Christ's Death And Damnable Heresy
By H. Boyce Taylor, Sr.
"Enemies of the cross of Christ." - Philippians 3:18.
"Even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift damnation. And many shall follow their damnable ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be blasphemed." - II Peter 2:1-2.
Damnable heresy is heresy that damns. It is heresy concerning the person and work of the Lord Jesus. How jealous these men who knew and loved the Lord Jesus were for His name, worth, person, work and glory. John the Beloved calls any "the liar," the colossal, depraved, unmitigated liar of all liars, who "denieth that Jesus is the Christ," and adds that he "denieth the Father and the Son" (I John 2:22). How plainly the disciple of love spoke when the person of his Lord was involved! What blunt words for the old apostle to use concerning all who denied either the deity or humanity of the Lord Jesus; for to be the Christ He had to be "Immanuel - God with us" as well as the Son of a virgin. How sharply John does put it - "the liar" - about any man, who denies that Jesus of Nazareth was prophet, priest and king; for all that was included in His being the Christ! Think whom he included in that epitomization - "the liar" - the modern as well as ancient Jew, the Mohammedan, the Unitarian, the Universalist, the Christian Scientist, the Russellite, the Socialist, the Higher Critic, the Modernist, the Rationalist, the Evolutionist and a host of other ‘ists’ and ‘ites’, who deny the deity or atonement of Christ.
The two men closest to the Master, while He was on earth, were Peter and John. Peter talks as bluntly about men, who claim to be followers of his Lord, and deny the efficacy of His atoning blood, as John did about those who denied His person and work. Peter says it is "damnable heresy" to "deny the Lord that bought them." To "deny the Lord that bought them" is to deny that the blood of Jesus and that alone is sufficient to save men; or to say that men may get to Heaven by any work or gift or sacrifice other than the blood of the Son of God.
Christ's Death Different From All Others
"Come now let us reason together." Why could there be only one Calvary? Wherein does the death of Christ differ from all others? Why did Peter and John feel so deeply and speak so sharply about heresy concerning the person or work of the Lord Jesus? Why does Peter say it is damnable and blasphemous to speak lightly of the Blood of the Son of God? These are vital questions. Men may be mistaken about baptism or the church or the Lord's Supper or church polity or many other things and not teach "damnable heresy," but when men minimize or depreciate or deny the value of the blood of Christ they are teaching damnable heresy; for heresy concerning the blood will damn all who believe it. There could never be but one Calvary in the world's history and but one death like that of the Son of God for these reasons:
I. He is the only Sinless One. He was "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners:" no other man ever was. He was a "Lamb without spot or blemish:" God could accept His person and His blood for that reason. God could accept no other man's person or blood, because all others are "conceived in sin and born in iniquity:" because they are "by nature the children of wrath:" because the taint of sin is in their blood; and because no act of man can any more take away that taint or change that depraved nature than "an Ethiopian can change his skin or a leopard his spots." Nothing ever enters Heaven that "defileth or worketh abomination or maketh a lie; but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life." The Lamb's blood and the Lamb's book decide who enters Heaven.
2. Christ died for His enemies: no man ever did that. Note well the words: "If while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son." "Christ died for the ungodly." Because of Christ's death for the ungodly, God can be just and justify him "that worketh not but believeth on him that justified the ungodly."
3. Christ died for those who deserved to die. To say that the death of our boys in war is a second Calvary is to say that either we or they deserved to die; for the Calvary of Christ was the death of the "just for the unjust that he might bring us to God." There was no likeness or kinship between the death of the Son of God, and that of any soldier. Paul argues very clearly in Romans 5:6-9 that Christ did not die for the righteous but for guilty Hell-deserving sinners.
4. Christ's death was under God's curse. Note well the Scripture: "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us." - Galatians 3:13.
5. Christ "once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God." That was the meaning of Calvary. "Him, who knew no sin, was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." His very soul was made an offering for sin; and because of that "He shall see of the travail of His soul and shall be satisfied." He "put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." "Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many." It would be the boldest blasphemy to use such language as the above about any other man, who ever lived or died, except the Son of Man, who was also the Son of God. There never was but one Calvary; there could be but one. That one settled forever the sin question for all who will trust Him who died on the tree of the cross.
6. Paul tell us in I Corinthians 15:17: "If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins." Christ's death would save nobody without His resurrection. "He was delivered for our offences and was raised again for our justification." The resurrection of the Lord Jesus was God's testimony and receipt to all who trust in Him that their sin account has been paid and cancelled. Faith in Christ would be vain and we would be yet in our sins, if Christ had not been raised. If any man died in going over the top, thinking his own death would save him, his "faith was vain and he is yet in his sins," unless like Christ he arose again. Well does Paul say that they are of all men most pitiable, who think that death can save apart from the resurrection of Him, whose death saves.
7. Three things occurred on Calvary that never occurred before nor since. For that reason there can be no other Calvary. What are those three things?
(1) Christ offered Himself to God as a substitute for sinners. Christ "gave His life a ransom for many." The good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep." "I lay down my life; no man taketh it from me, but I lay it down for myself." "For this he did once for all, when he offered himself." "But this man after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God." No other man ever did that. No other man could do that. Hence there could be no other Calvary.
(2) God there exacted of Jesus to the full the penalty of all sins, past, present and future of all believers of all ages. "Thou (God the Father) shalt make his (Christ's) soul an offering for sin." "He that spared not his Son but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him freely give us all things? Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth." Paul there says very plainly that since God showed Christ His Son no mercy but exacted from Him payment in full for all our sins, no charge can ever stand against any of His elect in the court of Heaven. One more passage, "By one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified." The sanctified are the blood-washed (Hebrews 13:12). Christ's one offering of His precious blood so completely settles for all the sins, past, present and future, of every believer, that in God's sight he is perfected forever. No charge can ever be made to stick against any of the redeemed. The blood answers for them all once for all.
(3) On Calvary Satan made his fiercest and final effort to destroy Christ and hold his place as prince of the world. All Hell gathered around that cross. That is the only explanation of the three hours of darkness. Note these words from the Master shortly before He went to Calvary:
"This is your hour and the power of darkness." "Now is the judgment of the world; now shall the prince of this world be cast out." "The prince of this world cometh and hath nothing in me." "He (the Holy Spirit) shall convince the world . . . of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged."
Now note what He said. The 3-hour period of darkness was the final effort of the powers of darkness, the seed of the serpent, to destroy the seed of the woman. They bruised His heel; but He broke Satan's head or dominion of power. On Calvary He "spoiled principalities and powers, making a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it." By "death he destroyed him that had the power of death, that is the devil; and delivered them who through fear of death were all their life time subject to bondage." By baring His bosom to the sting of sin, which is death, and overcoming death, as He did in rising from the dead, He wrested from Satan the keys of Hades and death (Revelation 1:18). Keys are a symbol of power and dominion. When the Lord Jesus took them from Satan He showed to all worlds, Heaven, earth and Hell that He had conquered Satan, triumphed over him; in this last desperate conflict, judged Satan as the prince of this world, proved him a usurper, cast him out, took his keys from him, and having finished His work, sat down on the right hand "waiting until his enemies be made the footstool of his feet." Thank God.
Since the Lord Jesus triumphed over death and Hades and the grave, death to the believer is only a "shadow," a falling on sleep. Calvary meant the final defeat of Satan in his age-long effort to prevent the fulfilment of the Edenic promise, that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head. Calvary meant the casting out of Satan as the prince of this world. Calvary meant the overwhelming defeat of Satan and all the powers of the pit to prevent Christ making a full and complete atonement for all sins, past, present and future of all the elect of all the ages. Calvary meant that death stung itself to death in Satan's effort to destroy Christ, so that it has no terror now for those in Christ; for it is only a "sleep in Jesus, blessed sleep." Calvary meant a complete, once for all, eternal redemption from past, present and future sins for all who believe in Him, who hath loved and loosed us from our sins in His own precious blood.
[From H. Boyce Taylor, editor, "News & Truths." Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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