‘… the Lord hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish … and ye shall give her unto Eleazer the priest … and one shall slay her before his face.’ Numbers 19:2–3
Suggested Further Reading: John 13:1–11
What is there opened for the house of David, for sin, and for uncleanness? A cistern? A cistern that might be emptied? No, there is a fountain open. We wash, the fountain flows; we wash again, the fountain flows still. From the great depths of the deity of Christ, the eternal merit of his passion comes everlastingly welling up. Is it not said in Scripture, ‘If any man sin, we have an advocate’? Why is Christ an advocate today? Only because we want an advocate every day. Does he not constantly intercede yonder before the eternal throne? Why does he do that? Because we want daily intercession. And it is because we are constantly sinning that he is constantly an advocate, constantly an intercessor. He himself has beautifully set this forth in the case of Peter: after supper the Lord took a towel and girded himself, and then, taking his basin and his water-jug, he went to Peter, and Peter said, ‘Thou shalt never wash my feet.’ But Jesus told him, ‘If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.’ He had been washed once; Peter was free from sin in the high sense of justification, but he needs the washing of purification. When Peter said, ‘Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head,’ then Jesus replied, ‘He that is washed’—that is, he who is pardoned—‘needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit.’ The feet want constant washing. The daily defilement of our daily walk through an ungodly world brings upon us the daily necessity of being cleansed from fresh sin, and that the mighty Master supplies to us.
For meditation: In the Old Testament fresh sins required regular fresh sacrifices (Hebrews 7:27) which never removed sin (Hebrews 10:1–4). Christ’s shed blood gives every believer forgiveness plus ongoing cleansing from all sin (1 John 1:7); fresh sins require fresh confession to God (1 John 1:9), never a fresh sacrifice.
Sermon no. 527
30 August (1863)