Written by C.H. Spurgeon
Excerpt was taken and adapted from a sermon delivered Lord’s Day Morning, September 9, 1888, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington, London.
First, what is this conquering weapon?
They overcame him by “the blood of the Lamb.”
The death of the Son of God
The blood of the Lamb signifies, first, the death of the Son of God. The sufferings of Jesus Christ might be set forth by some other figure, but His death on the Cross requires the mention of blood. Our Lord was not only bruised and smitten, but He was put to death. His heart’s blood was made to flow. He of Whom we speak was God over all, blessed forever; but He condescended to take our manhood into union with His Godhead in a mysterious manner. He was born at Bethlehem a babe; He grew as a child; He ripened into manhood and lived here among us, eating and drinking, suffering and rejoicing, sleeping and laboring as men do. He died in very deed and of a truth, and was buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathæa. That death was the grand fact which is set forth by the words “the blood of the Lamb.”
We are to view Jesus as the Lamb of God’s Passover: not merely separated from others, dedicated to be Israel’s memorial and consecrated to divine service, but as the Lamb slain. Remember, that Christ viewed as living, and not as having died, is not a saving Christ. He Himself saith, “I am he that liveth and was dead” (Rev 1:18). The moderns cry, “Why not preach more about His life, and less about His death?” I reply, Preach His life as much as you will, but never apart from His death, for it is by His blood that we are redeemed. “We preach Christ.” Complete the sentence. “We preach Christ crucified,” says the apostle (1 Corinthians 1:23). Ah, yes! there is the point. It is the death of the Son of God which is the conquering weapon. Had He not poured forth His soul unto death, even to the death of the Cross—had He not been numbered with the transgressors, and put to a death of shame—we should have had no weapon with which to overcome the dragon prince. By “the blood of the Lamb” we understand the death of the Son of God. Hear it, O men! Because you have sinned, Jesus dies that you may be cleared from your sin. “He his own self bore our sins in his own body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24) and died that He might redeem us from all unrighteousness. The point is His death, and paradoxically, this death is the vital point of the Gospel. The death of Christ is the death of sin and the defeat of Satan, and hence it is the life of our hope and the assurance of His victory. Because He poured out His soul unto the death, He divides the spoil with the strong.
Our Lord’s death as a substitutionary sacrifice
Next, by “the blood of the Lamb” we understand our Lord’s death as a substitutionary sacrifice. Let us be very clear here. It is not said that they overcame the arch-enemy by the blood of Jesus, or the blood of Christ, but by the blood of the Lamb; and the words are expressly chosen because, under the figure of a lamb, we have set before us a sacrifice. The blood of Jesus Christ, shed because of His courage for the truth, or out of pure philanthropy, or out of self-denial, conveys no special Gospel to men and has no peculiar power about it. Truly it is an example worthy to beget martyrs; but it is not the way of salvation for guilty men. If you proclaim the death of the Son of God, but do not show that He died the Just for the unjust to bring us to God, you have not preached the blood of the Lamb. You must make it known that “the chastisement of our peace was upon him” (Isaiah 53:5), and that “the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6), or you have not declared the meaning of the blood of the Lamb. There is no overcoming sin without a substitutionary sacrifice. The lamb under the old Law was brought by the offender to make atonement for his offence, and in his place it was slain: this was the type of Christ taking the sinner’s place, bearing the sinner’s sin, and suffering in the sinner’s stead, and thus vindicating the justice of God, making it possible for Him to be Just and the Justifier of him that believeth. I understand this to be the conquering weapon—the death of the Son of God set forth as the Propitiation for sin. Sin must be punished: it is punished in Christ’s death. Here is the Hope of men.
Our Lord’s death effective for the taking away of sin
Furthermore, I understand by the expression, “The blood of the Lamb,” that our Lord’s death was effective for the taking away of sin. When John the Baptist first pointed to Jesus, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Our Lord Jesus has actually taken away sin by His death. Beloved, we are sure that He had offered an acceptable and effectual propitiation when he said, “It is finished” (John 19:13). Either He did put away sin, or He did not. If He did not, how will it ever be put away? If He did, then are believers clear. Altogether apart from anything that we do or are, our glorious Substitute took away our sin, as in the type the scapegoat carried the sin of Israel into the wilderness (Leviticus 16:8).
In the case of all those for whom our Lord offered Himself as a substitutionary Sacrifice, the justice of God finds no hindrance to its fullest flow: it is consistent with justice that God should bless the redeemed. Near nineteen hundred years ago Jesus paid the dreadful debt of all His elect, and made a full atonement for the whole mass of the iniquities of them that shall believe in Him, thereby removing the whole tremendous load, and casting it by one lift of His pierced hand into the depths of the sea. When Jesus died, an atonement was offered by Him and accepted by the Lord God, so that before the high court of heaven there was a distinct removal of sin from the whole body of which Christ is the head. In the fullness of time each redeemed one individually accepts for himself the great Atonement by an act of personal faith, but the atonement itself was made long before.
I believe this to be one of the edges of the conquering weapon. We are to preach that the Son of God has come in the flesh and died for human sin, and that in dying He did not only make it possible for God to forgive, but He secured forgiveness for all who are in Him. He did not die to make men savable, but to save them. He came not that sin might be put aside at some future time, but to put it away there and then by the sacrifice of Himself; for by His death He finished transgressions, made an end of sin, and brought in everlasting righteousness (Dan 9:24) Believers may know that when Jesus died they were delivered from the claims of Law, and when He rose again their justification was secured. The blood of the Lamb is a real price, which did effectually ransom. The blood of the Lamb is a real cleansing, which did really purge away sin.
This we believe and declare; and by this sign we conquer. Christ crucified, Christ the Sacrifice for sin, Christ the effectual Redeemer of men, we will proclaim everywhere, and thus put to rout the powers of darkness.