“And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye 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
My friends, it was the blood that did it. Just so it is now. God says, “When I see the blood I will pass over you. The blood shall be a token unto you.” And I tell you, my friends, the greatest question that can be before you tonight is this: Have you got the token? Have you got the blood? Are you sheltered behind the precious blood of the Lamb? That is the question. If you are thus sheltered and if you have the token, then you are perfectly secure and safe.
There is a legend told in reference to that night on which the Lord slew the firstborn of the Egyptians, and it runs thus: There was a little child, the firstborn in the house of an Israelite; and you know God said that in every house where the blood was not upon the doorpost, the firstborn should be smitten by death. This little girl was sick, but she was afraid that the blood was not upon the doorpost; so she asked her father if he was sure he had put the blood upon the doorpost; and the father said, “Yes, he was quite sure; he had ordered it to be done.” But the little girl said the second time, “Father, are you quite sure that the blood is there?”
“Yes, my child,” answered the father, “be quiet and sleep.” But the child could not sleep. She was very sick and very restless; and as night came on and it grew darker and darker, and nearer and nearer to the time when the angel should pass over Goshen, she got still more nervous and restless and uneasy. At last she said, “Father, take me in your arms and let me see the blood upon the doorpost.” And the father, to satisfy the child, took her to the door to show her the blood; and lo and behind! It was not there; the man to whom he had given instructions had forgotten to do it. And then the father, in the sight of the child, had the blood put upon the doorpost, and the child lay down and went to sleep.
That, of course, is only a legend. But, my friends, it might have been true. Now, when we see that we have the blood it satisfies us. I don’t believe the sinner will ever be saved until he has the blood. May God give it to you tonight!—because it is that which atones for our sins and that which is the token of our redemption.
People say, “If I were only as good as that minister who has been preaching for fifty years, I should feel so safe. If I could give as much money to poor people as some others, I should feel so safe for heaven and that it was all right with me.” Let me say to you, my friends, if you are behind the blood of Jesus Christ, you are just as safe as any man or woman in the world. It is the blood. It is not our righteousness. It is not our good deeds. It is not our benevolent works. Works may come in, and a reward be had for them, but they don’t help us to salvation. They don’t save us from the curse of death.
“It is to him that worketh not, but believeth.” And so we must be sheltered behind the blood and know that we are there before we can be safe. Then, the moment we are safe, it will be time enough to talk about work.
My friends, the first thing is to know you are sheltered behind the blood. You go to a railway station and you buy a ticket, and get into a carriage; and the guard comes round and cries, “Tickets,” and you put your hand in your pocket and pull out the ticket and present that to the man; but the guard does not look to see if you are a white man or a black, learned or unlearned, great or small. He does not know, perhaps, who you are or what you are, but he looks for the token. Oh! my friends, God says, “If you have got the token, I will pass over you.” Young man, have you got the token? That is the question,—the solemn question.
I can imagine some of these lords and dignitaries of Egypt riding through Goshen the day before the Passover. They could hear the bleating of the lambs all through the province, for every man had either his lamb ready to kill, or was killing it; and they were throwing the blood upon the doorposts. I imagine I can hear those Egyptians saying, “Men! what are you doing? Why are you putting blood upon your houses? Why are you disfiguring your doorposts? We would not have blood upon our houses.”
“Ah,” say the Hebrews, “it is going to shelter us tonight. It will be worth to us, at midnight, more than all Egypt.”
And I can further imagine these great men going away and laughing together, and thinking that these Hebrews had gone clean mad. But ah! that night, at midnight, they changed their minds. There was a wail that went up from every house. From the palace of the king down to the lowest hovel,—death had come and taken his victim. He entered the palace of the rich and the hovel of the poor, and laid his icy hand upon the firstborn. The only thing that could keep death out was death. And so it is with us. The death of Christ is our life.
People say we ought to preach Christ’s life and moral character. I don’t know how many letters I have received urging me to preach the life of Christ and not His death. But Christ died for our sins. He didn’t say we were to preach His life to save men. Christ’s death is what gives us liberty. God didn’t say, tie up a living lamb, and “when I see that I will pass over you.” If that had been done, death would have passed over the living lamb and taken his firstborn. It was death that kept death off, and the only way to meet death is by death.
Death has come, and I must either have some one to die for me, or die myself. That is the lesson that God is trying to bring out—the great doctrine of substitution. These little lambs were typical of the coming of the Lamb of God. They foreshadowed the scene at Calvary, and they went on being offered until Jesus Christ Himself should come.
And then, there are one or two other verses we ought to notice. “Thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover.”
Now there are many people who are just satisfied with getting to Calvary, but forget to feed upon the Lamb, and are thus deprived of much spiritual power. They are satisfied with the work done at Calvary, and they forget the work of the Holy Ghost in them. They forget to eat of the Lamb. Now Christ is the Bread of Heaven, and we are to feed upon Him, and get spiritual power. Then it is that we really become strong.
The Israelites had a long journey before them; and they were to feed upon the Lamb. And in the fourth verse, “And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating, shall make your count for the lamb.”
Christ is enough for any family. He is enough for every family here tonight. He is enough for every soul if you will only take Him and feed upon Him.
Then in the second verse it says, “This month shall be unto you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.” Everything dates from Calvary, and not from the cradle. Some people seem to think they start from the cradle to Heaven, but we start from the cross. Everything begins with the blood. “This shall be the beginning of months.” Men have wrought for these four thousand years, making bricks without straw, for Egypt’s king. These four thousand years have rolled into the past, and now when a man comes to Christ all that is done in the past is wiped away. He has been the devil’s own, but now he is the child of God. If you give yourself to God tonight, everything will date afresh from now, and you will become a citizen of a better world.
I must direct your attention to Exodus 29:16, and there you will read of the blood again. “And thou shalt slay the lamb, and thou shalt take his blood and sprinkle it round about the altar.”
Now the high priest had to take the blood and sprinkle it round about the altar. There was no way for a man to come to the altar but by the way of the blood; and there never has been any other way since Adam fell, but this way. Any man who attempts to come to God now, without coming through Jesus Christ as his Mediator, is just deceiving himself. He will have no fellowship with God unless he comes by the way of the blood. That was kept up until Christ came. Then they could come and make their wants known through Jesus Christ, but not until then.
Turn to Exodus, chapter thirty, and there you will find, “And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year, with the blood of the sin-offering of atonements; once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations; it is most holy unto the Lord.” Make atonement! At-one-ment. If you want to become at one with God you must become so through the blood. It is the only tie by which God and we can be linked together. When God made Adam he surrounded him with everything that was good and with a golden cord bound him unto Himself. And Christ came back to re-link man to God, and heaven; and it is just done by that one word—the blood. Atonement by Christ means the sinner and God made one.
There may be some one who says, “Why does God demand blood? I don’t see why He should demand blood.” There may be some of you saying, “It seems very strange.” So it does and so it appeared to me. I could not understand why it was that God demanded blood; but the whole thing is plain enough now. Will you turn to Leviticus 17:11, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” Now, my dear friends, do you see why He demands the blood?
God said to Adam, “In the day that thou sinnest thou shalt die.” And the moment Adam sinned he died. He was not taken out of this clay temple, but he died spiritually. That is where many people make the mistake. They seem to think the body is the most important part of them. My friends, it is only the house that we live in. The life that God had given to Adam, that he might commune with his Creator, was forfeited the moment he fell. The moment he believed and received that devil’s lie into his mind, and broke the law of God, he fell out of communion with God, and the moment that God came down after him, where did He find him? Why, He found him out of fellowship—out of communion. Adam had gone and hid away from his loving Father. And ever since God has been trying to get Adam’s sons into fellowship and communion with Him. But the only way He can be just, and justify the sinner, is, that the sinner should believe that “His Son died for our sins, according to the Scripture.”
God’s word must be kept. “Heaven and earth may pass away, but God’s word shall never pass away.” This then tells us why God demands the blood. The blood is the life of all flesh. Now, it is really life that God demands. This life has been forfeited. You have sold yourselves for nought, but you shall be redeemed “without money.” Life, then, is gone. Your life, my friends—the old Adam life—is not worth crossing the street after. God stamped it with death and said it should never come into His presence. Now, if I don’t get life, it is said, I must perish. That is what the apostles preached. “Christ died for our justification. Christ rose for our sins.”
Now how can God be just, and justify the sinner? I will tell you. Because God Himself came down in the form of sinful flesh, took upon Him our nature, and died that we might live. There is the doctrine of substitution. Why, people say, “I don’t believe in the doctrine of substitution.” Well, then, if you don’t believe in that, you don’t believe in the Bible. I tell you, take the doctrine of substitution out of the Bible and I would not carry it home with me. If it does not teach that, it teaches nothing. From the fall of man, all the language of that book has rung out this one thing: “The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent’s head.” It has run along down through the ages ever since Adam fell.
Isaiah took up the strain and sang, “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; and the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” Take the doctrine of the substitution out of this Bible and what are you going to do with that verse? You break away from your moorings. You break away from all our hope.
Take the history of those first two worshippers we have on record, Cain and Abel. Now Abel believed in the doctrine of the substitution, but Cain did not. I seem to hear Cain saying to himself, “I am not fond of shedding blood. I don’t see why Abel must be always killing something for an offering to God. It seems to be much better to bring some of the fruits of the earth.”
But, my friends, the Bible says that “God had respect unto Abel and his offering; but unto Cain and his offering He had not respect.” There are a great many Cainites in the world in these days. Take care, my friends, not to disobey God, and neglect the blood of His Son, lest He, as in the case of Cain, reject both your offering and yourselves. You insult the Almighty by offering the work of this frail body to atone for sin. Can you atone for sin yourselves? People say, “I believe God is so merciful that that settles the question for me.” Suppose a man robbed me of a thousand pounds, and said, “I have nothing against Mr. Moody. I have very warm feelings towards him.” That is not the question. The question is, “Have I anything against him?”
So men say they have done nothing against God. That is not the question. The question is, my friends, has God anything against you? And you never will have peace until that is removed, and God is reconciled. And the moment you accept of His Son, then there is reconciliation, and there is no reconciliation until that is done. Now God does not demand payment of you. If Christ died for my sins, I have not got to die.
“The wages of sin is death.” What is it? Death! Have you sinned? Yes. Have we all sinned? Yes. Then we must receive the wages. We must either receive them or someone else must receive them for us. Then Christ comes right in and says, “I will take your place.” Christ died for the ungodly. Well, I am ungodly, and I will take the benefit of that death.
There is a woman in our country who was hoping to be saved, because she thought she was a respectable sinner. Some sinners don’t think they are like other sinners. When people talk to me in this strain, I know they are great sinners. She heard a sermon which showed her clearly that Christ died for the ungodly, and she said, “I must be ungodly. He died for the ungodly.” She awoke to the fact that she was unlike God, and the light of eternity flashed into her soul.
My friends, take your place among the ungodly. I am tired of people making out that they are not bad sinners—whereas they are bad from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot. They are bad, and God says it, and let God be true and every man a liar.
Ask me my hope for eternal life and I reply, “Christ died for my sins.” Take that away and I don’t know what will become of me. No one else can save me. Christ must save us or we must perish. If God turned Adam out of Eden for that one sin, do you think He is going to allow us into Heaven with ten thousand sins? I must give my life to atone for my sins unless I can find someone else who will take my place. Now, thank God, I have found Jesus, and every man and woman out of Christ can find the same substitute.
Ah! my friends, go to the tomb of Jesus, and say over it, “He died for me.” Yea, you can go further and say, “He rose for me, and He is at the right hand of God for me; and I have life in Him, and the hope of eternal glory. Death cannot touch my spiritual nature. I am safe for time and eternity.”
What will you do with the precious blood? Will you trample it under your feet and send back an insulting message to God that you don’t care for His Son, or for the blood that flowed from Calvary, or will you find refuge and shelter behind the blood? Some men seem to think it is noble to fight against such a Saviour. Others have not the moral courage to lift up their voices for Him. It seems to me cowardice not to confess Christ, after what He has done for us. Will you turn with contempt from the Saviour, and refuse a share in the great salvation He offers to you, bought at the price of His blood?