1221. The Blood and the Cross

Living the victorious Christian life is easier when we understand the difference between the blood and the cross.

IT’S WORTH CONSIDERING

The Blood and the Cross

This side of heaven, with our unredeemed bodies, living a life of sinless perfection is impossible. While it is conceptually possible to continually walk in the Spirit, constantly denying the flesh, and thus, never sinning, this degree of perfection is realistically impossible. There is only one sense in which the believer is absolutely perfect at the present time, and that is in his perfect standing before God in Christ Jesus (Heb. 10:14). He is positionally perfect, but temporarily residing in a human body plagued with limitations and infirmities because of indwelling sin and a corrupt human nature. As long as we’re stuck with these temporary earth suits, sinless perfection is an illusion.

It is here that the blood and the cross can display their different roles in helping the believer to walk in victory in spite of the presence of indwelling sin (in our flesh). Thankfully, the precious blood maintains the believer’s standing before God and cleanses him from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:7). Keep in mind that the blood never cleanses the flesh. The flesh cannot be cleansed. It must be crucified (Jer. 2:22). This is the work of the cross-our Lord’s atoning death, as distinct from “the blood.”

The blood deals with our sins. The cross deals with sin itself. The blood eternally justifies the sinner before God (Rom. 3:24). The Cross in its daily application keeps the flesh “out of business.”

The blood declares us “not guilty.” The cross declares that sin’s power over the believer has been destroyed.

Extreme holiness teaching claims a complete eradication of the carnal nature. The Bible, however, exhorts the believer to “reckon” himself to be dead to sin. If the old man has ceased to exist, there is no need for the exercise of such a reckoning faith. This kind of faith enables us to live out what we have believed to be true-sin’s power over us has been broken. Cease to exercise faith and we quickly discover that the flesh is present and very much alive. In other words, the root of indwelling sin is still there, but it must not be allowed to reign (Rom. 6:12). As long as we live in these bodies, therefore, we cannot be “faultless.” One day the Church will be presented “faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24). Then we shall be sin-free because we shall be exactly like the sinlessly perfect One, with bodies changed into the likeness of His glorious body.

AS I SEE IT

In the meantime, though we cannot be faultless, we are called to be blameless (Phil. 2:15). To see the difference, imagine a small boy writing a loving letter to his parents which is full of misspelled words and grammatical mistakes; it’s far from faultless, but it’s certainly blameless. Similarly, God doesn’t blame us for the presence of indwelling sin, but we are to blame when we choose to give in to the flesh now that its power over us has been broken. We are responsible to appropriate the victory that God offers over all conscious sin.

To sum up, Christ’s shed blood purchased our forgiveness-our justification, for as Scripture says, without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins (Heb. 9:22). Christ’s death (on the cross) brought an end to sin’s power over us. Since He became sin (2 Cor. 5:21), when He died, sin died. We are no longer slaves to sin. Now we are slaves to righteousness (Rom. 6:17-18). We are now able to resist sin, so when we give in to it, we lose our “blameless” status until we confess it. I hope this helps.

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE

TEACHER: Maria, go to the map and find North America.
MARIA: Here it is.
TEACHER: Correct. Now class, who discovered America?
CLASS: Maria.

ATTRIBUTIONS

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