KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE
Part 12LOOSED FROM OUR SINS
"Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood" (Rev. 1:5).
I know nothing deeper in God than love, nor believe there is anything deeper than love, nay, there can be nothing deeper than love! The being of God is love, and love demands an object the beloved. That is the whole meaning of creation! And it is the greatest proof that God has always, eternally been a Creator this present creation is not the first, nor will it be the last. If God never brought forth or created anything until six thousand years ago or twenty billion years ago, then He could not have been love before that event, for there was no object of love, therefore no expression of love. God would have been throughout eternity before creation loveless. Our existence is not accidental it had to be! God must love, for God is love; therefore God must bring forth and create. "For God so loved the world." The reality of love is a property inherent in the essence of the lover. The Divine Lover, God, cannot love in a limited way because in His nature and being He is limitless, so He loves to the furthest limits of possibility. That is the meaning of the cross! That is the meaning of Gods plan of the ages for the reconciliation of all things! Creation and redemption are therefore intrinsic to Gods very life, they are the outer landscape of His own being, God making Himself visible to Himself and simultaneously making Himself visible to us. Creation is in some sense Gods very self, as Eve was Adams self. And in this relationship with His creation Gods love is revealed through blessing and redemption in the interchange of giving and receiving!
The message which beams from the cross of Christ like the blazing rays of the noon-day sun is one of SACRIFICIAL LOVE REDEEMING LOVE. The truth of love in Jesus Christ was that He loved without retaliation for evil, a love that suffered long, even to the agonies of the cross, and then was kind enough to pray, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." And I declare to you that regardless of what other sins those wicked men may come into judgment for, they will never stand in the judgment condemned for killing the Son of God, for HE AND HIS FATHER FORGAVE THEM! This truth of the love of God in Jesus Christ must also be true in us, the younger sons of God. Jesus did not love people because He loved Himself, as it was under the law. It was the Fathers unconditional and all-surpassing love flowing through Him, surging as a mighty river out to humanity, overflowing redemptively, so that He could say, "Let your love for others not be based on love for yourself, but on what is true in Me: If the Father could love Judas through me, and love Peter through Me, and the people that crucified Me, then let the Fathers love so find expression through you!"
Through many years we have sung a beautiful chorus that goes like this: "His love has no limit, His grace has no measure, His power has no boundaries known unto man; for out of His infinite riches in Jesus, He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again." This is a lovely chorus and I love to sing it and I say it is true. In Jesus Christ, there is no limit to His love, no measure to His grace, and no boundaries to His power, for He is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and His infinite mercy endures throughout all generations and ages. If I say there is one sin, one condition, one creature, one place, one age or group of ages unto which His love and His grace and His power shall not reach and triumph, then I lie and know not the truth. Jesus loved His friends, He loved His enemies, the man who betrayed Him, the man who denied Him, the mob that cried, "Crucify Him!" and the men who nailed Him to the cross. If His love does not triumph over every one of them, then the cross was a farce! There just is no limit to His love! You can never find a place where you can say, "So far He will love, but no farther." Is that love true in us? Or do we say, "Well, I will only stand so much, I will only forgive so long, I will only trust so far, and that is the end of it." God is teaching and training every son that His love should find no limit in us, His grace no measure in us, and His power no boundary in us. This is the first mark of sonship!
Oh, that all men might learn Gods one and only everlasting Gospel, the Gospel of love and then preach it! And be it! Love alone can draw A-L-L MEN to Calvarys crimson fountain. Only a Calvary love can transform a world gone mad, and revive a sleeping church obsessed with her deliriums into a thing of beauty and praise and usefulness. And anyone who is lifting up to a lost and dying world anything or anyone other than Jesus and His wonderful love is simply living a wasted life. The love of God must be lifted up IN US! The sons of God are the Sons of Love, for GOD IS LOVE!
Although God "so loved the world," still there is a special sense in which Christ "loved us" and gave Himself for us those He is making kings and priests unto God that we might reign over the earth. The book of Revelation is written to kings and priests! Some time ago, in Bill and Elaine Cooks paper, Monty Williamson shared the following beautiful testimony which speaks so powerfully of Christs love for His called and chosen elect. "A while ago I had an experience with the Lord Jesus Christ that I would like to share. As I was waiting on the Lord in prayer, I was part of a scene that I will try to describe. I was with the Lords army traveling across the sky, headed for earth. We were all riding on beautiful white horses flying toward the Lords enemies to do battle. As I took in the scene, I realized I was in the front line of the Lords army. I took in the view and felt honored that I was allowed to be at the front where I could see the vistas of the earth beneath and know that I would be one of the first to join in this great battle.
"As my eyes moved to the left, I realized that I was riding beside Jesus. He smiled at me and I felt so loved and understood. I was overwhelmed that I was at His right hand as He rode into battle. I felt so loved and honored. I was shocked that I was beside Him, and questioned in my mind why I was allowed to ride there. In return, He just loved me and let me know that it was right that I was beside Him. I felt humbled and greatly loved. I savored the moment and it was one of the greatest feelings I have ever had to be riding on a white horse with Jesus heading into the battle! After a bit I began to wonder about the others who were riding with us and I felt a little sad that I was at the front with Jesus and that others were not. I was thinking that maybe I should rotate my place with others so that my brothers and sisters could share the joy of riding beside Jesus. I felt Him whisper that it was "Okay" and that I should look around.
"As I looked back, I saw the most incredible picture. I saw the rest of the army as I looked at each one, I noted that they were all looking to the person on their left. On their left was Jesus, riding beside them! As I looked closer, I realized that from each persons perspective, each one was riding beside Jesus and saw themselves at the front of the army, riding on His right side. The same picture that I had at the first, where I saw myself at the front of the army and at His right hand, was the same vision that everyone else had. We all thought that we were riding at the front of the army beside Jesus! For everyone, Jesus was beside them having intimate fellowship with each one at the same time. My love and awe for Jesus soared! It is just like Him to be able to make each one of us feel the most loved at the same time. He is the Head and we are the body. Does any part of the body feel neglected by the head? No! It is the same with Jesus, our Head. He is able to make each of us feel intimately loved all at the same time. It is something very hard for the finite mind to wrap around, but it is possible with God. His love for us knows no bounds!" end quote.
LOOSED FROM OUR SINS
John dwelt in spirit before the door of the opened heaven as he walked about the barren slopes of Patmos. Time after time he saw in visions the glory of God, and of the Lamb, and of the kings and priests upon His throne, and of all the redeemed of the ages. The celestial scene filled Johns heart with joy, praise, and wonder, and stirred by what he saw and heard in the heavenlies, he cried out, "Unto Him who loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests to Him be glory and dominion for the ages of the ages, Amen!"
We need to know what "washing" means. It would be well for us to point out that some Greek manuscripts read "loves" (present tense) in place of "loved" (past) and "loosed" rather than "washed." In Greek the only difference loosed and washed is the letter "o." The idea would be, therefore, "Unto Him who loves us (continuously), and who has loosed us from our sins in His own blood." Since Christ has "loosed" or released us from our sins, the idea here would be that the blood of the Lord Jesus has freed us from the claim and power that sin once had over us.
There was a type of this action in the Old Testament at the time when Israel celebrated the annual day of atonement, in which the people were cleansed from all the sins that had accumulated during the previous year. The atonement was done through a priestly sacrifice. In Leviticus 16:5 it is declared that the "two kids of the goats" constitute a single offering for sin. "And he shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin offering..." The reason for this is that both goats speak symbolically of the work of Christ in taking away our sins, and the sins of the whole world.
What a tremendously meaningful ceremony the day of atonement was! The people of Israel had to plan weeks in advance for this day. Here is what took place on the day of atonement. Two young goats were brought before the gate of the tabernacle and presented to the high priest. These two goats were carefully chosen and were to be of equal character and quality in weight, height, and purity. A lot was cast upon the two goats. One lot was for the Lord, and the other lot was for the scapegoat. The goat selected for the Lord was to be offered as a sacrifice. A scarlet cloth was wrapped around its neck to distinguish it for sacrificing. The other goat was designated as a scapegoat and kept outside the holy precincts of the tabernacle. The first goat was taken in through the gate to the brazen altar in the Outer Court where it was slain, and its blood was collected in a bowl. The high priest then took the blood of "the Lords goat" in through the Holy Place and on in through the veil to the Holy of holies, where he presented it before the presence of Yahweh with incense. He sprinkled the blood upon the mercy seat once, and in front of the mercy seat seven times. Outside, every person in the camp lay prostrate throughout the entire sacrificial procedure. No one saw any of it as it happened. Yet the ritual meant that atonement was being made for their sins! Their transgressions for the whole year were being dealt with atoned for forgiven, remitted, covered.
In contrast, the next part of the ceremony was meant as a very visible, illustrated sermon for every Israelite to see. Indeed, at this point, everyone was to stand and rejoice! Coming out of the Most Holy Place the high priest lingered in the Holy Place long enough to change out of his special clothes designed for that occasion and put on his regular priestly garments. Then he emerged and made his way to the gate of the Outer Court where he laid his hands on the scapegoat. Now, the Hebrew word for scapegoat means "the goat that went away," or "removal." And the priests act of laying hands on the scapegoat symbolized the transference of all the peoples sins to the head of the animal. Aaron confessed over the scapegoat all the sins of the children of Israel, saying, "Oh Yahweh, your people, the house of Israel, have committed iniquity, transgressed, and sinned before You. Oh Yahweh, forgive, I pray, the iniquities and transgressions and sins which your people, the house of Israel, have committed and transgressed and sinned before You; as it is written in the law of your servant Moses, For on this day shall atonement be made for you to cleanse you: from all your sins you shall be clean before Yahweh."
All the sins of all the people of Israel were transferred to the head of the scapegoat and then the goat was put into the hands of a "fit man" to be sent away into the wilderness, unto a land not inhabited. There the goat was let go and left. The "fit man" mentioned in Leviticus 16 was a strong, physically fit man chosen for the important task of leading the scapegoat far away into the desolation of the wilderness and leaving it there. The fit man put a leash on the scapegoat and led him out of the camp. And what a sight that was to the people! All of Israel stood watching, as at a parade, cheering, clapping, rejoicing as the scapegoat was led away. It was an object lesson that every citizen of Israel including children could understand: "Not only are our sins forgiven to be remembered no more but they are taken away from us! The fit man couldnt take the goat to just any place in the desert he must make an arduous journey to a most remote, inescapable place, so far away that there would be no possibility of the goat wandering back into their midst. It must be a complete, permanent, irrevocable removal!
The Lord Jesus Christ is the key character with both of these goats, for both animals together constitute one sin offering (Lev. 16:5). In the sacrifice of the feast of Passover the people could choose between a lamb or a goat. In the feast of Atonement, however, there was no choice, only the goat could be used. Goats were used in the flock as leaders and protectors. "The Lords goat" represents Jesus who went before us into the Most Holy Place to open up the way through the rent veil. There are many things to learn from types and anti-types, for by them truth is taught with more force than any spoken word. You will notice then that no sins are confessed over the head of the first goat, the "Lords goat." For you see, this is Jesus the perfect sin-offering, pure, spotless, unblemished, undefiled, holy, harmless, separate from sinners, who by His blood, His own precious and divine life, has, as our forerunner, entered into the holiest of all, opening up the way for every son of God to follow.
The writer to the Hebrews proclaimed this blessed event in these words: "For by one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that He had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh; and having an high priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith" (Heb. 10:14-22).
And what does it mean that we may enter into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus? To Moses God said that He gave the blood upon the altar to be an atonement for the soul, because THE LIFE OF THE FLESH IS IN THE BLOOD (Lev. 17:11). That is, the blood in the body is the life of the body. Ah the power of any blood is in the worth of the life! In the blood of Jesus THE POWER OF THE DIVINE LIFE DWELT and worked hence its intrinsic value. He was the Son of God by conception, and the Son of man by birth. He was a specially prepared body to contain a specially prepared blood that was to be the life of all humanity! This blood was precious from the fact that it was a unique blood which could do something for all humanity that no other blood could ever do. It was the Word of God that became flesh (Jn. 1:14), who was made a man. It was the life of God that dwelt in Him! That life gave His blood, every drop of it, an infinite value. The blood of a man is of more worth than that of a sheep. The blood of a king or a great general is counted of more value than hundreds of common soldiers. The blood of the Son of God! It is in vain the mind seeks for some expression of its value! All we can say is, it is His own blood, the blood of the Word made flesh! The life is in the blood. As the value of this life, so the value of the blood. In Christ there was the life of God; infinite as God is the worth and the power of that blood!
When Adam transgressed, the life of God which had been breathed into his nostrils, fled from his soul, and by that separation all that was left was a residue, that mortal something which flowed in the veins of his body. This blood contains nothing of the life of God, and in its composition is similar to the blood of the animal kingdom, for when the glorious power of divine life was separated from Adams soul, he entered into the kingdom of death. Before this Adams spirit and soul had existed in blessed union. The record states that Adam was made a living soul. From the Greek the statement reads, "The first man was made a zoe psuche (living soul)." Zoe, throughout the entire Greek New Testament, is always used in reference to the life of God divine life. Psuche, on the other hand, is used of the natural life of animals and men. Since both words are used of Adams life in the beginning, it is clear that he possessed a physical life imbued, infused, injected, impregnated, and permeated with the glorious incorruptible life of God! That is what made him not simply zoe, and not merely psuche, but zoe psuche!
This life, zoe, is the life Jesus promised to give to man when He said, "I give unto them eternal life (zoe), and they shall never perish." This, beloved, is the life that fled from Adams soul when he transgressed, leaving his outer man ashamed, fearful, and dead. The life is in the blood, but our blood being devoid of zoe life, incorruptible and divine life, is in reality dead blood and capable of sustaining only physical life, and that only poorly until man returns to the dust from whence he came. It is not without significance that, when the bodies of men are embalmed, the first act is to remove the corruptible blood that the dead body may be better preserved. The fact that a chemical in the veins can preserve a dead body is the proof that the quickening power of incorruptible zoe restored to union with the blood of redeemed men will result in life and immortality! Instead of incorruptible and, therefore, deathless blood, Adams blood corrupted through sin and became subject to death. To redeem this dead sinner, life must again be imparted! The only remedy for death is life! This life is in the blood, so blood must be furnished which is sinless and incorruptible. Now none of Adams race could do this, "for in Adam all die." There was only one, yes, only one, who could furnish that blood, the virgin-born Son of God, the man from heaven, the last Adam, with a human body, but sinless, supernatural blood, inseminated by the Holy Ghost!
Jesus came to bring life to the world! Here is where His blood differed from the ordinary blood or life of men. His blood was precious in that it was able to do something for mankind which mans own blood or life could not do. The natural blood or life of mankind was only for a few years at most, but the blood of Christ was the life of the ages. So there must somehow be a discontinuance of the blood of a few years, that the blood or the life of the ages might be injected into mankind.
Let us notice one thing further. The red liquid that ran through the veins and arteries of the body of Jesus is not the blood whose power redeems mankind and all things unto God. There is no biblical basis for attributing any unusual properties to Christs body fluids. The term "blood of Christ" is far more significant than any magical or mystical power falsely attributed to His physical blood by those who are ignorant of the truth. And here I must speak a word against one of the popular myths that has been widely circulated among Gods people. Various teachers have maintained that human blood is in some mysterious way "congealed light." Now that term carries with it a certain kind of mystical aura, and a rather scientific sound. But the truth is that it is neither scientifically founded, scripturally sound, nor spiritually veracious. Blood is composed of the very same chemical and mineral substances of which the earth is made. If blood is "congealed light," then your refrigerator, automobile, house, and a bunch of bananas and a cup of coffee are just as truly congealed light! Blood is mostly water, but in the blood many substances are dissolved and in this fluid float specks of matter that do not dissolve. From the lungs it takes oxygen breathed in, and from the digestive organs it takes food substances and carries these, as well as disease-fighting cells, to all parts of the body. The liquid part of the blood greatly resembles sea water. This liquid part of the blood without all the solid particles, but including the various chemicals in the blood, is called plasma.
The thing of importance about the precious blood of Jesus is not its physical structure, but the glorious fact that blood bespeaks LIFE. What Jesus poured out was His life, His holy, pure, undefiled, divine, heavenly, incorruptible life, the zoe, the quickening spirit, the life of GOD! He lived and walked out that glorious life in human form and then poured it out as an offering to God. And God took the offering and poured it out, in return, upon mankind! "He...spake of the resurrection of Christ, that His soul was not left in hell, neither His flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, HE HATH SHED FORTH THIS, WHICH YE NOW SEE AND HEAR" (Acts 2:31-33).
Ah the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of God, but in a new dimension the divine and incorruptible life of God as it had been perfected and lived out in the life of the Son of God was now shed forth as the Spirit of the Son to be received by all men to transform and lift them up high into the holiness, wisdom, and power of God. The precious blood of Jesus! There is an old Roman Catholic dogma which says that Christ carried His blood with Him to heaven in a bowl. Without even knowing its source, evangelical Christianity clings to that ludicrous idea from the Dark Ages by perpetuating a form of mysticism around the physical blood of our Lord. The bowl of blood is indeed a type from the outward, physical ceremony of the day of Atonement. But in its spiritual fulfillment there is no bowl in the universe that could have contained what Jesus carried into the heavens! When Christ entered heaven (see Hebrews, chapters 8-10), He carried not physical blood, which of necessity would be corruptible blood, but His DIVINE-HUMAN LIFE. He did not transport a bowl of blood or a bucket of blood; He entered in His resurrection body, with the full power of that divine life He had poured out on behalf of Adams doomed race. If He had not poured it out upon the cross, He would have forever remained the only perfect man the only manifest Son of God. But, blessed be His wonderful name! He shed His precious blood, He released His human-divine life, He poured forth His quickening Spirit that all may drink thereof and live!
Beloved sons and daughters of God! The blood of Jesus! The blood of the Lords goat! Oh, think what it means. God gave it for your redemption from Adams race and your transformation into the image and glory of God. God accepted it in the true tabernacle, in heaven itself, in the heaven of Gods Spirit, when the firstborn of the new creation entered there and presented it on your behalf. God points you to it and asks your to believe in its omnipotent energy, in its everlasting sufficiency. Ah, this celestial man was injected into a whole world full of men descended from the earth-man to impart something we had lacked from the day Adam was driven from Edens bright portals. That something was life, living blood, for He said He came to give life to the world. He could impart a life to the world that would change it completely! When our spirit is quickened by His Spirit, and then brought into marriage union with soul and body there is raised up within us LIFE AND IMMORTALITY!
What it means is just this. Jesus, through death and resurrection into the incorruptible realm of God, has entered into the Most Holy Place of heavenly life. And now, HE HAS GIVEN US HIS LIFE! His life is His blood, and by the quickening of that divine life in our spirit we become the new creation. You cannot bring old Adam into the Holiest for the body (natural consciousness) of the Lords goat was left at the tabernacle gate! ONLY THE BLOOD (DIVINE LIFE) ENTERED INTO THE HOLIEST. Notice! While the King James Version reads, "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus," the Greek text actually reads, "Having therefore, brethren, confidence into the entrance of the Holiest in the blood of Jesus." The Greek word is en IN. Entering in the blood of Jesus. What a word! If it is the blood that is carried into the Holiest, how else could I get into the Holiest, unless I would be IN THE BLOOD? Do you see it? He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit. In the union of our spirit with His Spirit we are "in" the blood or life of Christ! It is in this union of life that we are given the boldness, the ability to enter in to the Most Holy Place! In the power of that life we have now entered in! In the blood, the divine life of Jesus in our spirit, we now enter into the Holiest of all!
We cannot reform old Adam. We cannot redeem our old humanity with its desires and lusts. We must leave our human consciousness behind at the gate of the tabernacle, for that human consciousness is represented by the dead body of the Lords goat. That dead body does not go into the Holiest! We must leave our old human consciousness, our old Adamic mind and identity, out at the altar of sacrifice (the cross) and enter into the presence, glory, and power of God in our new life in the spirit! Only the new creation can enter in! We have tried to make Adam "behave" so we could be pleasing to God. We have put our flesh under laws and rules and regulations and tried to make it be good. It hasnt worked! It cannot be done! Leave the old carcass behind and enter in your spirit into the presence of God in the Most Holy Place. There is no sin at all in your regenerated spirit! And that is who you now really are! As a new creation you havent done anything wrong! Your regenerated spirit has not sinned! In your true identity you are not guilty! There is therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus!
Someone says, "But my flesh still wants to sin. My flesh still flies off the handle, cusses, thinks evil thoughts, makes bad choices, criticizes, is fearful, deceitful, selfish, hurtful, and lusts after evil things." Sure it does for "that which is born of the flesh is flesh." Thats how flesh is! Flesh cant be any different! You cant make flesh holy! Its born of the wrong seed! But there is a further truth. "That which is born of the spirit is spirit." Oh, yes! That which is born of the spirit is your regenerated spirit and it is like Christ. You dont have to try to make it like Christ. It is! And thats the real you! Thats the new man that you are! Thats the spiritual man, the heavenly man, the divine man Christ. And that is the man who may enter into the Holiest any time, at any place, day or night. When the flesh has mis-behaved and would heap guilt and condemnation upon your head, leave that old carcass at the tabernacle gate and enter on in to the presence of God in the Most Holy Place! Enter in the blood, in the life of Jesus in your spirit! Oh, the wonder of it!
Now surely someone will accuse me of preaching "greasy grace" and charge me with saying that you can just let your old flesh do everything it wants to do and still be a son of God in the Holiest of all. But you see, my beloved, we have only considered the first goat the Lords goat. Gods dealing with sin doesnt end there. It is true, however, that in the Lords goat we can enter right on in to the Holiest while the scapegoat is still standing there at the tabernacle gate. What made the feast of Atonement so wonderful was the inclusion of the second goat. Thank God for the second goat! God has shown us by types and shadows how it is that Christ removes all sin from the experience of His people. Sin will no longer be a problem in my life. The feast of Atonement is not only a day of entering in, it is also a day of release, being freed from all temptation of sin in our lives.
When the scapegoat was led away into the wilderness by a fit man and left there, never to return to Israel, through that action, the people were to understand that their sins had been sent away. That was but a makeshift arrangement and was given only to crudely illustrate what God was doing. In this ritual action there was no provision made for any change in the people who committed the sins. The sins were simply symbolically rolled off from one year to the next. But it was a type of the work of God! In John 1:29 we read, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." The words "take away" mean to lift or to take away. It means to completely remove, banish, exile, cast out, disown, depose and dismiss our sins! Again we read, "And ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins" (I Jn. 3:5).
Can we not see by this that Jesus is not the second goat He is the fit man! The scapegoat is your human consciousness, your carnal flesh. Jesus has been chosen, selected, ordained and manifested to TAKE AWAY our sins! Can you see it? HE does it! I warn you dont try to do it yourself. Not just any Israelite could lead that scapegoat away where he would never return. Oh, no! Only the fit man could do it! If you try to do it all your efforts will only end in defeat. You are not strong enough, smart enough, or good enough. Thats why a fit man has been chosen for the task! You will never last long enough to get that sin-laden goat of your flesh far enough away in the wilderness so that he doesnt some day wander back into your life again. Only the fit man can accomplish it! He has been manifested to bear, to lift, to carry, to lead away, to take away our sins. He has been manifested in order that He might come into relationship with our human life, and passing underneath the load of human sins, to lift them, and take them away!
Either this is the most glorious gospel that a man has ever heard; or it is the greatest delusion to which man has ever listened. If it be true that Christ Jesus has been manifested to somehow, in some mystery that the carnal mind can never fathom, in order to take hold of my sins, my sins, my sins, my impure thoughts, my words of bitterness, my stubborn selfishness, my unholy deeds, and life, and lead, and bear them away that is the best news I have ever heard! I long for that more than all! Consider the testimony of the angel Gabriel to the virgin of Nazareth: "And thou shalt call His name Jesus; for He shall save His people from their sins." When the songs which the shepherds heard that holy night breaking the silence upon the Judean hills were heard, what said they? "There is born unto you this day a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."
Whether through the second goat we have been saved from our sins or not, in the first goat, the Lords goat, in and by his blood, WE HAVE BOLDNESS TO ENTER INTO THE HOLIEST OF ALL. You do not have to be delivered from your sins in order to enter boldly into the presence of God and enjoy the fellowship of His life. At the stage of our initial regeneration performance is not the secret to Gods presence! If performance were the secret to Gods presence, we would of all men be most miserable, for which of us can say that we have not sinned and have had no consciousness of sins since we were converted? No one of us would be prepared to say, "I have never deliberately done the thing I knew I ought not to do!" That is consciousness of sins! But that does not exclude us from the love, presence, and glory of God! After all, God is our Father! Be honest with me. Unless you are a harsh, vindictive, tyrannical brute, does your childs failure, misbehavior, disobedience, or rebellion exclude him or her from your love, from your fellowship, from your care, from your concern, from your counsel, from your table, from your provision, from your blessing, from your home, or from your presence? NO! Then why should our lack or failure separate us from coming boldly to the throne of grace? Let us come boldly that we may obtain grace to help in time of need!
Now that we are a new creation in our inner man, why do we (I speak for many) not have more victory over sin in our outer lives? It is because we have not yet appropriated the second provision of the day of Atonement for dealing with our sins! What did Jesus come into the world to do? He came to save His people from their sins not merely from the guilt, consciousness, and punishment of sin, but from the sins themselves, the petty as well as the heinous, the respectable as well as the loathsome. His great work is to send away sin to expel it from our hearts, to banish it from the earth, yea, to cast it into the abyss of non-existence behind the back of God. This is Christs "holy war." He came carrying it into our world and has brought it right into the roots of our lives and the throne room of our hearts!
On the day of atonement, in the body of the scapegoat, sin is finally and completely dealt with! In the spiritual application of the fit man and the scapegoat, God deals with the "goat nature" once and for all. Some time ago, in commenting on the day of Atonement ritual, Elaine Cook shared an experience: "Having at one time kept both sheep and goats, we understand their natures. When we took a load of sheep to town, we heard not a sound from them, but when we carried goats, the air would be resounding with the sound of horns butting and the sides of the truck would rock from the conflict within. The goat nature is quite opposite to the lamb nature. What does all this mean to us? In simple terms, it means that God is going to deal with our sinful, rebellious nature once-for-all! The goat was not killed, it was completely removed!" This, beloved, is an integral part of the feast of Tabernacles, even the day of Atonement that precedes the fullness of that great feast! The day of Atonement prepared the worshipper for the feast of Tabernacles, even as the seventh chapter of Romans precedes the glorious eighth chapter and prepares us for the glory of manifested sonship described in that rich eighth chapter.
It is my conviction that this ritual foretold of the warfare between the flesh and the spirit between the natural man and the spiritual man within us. During these last years of walking and progressing with God in the Spirit, we have been brought to the place in Christ which corresponds to the day of Atonement and hopefully we have yielded all the iniquities of the man of flesh, for it is here at the place of atonement that sin is dealt with. The desires and motions of the outer flesh man must be SENT AWAY, even as the scapegoat was sent away from the camp of Israel, bearing all the sins of the people. But you see, the sinful goat-nature can only be sent away by the hand of the fit man, Christ, who is ordained to take him away! What does that mean? It means that only the presence and power of Christ in our lives is able to overcome sin in the flesh! Truly He is within us accomplishing this! This is not a work that is wrought from without on our behalf it is the work of Christ in us! That is why we have to experience the life of the first goat before we can appropriate the departure of the second goat!
Some people think that if they have sin in their lives Christ wont dwell in them, that His presence will flee, God will turn from them and the heavens become as brass against them. People have the crude and unscriptural notion that somehow God is too holy to look upon sin. That is a lie of Babylon! How can sin ever be conquered in my life if Christ is not raised up in me? And if Christ wont dwell in me, fellowship with me, and bless me because of my sin, how can He ever be raised up within me to the point where the spirit of life in Christ Jesus makes me free from the law of sin and death? That is the whole point of chapters seven and eight of Romans!
Paul describes the distress that is characteristic of many believers lives. "For I do not understand my own actions I am baffled, bewildered. I do not practice or accomplish what I wish, but I do the very thing that I loathe. Now if I do habitually what is contrary to my desire, that means that I acknowledge and agree that the law is good and morally excellent and that I take sides with it. However, it is no longer I that do the deed, but sin which is at home in me and has possession of me. For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot perform it. I have the intention and urge to do what is right, but no power to carry it out; for I fail to practice the good deeds I desire to do, but the evil deeds I do not desire to do are what I am doing. Now if I do what I do not desire to do, it is no longer I doing it it is not myself that acts but the sin which dwells within me. So I find it to be a law of my being that when I want to do what is right and good, evil is ever present with me and I am subject to its insistent demands. For I endorse and delight in the Law of God in my inmost self with my new nature. But I discern in my bodily members in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh a different law at war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner to the law of sin that dwells in my bodily organs in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh" (Rom. 7:15-23, Amplified).
Our experience in this physical realm is certainly no different than the apostle Pauls! "I know that in me, that is, in my flesh (outer man), dwelleth no good thing." The thing he didnt want to do he did, and the thing he wanted to do he couldnt. What an experience for an apostle! Paul enlarges on his struggle with "sin in my members." Sin in my members is simply a euphemism for "the desires of the flesh" or "the carnal mind." And dont tell me you dont have them! Many of the Lords people are in denial, claiming that since their old man is dead, the fear, anger, covetousness, lust, deceitfulness, and other carnal and ungodly emotions they feel are just an illusion, a habit, a hang over, a mistaken identity from their former old man who is now really dead, gone, and non-existent. Let me tell you the truth! Your old man is dead, but you do still have sin in your members the desires of your flesh. The man who says he has no fleshly desires because his old man is dead is either caught up in wishful thinking, self-deceived, or lying. Therefore, the old man and the flesh are obviously not the same, for if they were, your flesh would be dead! How could you still have the option of either "sowing to the flesh" or "sowing to the spirit" if your flesh no longer exists? Look up all the scriptures on the flesh and you will see that all Gods saints in physical, mortal bodies still have it! "The flesh wars against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh," Paul wrote. Has that ever been your experience? If the flesh were dead, the war would be over! Perhaps for you it is, and I rejoice for you if it is, but I seem to still get involved in a skirmish now and then!
This is a large subject that would take a book to exhaust, but I can assure you that if the "old man" is who most people think he is, and truly dead, we should all be perfect, sinless, pure, undefiled, and overcomers in every sense of the word. We should not need to mortify, or put off, or put away, or cleanse ourselves from, or overcome anything because all those things would be non-existent! Dead men dont lie, dead men dont deceive, dead men dont cheat, dead men dont fly off the handle, dead men dont gossip, dead men dont fight, dead men dont covet, dead men dont criticize, dead men dont lust, dead men dont make mistakes, dead men dont get depressed, or struggle with anything. If uncle Charlie has died and is lying in his coffin, I can walk up to him, tell him what a splendid fellow he is, flatter him, and heap praise upon praise on him, and he will never smile, appear pleased, or puff up with pride. Hes dead! On the other hand, I can stand there and swear at him, abuse him, slap his face, yell about what a scoundrel he is, and he will not swear back, strike me, or jump out of the coffin and knock me down. There will be absolutely no response for he is dead! Dead men dont do anything!
Dead men dont keep on doing evil things and then excuse it by saying that they just didnt know they were dead; it was just such a habit that they have to remind themselves that they are dead so they can learn to act like dead men! What drivel! Yet, I have heard great preachers proclaiming such foolishness, in an effort to rationalize why Christians have fleshly, ungodly emotions and desires, and do bad things, when their old man is dead! It should be clear to any spiritual mind that either the old man isnt dead or we have mis-identified the old man! I think it is the latter. God isnt playing games with us! Do saints still struggle with the carnal mind and the works of the flesh? Do saints still 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" (I Jn. 1:8-9).
Ah, precious friend of mine, "sin in our members" and the "old man" are not the same! Every scripture throughout the whole Bible bears witness to this fact. Let me give it to you in the simplest of terms. There are many, many scriptures, but two will suffice to point the way. "For I delight in the law of God after the inward man" (Rom. 7:22). Notice what the inward man does. He delights in the law of God righteousness! But even though the inward man, the new man, delights in righteousness, the awful power of sin lies in our members. Now let us look at the old man. "Strip yourselves of your former nature (the old man) put off and discard your old unrenewed self which characterized your previous manner of life and becomes corrupt through lusts and desires that spring from delusion" (Eph. 4:22, Amplified). These two passages tell us this: The new man is a nature that delights in righteousness; the old man is a nature that desires or delights in that which is corrupt. The old man, therefore, is our old unregenerated spiritual state in which we desired and delighted in the flesh! Please notice that it is the nature that desires and delights in sin it is not the "body of sin" (the flesh) itself! It is so important that we see and clearly understand the distinction Paul draws in his writings between "sin in our members" which is "the flesh" and the "old man." These are not interchangeable terms! Sin is the power and principle of evil rooted in our members, in our flesh, in our body! The old man, on the other hand, is our old unregenerated spiritual state in which we delighted in the sin in our members! And the new man is our quickened, regenerated spiritual existence by which we now delight in righteousness. "For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my (inward man) mind" (Rom. 7:22-23). How much plainer can it be!
Any thinking person should understand that once our spirit is quickened by Gods Spirit our old unregenerated spiritual state NO LONGER EXISTS! The scriptures have only one thing to say about your old man...HE IS DEAD! Therefore, you are not having any problem at all with your old man, for dead men dont do anything! The proof of this is that you no longer delight in sin! Oh, yes, sin is still in your members, and you can sin, have sinned, and may sin again. But when you do sin are you happy about it? Spiritually, does it make you feel good? Does your spirit say, "Amen!" Or is your spirit grieved? Do you now regret your weakness, your failure? Right there is the answer! The nature that delighted in sin is dead, it is gone! Your new man now delights in righteousness! You now want to do what is right, you now desire to please God, you now hunger for righteousness! That is the difference between the old man and the new man. And that is why you have still struggled with the flesh and with sin. If the flesh and sin were the old man, there would be no more conflict. Dead men dont sin! The fact that there is now conflict in your life between sin and the new life of Christ within you is the proof that your old man is dead and that Christ in you is alive. Before you were regenerated there was no conflict! The old man took pleasure in unrighteousness!
Let us look at this truth of being "loosed from our sins" from another angle, from the perspective of the sin-offering; not the sin offering of the two goats on the day of Atonement, but the ordinary sin-offering that any man could offer when he sinned. Come with me now to the camp of Israel. There is a man here by the name Eliezar. Eliezar has sinned. He has done a terrible wrong. He didnt mean to do it, but he did. He was overcome by his own passion and in a moment of weakness succumbed to the lust of his flesh. In sorrow Eliezar goes out into his flocks and chooses the very best of his bullocks. He brings the animal to the tabernacle gate as a sacrifice a sin-offering. The priest takes the bullock and slays it for Eliezar, offering it according to the requirement of the law. Eliezar lays his hands upon the head of the bullock as it is slain, indicating that his sin is imputed to the bullock and the bullock is paying the penalty of his sin. As soon as the sacrifice is finished, Eliezar is free! His sin is atoned for! His sin is forgiven! His sin is removed! He is loosed from his sin and all the guilt and penalty of it! He can never be condemned, judged, or punished for the wrong he did. It is erased. The sin-offering is complete, all-sufficient, and irrevocable. With this burden off of him, Eliezar is now free to work out his problems, to seek God, to press forward, to give himself to learning how to overcome, to be worthy of the sacrifice made on his behalf!
Does sin condemn us to separation from Christ, to a doomed, lost, and hopeless state? Does sin separate us from the love of God, from the fellowship of God, from the presence of God, or from the blessing of God? NO! For we are justified by faith in Jesus our sin-offering, who once and for all offered Himself up for us. We are not justified by our performance we are justified by the sin-offering that has been made for us! Shall we continue in sin, then, that grace may abound? God forbid! Performance doesnt save us but it does qualify us for a place and position in the kingdom of God! "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor those who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God" (I Cor. 6:9-10).
Inheriting the kingdom is not the same as being justified by faith! To inherit the kingdom means to rule and reign with Christ! It denotes responsibility and position, authority and power, dominion and rulership! It means to sit upon the throne! Contrary to the childish teaching of the church systems, responsibility and rulership in the kingdom is not given to every believer in Jesus. The throne is not promised to "him that believeth" nor to "him that is justified." The throne is promised "to him that overcometh!" "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame and am set down with my Father in His throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches!" (Rev. 3:21-22).
Before this process of overcoming begins we are, by faith in Jesus our sin-offering, completely released from all our sins and from all the guilt, condemnation, and judgment of those sins freely by His grace! Because this was not taught to us in our churches when we first came to the Lord, many of the Lords precious little children have been wandering around spiritually maimed, not knowing who they are, thinking that God still remembers their sins, and that He is angry with them, holding their weakness and failure against them, shutting the heavens up against them every time they fall. Men will not let you forget when you stumble, when you cannot break your sinful habits. Preachers, especially, will not let you forget! This is the good news your sins are gone! The ones you committed before you were saved are all gone. The ones you have committed since you were saved are all gone. And the ones you have committed today are all gone! The one sin-offering has forever taken care of all your sins! That is the assurance you have by faith in Jesus! Dont follow the example of ignorant men who wont let you forget, and dont let the adversary pull that number on you, for Satan is the accuser of the brethren, and he accuses through men and he accuses you through you. You say, "But I sinned!" Yes, you did. You say, "But I failed God!" Yes, you did. You say, "But this is the one-hundredth time I have flunked the same test!" Yes, it is. To which your heavenly Father responds, "Your sin is forgiven, remitted, released, sent away. Its not in my ledger. I dont know what youre talking about." That is the gospel the good news my friend! Any so-called gospel that makes the sin-offering Jesus has provided less than that is not the gospel at all!
Every child of God must know that Gods love and acceptance of them in the Beloved in unconditional. Until we know that, we have underestimated His love! How many times can the prodigal return home? Only as many times as the Fathers love will accommodate! On one occasion Jesus was talking alone with His disciples about prayer. Peter asks a question. It is never difficult to think of Peter asking a question or making a few remarks. He asks, "Master, how many times must I forgive a man? Seven times? Apparently Peter thinks he is growing in grace. He can actually think now in terms of forgiving a man seven times in succession! But the Lord in effect says, "Peter, you havent caught the idea. You dont get it! Forgiveness is not a matter of mathematics; not a matter of keeping tab on somebody; it is not that you have forgiven someone six times, so you will go for one more. You must forgive not seven times but seventy times seven in one day!" And Peters eyes bulge open with an incredulous stare "four hundred and ninety times one man in one day Wow!" Methinks that Jesus is thinking that Peter will lose count, or get tired of counting, and finally get it, concluding that forgiveness is not optional, it has no qualification or boundary it is absolutely, at all times, for all people, and in all circumstances unlimited and unconditional!
Nobody taught or manifested the all-encompassing and totally unconditional love of our heavenly Father more than Jesus. The sin question is settled! Under the law, when the sin-offering was slain, all was forgiven. Mattered not how the offerer felt, how mature he was, how perfect he was, how spiritual he was his faith in the sacrifice wiped the slate clean. Jesus has now made the one sacrifice forever, and by our faith in the Fathers love for us we are accepted of Him regardless of our failures. The secret is just this: HE IS MERCIFUL TO OUR TRANGRESSIONS UNTIL WE ARE ABLE TO OVERCOME THEM! Only His life within us can ever overcome them! If He withdraws His life because we fail even if we fail four hundred and ninety times in one day then we are hopeless! But He doesnt! He freely forgives every time and floods us with His love and His life in the expectation that eventually His life will become strong enough in us to conquer all. That is His way! And it is the only way it can be if we are to be completely saved and perfected. What a plan! What a Saviour!
Then what are we supposed to do? We are supposed to quit trying to deal with sin, and fall in love with Jesus! The more deeply we fall in love with Jesus, the more time spent in His presence, the more we fellowship with Him and eat at His table, the easier and more natural it becomes to subject ourselves to Christ and let the Spirit lead us. The more we will desire to please Him! As we commune with the Lord and listen to His voice, this teaching is life; this teaching gives us spiritual food; it gives us spiritual drink; it raises up within us spiritual substance so we can grow up into the nature of the new man. Victory over sin and the flesh is not our own doing! We cannot produce it! But Christ raised up in our lives will lead us to it! Jesus overcame all things, lived out the nature of God, and manifested the power and glory of God. But He did not do it Himself! He said, "I can do nothing of myself" (Jn. 5:19,30). His complete victory came through his fellowship with, and His subjection to, the Father. "The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works" (Jn. 14:10). And that is also where our power and victory are! Christ in us must do the work. And we cannot make Him do it; we can only let Him do it. And He will do it as we live in His presence! Come, come, my friend, into the Holiest in the blood of Jesus, in the power of His life within your spirit, come right on in and enjoy His abundance! Sin will then, in due time, take care of itself. As soon as you have entered in, the stage is set for the second stage of your experience in Christ the scapegoat of your flesh can then be sent away!
Paul, at one time in his experience, felt what we all feel in our struggle with the flesh. In desperation he cried out, "O unhappy and pitiable and wretched man that I am! Who will release and deliver me from the shackles of this body of death?" (Rom. 7:24). And then came the revelation of the glorious solution! "O thank God HE WILL! through Jesus Christ, the Anointed One, our Lord!" (Rom. 7:25). And right on the heels of this the explanation of how Jesus Christ, the fit man, sends the sin and flesh man away: "For the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has freed me from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law could not do, its power being weakened by the flesh. Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, God condemned sin in the flesh subdued, overcame, deprived it of its power. So that the righteous and just requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who live and move not in the ways of the flesh but in the ways of the Spirit our lives governed not by the standards and according to the dictates of the flesh, but controlled by the Holy Spirit. For if you live according to the dictates of the flesh you will surely die. But if through the power of the Spirit you are habitually putting to death making extinct, deadening the deeds prompted by the body, you shall really and genuinely live..." (Rom. 8:2-4,13, Amplified).
Oh, yes! The fit man is within us, and as we walk in His presence, soaking up His life, yielding to His Spirit, communing with His mind, submitting to His leading, the goat nature is sent away into a desolate land, an uninhabited wilderness, never to return! Only the mighty, living presence of Christ raised up within us as life can send the flesh man away! The flesh with all his works is sent into a state of desolation trapped, dried up, starved, neutralized by the ascendancy of the Spirit in our lives! This is what is happening in the life of every son of God! The day of Atonement is being fulfilled within us spiritually, preparing our hearts for the exceeding glory of the feast of Tabernacles! The fullness of God is at hand! The greater than Pentecost lies directly before us! The sons of God in this very hour are experiencing the finishing touches of Gods great redemption in preparation for the outflowing of His glory unto creation!
To be continued...
J. PRESTON EBY
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J. Preston Eby
P.O. Box 371240
El Paso TX 79937-1240
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