by Paul Benson
For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. Leviticus 17:11
The message that brought salvation to me was a sermon on the Blood of Jesus Christ. In 1980 a 23 year old lust-filled, alcoholic, drug-abusing criminal sat in an old fashioned revival meeting and received the good seed of the true Gospel. I cannot express to you how totally strange (2nd time in Church in my entire life), but yet so very wonderful, that experience was to me. The sermon was a lively message on the power of the blood of Jesus to bring salvation and the forgiveness of sin.
The sweat drenched preacher, with his wife loudly augmenting his every sentence with some hot licks on an old Hammond B3 organ, was like nothing I had ever seen before. The boisterous preaching of Sam Luke the evangelist, in the fiery old-time Pentecostal style, seemed to my mind like the words of a certified lunatic. He was preaching that the red blood of Jesus could take my scarlet sins and black heart, and wash them clean and make them white as snow. Although my mind was telling me I seriously needed to get out of there, something had a hold of my heart; and I sat there transfixed, hanging on his every word.
I had been under a heavy conviction by the Holy Spirit for many months; the reality of my damnation hanging over my head like a fierce storm cloud ready to thrust forth a bolt of lightning at any moment, and send me to my just reward. I was absolutely miserable. I had been reading the Bible fervently looking for answers; but foolishly I had been reading the Old Testament, and not comprehending a thing I was reading.
But somehow I knew the words of this lunatic preacher contained the answer I had been desperately seeking for; that this was God responding to the cry of my heart (I realize now that I was the one doing the responding). And as I sat there listening intently, hardly noticing the tears streaming down my face, things got crazier yet!
Some what into his message, but not quite done yet, I noticed he was staring at me as he was preaching. He suddenly stopped short and literally leaped off of the platform and began running towards me, his eyes never leaving mine. I had no idea, but God had spoken to him and said, “Go pray for that young man, NOW!”
He didn’t use the aisle, like a sane person would, but came running across the rows of long wooden pews, using the seats like stepping stones (with people moving quickly aside), to get to me! I don’t even remember the words he spoke to me. When he prayed with me, laying his hands upon me, I encountered the presence and love of God in such a powerful way I fell to the carpet, and laid there for quite some time, feeling wave after wave of God’s love. I had never truly felt love before; up until that moment it was just an empty word to me.
It was like I was lying on a beach at the ocean feeling the waves hit me; except they were not washing over me but literally washing through me! God was washing away my sin and transforming me into a new creation in Christ. After some time (many minutes I think) I realized I was laying there praying quite loudly. But strangely, I couldn’t understand a word I was saying. It was me praying; it was my heart crying out to God, but the words I was speaking sounded like something from a foreign country!
I didn’t realize it, but God had not only saved me, but also filled me with his Holy Spirit as in the upper room on the Day of Pentecost. I had never spent much time around church people, much less any Pentecostals. I had no idea people spoke in tongues. I didn’t even understand God saved people; let alone any thing about being filled with the Holy Spirit.
This was something God did at my conversion without my asking, and without me understanding such a thing. No one talked me into it, and no one can talk me out of it. Although millions of Cessationists declare with great authority that God does not any longer fill people with the Holy Ghost and the giftings of the Spirit, my personal experience is that God has chosen to ignore their ‘Order to Cease and Desist’. Oh. my brothers and sisters who have been hoodwinked into speaking out against this experience; if you only knew what you are being robbed of!
Another Gospel Another Jesus
As a long time believer one of the saddest things to me is the way the preaching of the American Church has changed in the last 20 – 30 years. Rarely do you hear a message on the atoning power of the blood of Jesus, a warning of the danger of sin, or the call to repentance. The necessity of turning from your sin to embrace a life of faith in Christ is a fundamental of the true Gospel, but totally missing from most of today’s preaching.
Their ‘come as you are – stay as you are’ hyper-grace message wonderfully exalts the love of God; but blatantly ignores his severity, and the jealous anger which will be visited upon those who confess to know God, but will not turn from their sin and rebellion. This man pleasing ‘edit’ of the Bible is a lifeless hybrid of the true Gospel. A sterile seed that will not grow and produce the life of Christ in the heart of those who ingest it. It is a counterfeit gospel that gives a false assurance of salvation to those who have never truly turned from their sins and taken up their cross to follow Jesus.
I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. Galatians 1:6-8
Paul warned the true Gospel could be altered in a manner which would produce ‘another Gospel’; and that those who would so grossly pervert the Gospel run the risk of being accursed. (anathema – cut off from Christ). This is serious business! The true gospel message is the one the Apostles preached. ALL OF IT! Many would like to edit the Gospel, and take out parts they don’t cotton to; BUT:
God has NOT changed, or curtailed the original message in any fashion.
The Spiritual Death of Christ Heresy
Some of the most subtle and vile deception of our day is how the ‘Word of Faith’ theology presents the message of atonement. They present another means of atonement other than the shedding of the Blood of Jesus and his death on the Cross. They say Christ’s death on the Cross was ‘necessary’ and ‘very powerful’, BUT that it did NOT atone for our sins; and that there was ‘more that had to happen’.
They say Jesus ceased to be God on the Cross, took on a sin nature (the very nature of Satan they tell us), and that upon his death he was (as a mere mortal) dragged down into Hell by devils, tortured for three days and nights in the fires of Hell; and that THIS was the price which was paid to atone for our sins! And then, they claim, Jesus was ‘Born-again’ in the fires of Hell by the power of the Holy Spirit regenerating him in the same manner as which we are saved. That he was the first ‘born-again’ man. THAT IS ALL A BUNCH OF GARBAGE!
The reason the sacrifice of the Cross was acceptable to God was that Sacrifice was sinless and spotless. If you believe in a Jesus who could cease to be God, or take on a satanic nature, you are NOT believing in the Jesus of the Bible! The satanic scheme behind this deception is to steer you away from the truth, and get you to place your faith in a fable that is powerless to save.
(FOOD 4 THOUGHT: Say I made up some far fetched story like Jesus climbed down off the Cross and did one hundred Holy Jumping Jacks; and THIS paid the penalty for your sin. Would that message have the power to save people naive enough to believe it from their sins? Of course not! …for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. Leviticus 17:11 )
The Word of Faith message on atonement is no more true than my imaginary salvation by Holy Calisthenics. It is not the Gospel! WOF theology steers you away from identifying the blood of Christ as the means of your atonement, and causes you to put your faith in a perversion of the Gospel (Jesus suffered in hell for our sins). It is a seductive man-exalting deception. The Life is in The Blood!
The Veil of the Temple Torn
I could list very many passages of Scripture and expound upon them to refute the ‘Spiritual Death of Christ’ heresy. Let’s look at just a couple. (More in-depth articles are linked at the conclusion of this post if you need to study this out further.)
And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. 38 And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom. Mark 15:37-38
Many fail to recognize the significance of this veil of the temple, which separated the Holy of Holies from the world, being torn in two. This signified that access had been granted into the presence of God by Christ’s death on the Cross. When Jesus said ‘It is finished!’ he meant it!
If there was ‘more that had to happen’, as WOF teaching would have you believe, this tearing of the veil would NOT have happened at this time! This one passage of Scripture in itself destroys this gross error that Jesus paid the price for our sins in the fires of Hell as a fallen man with a satanic nature.
Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. 1Peter 2:24
The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus bore our sins ‘in his own body’ on the Cross. That is where the penalty was paid, NOT in Hell! Word of Faith theology is heretical, and should be rejected and avoided by any who have a love for the truth. If you understood how many of today’s most popular ministers believe the Cross did not completely atone for our sins you would be quite shocked. But, I say again: The Life is in The Blood!
The Signs and Wonders ‘Gospel’
But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign… Matthew 12:39
Many others pervert the Gospel by completely ignoring the message of the atoning power of Christ’s blood, and focus all their preaching and teaching instead on signs and wonders, dreams and visions, and ‘manifestations’.
Why is it you can listen to hour after hour of preaching by so many of today’s celebrity ministers and never hear a word about sin, repentance, judgment, the power of the blood of Christ; or quite often even a mention of Jesus’ name? Because they are preaching ‘Another Gospel’! They are not speaking by the Spirit of God. If they were, the focus would be on Jesus, and not on spiritual manifestations. The Bible clearly states that the Holy Spirit is a Christ exalting Spirit. The Holy Spirit NEVER exalts himself, nor the gifts he brings, only Christ.
But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: John 15:26
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. John 16:13-14
The Apostles went forth and preached a message of which the core was: ‘repent and believe the Gospel, Put your faith in Jesus, the Blood he shed, his death on that Cross, and his resurrection, and then be baptized’. And then God confirmed their words with signs and wonders following. Most of today’s (supposed) anointed ones are doing their preaching on the signs and wonders, but ignoring the core of the Gospel. They want God’s confirmation of a message they refuse to preach!
The result we quite often see is a false Gospel presented, and sadly, many false converts wallowing in false signs and lying wonders thinking they are ‘swimming in the river of God’. Are some getting saved in the midst of all this deception? Yes they are, and we praise the Lord for it; but that is due to the faithfulness of God reaching sincere hearts, and is not a commendation of wayward ministry. You could get saved calling out to God in a cult; but that doesn’t mean he endorses the teachings of that cult, or wants you to stay there and stew in that error. He will call you out!
ASIDE: Am I saying all signs, wonders, dreams, and visions are wrong? No, many of them are from God! They are totally biblical, and very much for today’s believer; and occasional teaching on these things is proper and necessary. But when the focus becomes totally upon them instead of Jesus; and instead of the message of repentance toward God and faith in the Blood of Christ, that focus is NOT an out-working of the Holy Spirit. It is evidence of another agenda at work!
If you are in the midst of a church or ministry whose focus is totally on signs, wonders, dreams, visions, and manifestations; where the preaching is always on the love of God but never his severity or judgment; and if you are not being taught the necessity of repentance in coming to Christ (and abiding in him); and if you are not hearing preaching on the power of Jesus’ blood to atone for sin, nor holiness as a standard of Christian living:
RUN FOR YOUR LIFE! BEAT FEET! BOOGIE ON DOWN THE ROAD!
The Holy Spirit will always place the spotlight upon Jesus and not himself. Preaching and teaching totally focused on signs, wonders, dreams and visions might be highly stimulating to some; but it is NOT the Gospel we are called to present; and it will NOT save the lost!
Only the message of the Cross can do that.
Jesus endured the death of the Cross to pay the penalty of sin (…the wages of sin is death. Romans 6:23). His life-blood was poured out as an offering for our sin. He embraced death so we might embrace life. And we do so by placing our faith in what he did on that Cross.
Then he rose from the dead giving the promise of a resurrection to us also. Not only can we through his death on the Cross find life, but through the Resurrection we can find eternal life! There is only one avenue to escape death and find life: The power of the Blood of Jesus Christ! That is the message the world needs to hear.
Let’s plant a seed with some life to it!
The Life is in The Blood!
Although I don’t approve of the usage of the modern Bible versions, the information in the following article is sound.