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|Articles - Victory|
|Written by Mac Hammond|
We find those three sources of spiritual power identified in 1 John, chapter five. John starts the chapter by talking about winning in life. Look at verses 4 and 5:
"For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?"
A few verses later, we discover the three power sources that make that kind of victory possible.
"For there are three that bear witness, the Spirit and the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement" (1 John 5:8, NASB).
Most of us are familiar with the role of the Holy Spirit as a source of power. You'll remember that Jesus told the disciples that "ye shall receive power, after the Holy Ghost is come upon you..." (Acts 1:8). The Bible frequently talks about operating in "the power of the Holy Spirit."
The second reference, "the water," is a little less obvious. This is actually referring to the Word of God. In Ephesians six Paul tells us that Jesus is cleansing His church "with the washing of water by the Word." We see water used as a type or symbol of the Word in many other passages of scripture.
Once again, most believers understand that God's Word is a vital source of power for those who desire to live in victory. But what about that third witness, the blood? How many of us truly know why the blood of Jesus serves as a source of power for the Christian?
More importantly, how many of us know how to put that world-overcoming power to work in our lives?
More Than Just a Song
Not too many years ago, it wasn't unusual to sing about the blood of Jesus in church. Great old hymns such as Power in the Blood, Are You Washed in the Blood?, and There is a Fountain rang out in Sunday-morning services across this land.
Somewhere along the line, however, the church lost sight of some precious truths about the blood. Most churches don't sing those songs anymore.
Perhaps we got too sophisticated and intellectual for such seemingly primitive imagery. More likely, the devil is subtly trying to steal this great weapon from the Church because he fears it so greatly. The truth is, an understanding of, and faith in, the blood of Jesus is one the greatest weapons at your disposal. For example, look at Revelation 12:11:
"And they overcame him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony...."
The New Testament is filled with references to the importance of Jesus' blood in our lives. For example, the Bible says the blood of Jesus: Gives us life (John 6:53). Brings us close to God (Eph. 2:13). Purges our consciences (Heb. 9:14). Gives us boldness to approach the throne of God. (Heb. 10:19) Sanctifies us, making us holy. (Heb. 13:12) And cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7; Rev 1:5).
"But Brother Mac," you may be thinking, "How do I appropriate all those things to my life?" That's a fair question. Often, born-again, blood-washed believers don't feel sanctified, cleansed, bold and all the other things we just read about. That answer is found in Romans 3:24-25. Take a look:
"Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation (substitute) through faith in his blood,"
In other words, the power that releases our redemption comes through "faith in his (Jesus') blood." Do you want to be redeemed from sickness, poverty, shame and everything else Jesus died to deliver you from? Well, the power to bring that redemption into reality comes by faith in His blood!
No wonder the devil so desperately wants to keep believers from talking about and studying about the blood. Faith comes by hearing (Rom. 10:17). As we hear the Word of God concerning the power in Jesus blood, faith in that blood rises up in us and we break the power of the enemy over our lives! So, get ready to hear some faith-building news about the wonderful blood of Jesus.
Taking a Lesson from Creation
Is it possible that we can learn some things about what the blood of Jesus does in our lives by studying the working of our own blood? It may surprise you to discover the answer to that question is "yes!" Look at Romans 1:20:
"For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse" (NIV).
According to this verse, we can learn about the invisible things of God by observing His creation. So, if we want to understand something about the blood of Jesus now an invisible, spiritual substance we should study its most obvious natural counterpart our blood.
This is doubly appropriate because the New Testament frequently characterizes the Church as "the Body of Christ." Paul frequently used the workings of the human body to illustrate spiritual truths. It's amazing to see the parallels between the ways your blood is used to bring life to your flesh and the way the blood of Jesus brings the Zoe life of God to you, a part of His body.
Don't get alarmed. I'm not going to throw a lot of complex biological jargon at you. The concepts I'm talking about are common to any 3rd grade science class.
As you probably know, your blood is primarily made up of plasma (the liquid part of your blood) and three kinds of cells red cells, white cells and platelets. It's these cells that I want you to consider for a moment. They teach us some remarkable things about the role of the blood of Jesus in our lives.
A Source of Nourishment
First, let's look at the plasma and red blood cells. The red cells, carried along by the plasma pick up oxygen in the lungs. Nutrients are picked up in your digestive tract. Together, these two elements carry vital, life-giving substances to every cell in your body.
This is why blood flow is so vital to health. Where the flow of blood is restricted, that part of the body ceases to receive oxygen and nourishment and thus begins to die.
Naturally, if you didn't eat or breathe there would be no oxygen or nutrients for the blood to carry. This truth has a spiritual parallel.
Spiritually, we have to cooperate by providing the spiritual nutrients necessary for our spiritual health. How do you "eat" spiritually? By feeding on the Word. If you never go to church or open your Bible, you give the blood nothing to carry.
If you'll do your part if you'll feed on God's Word diligently you can be assured that the blood of Jesus will be operating to make sure you stay spiritually well nourished.
A Source of Cleansing
The blood does more than just carry vital nutrients to your cells. It also carries away waste products and toxins. In other words, the blood is constantly cleansing your whole body. Every moment of every day, you are literally being washed by your blood!
I call this amazing process "waste management." Your blood carries all the waste products of metabolism and carries them to where they can be eliminated from the body. It's really a remarkable process when you study it. Your blood provides the ongoing cleansing that is necessary to keep your body healthy and strong.
The spiritual parallels are obvious. If we're rightly related to the blood of Jesus by faith, we can know that His blood is cleansing us through and through. The Word confirms this truth over and over. Look, for example, at 1 John 1:7:
"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."
Revelation 1:5 echoes this beautiful truth:
"And from Jesus Christ...him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood."
Forgiveness of sin isn't just a one-time thing the moment we're saved. It's an ongoing process. We see God's provision for this type of cleansing in 1 John 1:9. To born-again believers, John wrote:
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
As believers, we're invariably going to be touched by unrighteousness in ways that will inhibit our fellowship with God. That's why it is so important to remain rightly connected with God's cleansing agent, the blood of Jesus.
You need to be cleansed daily. Being washed in the blood on a continuing basis will see to it that unrighteousness does not move you away from God, your source of life and blessing.
A Source of Defense
We've talked about plasma and red blood cells, but there is more to the marvelous functioning of our blood. God also equipped us with white blood cells and platelets. These represent the armies of your body's defense system.
The white blood cell exists for one reason alone to ward off invasion from without. Any time your body is invaded by foreign bacteria or viruses (which is essentially every time you breathe, eat or touch something), the white cells immediately move to destroy the invaders.
It is only when your God-given immune system is suppressed or inhibited that sickness or infection takes root in your body. If you're taking care of your body feeding it properly and getting appropriate rest your immune system should be able to fend off any attack.
The same is true of your spiritual defense system as well. The blood of Jesus is sufficient to overcome any attack. As we saw in Revelation 12:9, we overcome Satan by "the blood of the Lamb and the Word of our testimony."
If you're taking care of yourself spiritually, there isn't anything on earth the devil can bring against you the blood of Jesus isn't sufficient to overcome.
A Source of Balance
So far, we've seen that our natural blood system works to nourish us, cleanse us and defend us from attack. It has a fourth function, as well. Your blood carries hormones that regulate growth and balance in all your body's systems.
Many physical disorders and problems result when the levels of those hormones get out of balance. A proper mix of those substances, however, will keep your body functioning properly and regenerating itself.
Likewise, a proper relationship to the blood of Christ will keep you spiritually balanced and healthy. When I see Christians getting into deception or getting out of balance in some area of life, I can be reasonably sure they're not applying the blood of Jesus consistently and effectively.
The blood of Jesus will keep churches from getting off onto the fringes of doctrinal error. And it will keep you from getting drawn off into some strange doctrine that will ultimately be destructive to you.
Applying the Blood
Up to this point, all the wonderful things we've discovered that the blood of Jesus does for us have had one condition attached to them. We've seen that we must be properly related to the blood in order to experience all the blessing it provides.
"So, how can I be sure I'm properly related to the blood?" you may be asking. Or, to put it in different terms, "How do I apply the blood of Jesus to my life?" The Bible has some clear and simple instructions along those lines.
First of all, it does matter how you apply the blood of Jesus to your life. We see a vivid example of this in the Old Testament.
Remember the account in Exodus of the Death Angel passing through Egypt. God's people had been given detailed and explicit instructions on how to sacrifice a lamb, prepare it and, most importantly, how to take its blood and apply it to the doorposts of each house. The careful application of that blood to the doorposts would protect all those inside from the Destroyer (Ex. 12).
They couldn't just apply the blood any way they pleased. They couldn't say to themselves, "I don't want to mess up my freshly painted door posts with a lot of blood. I think I'll just sprinkle a little on my welcome mat instead." Anybody who tried that would have found themselves at the mercy of the Death Angel that awful night.
That first Passover was a type and foreshadowing of the protection we can enjoy because the blood of the ultimate Passover lamb, Jesus. Like Israel in Egypt, we must apply the blood in a specific way. I'm convinced that a failure to do so is a big reason why much of the church experiences so little of God's power and protection today.
One of the primary and most frequently overlooked keys to applying the blood to our lives involves getting connected to the body. In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul likens the Church to the various members of the human body.
"For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many" (1 Cor. 12:12-14).
Simply stated, a hand can't receive blood flow if it is cut off and separate from the body. I know that sounds quite obvious but you'd be amazed at the number of Christians who think they can ignore this spiritual law.
I constantly encounter Christians who seem to think they can enjoy the nourishment, protection and balance that comes through the blood and yet remain totally unconnected from the rest of the Body of Christ. Invariably, these people can't quite understand why they are experiencing so many problems.
There is a place in the body of Christ where you your gifts, talents and resources belong. It is there and only there that you have access to the life-giving flow of the blood of Jesus. I know this may ruffle a few feathers, but I believe with all my heart that means getting plugged in to a local church that is preaching and teaching the uncompromised Word of God.
That's where you're going to get the continuous flow of the blood of Jesus in your life. You have a place in Christ's body. This is what Paul was referring to in Ephesians 4:16 when he says:
"From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work" (NIV).
Do it by Faith
Finally, as we saw at the beginning, you must apply the blood of Jesus by faith. Thank God daily for the blood of Christ. Talk about it. Speak it over your family. Paint it on the doorposts of your life by honoring it and giving it place in your thinking.
Then you'll be accessing one of God's three great power sources for victory in this life. As you combine it with the others the Spirit and the Word you'll find yourself experiencing more blessing and victory than you ever thought possible.
Nourishment, Cleansing, Protection, and Balance. They're the natural by-products of staying connected to the wonder-working power of the blood.
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