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A BLOW AGAINST MACARTHUR’S TEACHING ON THE BLOOD

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at Calvary Road Baptist Church, Monrovia, California
Friday Evening, August 6, 2010

“The precious blood of Christ” (I Peter 1:19).


I bear no grudge against Dr. John MacArthur. I even quote him at times on other subjects. But across the years I have been deeply troubled by his confusing statements on the Blood of Christ. For instance, in the MacArthur Study Bible he said, “Blood is used as a substitute for death” (The MacArthur Study Bible, Word Publishers, 1997; note on Hebrews 9:14). In his commentary on Hebrews he said, “It was not Jesus’ physical blood that saves us, but His dying on our behalf, which is symbolized by the shedding of His physical blood” (John MacArthur, D.D., The MacArthur New Testament Commentary on Hebrews, Moody Press, 1983, p. 237). Thus, Dr. MacArthur makes the Blood merely a “substitute” word, merely a “symbol” of Christ’s death on the Cross. No real Blood, mind you! Just a symbol, just a substitute word. There is no real Blood, according to him. Many young preachers follow him on this.

But I am far too old to be fooled by double-talk! You’re never going to get me to agree with this “modern” teaching! It sounds too much like modernism if you ask me; just a modern twist on the old lie of liberalism: they don't attack the Blood now, they just explain it away.

Whatever others do or say, I still agree with Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, who said,

The ultimate way to test whether a man is truly preaching the gospel or not, is to notice the emphasis which he places upon “the blood.” It is not enough to talk about the cross and the death; the test is “the blood” (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, M.D., God’s Way of Reconciliation, p. 331).

“The test is ‘the blood.’”

“The precious blood of Christ” (I Peter 1:19).

Again, Dr. Lloyd-Jones said,

Our gospel is a gospel of blood; the blood is the foundation; without it there is nothing (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, M.D., ibid., p. 240).

Oh! precious is the flow
   That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
   Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
(“Nothing But the Blood” by Robert Lowry, 1826-1899).

You may say “Amen” when I speak against Dr. MacArthur downgrading “the precious blood of Christ.” But I wonder if you aren’t doing that yourself. Unless you are deeply convicted of sin you will never see your need for “the precious blood of Christ.” Have you felt the power of sin in your life? Have you thought of your sins recorded in God’s books? Have you feared the day of wrath, when you will be “judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to [your] works”? (Revelation 20:12). Have you ever been convicted of sin? Have you feared God reading your sins out of those books? If not, you will never feel your need for “the precious blood of Christ.” If not, you will only think of “the blood of the covenant” as a common thing, hardly worthy of your attention (Hebrews 10:29). Salvation by Christ’s Blood will seem to you an antiquated doctrine, not worthy of any serious thought in our “modern” age.

If the terrors of the law, and the conviction of sin, have never gripped your soul, you will never feel your need for “the blood of Jesus Christ his Son [to cleanse you] from all sin” (I John 1:7); you will never, in your heart, say with the hymn writer, “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” And unless you are awakened to the deep stains of your sin, you will never come around to Christ, and feel the joy of that chorus,

Oh! precious is the flow
   That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
   Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Stand and sing it!

Oh! precious is the flow
   That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
   Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Oh, the sin of counting the precious Blood of Christ as a common, unholy thing!

“Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath…counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” (Hebrews 10:29).

If you never committed any other sin, the sin of neglecting the precious blood of Christ would be enough to damn you! Oh, have you not committed that sin? Have you not neglected the precious blood of Christ? And, if you have, Dr. Lloyd-Jones said of you,

There is no greater sinner in the universe than the man who has never seen his need of the blood of Christ (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, M.D., Assurance, p. 291; these quotations are taken from Tony Sargent, Ph.D., Gems from Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Paternoster, 2007, pp. 164-165).

Think of it! “There is no greater sinner in the universe than the man who has never seen his need of the blood of Christ.” Stand and sing that song again!

What can wash away my sin?
   Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
   Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Oh! precious is the flow
   That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
   Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

With this introduction, we go directly to the words of our text,

“The precious blood of Christ” (I Peter 1:19).

I. First, the Apostle Peter spoke of the Blood of Christ.

It is not anyone else’s blood. It is no ordinary blood. It is the Blood of Christ of which he speaks. It is the Blood of the incarnate God, the Second Person of the Trinity. It is the Blood of the God-Man,

“…and the Word was God…And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:1, 14).

It is the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man by hypostatic union. It is Blood untainted by the sin of Adam, for it is Blood that was formed in the veins of the Holy Child Jesus, placed in the womb of the virgin by the Spirit of God.

As the angel said to Mary,

“The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God”
     (Luke 1:35).

Thus, “the precious blood of Christ” is like no other human blood, for Christ Jesus was “without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). This is the Blood of Him,

“Who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners”
       (Hebrews 7:26).

Also, this Blood of Christ is of no slight importance; it is no secondary doctrine. Great Spurgeon said,

All through Holy Scripture you constantly meet with the mention of “blood.” “Without shedding of blood is no remission.” “The blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanseth us from all sin.” “Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ.” The word “blood” is recorded over and over again, and if [anyone] complains of the preacher that he frequently uses this expression, [I] make no kind of apology for it; [I] would be ashamed of [myself] if [I] did not often speak of the blood (C.H. Spurgeon, “Blood Even on the Golden Altar,” The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Pilgrim Publications, 1975 reprint, volume 40, p. 325).

Sing that song again!

What can wash away my sin?
   Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
   Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Oh! precious is the flow
   That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
   Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Again, this Blood of Christ was poured out of the veins of Christ during the hours of His Passion. In the Garden of Gethsemane His anguish began,

“And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44).

The soldiers came and arrested Him there, as He prayed and “sweat as it were great drops of blood.” They took Him to the Roman governor Pontius Pilate, who had His back scourged. Cut to the bone by a cruel Roman whip, His Blood flowed freely. Then they dragged Him to Golgotha, the place of crucifixion. They nailed His hands and His feet to a cross. The Blood flowed from those wounds. He died on that Cross. Then, said the Apostle John,

“One of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water” (John 19:34).

This is the Blood of which we speak! This is the Blood of the Holy and harmless Son of God! This is “the precious blood of Christ” (I Peter 1:19)!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
   In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood;
   Hallelujah! What a Saviour!
(“Hallelujah! What a Saviour!” by Philip P. Bliss, 1838-1876).

“What can wash away my sin?” Sing that again,

What can wash away my sin?
   Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
   Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

II. Second, the Apostle Peter spoke of the preciousness of Christ’s Blood.

He called it “the precious blood of Christ” (I Peter 1:19). Dr. Strong tells us that the Greek word translated “precious” means “valuable, costly, esteemed, beloved, honorable, and most precious” (Strong #5093).

Yes! Yes! We are speaking of “the valuable, costly, esteemed, beloved, honorable and most precious blood of Christ!” Yes! Yes! If you want to be cleansed from sin it can only be by “the precious blood of Christ”!

Oh! precious is the flow
   That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
   Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Sing it again, softly,

Oh! precious is the flow
   That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
   Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Dr. Lloyd-Jones, thank you! Thank you dear Doctor! “The Doctor” said it well. Listen to his extended comments, including the quotation of two lines from famous hymns. Dr. Lloyd-Jones said,

All the solutions of the world are insufficient to get rid of the stain of my sins, but here is the blood of the Son of God, spotless, blameless, and I feel that this is powerful.

There is power, power, wonder-working power
In the precious blood of the Lamb.

His blood can make the foulest clean,
His blood availed for me (Charles Wesley).

That [said “the Doctor”] is our comfort and consolation (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, M.D., Fellowship With God, p. 144 – quoted in Gems From Martyn Lloyd-Jones, ibid., p. 164).

That is “the precious blood of Christ”!

Oh, what a fountain of mercy is flowing,
   Down from the crucified Saviour of men.
Precious the blood that He shed to redeem us,
   Grace and forgiveness for all of our sin.
(“Oh, What a Fountain” by Dr. John R. Rice, 1895-1980).

Before I close this sermon, may I ask you, Is the Blood of Jesus precious to you? Have you seen its value? Have you come to Jesus? Have you been washed clean from all your sins by “the precious blood of Christ”? Can you honestly say you have been washed clean from your sins by His Blood? Can you join with us who say,

“Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood”? (Revelation 1:5).

Can you sing that chorus with us – and really mean it?

Oh! precious is the flow
   That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
   Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

If you would be saved from punishment for your sins, you must be washed clean from those sins by “the precious blood of Christ.” If Christ’s Blood has not cleansed your sins, you will be punished for them throughout eternity.

I beg you; I plead with you; I exhort you to “flee from the wrath to come” (Matthew 3:7). Flee from the coming judgment! Flee to Christ. Be washed from your sins by His all-cleansing Blood before it is too late, before God gives up on you, before the Holy Spirit leaves you dry-eyed and impenitent, before you are given over to a reprobate mind, before the mouth of Hell opens and you fall into the bottomless pit of fire and doom.

Oh, I plead with you, Come to Jesus and be washed clean from thy pollutions, from thy transgressions, from thy manifold sins! Come to Jesus and be made clean from thy sin by “the precious blood of Christ” (I Peter 1:19). Sing “I Am Coming, Lord.”

I am coming, Lord! Coming now to Thee!
Wash me, cleanse me in the blood
That flowed on Calvary.
   (“I Am Coming, Lord” by Lewis Hartsough, 1828-1919).

Sing it!

I am coming, Lord! Coming now to Thee!
Wash me, cleanse me in the blood
That flowed on Calvary.

May you do exactly what you sang. May you come to Jesus and be cleansed from your sin by the precious blood of Christ. Amen.

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers’ sermons each week on the Internet
at www.realconversion.com. Click on “Sermon Manuscripts.”

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Hymers: I Peter 1:18-19.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Oh, What a Fountain!” (by Dr. John R. Rice, 1895-1980).


THE OUTLINE OF

A BLOW AGAINST MACARTHUR’S TEACHING ON THE BLOOD

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“The precious blood of Christ” (I Peter 1:19).

(Revelation 20:12; Hebrews 10:29; I John 1:7)

I.   First, the Apostle Peter spoke of the Blood of Christ, John 1:1, 14;
Luke 1:35; Hebrews 4:15; 7:26; Luke 22:44; John 19:34.

II.  Second, the Apostle Peter spoke of the preciousness of Christ’s Blood,
Revelation 1:5; Matthew 3:7.