Appropriation the Way of Enjoyment

The meaning of this expression will become clear to the simplest soul as we proceed, if attention be given to the scriptures cited and considered. In Exodus 12, after the directions given for the sprinkling of the blood of the Passover Lamb upon the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses of the children of Israel, it is commanded that "they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it." (v. 8.) Too often attention has been confined to the sprinkling of the blood, and this has been represented as securing everything for the soul. Once under the shelter of the blood, it has been said again and again, the soul is safe for eternity. And this witness is true, and it is impossible to make too much of the precious blood of Christ. It is the foundation of everything, that all-efficacious propitiation, on the ground of which God's righteousness is declared, that He might be just and the justifier of him who believes in Jesus. Yea, it is the everlasting testimony before God and to man (see Lev. 16:14) that the judgment of death which lay upon us has been borne by Another - by Him who is the Son of God. The new heaven and the new earth will be the eternal witness of what the precious blood of Christ has secured for God and for the blessedness of His redeemed.

Insisting upon this with all earnestness, it is yet to be maintained that the benefits (to use a simple word) of the death of Christ will only be enjoyed when that death is made our own, appropriated. This is what is signified by eating the Passover Lamb, roast with fire. The judgment of death had been borne, and the blood which declared this had been sprinkled, but this was for the eye of God; and just because it was so, it did constitute a sure protection for all who were under the besprinkled house. God had said indeed, When I see the blood, I will pass over you; but was there to be nothing else? There was much, and this related to the state of soul of those who were sheltered. They were bidden to eat the flesh of the Lamb roast with fire, to appropriate to themselves the death of the Lamb who had passed through the holy fire of the judgment of God, and thereby they were to acknowledge that the judgment which had been borne was their judgment. They owned this before God (we speak of the thing signified) as they ate the Passover Lamb, and they would thus be prepared to enter into the ground and character of the redemption which God, in pursuance of His purpose, was working out for His own glory on their behalf. It is this which the preachers of the gospel have to press upon souls, if they would deliver them from a false security and a deceptive peace; for it is not too much to say that none are consciously under the shelter of the blood of Christ unless they have appropriated, and thus become identified with, His death before God.

This will be abundantly clear if the two accompaniments of eating the Passover Lamb are considered. They were to eat the flesh of the Lamb with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs. Leaven, as every reader of the Scriptures knows, is a figure of evil, and hence the unleavened bread in this connection will betoken not only that their eyes had been opened to their danger, but that, by divine grace and power, there was also a real turning from darkness to light, a real judgment of evil, in turning from the power of Satan unto God; that, in a word, light had entered their souls and also divine power to bring them out of darkness into God's marvellous light. Thus there were also the bitter herbs, for the effect of divine testimony, when it reaches the conscience in the power of the Holy Ghost, is to produce bitterness, because the discovery thereby is made of the character of sin in the presence of a holy God. Ah! that is a supreme moment to the soul when it is brought consciously into the presence of God, where its real state can no longer be concealed, and where the revelation is made, if the light is allowed to penetrate into the deepest recesses of the heart, that the God against whom we had been sinning with a high hand is Love, and that He has proved it in the death of His beloved Son. It is there too that we begin to apprehend that in order to enjoy the divine love which has been set forth in the death of Christ, His death must be appropriated.

In conclusion, we may repeat that it is impossible to magnify the importance and the all-sufficiency of the blood of Christ. But it is our earnest desire that souls should enter upon the enjoyment of what that blood has secured. To receive God's testimony as to what it has effected is the first thing; but together with the reception of this testimony there must be the appropriation of the death of Christ in order to pass out from under the judgment which lies upon man into the enjoyment of God's favour and love. In other words, there must be repentance towards God and faith towards the Lord Jesus Christ. The state of soul of those under the shelter of the blood must be suitable to Him who has provided the means of rescuing us from judgment. And the deeper the exercises in appropriating the death of Him who has borne what was our due, the more settled will be our peace when we further learn that the One who has been delivered for our offences has been raised again for our justification. On another occasion, if the Lord will, we hope to be enabled to point out that the appropriation of the death of Christ is the way of deliverance, of life, and of enjoyment for the Christian.