There are scores of references to the blood of Christ throughout the Bible, in both Testaments. We have listed just a few of them below:
"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." (1 John 1:7)
"But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ." (Ephesians 2:13)
"Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you." (Luke 22:20)
"And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;" (Revelation 5:9)
Without the Shedding of Blood, There Is No Remission of Sin
In the New Testament Book of Hebrews, we find these words, "Without the shedding of blood is no remission" (Hebrews 9:22), a declaration that God cannot and will not forgive or pardon sin except through substitutionary atonement by the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the sum and substance of the Old Testament, as seen from the words of Christ Himself in Luke 24:44-48. In God's own appointed time over 2,000 years ago, the eternal Son of God was manifested in the flesh for the express purpose of offering Himself up to God the Father as a substitutionary sacrifice, rendering a full and complete satisfaction to the offended justice of God in behalf of His chosen people. Until that time, God had ordained that fallen man should approach Him and find pardon and forgiveness through animal sacrifice, which was acceptable to Him only by virtue of the fact that it represented and pointed forward to the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ (See Hebrews 9:13-10:14.)
The Bible is a blood-drenched Book throughout--the story of blood redemption in the Lord Jesus Christ is pre-figured, prophesied, or told from the early chapters of its first Book of Genesis after man's fall, right on through both Old and New Testaments, including the Book of Revelation, its last Book (Revelation 5:9, 7:14, 12:11). In this regard, we would like to quote Dr. M. R. DeHaan (1891-1965), a successful physician and surgeon before his conversion and call to the Gospel ministry. He was a preacher who was heard by millions as he conducted his half-hour Radio Bible Class each Sunday for more than 27 years. He said:
"When we are accused of preaching a Gospel of blood, we plead guilty to the charge, for the only thing that gives life to our teaching and power to the Word of God is the fact that it is the blood which is the very life and power of the Gospel. From Genesis to Revelation we see the stream of blood which imparts to this Book the very life of God."--The Chemistry of the Blood
According to the Holy Scriptures, over 2,000 years ago God personally visited lost and fallen mankind, and dwelt among men for 33 years. The eternal, invisible God personally invaded time and space, being made visible in human flesh, in the Person of Jesus Christ (John 1:1,14; 1 Timothy 3:16), and the glory and majesty of God was actually seen in Him (Hebrews 1:3; Colossians 1:16). The second Person of the triune God, God the Son, took unto Himself human nature; He had no earthly father, but was supernaturally conceived in the womb of a Jewish virgin by the power of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20; Luke 1:35). By means of the incarnation, He became the God-Man, truly God and truly Man. As such, He was thus able by His substitutionary blood atonement to fulfill all the Old Testament types, symbols and prophecies which pictured and portrayed Him as a bloody sin-offering unto God (See Hebrews 10:1-10.)
Blood Redemption in Christ the Central Theme of the Bible
The Bible consists of 66 books, written over a period of approximately 1,600 years, by 40 different human authors--yet its amazing unity demonstrates beyond any doubt that God Himself is its true author, according to 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 1:1-2, and 1 Peter 1:19-21. The central theme of this wonderful Book of God from Genesis to Revelation is salvation by God's sovereign grace--blood redemption in Christ, and the central figure of the Bible is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. After His resurrection, our blessed Lord taught His disciples this precious truth, and gave them the key to understanding the Old Testament Scriptures, as recorded in Luke 24:25-26:
"Then He said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?"
Following these words, verse 27 tells us:
"And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself."
Later, just before He ascended into Heaven to the right hand of the Father, the risen Lord Jesus spoke these words to His disciples:
"These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning Me. Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures, and said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things." (Luke 24:44-48)
Blood redemption in Christ pervades the Scriptures, as salt the waters of the sea. It was promised in the Garden of Eden when man fell, and was accomplished when Christ died for sinners. It is portrayed in the burnt offerings of Noah (Genesis 8); in the promised seed of Abraham (Genesis 12:3, Hebrews 2:16); and in the substitutionary sacrifice which God provided in the stead of Isaac (Genesis 22:13). Isaac and Jacob built altars on which they offered bloody sacrifices in approaching and worshipping God (Genesis 26, 35)--recognizing that He required an atoning sacrifice as a basis for forgiving sin.
The Passover Lamb (Exodus 12), the lamb without blemish, is a beautiful symbolic picture of Christ crucified. It was the shed blood of the Passover lamb, sprinkled upon the door posts, that protected the first-born of the Israelites when God's judgment fell. The Lord said, "When I see the blood I will pass over you" (Exodus 12:13). This figure or type of Christ crucified in the Old Testament is confirmed by the Apostle Paul in 1 Cor. 5:7, "For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us"; the Apostle John in John 19:31-37, and the Apostle Peter in 1 Peter 1:18, "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things . . .but with the precious blood of Christ, as a Lamb without blemish and without spot."
What glorious pictures of Christ's substitutionary blood atonement are seen in Israel's whole Levitical system of worship which was given to Moses by God Himself on Mount Sinai! In the Book of Leviticus, Christ crucified is symbolized by the "Burnt Offering," the "Sin Offering," and the "Trespass Offering," as well as many other sacrifices commanded by God to be observed by the ancient Israelites. All these sacrifices were specifically ordained and commanded by God, and pointed symbolically to the One who was to come, as predicted in Genesis 3:15--the Seed of the woman, Christ the Redeemer, whose blood was shed to atone for sin. It is not the blood in the veins of the Sacrifice that makes an atonement for sin, but the blood poured out as the Lord Jesus suffered and died upon Calvary's cross that God accepted in behalf of guilty sinners. The New Testament truth of blood redemption by the substitutionary blood atonement of Christ is also clearly set forth in the Old Testament in Leviticus 17:11:
"The life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul."
This Scripture explains the meaning of the animal sacrifices for sin. The slain animal represented the execution of the penalty of the Law (death) upon a substitute offered in the stead of the offender. The animal sacrifice in itself had no power to take away the sin of the Israelites (Hebrews 10:4). God only accepted it at that time by virtue of the fact that it represented and pointed forward to the great Antitype of Christ crucified, where the eternal Son of God poured out His own precious blood in substitutionary atonement for guilty sinners. This bloody atoning sacrifice alone vindicated the righteousness of God in passing over and forgiving sin (Romans 3:24-26).
The Psalms are so full of the glory of Christ that we could not cover them all here. But to name a few: Psalm 2 is of Christ, God's Son and coming King; Psalm 8 fully recognizes His Deity, but presents Him as the Son of Man (Hebrews 6:2-11); Psalm 16 is a prediction of the resurrection of King Jesus, the Holy One (vs. 10); Psalm 22 is a graphic picture of the suffering Saviour, and death by crucifixion, predicting the very words which Christ would utter in His terrible agony of soul, "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?"; Psalm 23 presents Christ as the Great Shepherd (Hebrews 13:20); Psalm 24 predicts the ascension of King Jesus into glory as Lord of all; the 45th Psalm presents King Jesus in all His glory and beauty, "fairer than the children of men," with "grace poured into His lips"; and Psalm 69 foreshadows the humiliation and rejection of Christ--verse 21 is a direct reference to the Cross (Matthew 27:34,48).
The prophecies of Isaiah find their literal fulfillment in the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Isaiah 7:14 predicts His virgin birth (Matthew 1:18-25); in Isaiah 9:6 we find these prophetic words concerning Christ, "For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace." A detailed picture of the substitutionary sufferings and death of the Lord Jesus is recorded in the 53rd chapter of Isaiah, where we find these words:
"He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all." (Isaiah 53:5-6)
On one occasion the Lord Jesus Christ told the Jewish religious leaders who did not believe on Him:
"Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of Me." (John 5:39)
Blood Redemption in the New Testament
According to the Holy Scriptures, nearly 2,000 years ago God personally visited lost and fallen mankind, and dwelt among men for 33 years. The eternal, invisible God personally invaded time and space, being made visible in human flesh, in the Person of Jesus Christ (John 1:1,14; 1 Timothy 3:16), and the glory and majesty of God was actually seen in Him (Hebrews 1:3; Colossians 1:16). The second Person of the triune God, God the Son, took unto Himself human nature; He had no earthly father, but was supernaturally conceived in the womb of a Jewish virgin by the power of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20; Luke 1:35). By means of the incarnation, He became the God-Man, truly God and truly Man. As such, He was thus able by His substitutionary blood atonement to fulfill all the Old Testament types, symbols and prophecies which pictured and portrayed Him as a bloody sin-offering unto God (See Hebrews 10:1-10.)
The true and real humanity of Christ is portrayed throughout the Gospels, from the account of His virgin birth to His agonizing death on the cross. He became weary and exhausted, needed sleep, was capable of being tempted (yet without sin), and suffered pain and death; He experienced the full range of human emotions such as grief, joy, fear (though it was godly fear), sorrow, and anger (though it was a righteous and holy anger). We may be sure that, in the days of His earthly sojourn in the flesh, He was one with us, and like us in every respect, with one exception, and that is sin (Hebrews 2:17-18; 4:14-16; 7:26). Christ was holy and pure, and without the slightest taint of a sinful nature or personal sin of any kind.
Now, my friend, consider this: this same Jesus, this God-Man, at the age of about 33, was taken by the wicked hands of His enemies, unjustly tried, unjustly condemned, and then slain (Acts 2:23)-He died the shameful death of being crucified, nailed to a Roman cross outside the city of Jerusalem, between two thieves!! We must ask, and find the answer, to this question--Why??
The question has two answers: One from the human perspective, and the other from the Divine perspective.
First, let's look very briefly at the human side. From the earliest days of Christ's public ministry, He stirred up the opposition and enmity of the religious leaders in Israel: the scribes, the Pharisees, the chief priests, and the Sadducees. They were offended not only because of His claims to Deity, or equality with God (John 5:17-18, 10:30-33), but also because He rebuked them on numerous occasions, sometimes severely, for their hypocrisy. In view of all the miracles He performed, and the authority with which He taught, they should have humbled themselves in repentance, cast off their religious pretensions, and sat at His feet to be taught and instructed by their own Messiah, the very Son of God. However, because He rebuked them and refuted their authority, they, being motivated by hatred, pride, envy, and self-righteousness, conspired together to have Him put to death by the Roman authorities. They were finally successful, aided by the betrayal of Judas Iscariot, one of His own disciples, and the moral weakness and political ambitions of the Gentile Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, who himself admitted, "I find no fault in Him." Thus the Son of God, the Perfect Man, the Second Person of the triune God manifest in human flesh, suffered the cruel and humiliating death by crucifixion. He hung naked upon a Roman cross in open public view outside the gates of the city of Jerusalem, blood streaming forth from five major wounds, and numerous minor ones. Blood poured from the crown of thorns pressed down upon His sacred brow. Blood flowed from His back, which was ripped open by a severe beating with a whip, a Roman instrument of torture called a "cat-o-nine-tails." From the human perspective, this is why and how He was put to death.
Now for the second answer to our question, we must seek to understand this tragedy from the Divine perspective. Though the actual crime and heinous sin of the Saviour's death must be charged to the human race, to each one of us through our representatives, the death of Christ was far more than human cruelty and Jewish malice. It was ordained and predestined by God the Father, and agreed to by God the Son, before the foundation of the world! We dare not charge God with the sin, nor minimize the fact that the human race is guilty of slaying the Son of God, but we must ultimately trace the crucifixion of Christ to its source--God's eternal purpose of sovereign grace. According to Isaiah 53:10, "It pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief, when Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin..." If God opens our understanding of the Scriptures (Luke 24:44-48), we will be able to see beyond the Roman nail and spear, and the rabble crowd which cried for His death, and know that it was the love of God, and the plan of God the Father, that sent God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, into the world to voluntarily offer Himself up to the Father as a Substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of His chosen people! Let's explore the Scriptures in order to better understand this wonderful truth.
In 1 John 4:9-10, the Apostle John made this tremendous statement concerning the great love of God the Father for His people:
"In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins."
It was the Father's great love for His elect that caused Him to both send, and give, His only begotten Son to die in their behalf. In this regard, see John 3:14-17 and Galatians 4:4-5.
In 1 Peter 1:18-20, the Apostle Peter is writing concerning the basis upon which believers are saved. He says we were redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.
In these verses, Peter is not only teaching that believers are saved through the precious shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, God's spotless, perfect Lamb, "the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29). He is also teaching that this substitutionary sacrifice of Christ was foreordained, or predestined, by God before the foundation of the world, or in eternity before time began.
The Apostle John uses similar language in the book of Revelation, as he describes Christ as "the Lamb slain from [or before] the foundation of the world." (Revelation 13:8)
In a bold sermon preached to some of the very ones who were responsible for His crucifixion, the Apostle Peter, in calling them to repentance (Acts 2:38), brings out both the human and the Divine perspectives of the death of Christ in one sentence:
"Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain." (Acts 2:23)
The Greek words translated "determinate counsel" here literally means pre-determined plan, or predetermined course of action. The Greek word translated "foreknowledge" in this passage carries a much stronger meaning than mere knowledge beforehand; it actually means foreordination. The verse means, then, that Christ--though He was taken by wicked hands and crucified and slain--was also delivered to this death by the predetermined plan and foreordination of God!
Another passage in the Book of Acts which states this tremendous truth is Acts 4:26-28:
"The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against His Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done."
We learn from these verses that everything that was done against the Lord Jesus Christ by the rulers and people of both Israel and the Gentiles, which included all of His sufferings and cruel death by crucifixion, was the fulfillment of what God Himself had determined beforehand, or predestined, should be done. When Pontius Pilate asserted to Christ that he had the power to either crucify or to release Him, our Lord responded in these words, "Thou couldest have no power at all against Me, except it were given thee from above . . ." (John 19:11). Thus we see that in a wonderful, incomprehensible and mysterious way, the sufferings and death of Christ is the greatest example of God the Father predestinating an event--which, from the human perspective, was the ultimate sin--in order to accomplish His eternal purpose of sovereign grace. God the Son was in perfect agreement with this plan, and came into the world for this very reason, in order to accomplish that purpose by voluntarily surrendering His life to death by crucifixion, a substitutionary blood atonement unto God the Father on behalf of His people (John 10:17-18; Mark 10:45). However, this predetermined plan and action by the triune God did not destroy or impair the responsibility of those who crucified Him. Though they fulfilled God's great eternal purpose of redemption in the sacrifice of His own beloved Son, they also acted freely from the willfulness of their own sinful natures and were alone responsible for their sin, as is clear from Acts 2:23.
For other illustrations of how the God of the Bible, the God of absolute sovereignty, controls and directs the actions of evil men and evil spirits in exacting detail in order to accomplish His own will and purpose-and without in any way destroying or impairing their responsibility--see the following examples: Job 1,2; Joseph and his brothers (Genesis 45:5,8; 50:20); Pharaoh (Exodus 4:21, 9:12,16; 14:17); and King Ahab (I Kings 22:20-23).
As Sinners, We Have Two Desperate Needs Which
Have Been Met by the Lord Jesus Christ
From a legal or judicial standpoint, poor sinners like you and me have two desperate needs that must be met before we can ever hope to be accepted and received into the favor and blessings of a holy and just God:
(1) We stand guilty and condemned before God, having broken His holy law (Romans 3:19-20; Galatians 3:10), incurring His wrath (Romans 1:18), and therefore we need forgiveness and pardon.
(2) We are absolutely destitute of any righteousness that God will accept (Romans 3:10); all our so-called righteousnesses are as filthy rags before Him (Isaiah 64:6), and therefore we need a perfect righteousness, because the holy God of the Bible will accept nothing less than that.
The glorious good news of the Gospel is that God the Father, through the Person and redemptive work of God the Son, has freely provided both of these for those who believe and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ! Since we are totally unable to justify ourselves before God, God in His great wisdom and mercy devised a plan whereby He can legally and righteously justify--or declare righteous--all those who believe and trust in the Person and work of His blessed Son. Therefore, the Scripture says, "It is God that justifieth" (Romans 8:33). How, then, can God--consistent with His own justice and holy Law--declare guilty sinners as legally righteous? How is it that God is able "to declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that He might be just, and the Justifier of him which believeth in Jesus" (Romans 3:26)?
(1) Forgiveness and Pardon for Guilty Sinners
"It is God that justifieth" (Romans 5:5, 8:33)
According to human laws, the Governor of a State may arbitrarily pardon a criminal who is guilty of a capital crime and set him free from the death sentence if he chooses to do so. This would be mercy exercised toward the offender, without satisfaction to justice and the law, which calls for the execution of the criminal. In such a case, we would say that the criminal received mercy, but certainly not justice. The criminal was set free, but justice, in this case, was violated.
However, God, who is infinitely pure and holy, does not govern as man governs. He cannot and will not arbitrarily pardon a sinner without satisfaction to His own justice and the demands of His own Law. He has declared that He "will by no means clear the guilty" (Exodus 34:7), and, "cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the Law to do them" (Galatians 3:10). The requirements of the Law of God must be perfectly met and satisfied by all those who are under it, which is the entire human race; otherwise, the curse demanded by the Law must be executed, which is eternal banishment from the presence and loving favor and blessing of God, and punishment forever in the Lake of Fire. In the light of God's pure holiness and justice, every sin must and shall be punished, either in the person of the offender, or in the Person of the God-appointed Substitute.
In the triune God's great plan of redemption, God the Son undertook to do in time all that was necessary to justify all those whom God the Father had elected, or chosen in eternity, before the foundation of the world. This aspect of God's eternal purpose of sovereign grace is stated clearly in Galatians 4:4-5, "But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the Law, to redeem them that were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." The express mission of God the Son was to fulfill God the Father's eternal purpose of grace by coming into the world as the virgin-born Son of God, "God manifest in the flesh" (1 Timothy 3:16), in order that He might justify, redeem, and deliver all His chosen people from their sins, according to Matthew 1:21, "And she shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins." From the very moment of His conception in the womb of the virgin, Christ became the Divine Substitute for His chosen people. He was born under the Law of God that He might fulfill it perfectly in their behalf, so that a perfect righteousness could be provided for them. We will study this aspect of justification next, but for the moment we want to concentrate our thoughts on that aspect of justification which refers to the pardon and forgiveness of guilty sinners based upon the substitutionary blood-shedding of the Lord Jesus Christ on Calvary's cross. We seek now to grasp and understand the great eternal truth set forth in Romans 5:9, "Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him."
Christ, because He is the eternal Son of God, "God manifested in the flesh" (1 Timothy 3:16), had "the power of an endless life" (Hebrews 7:16); no created being had the power to take His life from Him--"No man taketh it [life] from Me, but I lay it down of Myself, that I might take it again. This commandment have I received of My Father" (John 10:18). Christ "endured the cross, and despised the shame" for the "joy that was set before Him" (Hebrews 12:2). He voluntarily and willingly submitted Himself to be taken by the hands of wicked men and crucified, in order for Him to bear the sins of His people in substitution before God the Father, that He might justify and save them! Our Lord was not passive in the surrender of His life, but was active in purposely laying down His life for His chosen people (John 15:13)! Rather than merely submitting to death, Christ actually anticipated it, viewing His own substitutionary death on the cross as something to be accomplished (Luke 9:31; 12:50; Mark 10:45). My friend, the Lord Jesus went voluntarily and willingly to the cross, because His heart was filled with compassion and love for sinners like you and I. He loved us so much that He was willing to lay down His own life in order to save us! "By this know we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us" (1 John 3:16); "God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). Oh, the greatness of the Saviour's love for sinners!
How does Christ's voluntary surrender of His life and blood-shedding upon the cross of Calvary make it possible for God to justify guilty sinners, freely forgiving and pardoning them, yet still be consistent with His justice and holiness as expressed in His holy Law, which demands satisfaction? The answer is found in Galatians 3:13, "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree." The same truth is clearly set forth in 2 Corinthians 5:21, "For He [God the Father] hath made Him [Christ] to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." The Lord Jesus became our Substitute, and "bore our sins in His own body on the tree" (1 Peter 2:24). From a legal or judicial standpoint, He was made to be what we are-sin, that we might be made to be what He is-righteous! What anguish of soul He must have suffered when the full stroke of the wrath and judgment of the Holy Father fell upon Him as our Substitute, which brought forth this cry from His lips, "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46). When God the Father imputed all of our sins to Christ, then hid His face from Him, left Him forsaken to suffer the penalty that we deserved, Christ drank the cup of damnation dry, even to its bitterest dregs. He swallowed up the wrath of God in our behalf when He took all the sins of His people-past, present, and future-and was punished for them all, there and then, that we might never be punished! He suffered, in those hours of dreadful agony of soul and blood-shedding, what you and I deserve to suffer throughout eternity as lost sinners under the wrath of a holy God! What grace and what mercy from the very heart of the Son of God for such sinners as we are!
In a sermon on Christ's sufferings and death, Charles Spurgeon, a famous English Baptist minister of the 19th century, made these comments:
"All Hell was distilled in that cup, of which our God and Saviour Jesus Christ was made to drink. It was not eternal suffering, but since He was Divine, He could, in a short time, offer unto God (the Father) a vindication of His justice which sinners in Hell could not have offered had they been left to suffer in their own persons forever."
The Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ
The resurrection of Christ from the grave is proof that God the Father has accepted the substitutionary sacrifice of His beloved Son on behalf of His chosen people, according to Romans 4:25, speaking of Christ, "Who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification," and according to Romans 6:4, that "Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father..." The resurrection and exaltation of our blessed Lord is proof that every believer is "justified by His blood" (Romans 5:9), and that if we are trusting in Him, all of our sins--past, present, and future--are cancelled, pardoned, forgiven, and blotted out forever by the blood of the Crucified One! When we come to the crucified, risen and exalted Lord Jesus as lost, guilty sinners, acknowledging our guilt, and gratefully receiving Him by faith as our Lord and Saviour, we find that He has reconciled us to God. We find that God's wrath against us for our sins is fully expended and satisfied in the depths of His great love manifested in the Substitutionary sacrifice of our blessed Lord on our behalf. All our guilt disappears as God reveals to us His great love, and receives us as His own dear children. "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God!" (1 John 3:1). Hallelujah, what a Saviour!
(2) A Perfect Righteousness for Guilty Sinners
"It is God that justifieth" (Romans 5:5, 8:33)
The Lord Jesus not only offered Himself up to the Father as a substitutionary sacrifice in behalf of His people, He also lived a perfect life under the holy Law of God in their behalf. He not only secured a pardon and forgiveness of sin for us by His substitutionary death--He also secured for us a perfect righteousness by His life. What we could not do for ourselves because we are now sinners fallen in Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ, the blessed Son of God, undertook to do for us. In order that God might be just in the saving and justifying of the ungodly (Romans 3:26; 4:5), Christ, though He existed eternally in the form of God, and therefore thought it not robbery to be equal with God, took upon Himself the form of a Servant, by taking unto Himself human nature (Philippians 2:5-7; John 1:1,14). In that human nature the Lord Jesus obeyed perfectly, thereby fulfilling the whole moral Law in behalf of those He justifies. Because He is God and man in one Person, He wrought out a full, perfect and sufficient righteousness for all those who should put their trust in Him.
My friend, the Holy Scriptures plainly declare this wonderful truth! In Romans 3:21-22, we find these words, "But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets, even the righteousness of God which is by faith in Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe." It is brought out again in Romans 5:19, where the Apostle Paul is comparing the disobedience of Adam to the obedience of Christ: "As by one man's [Adam'] disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One [Christ], shall many be made righteous." And Paul tells us in Philippians 3:8-9 that he has counted everything but loss that he may be "found in Christ, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith." And we are told in Romans 4:3 that "Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness." The Greek word used here for "counted" means "to put to one's account." Now it is evident from I Corinthians 1:30 that this righteousness which is put to the account of every believer is the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ--"But of Him [God] are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us, wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption."
Yes, "It is God that justifieth!" God the Father clothes the repenting sinner who trusts in the Lord Jesus with the "Robe of Righteousness" (Isaiah 61:10), which is nothing less than the spotless righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. What a wonder of the sovereign grace and mercy of God that He would, before the foundation of the world, choose lost, guilty, Hell-deserving sinners from among Adam's fallen race, and predestine them to be conformed to the image of His Son, and then in time give those spiritually dead rebels the life-giving effectual call, leading them to repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and then justifying them by clothing them in the righteousness of His own dear Son! It is a great and marvelous mystery that the righteousness of One who is now enthroned in Heaven as sovereign Lord over all creation, the God-Man Who still bears the scars of Calvary upon Him, should justify me, a sinner, on earth!
Now, my friend, whose righteousness are you trusting in to get you to Heaven? If you are trusting in your own works and deeds for salvation, you are like those Jews the Apostle Paul speaks of in Romans 10:3--"For they, being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone that believeth." If you are attempting to justify yourself before God by your own supposed righteousness, you are despising the "Gift of Righteousness" (Romans 5:17) which God has provided for you, and defying Him to His face by refusing to submit to His righteousness. Are you, my friend, trusting wholly and completely in the crucified, risen, exalted Lord Jesus Christ for your salvation? If you are, then you can say, in the words of that old hymn, "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness!" If so, you are resting upon a solid foundation, for He is the Rock of Ages, solid and unmovable--all other ground is sinking sand!