"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear Thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth" (Ps. 60:4).
Concerning the Blood of Sprinkling
Concerning "the blood of sprinkling" to which we are come in Mount Zion (Heb. 12:24), Albert G. Stoner, Jr. had some stimulating comments. The type or shadow of what took place in heaven at Christ's ascension was set forth under the law by Moses and Aaron, it was pointed out.
It is written with reference to the first covenant's dedication that Moses "took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book of the law, and all the people" (Heb. 9:18-22; cf. Ex. 24:6-8; Lev. 14:4; 16:18). The various sprinklings of blood by Aaron and his sons were for the typical purification from sin (Ex. 29:15-21; Lev. 1:5; 4:6; 16:14-16; etc.). The shedding of the animal blood was in order to its sprinkling in these cases.
So, Brother Al explained, was the shedding of Christ's blood for the ultimate purpose of its sprinkling of the mercy seat on high. That is what gave the blood its efficacy for the propitiation, or covering, of sin. Hence, it is written, "He entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but His own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption" (Heb. 9:12, RSV).
That is "the blood of sprinkling" of reference in Hebrews 12:24, which "speaketh better things than that of Abel," it was noted. It proclaims our redemption by "the precious blood of Christ" as of God's spotless Lamb (I Pet. 1:18-20). It is the sprinkling of Christ's blood also referred to by Peter, the application of which constitutes the individual "elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father" (I Pet. 1:2). And it is the sprinkling which, when received by individual faith and baptism, is designed to purge the conscience "from dead works to serve the living God" (Heb. 9:14; cf. vv. 6-10; ch.10:19-22).
The significance of the conscience' purging "from dead works" in order to God's service was pointed out. The contrast is with the purification under the law by the sprinkling of "the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of an heifer," which ceremonially cleansed from contact with literal death (v. 13; cf. Num.19:1-22).
The idea is that "the water of separation" (Num. 19:20-21), which in our case is baptism (Heb. 10:22), brings us into contact with the sin-cleansing blood of Christ, which purges our conscience from the sins committed in the natural state of death. The conscience is purged through "the knowledge of salvation" by the remission of sins (Lk. 1 :77).
The Case of Naaman, the Leper
Representations Made by Bronislaw E. Kubacki
"Then went he down and dipped seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God, and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child" (II Kgs. 5:14; cf. Jn. 15:3).
The case of Naaman's cleansing of his leprosy at once demonstrates the efficacy of God's Word and the necessity of full compliance with its demands.
The captain of the Syrian host was a "mighty man of valor" and "great with his master," the king, "and honorable" because of his exploits. "But," adds the record, "he was a leper" (II Kgs. 5:1). Affliction with that deadly disease virtually negated all the man's greatness, as to its profit by him. So it is with sin, in the case of us all, unless it is gotten rid of.
When told by the Prophet Elisha to go dip seven times in the Jordan River, with the promise of cleansing from his leprosy, Naaman "was wroth" (v. 11). The command was an affront to his natural mind and reasoning process. The Jordan was muddy, whereas the rivers of Damascus were clear and sparkling. Why not dip in them?, rationalized the leper. Thus, "he turned and went away in a rage" (vv. 10-12). So reasons the carnal mind today, when confronted with the positive requirements of God.
Naaman's servants were more spiritually rational under the circumstances. They advised him to unquestioningly do what the Prophet had told him to do. We today, knowing the power and "terror of the Lord," need to persuade people to obey Him, despite their natural reluctance (II Cor. 5:10-11). By nature, they oppose both God and themselves, and require to be caused to think straight.
When the Syrian captain had fully obeyed the word of the Prophet, he was thoroughly cleansed of his deadly leprosy, his flesh becoming "again like unto the flesh of a little child."
In its adaptation to the gospel era, the lesson here is clear and unmistakable. Sin, with which all accountable persons are afflicted, can be taken as the counterpart of Naaman's leprosy. Unless effectively dealt with, it will certainly destroy one forever "from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power" (II Th. 1:7-10; cf. Rom. 6:23). But--thanks be unto God!--He has devised and freely offers to people a wholly efficacious remedy for sin. It, of course, is the precious blood of His dear Son, "shed for many for the remission of sins" (Mt. 26:28). We but have to be brought into contact with that blood in order to be made completely whole from the lethal affliction of sin. "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin," so that by it we are "justified from all things" (Acts 13:38-39; Rom. 5:6-10).
The point of contact with the sin-cleansing efficacy of that blood is baptism, as Paul clearly declares. We are "baptized into His death," where the blood was shed, or "buried with Him by baptism into death" (Rom. 6:3-4). So is baptism, together with faith and repentance, "for the remission of sins," as Peter proclaimed (Acts 2:37-41). That, obviously, completely accords with the declaration of Jesus Himself: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" (Mk. 16:16), or have his sins forgiven, which constitutes salvation (Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14).
Those who, in their carnal reasoning, minimize or deny the necessity of baptism for salvation, or seek the blessing apart from compliance with the Lord's demands, are of like spirit with the offended Naaman. They must learn, with him, that if they are to have the benefit from God, they must receive it on His terms. Just as the Rivers Abana and Pharpar "of Damascus" could not have cleansed Naaman of his leprosy (II Kgs. 5:12), so the baptismal substitutes devised by men cannot "wash away" their sins (Acts 22:16). According to Scripture, it is only those who have been "planted together [with Him-cf. Col. 2:12] in the likeness of His death" that shall receive the forgiveness of sins and be "in the likeness of His resurrection" (Rom. 6:5).
"Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately" (Lk. 12:35-36).