It is a great truth which lies at the foundation of the gospel system, that the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s dear Son, cleanseth us from all sin. Not so much as the shadow of a spot remains upon the blood-washed. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.” Let us lay it down then in our own minds as a settled fact that he who by faith lays hold on Christ, hath his blood cleansed in that same hour, and all his iniquities are put away.
“Our hope is fixed on nothing less, than Jesus’s blood and righteousness.” Yet we doubt. Yet we are troubled at heart — yet dark suspicions flit across our soul, and we ask, “If it be so, why am I thus?” Now what does this indicate, but that there is some guilt still remaining on our conscience? It is because the conscience knows some secret stain; that we fear lest after all sin should involve punishment, and punishment should cast us into hell. Oh that this blood upon the conscience were cleansed away, and we should never, never doubt again.
Outer Court Worshippers
Why is it that so many of us dare not indulge in close access to our God? We pray, but it is often to a distant God, as to one who stands upon a mountain beyond our reach! How few of us come like a child to his Father, and lay hold on God as one who is near to us by ties of Divine affinity. The most of Christians, I fear, are outer court worshippers. If I know that there is no sin remaining, but that all has been washed away, why need I fear? Once the soul has perfect peace through believing in its perfect purity in Christ, and the nearness of our access will be perfectly wonderful. The boldness of our fellowship will make us look with wonder, that we dare to indulge in such a holy familiarity with God, and talk so plainly with our Father, and with our Friend. There is guilt still upon the conscience of many professors, and it is proved by the fact that they fear to have a near approach to God.
There is a promise before you, an exceeding great and precious promise. Why do you not lay hold upon it? “Oh,” say you, “but I am so unworthy. How shall I take such a promise. I, so unbelieving, so ungrateful, so unheavenly, how can I think that such a promise is made to me?” What has your worthiness to do with it, or your unworthiness either? God did not choose you for your worthiness; Christ did not purchase you from your goodness. The Holy Ghost did not call you because of your excellencies. Precious, precious promise, “I will cleanse their blood which I have not cleansed.” I will make your conscience yet so pure of sin, that you can take the promise and believe it to be all your own.
The Regenerate still sins
Dear friends, I think you and I knowing a little about ourselves, are ready frankly to confess that there is much blood in us that is not yet cleansed. The corruption of the flesh remaineth even in the regenerate. Sometimes our old nature betrays us into great and sudden sin. Have you a hasty temper? Have you never risen in the morning and prayed to have it subdued, and you have gone on and everything has been as smooth as possible. But a sudden squall has come, and before you knew it, you had lost your balance and had been carried away by the winds.
I have often felt more sadness of spirit than I could tell. And yet each of us knows that with the very best intentions, resolving against this evil nature of ours, there are seasons when on a sudden it overwhelms us and takes us by storm. If any of you can live without sin, I wish I knew your secret. Oh! I am sure if you have watched yourself with but half an eye, you must feel that in those daily acts which the ungodly call “trifles,” but which you know to be solemn things, there are signs that there is blood in you which has not been cleansed.
Why do we ever doubt our God? Some men make light of doubts as though they were little sins. To doubt God is the most damnable of crimes. There is no iniquity which has in it a greater blackness of rebellion against God than mistrustful thoughts of His goodness and His faithfulness. Unbelief stabs at every attribute of God. We have no cause to doubt Him. He has never been ungenerous or unkind. The only answer we can give is, that we have still an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God. There is still the old Adam, still the deadly principle which needs to be cut up root and branch, and to be eradicated totally; and so may God cleanse in us the blood which He has not cleansed.
God will cleanse
I take the promise just as we find it, and read it through again. “For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed; for the Lord dwelleth in Zion.” So then, one of these days, there will be no propensity to sin left in any one of God’s people.
Struggle with yourselves, strive daily to get the mastery of your passions. The victory is sure. Let no discouragement weaken you. “Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might,” for He is able to give you the victory through Jesus Christ your Lord. Pray against your corruptions more than ever you have done. Be glad. The joy of the Lord shall be your strength. You shall at last win the victory.
Excerpted from the sermon titled “Perfect Cleansing” (Joel 3:21) by CH Spurgeon dated 7 April 1861. You are encouraged to read the full text of the sermon from https://www.spurgeon.org/resource-library/sermons/perfect-cleansing/#flipbook/