It is the night of the passover. The Jews are shut up in their houses, for God has warned that death is coming to Egypt this night! The blood of an unblemished lamb has been sprinkled on the transom and two side door posts of every home, according to the Lord's command. "The blood shall be to you for a sign upon the houses where you are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt" (Exodus 12:13). Furthermore, they were promised, "The Lord will not permit the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you." (Exodus 12:23).
Picture two neighboring households. In the first, the family is huddled around the passover lamb, with the unleavened bread and the bitter herbs. All are frightened, ashen white and trembling. The father and mother look at each other, then at their firstborn son. The father grasps him in his loving arms and cries, "Pray, family, pray! Perhaps we have in some way grieved God... the death angel may not pass us by... pray!" For hours they huddle in fear, not enjoying the lamb, fearing the shadow of death. An overwhelming sense of insecurity pervades this home.
In the very next house a family joyfully feasts on the lamb, excited about leaving Egypt. There is an unmistakable sense of security here. The father looks into the inquisitive eyes of his firstborn son and says, "Safe! All of us! Remember the blood? Didn't God say He would not permit the destroyer to enter the house? Be at peace - all is well - we are safe under the blood of this lamb."
Which house do you suppose was safer that night? Which family was more secure? The answer is, They were both safe! They were equally secure - because they were both under the blood.
God was not about to trust deliverance to the feelings or fears - or even to any inherent piety - of the Jews. Their part was to apply the blood of the lamb to their dwelling places, believing God's promise that it had the power to secure them. They had not as yet come to the Red Sea, when God admonished Moses and all of Israel. "Remember this day, in which ye came out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage: for by strength of hand the Lord brought you out from this place" (Exodus 13:3).
The deliverance of Israel from Egypt is a clear type of our deliverance from sin and its slavery. Most of us know that. Scripture makes it clear: "Now these things happened unto them for examples: and they are for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come" (1 Corinthians 10:11). "For our admonition" means that we can see in their struggles a shadow of our present battles with self and sin. Their Egypt is our ungodly world.
Their bondage to the Egyptians is a type of our slavery to lust and sin. Their house is our temple of the Holy Ghost; their lamb, our Christ. The blood of the unblemished lamb is a type of the blood of our unblemished Savior.
We can learn much about our own deliverance from sin's power by studying the Israelites' deliverance from the slavery of Egypt. Let me show you three marvelous lessons few Christians have learned.
"For I will pass through the land of Egypt.... I will smite, I will execute judgment: I am the Lord" (Exodus 12:12). Then comes the great promise to His children: "When I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you" (v. 13).
This was judgment day for Egypt! And it struck suddenly at the midnight hour. How frightening, death everywhere. What weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth could be heard throughout Egypt that night, for "... there was not a house where there was not one dead" (Exodus 12:30).
Yet this same midnight hour of judgment did not touch a single Jewish home. God's children were completely, securely out of the path of judgment. Though some did not enjoy or appropriate the truth of it, still they were safe - removed from God's judgment by the blood.
Yes, obedience was involved, but it was the blood alone that placed the Israelites out of judgment. It was certainly not any inherent goodness. Their packed satchels included Egyptian idols. They were an unworthy, backslidden, earthly-minded, gainsaying, disobedient people. In fact, if God had waited for them to give up all their idols, repent, and turn from their evil ways, they would never have been delivered! They would have all died in slavery.
Their deliverance was completely outside themselves - outside of any goodness or faithfulness on their part. Surely God must have known these same people would soon be dancing around a golden calf, drunken, sensual, and ungrateful. Still, He loved them. Still, He chose to deliver them. Still, He secured them under the blood. David said it was because thou hadst a favour unto them" (Psalm 44:3). Here was God longing to take a people to His own heart and reveal His power and glory, in order to raise up a holy, consecrated body. It was all of mercy and grace!
The Word teaches us many things about the blood of the lamb, but the first lesson to be learned is that it secures the child of God against judgment. Israel would soon have a wilderness tabernacle with its many sacrifices. There would be the shedding of blood for sin. There would be a day of atonement. But the first lesson for Israel and for us is clearly -
Yes, the blood of Christ cleanses from all sin. Yes, the blood was our atonement. But first of all, it is our security. It is God's way of securing to Himself a people ready for a full deliverance. Remember, on the night of the passover the Israelites were safe but not yet delivered. They still had to face a Red Sea, a wilderness, warfare with giants, imposing walls, and enemy strongholds.
I am convinced that before I can do battle against principalities and powers, before I can resist lust and temptation (our modern-giants) - I must have the knowledge that under the blood I am secure! Though I am not yet fully delivered. I am out of judgment. The fleshly enemies loom ahead, but the blood has made me a 'safe soldier'.
Listen to this word: You cannot fight giants, pull down strongholds, or stand against overwhelming odds unless there is an assurance of absolute security under the blood. No matter what my heart says, no matter how guilty or condemned I feel, no matter what little voices may whisper - I must know, beyond a shadow of doubt, that I am safe! I am not going to judgment! The blood on the door of my heart secures me in His sight.
I doubt there are a handful of believers today who are resting in the security of Christ's shed blood. How tragic! Most of us cannot believe that God would secure a people so unworthy, so bent on disobedience, so spiritually depleted by the spirit of the age. We refuse to acknowledge such marvelous love and grace; we would rather earn our security and deliverance.
We are always questioning our safety. If God based our security on our love for Him or on personal goodness, we would be in more danger than those who broke the Law, for under grace there is a higher claim. God must take security out of our hands so that it stands on His pure mercy and grace alone. Not our devotion, or our obedience, or our goodness - but only on His mercy. Obedience, devotion - are the results of our love for Christ.
It was not the unleavened bread that saved the children of Israel, but the blood. Not one Israelite moved "in and out" of safety because of some personal fault. They were all safe until judgment had passed.
I am not preaching eternal security. I believe it is possible to do despite to the blood - to trample it - and be lost. The blood must be revered, trusted, appropriated. There are those who trust it; others who trample it. Christians who abuse the blood open themselves to all kinds of demonic activity.
But God never intended for His children to live under fear, anxiety, or guilt. He prepared a rest for them - the perfect, absolute security of the blood of His own dear Son. Not by works, but by the precious blood! By His gracious act God was saying to Israel, "Now that you see I have secured you and removed you from fear of judgment, let Me deliver you bodily. I secured you to make you holy."
John Wesley and George Whitefield argued over the question of whether or not the Christian works from security or toward security. Let's look at our example. Israel worked from security. It is as if the Lord is saying to us, "Now that you are secured by the blood, let the Holy Spirit bring You into a full and glorious deliverance from all Your fleshly enemies."
The inalterable fact is, not one thing can be added to Christ's blood to make us more secure! The blood perfectly shelters us, makes us acceptable to God, and saves us from wrath. The Apostle Paul states, "Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him..."(Rom.5:9). Do you believe you are saved from wrath by His shed blood alone? Or do you have something to add to His blood to better assure Your safety? Works? Law? Penance?
How dare we think for a moment that God would entrust our security to the hands of our own flesh! Yet we keep attempting to add to the blood. The blood plus discipleship. The blood plus self-denial. The blood plus obedience. The blood plus mortification of the flesh. The blood plus feelings of holiness. And so on. No! A thousand times No! Nothing must be added.
The blood alone can secure us from wrath and judgment. It redeems us. In theology, redemption means "rescue from sin and its penalty." God's Word says, "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace" (Eph. 1:7). How are we rescued from the penalty of sin? Not by anything we have or have not done, but all as a result of His grace.
It is the desire of God's heart to bring many sons to glory (Hebrews 2:10). Our loving Lord is not bent on condemnation, wrath, or judgment. Just the opposite - He offers deliverance from wrath and judgment. The blood is not an act of appeasement to an angry God, but a testament of His love for a lost humanity. It is the gift of a loving Father whose heart yearns for all His prodigal sons. "For God so loved... that he gave his son..."
If you are sheltered by His blood, it is no more possible for you to be judged by wrath than for Christ to be so judged by the Father. You are safe and accepted by God - as is Christ, His own Son. By the blood, we are accepted - approved in the Beloved.
Christ's blood fully satisfied God's heart with respect to our sins, removing the offense and reconciling us to the Father. If you doubt the efficacy of His blood, consider this: Is it more important to look at the blood as your own feeble eyes perceive it - or as God Almighty sees it? God sees in the blood of His Son a full and complete removal of all that required judgment. In His sight, the work of Christ is a finished work of rescue from that which deserved wrath. God. did not say, "When you see the blood" - but, "When I see the blood"
If, then, God is satisfied - we should be satisfied. If God says the blood accomplished everything needed to secure us, we should rest in that. It is all by faith alone - faith in His blood! "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus... whom God has set forth as a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God" (Rom 3:24,25).
Let my heart condemn me! Let the demon powers rage! Let the conscience accuse or excuse! Let the nations bring down destruction on this earth! Let everything shake that can be shaken! I am safe and secure under the shed blood of Jesus Christ my Lord. What a joy to feed on Christ, the Lamb, in perfect safety. Blessed thought: if God passed over the blood of a mere lamb, will He not much more pass over the blood of His own dear Son? If God would not pass over the blood line, will He let demons cross that line? I think not.
We are not speaking now of security, but of deliverance. "For with a strong hand the Lord brought thee out of Egypt" (Exodus 13:9). "By strength of hand the Lord brought us out from Egypt, from the house of bondage" (Exodus 13:14). "How thou didst drive out the heathen with thy hand, and planted them; how thou didst afflict the people, and cast them out. For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them: but thy right hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance, because thou hadst a favour unto them. Thou art my King, O God: command deliverances for Jacob. Through thee will we push down our enemies: through thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us. For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me..." (Psalm 44:2-6).
Some Christians have a sense of being forgiven and safe, but they lack a sense of power against the flesh. They have not come into the knowledge of "full deliverance" from their evil nature. Christian, know that by His blood He secures us, then by His mighty hand He breaks the power of sin in us. Sin still dwells - but it does not rule!
What an incredibly encouraging word in these days of dis-illusionment and super-human efforts to be free of sin's power. "Delivered... from slavery... by the strength of his hand." Yet we are so reluctant to acknowledge the work of God's hand. It goes against our pride, our sense of justice, our theology, to accept the truth that our deliverance from sin's dominion comes from a power other than our own. But look at our example: Israel went out armed, but all the battles were the Lord's. "...the Lord saveth not with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord's (1 Samuel 17:47). It is recorded in Exodus that "...the children of Israel went out with a high hand" (14:8) And after passing safely through the Red Sea, they sang this song -
"Thy right hand, O Lord, is become glorious in power; Thy right hand, O Lord, hath dashed in pieces the enemy..." (Exodus 15:6).
The blood secured Israel from divine judgment, but the high hand of God delivered them from the power of the flesh. They had experienced security and rejoiced in it; now they needed power! Power to once and for all do away with the old enemy, power to arm them against all the new enemies to come. That power is in the Lord's high and mighty hand.
God had but one commandment for Israel regarding their enemies: "Drive them out!" "Ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and demolish all their high places.... But if you will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which you let remain of they shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein you dwell..." (Numbers 33:52, 55).
What is the Arab mosque standing in Jerusalem even today? It is a thorn in the side of the Jews, a prick in their eyes. The Jews still weep over it. It goes back to the disobedience of Israel. "And the children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites that inhabited Jerusalem; but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Benjamin unto this day" (Judges 1:21).
Judah had once defeated the Jebusites, but they regained control. The victory once won was not maintained, the cancer not totally removed. The Jebusites were non-Semitics, and their name in Hebrew suggests, "trodden down, immoral." Jerusalem was at that time known as Jebus, "a city of strangers, not of the children of Israel" (Judges 19:12). It is still a city of coexisting strangers, not of the children of Israel. Even after David's capture of Jebus and setting up Zion, a remnant of the immoral Jebusites were absorbed into the culture of Judah.
There is a lesson the Israelites had not yet learned: We will never get victory over the flesh until we share God's hatred of it. Israel never did share God's hatred of their dreadful enemies. They kept sparing an enemy here and there, making peace with them, foolishly signing covenants and agreements.
They had been given a promise of a full and complete deliverance to a place of rest, a land flowing with milk and honey. "And because he loved thy fathers, therefore he chose their seed after them, and brought thee out in his sight with his mighty power out of Egypt; to drive out nations from before thee greater and mightier than thou art, to bring thee in, to give thee their land for an inheritance, as it is this day..." (Deuteronomy 4:37-38).
We have been given great and precious promises surpassing those given to Israel. God has promised to deliver us from all evil and seat us in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. We have been promised freedom from the dominion of sin.
But first we must learn to hate sin. We must hear the Spirit saying, "Spare not! It must be driven out!" We must never learn to live at peace with an enemy in the flesh. No agreements, no compromises, with an entrenched stronghold. Coddle your sin, play with it, let it remain, refuse to demolish it - and one day it will become the most painful thing in your life.
You need not pray about victory over the sins of the flesh until you have cultivated a hatred for them. The only way pleasing to God is to hate our besetting sin as strongly as He does. He will have nothing to do with our excuses and appeasement. Are you enslaved by a secret sin? Has it caused turmoil and anguish, both physically and spiritually? My question to you is -
Until you do, victory will never come.
But once you share God's wrath and hatred for your sin, once you are truly convinced you are commanded to drive it out and spare not - you are ready to call on the high hand of God for delivering power. "And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you... he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites" (Joshua 3:5,10).
Who will drive out all the enemies, with a wondrous demonstration of power? He will! Without fail!
It sounds like a paradox to hear God say He will destroy the enemy, that the battle is His, that He will put the enemy to flight, not with man's sword and spear - and yet to read that Israel at times fought bloody hand-to-hand combat with these enemies. You will recall that even though faith and obedience brought down the walls of Jericho, the Israelites had to go in with swords and spears and destroy the inhabitants.
It is an age-old question: What is God's part, and what is my part in getting complete deliverance from sin's power? There are numerous scriptures about man's hand getting the victory. "Then ye shall rise up from the ambush, and seize upon the city: for the Lord your God will deliver it into your hand..." (Joshua 8:7). "And the Lord said unto Joshua, Stretch out the spear that is in thy hand toward Ai: I will give it into thine hand..." (Joshua 8:18). Scripture after scripture reiterates, "God... delivered into their hand...." This simply means that God put all their enemies at their mercy, under their power and authority. God first divested the enemy of all strength, then sent His children to battle an already-defeated foe!
A recent newscast showed hundreds of Iranian prisoners of war huddled in little groups, heads between their knees, fear written on every face. Among the ranks were high officials of the spiritual hierarchy of Khomeini. An Iraqi soldier smiled into a CBS camera and boasted, "These are our enemy - defeated enemies!" They were still enemies, but stripped of all power. Principalities and powers, spiritual leaders in high places - the enemy - defeated and disarmed.
This brings me to one of the greatest lessons the Holy Spirit has ever taught me: I am not at the mercy of Satan - or lust - or sin! I wept when I first saw the glory of this truth.
Israel feared their enemies and seldom appropriated God's power, refusing to rest in His promise of deliverance. How incredible, after all they had seen of His mighty hand at work! Yet time after time they feared they were at the mercy of the enemy. We have not changed much. How many blood-sheltered Christians today live in fear of demons; afraid some intense temptation will bring they down; afraid a powerful lust will shipwreck them, afraid a domineering sin will eventually damn them.
Beloved, you and I - under the mighty hand of God - are no more at the mercy of our soul's enemies than Israel was before her enemies. Was there a single hour the children of God were left to the mercy of their enemies - if they trusted God and walked in His light? When obedient, was there ever an enemy too powerful for God? Sin does not have dominion over the trusting, repentant believer. We need not cower before any giant. We need not run in fear from any lust or temptation. We resist the devil through God's mighty hand. He alone can drain all the power from our lusts and temptations, making it possible for us to defeat every helpless foe.
We are to hate our sins - but never fear their power. We are to mortify our flesh and all its lusts, but we must believe God has made that possible by His miraculous intervention, rendering sin weak. The battle is still His. Our enemies are, first and foremost, His. And God is like any loving father who wants to train a son by letting him help in some way.
It was years before my little sons realized they were not actually driving their father's car, even though they had their hands on the steering wheel, sitting in my lap. There was always my unseen hand on the wheel. If you could only believe it fully, there is a mighty, unseen hand that has already won you a victory. Your part is to do what He tells you to do, and to trust that His mighty hand empowers your hand as it wields the sword.
"To whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?... For he shall grow up before him.... a root out of dry ground...." (Isaiah 53, 1-2). Christ is the mighty arm of the Lord revealed in us! We are to jumble ourselves and yield to Him as our deliverer: "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time" (1 Peter 5:6).
"To exalt" here means to be lifted to a higher plane. This is God's promise to seat us in heavenly places, above all principalities and powers, above the dominion of Satan and his demonic forces, above all the fury of temptations and lusts.
We have failed to see Christ in us as our mighty Captain of the hosts of heaven, with a mighty sword in His hand, sent to deliver us from the power of the enemy. Is "Christ in me" no more than an intimate friend, a kind of gentle tea-guest? Is "Christ in me" no more than some kind of benign, doting, rich brother? A thousand times No! "Christ in me" is an all-powerful King in full battle dress, ready and anxious to stand up for me against all my enemies. He has with Him innumerable chariots of holy iron, driven by mighty angels armed and ready to defend my cause. The chariots of the Lord are many - and they are mine!
If we are not living the ascended life of total victory in Christ, it is because we have no exalted vision of the Lord's majestic power and glory in us! Like Job, we sit on our ash heaps of defeat and fear, wanting just enough grace to die right. And all because we can't believe what God has told us about His power - in us!
"His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue..." (2 Peter 1:3). "Wherefore I desire... that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God... Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us..." (Ephesians 3:19-20).
"...That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power..." (Ephesians 1:17-19).
Pray tell me, why all this power of God in us if it is not to be understood as His mighty hand at our disposal against our spiritual enemies? It is either true that He has given us all the power we need to overcome flesh and walk in glorious life and godliness - or God's word is a lie! And God cannot lie.
Paul said Christ was revealed in him, rather than to him. And where Christ is revealed in you, it will be a glorious revelation of His strength, His victory over all the forces of evil, and His commitment to use all that power to save and keep you.
When God's Word says "Christ in me", I take that to mean God puts His fist in me. And as He is in the world, so am I - strong in the Lord. Able to "do all things through Christ who strengthens me." In other words, Christ becomes the Lord's strong hand in me!
I reckon myself to be everything God tells me I am -
Dead to sin - the flesh - the world
Delivered from the power of sin
Clean through His word
Accepted in the Beloved
Alive to God by the Spirit
More than a conqueror
Secure now and all through eternity
Kept by His power
Faultless before the throne
Ascended with Christ at the right hand of God
Christ is not coming for me like a thief. That's the view from a Sardis church! He is coming for me as my Beloved - as the Joy of my heart. We are not to fear His coming, but to "love his appearing" (2 Timothy 4:8). The church at Sardis was threatened by the Lord's coming, but we who love Him should be encouraged. Only the worldly need be afraid.
What a rare privilege to be among those waiting - prepared - adorned as a bride - while all the while feasting on the Lamb.