I'm probably not going to talk a lot about the Precious Blood conference. It was a nice conference, and all the information handed out was reliable. I have to admit to being somewhat distracted during the entire weekend, but even at that, the messages just weren't "news" to me. In another mood, I might try to be amusing, but the men who presented were honorable, and the messages they delivered were edifying. Derek Thomas did an especially encouraging job, and I'll report the majority of the conference attendees were bubbling with joy at the gift of the whole weekend.
I have to confess that I attended the whole weekend with a specific message in mind, hoping to hear a type of message. That was probably not fair of me. I was expecting too much. And then, those men are theologians, and they may find error in the message that was on my heart. Who knows. With no further ado, here's the message I typed on the flight home.
Living fluid fell from Abel's veins and landed on the hard, cold dust. Even as it spilled, each cell kept trying to absorb oxygen, carry food, and collect waste products. Red and warm, the blood was delivered out of Abel into a starkly bright, cold, windy, forbidding world, as alien to it as an infant, only it was a world to which blood could never belong.
Abel's living blood would die there in that field.
And there was no rescuer. There was no one to scoop the fluid up nor mourn its passing. There was only Cain, and whatever tool he used to strike his brother. He probably dug a shallow pit to hide his own kith and kin and, after dumping Abel's body in, shoveled all the tainted soil into the new depression. Abel was not rescued. He was not even found. The place where Cain left him to rot looked like any other part of the field.
And Abel's blood was now in the dark and cold of the forbidding earth.
Helpless, it cried out to God.
Genesis 4:10 & 11
And [God] said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground. And now [art] thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand;
Abel's still-living blood screamed. Abel's life was in that hole, and it cried out against the evil. Abel cried to God, begging resurrection, begging peace, begging life for life.
Cain walked the earth.
The only satisfaction Abel could accept was Cain's blood beside his own. The cry of Abel's blood to God begging justice was a right cry, and God agreed. God demanded blood be shed for blood. Our God would not deny Abel justice.
Genesis 9:5 & 6
And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.
And if the blood of man becomes precious because of the image of God, how much more precious is the glory of God?
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
The most profound statement I heard this weekend was that the verse says it is sin to fall short of the glory of God. The "mark" that we all "miss" is not blameless behaviour, it's the glory of God. We are responsible to bring God glory.
Cain's was not the last nor the worst sin. Cain was merely the first of a line into which, in my time, I thrust myself. I have wished my brothers dead, and I have lusted, and I have loved God my Father and Provider with less than all my strength. His glory has exceeded my reverence. I have fallen short of the glory of God.
For the wages of sin [is] death;
When His glory demands my all, and I withhold the best for myself, I drag God from His heaven and trample Him here on His Earth. I have place the noxious vapor of my lust above the glorious beauty of His golden presence. I trade His precious gifts for a bong-hit of sewerage. I lust against Him, with angry tears, to be given a scorpion instead of His bread of Life. Earthly kings, mere shadows of divine Glory, torment and kill greater men for less offense than mine against my God.
My life is justly forfeit before God, and my blood deserves to be poured on the flames of God's wrath forever. He is my Just Judge and Condemner.
Only He does not condemn.
Neither does He excuse.
He is my Just Judge and Condemner, but He makes Himself "jthe Justifier" of sinners without violating His own justice.
The blood of men and the glory of God lie buried in the cold, dark soil of my memories, concealed by my hardened heart. How does He not condemn me? How does He justly allow my to walk here another day?
Many don't wonder that at all. Many wonder why God, Who is Love, does not willingly forgive all. It is a fair question, but not a mature one. A child might ask why someone doesn't just buy all the hungry people enough food. It's a nice wish, but it cannot be done. Someday, maybe that child will grow up to help with the problem of hunger, but no one can make it go away.
God cannot make our guilt go away. He cannot. He must not. If someone kills my little girl, can I allow her blood to go unassuaged? May it never be. God cannot, can never consider, allowing the demands of the offended to be mocked. Blood must answer to blood. And falling short of the glory of God is an offense against Him which demands satisfaction. God cannot cease to be just.
No, God is not merely forgiving. God remains just by making Himself the Justifier.
The blood I have shed during my walk and the glory I have disdained are answered with Jesus' precious blood.
2000 years ago, Jesus' blood was delivered from His righteous body and spilled out upon the hard rock of Golgotha. Warm, living blood fell from His innocent veins onto deadly wood and unflinching granite. His blood fell, spilled guiltily by guilty men, and left to dry and die without a thought.
His blood, His precious blood, cried out.
Jesus' blood cried, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."
Jesus' blood cried, "Father, forgive my brothers and sisters; forgive Your children, for my blood is given in place of theirs."
Jesus' blood cried, "I know what I give, and I know why I give it. It is my Life, and I lay it down for the prize I covet, the prize You covet, a heritage to Your glory."
Jesus' blood cried, "Remember Adam. Adam has sinned against You and against men in Your holy image. Adam has trampled Your glory underfoot and hated Your fleshly image. He has hated his God and his brother. His blood is forfeit, but take Mine. My blood is sufficient. My blood is a just price. Adam hated his wife, and when she cried for justice her cry was righteous. But count Adam's punishment against me. Here is my blood. Eve must be satisfied when I bare my back for Adam's stripes. My punishment exceeds Adam's crime. And when Adam turned his back on You, Father, He became guilty of all the law. His blood is forfeit. He is worthy to be stoned, to die under two witnesses without mercy. Here, Father, is my blood. Here is my life, taken without mercy, given with Your grace. You must forgive Adam when You see my perfect Life offered in his stead. This punishment is enough for Adam's sin."
Then Jesus' blood cried out for forgiveness for Eve, and for Seth, and for each man and woman after them who would call on His Name. Jesus' blood cried out for forgiveness for you, if you call on His Name.
Lay your hand on the Head of the Lamb. Throw off your own hopes of pleasing God. Give over trying to satisfy the law's demands. Listen as Jesus stands before His Father pleading His blood in place of your sins. Hear Him call justice down on Himself for the times you've dishonored your mother, the times you've stolen, the times you've handled the Name of your God without honor. Hear Him confess to your guilt and profess your innocence to His holy Father.
Then hear the Father ask whether you agree. Listen as the Father looks to you, and asks whether His Son's death is imputed to you. Do you claim the purity, the cleanness the Lamb's blood will afford? Or do you choose to stand before Him on the merits of your own case? Do you submit yourself to One Who loves you and gave Himself for you, or are you one for Whom the death of the Lamb of God means nothing.
Claim His precious blood now. Praise Him for the gift of His expensive, so expensive mercy, bought at the highest price in all the universe. Give yourself to that which was given to you. Give yourself to God's Life.
Or do you imagine that you can ignore His blood? Do you imagine that you can tread heavily on the glory of God, hate people whom He has created, and today spurn the price He paid in His own suffering and death. Do you imagine the Judge will look away as you scorn gift upon gift, and scorn even the gift of a life given for you, and not bear the full wrath of the Creator of the Universe? It is known even to the least that if someone sacrifices his life for you, you are forever in his debt. Can God sacrifice His Life for you, and you not respond?
Hebrews 10:26 - 31
For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance [belongeth] unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. [It is] a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
The blood of the Son of God still cries out. It cried against sin, and now it cries for you to rest yourself wholly in its strength on your behalf. Curse your pride, and cripple your own strength. Let your neediness drive you. Let Him meet your need. Know that you need Him. Know that you need His blood.
Or are you already safely in His blood? Are are already in Christ? Praise Him, then. Remind yourself of the incredible power in His Life given for you, His blood given for the remission of your sins, His body beaten, His Sonship set aside, so that you might be adopted into His family. Praise with every song and prayer the work of the Son for you, and you will find yourself established against every trial and hardship. If He did so much for you already, could he fail to carry you the rest of the way home?
Plunge yourself under the healing, covering power of the blood of Jesus. Let the destruction of His Life be the birth of your own. Let the soiling of His holiness be the cleansing of your own. Let the death of the Son be the birth of your new life. Accept the free gift of God, and become rich for the first time.
The blood of Jesus has borne so much sin for so many, and carried it away forever, and still the blood remains. Still the blood of Jesus has never run dry, and still there is supply enough for you. There is supply enough to cleanse you of your guilt, and supply enough to bind you together to an army of brothers and sisters who shared your guilt and now share your salvation. When you allow the blood of Jesus to rescue you, you do much more than merely become innocent. You become one with the risen Jesus, and with every man, woman and child who has given themselves to Him. You join the fellowship of the redeemed, and join a local family of believers who are discovering Him just like you will.
Come with us. Come to the Lamb. Come to the blood of His eternal promise. Come to Life that will never end.
Come and welcome.