). He is the one who has paid for and taken away our sin.

In Luke 15:2 we are told, “This man (Jesus) receives sinners.” That means that, when we come to Christ our mercy seat, we are fully accepted, and the free gift of eternal life is ours. But you say, I don’t feel that I have a right to go to Him, my sin ‘s too big! Well, it’s your word against His. He says to come to Him, and he knows what He is talking about.

Old Tom Farrell, a Scottish blacksmith, had lived a God-defying life. But, in His mercy, the Lord brought him to trust in Christ alone. Some years later, he was on his death bed, and his wife asked him if he were scared to die. He looked at her, smiled and then said, “What would I be afraid of? I’m going to be with the Man who died for me.” Old Tom knew that peace had been made by the blood.

God’s grace is demonstrated to us through the shed blood of our substitute. In the Old Testament, the High Priest came to the Mercy Seat with the blood. In bringing the blood, he was confessing that both he and the people were sinners. When he came with the blood, he found God waiting to be gracious. Was God gracious because the High Priest confessed everyone’s sin? No! God’s graciousness flowed because the demands of His justice had been met by the blood of a substitute. Because of the blood, there never was a flash of angry lightning there. Because of the blood, there never was one faint rumble of wrathful thunder there. Because of the blood, God looked and seemed to say, “I am well pleased with the blood of this substitute because it points towards the blood of my Son. Because of My Son, I will spare sinners.”

Not only did God gaze upon the blood, but the High Priest, as representative of the people, also fixed his eye on the same blood that lay on the mercy-seat. As he stood gazing on the blood, it was as if he said, “Lord, there is my death and the people’s death for each sin; there is my wrath offering; there is your law’s demand.”

And this is the position of all believers. Our eye is on Jesus, the Christ who was crucified. Our hearts believe that because of the blood, God has given us eternal life (1 John 5:11). Because of the blood, our mouths boldly confess, “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believes” (Romans 10:4). In other words, the believer is free from having to present His strenuous efforts at law-keeping as the method of gaining favour with God. The law, as a means of saving righteousness, is now obsolete. There is no peace, therefore, available to the man who tries to establish his righteousness other than by the doing, dying and rising again of Christ.

I hear the words of love,

I gaze upon the blood,

I see the mighty sacrifice,

And I have peace with God.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com