Friday, June 20, 2014

"When I see the blood, I will pass over." (part 2)

The Word for today:
Exodus 12:37-13:22
God and first-grade teachers know how human beings learn. You've noticed that books for little kids have lots of pictures in them, while college textbooks don't. In the same way, God placed the illustrations of the Old Testament before the explanations of the New Testament. He put the show before the tell.
The pictures of Passover and hyssop in Exodus 12 are the primary Old Testament illustrations of Jesus' cross and our faith. You and I may have a long way to go before we fully discern doctrinal dissertations, but we can learn "vicarious substitutionary atonement" from a fluffy little lamb; and we can learn to appropriate "providential propitiation" from a leafy little branch.
Yesterday we observed that the death angel passed over if the blood of the lamb had been applied to the door.
Today, we'll look at the applicator--a leafy hyssop branch, which is the Bible's clearest illustration of saving faith.
The classic picture of faith in the Bible is a hyssop branch. The people used it to daub the blood of a lamb on the doorposts:
Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. Not one of you shall go out the door of his house until morning. When I see the blood, I will pass over. (Exodus 12:13)
But it is essential to understand that it is the blood, not faith, that saves.
The problem with faith is that it can apply something other than the blood of Jesus. Let's suppose you took your hyssop branch and daubed whitewash over your door post.
That's what the Pharisees did. Over sinful hearts they painted a whitewash of their works. Jesus called them whitewashed tombs, full of dead men's bones (Matthew 23:27). The death angel saw no blood on their "thresholds," and did not pass over.
There are essentially three "faiths"--
1. Faith in nothing.
Make no mistake--faith in nothing is a faith, and it is held by many.
People who have this faith paint nothing on their doors. The death angel does not pass over.
2. Faith in a false something.
The Egyptians might have taken their hyssop and written the names of their many gods on their doors. The Pharisees, in the example above, thought they could cover up sin with their own good works. In neither case will the death angel pass over.
3. Faith in Jesus Christ.
This is the faith in evidence in Exodus 12. Heeding the word of the LORD, some took their hyssop and marked their doors with the blood of the lamb. The death angel saw the blood of the cross of Christ to come and passed over.
Of the three, only the third is what we call saving faith.
Listen carefully to Charles Spurgeon--a Brit from the 1800's, still known as "the Prince of Preachers:"
"It is not thy hold on Christ that saves thee; it is Christ. It is not thy joy in Christ that saves thee; it is Christ. It is not even thy faith in Christ, though that be the instrument; it is Christ’s blood and merit."
Everyone has a hyssop branch. With it, you can paint nothing. Or you can paint something which is false and cannot save. Or you can paint the blood of Jesus.
Everyone has a hyssop branch. But God isn't looking for evidence of faith. He's looking for evidence of Jesus.


  1. Franklyn: You mean like "HE is the vine and we are the branches," John 15:5 Hyssop that is??? Spreading that blood; which is also His word.

  2. What Sturgeon was saying is that faith (symbolized by the hyssop branch) is merely the "instrument" which delivers the saving blood.

    To update the analogy, suppose there were a medicine which could heal a dying person. But the medicine had to be applied intravenously.

    So a syringe is filled with the medicine, then "shot" into the vein. When the person recovers, we then say that "The medicine healed that person." Nobody says "The syringe healed that person."

    The blood of Jesus Christ saves us. But without the "syringe" of faith, the saving blood is not applied.

    (When I was a kid I went to a church that handed out palm fronds around Easter time. Had they handed out hyssop branches instead, and taught me the significance, I would not have wasted half my life chasing the wind.)