Tuesday, December 09, 2008

0 Daily Recourse unto Christ's Blood

In the third sermon on Job, Calvin addresses the subject of verse 5 of chapter one, in which it is said that 'Job sent for his children and sanctified them, and rising up betimes in the morning, offered sacrifices according to the number of them, for he said, It may be that my children have sinned, and have not blessed the Lord in their hearts. And thus Job did every day.' He opens his third sermon in particular by touching on the nature of our approaching God, and our need for the sanctifyng blood of Christ. Calvin writes:
If we come unto God such as we be of ourselves, we deserve to be shaken off and to be taken at his hand for stinking carrions. Therefore it standeth us in hand to make ourselves clean. And how may that be done? The men of old time had certain ceremonies, according as it was needful that they should have such helps before the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, by reason of the rawness of the time. But now in these days we know how we ought to have recourse to the precious blood of God's Son, which was shed to wash us withal. Therefore if we mean to be received for clean before God, it behooveth us to repair to him in the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. And furthermore, we must aslo sigh for our sins. For by this means are we to be cleansed: namely by acknowledging the evil that is in us, which by and by causeth a soreness, and hatred of ourselves, for that we have been so unhappy as to displease God. And thus we see why we have no more the figures that were before the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and yet do keep still the truth and substance of them. What is to be done at all times and as oft as we call upon God? Every one of us must have an eye to his own poorness and uncleanness, and be displeased with himself for it, and therewithall also desire our Lord Jesus Christ to wash us and make us clean with his blood, so that we may appear as if we were pure and clean, in the presence of God his father. And this is to be done, not only one day in a week, nor for some certain time, but continually all our life long: and we must bear in mind how Saint Paul sayeth, that our Lord Jesus Christ was sacrificed as the true Easter lamb, to the end that we should still be copartners of that sacrifice, specially (as he sayeth) in all pureness. He sayeth not that Christians ought to sanctify themselves unto God once a year: but that they ought to continue their holiness all their life throughout. Wherefore? Because the sacrifice which Jesus Christ hath offered, and whereof we be made copartners, is everlasting, and the virtue thereof endureth forever. So then, let us every morning and evening apply our endeavor to that which is showed us here: that is to wit, to sanctify ourselves, until it please God to be gracious unto us as to dwell with us forever. (p. 10, Sermons on Job, Banner of Truth)
The notion of a continual repairing to Christ's blood is a powerful one. We haven't daily sacrifices to perform as in time of old, when only these pictures of the one sacrifice of the true Lamb of God were commanded of the people. Rather, we have recourse to that one sacrifice, directly, as the once-for-all sacrifice to cleanse God's people. While it may be tempting to rest on our laurels and claim that sacrifice as ours, and give no mind to holiness of life and conduct, this, as Calvin notes, is not what Scripture teaches. If our confession of faith is to have any reality to it at all, a life of pursuing Christlikeness is one that will flavor our walk... not that our doing so is in any way worthy of reward - but when our recourse is truly in Christ, and our trust firmly in the Lord God Almighty, we will want nothing but to please him in all things.

I am so thankful for the continual reminders from Calvin and others of the full sufficiency of Christ's sacrifice for us, AND at the same time the necessity of lives lived unto the Lord as king. Our faith will bear this fruit unto the Lord, as we willingly set ourselves apart for his service through lives of integrity - not that it is perfect by any means. Daily, we'll fall on our knees, confess our unfitness and unworthiness for the honor of our place in God's house, and strive to please him. It's a natural fruit of a supernatural work in us that will be present in all whose trust is in the Lord.



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