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Overcoming The Accuser
In view of what we have said we can now turn to face the enemy, for there is a further aspect of the Blood which is Satanward. Satan’s most strategic activity in this day is as the accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:10) and it is as this that our Lord confronts him with His special ministry as High Priest “through his own blood” (Hebrews 9:12).
How then does the Blood operate against Satan? It does so by putting God on the side of man against him. The Fall brought something into man which gave Satan a footing within him, with the result that God was compelled to withdraw Himself. Man is now outside the garden—beyond reach of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)—because he is inwardly estranged from God. Because of what man has done, there is something in him which, until it is removed, renders God morally unable to defend him. But the Blood removes that barrier and restores man to God and God to man. Man is in favour now, and because God is on his side he can face Satan without fear.
You remember that verse in John’s first Epistle—and this is the translation of it I like best: “The blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from every sin” 111 John 1:7: Marginal reading of New Translation by J.N. Darby It is not exactly “all sin” in the general sense, but every sin, every item. What does it mean? Oh, it is a marvelous thing! God is the light, and as we walk in the light with Him everything is exposed and open to that light, so that God can see it all—and yet the Blood is able to cleanse from every sin. What a cleansing! It is not that I have not a profound knowledge of myself, nor that God has not a perfect knowledge of me. It is not that I try to hide something nor that God tries to overlook something. No, it is that He is in the light and I too am in the light, and that there the precious Blood cleanses me from every sin. The Blood is enough for that!
Some of us, oppressed by our own weakness, may at times have been tempted to think that there are sins which are almost unforgivable. Let us remember the word: “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from every sin.” Big sins, small sins, sins which may be very black and sins which appear to be not so black, sins which I think can be forgiven and sins which seem unforgivable, yes, all sins, conscious or unconscious, remembered or forgotten, are included in those words: “every sin”. “The blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from every sin”, and it does so because in the first place it satisfies God.
Since God, seeing all our sins in the light, can forgive them on the basis of the Blood, what ground of accusation has Satan? Satan may accuse us before Him, but, “If God is for us, who is against us?” (Romans 8:31). God points him to the Blood of His dear Son. It is the sufficient answer against which Satan has no appeal. “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth; who is he that shall condemn? It is Christ Jesus that died, yea rather, that was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” (Romans 8:33, 34).
So here again our need is to recognize the absolute sufficiency of the precious Blood. “Christ having come a high priest... through his own blood, entered in once for all into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption” (Hebrews 9:11, 12). He was Redeemer once. He has been High Priest and Advocate for nearly two thousand years. He stands there in the presence of God, and “he is the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 2:1, 2). Note the words of Hebrews 9:14: “How much more shall the blood of Christ...” They underline the sufficiency of His ministry. It is enough for God.
What then of our attitude to Satan? This is important, for he accuses us not only before God but in our own conscience also. ‘You have sinned, and you keep on sinning. You are weak, and God can have nothing more to do with you.’ This is his argument. And our temptation is to look within and in self-defense to try to find in ourselves, in our feelings or our behavior, some ground for believing that Satan is wrong. Alternatively we are tempted to admit our helplessness and, going to the other extreme, to yield to depression and despair. Thus accusation becomes one of the greatest and most effective of Satan’s weapons. He points to our sins and seeks to charge us with them before God, and if we accept his accusations we go down immediately.
Now the reason why we so readily accept his accusations is that we are still hoping to have some righteousness of our own. The ground of our expectation is wrong. Satan has succeeded in making us look in the wrong direction. Thereby he wins his point, rendering us ineffective. But if we have learned to put no confidence in the flesh, we shall not wonder if we sin, for the very nature of the flesh is to sin. Do you understand what I mean? It is because we have not come to appreciate our true nature and to see how helpless we are that we still have some expectation in ourselves, with the result that, when Satan comes along and accuses us, we go down under it.
God is well able to deal with our sins; but He cannot deal with a man under accusation, because such a man is not trusting in the Blood. The Blood speaks in his favour, but his is listening instead to Satan. Christ is our Advocate but we, the accused, side with the accuser. We have not recognized that we are unworthy of anything but death; that, as we shall shortly see, we are only fit to be crucified anyway. We have not recognized that it is God alone that can answer the accuser, and that in the precious Blood He has already done so.
Our salvation lies in looking away to the Lord Jesus and in seeing that the Blood of the Lamb has met the whole situation created by our sins and has answered it. That is the sure foundation on which we stand. Never should we try to answer Satan with our good conduct but always with the Blood. Yes, we are sinful, but, praise God! the Blood cleanses us from every sin. God looks upon the Blood whereby His Son has met the charge, and Satan has no more ground of attack. Our faith in the precious Blood and our refusal to be moved from that position can alone silence his charges and put him to flight (Romans 8:33, 34); and so it will be, right on to the end (Revelation 12:11). Oh, what an emancipation it would be if we saw more of the value of God’s eyes of the precious Blood of His dear Son!
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