God's Solution To the Sin Problem
Dr. Joe Temple

Review

Open your Bibles to the book of Deuteronomy, chapter 21. We will get to this chapter in a few moments, but I would like for us to review the book of Deuteronomy as we have presented an analysis to you so that you will be able to grasp the significance of the book exactly where we are in the study and what effect it is going to have on our understanding of the book itself.

You will keep in mind that we have learned that the book of Deuteronomy is composed of three discourses: one song, one blessing, and one obituary. The first discourse was a review of Israel's failures and God's faithfulness. The second discourse is a repetition of the law of God. We are in the midst of that second discourse in our discussion at the present time. We will learn as we go further along that the third discourse represents a revelation of the future of the nation of Israel, and we will be able to see what God has planned as far as the future is concerned in relation to the nation of Israel itself.

The song of Moses ought to be of importance to all of us because it, along with the song of the Lamb, will be sung together when we all get to Heaven. We will have the opportunity of singing two songs—one, the song of the Lamb, and the other, the song of Moses. It might not hurt you to become familiar with it because one day you will be singing it.

Chapter 33 in the book of Moses deals with the blessing which God pronounced prophetically through Moses on the twelve tribes of Israel. Then as we pointed out to you, chapter 34 of the book of Deuteronomy represents the obituary which Moses wrote concerning his own death. The interesting thing about it is that Moses was the only man who wrote his own obituary before he died. A lot of men have written their funeral messages or funeral services that they hoped would be followed, but Moses was able to write the very manner in which he was going to die, the battle that was going to be fought over his own body, and everything that was going to be related to the manner in which he left this earth.

I said a moment ago that we were in the midst of Moses' second discourse, which we said represented a repetition of the law of God. The law was divided into three divisions: the moral law, the ceremonial law, and the judicial law. The moral law represented the Ten Commandments. The ceremonial law represented the various things related to the religious rites of Israel and that has changed as time went on, and the judicial law represented all of the basis of our modern jurisprudence. Everything related to the nation of Israel's law represents as well the basis of our civil law.

We have said to you that we are in the midst of the second discourse, and we meant by that that we are in the midst of discussing this judicial law which began with chapter 16, verse 18, and goes through chapter 26. The reason that we have suggested to you that we are in the midst of a discussion of this civil law is that we have already discussed with you the administrators of the law, reminding you that the administration of the law can be no stronger than the administrators of the law. We said there were four. There were judges on the local scale in every village and hamlet. There were judges on a national scale, such men as Gideon and Samson and Samuel and even Deborah, etc. Then there were kings such as Saul, David and Solomon. Then there were priests such as Aaron and the sons of Levi. Then there were the prophets such as Elijah, Elisha and others who were faithful in ministering the Word of God to a people who were bent on having their own way, leaving God out of the plan and the purposes of their lives.

We began some weeks ago a discussion of the administration of the law. The administration of the law is related to a number of things, but beginning with chapter 19, verse 1, and going through chapter 21, verse 9, we said that the civil law is emphasized by emphasis upon the sanctity of human life. How important is life to God? Well, this was discussed for us in previous lessons as we considered murder, unpremeditated and premeditated. Of course, you are aware of the difference. Unpremeditated murder is when a man is killed by accident. We call it manslaughter today. Premeditated murder is when a man lies in wait for an individual and plans his murder.

The provision God made for unpremeditated murder were the cities of refuge—six on the other side of the river and six on this side of the river. He even made provisions should the borders of the land of Israel grow, as He said they would grow if the people were obedient to Him, for three more cities so that there would be a total of nine. The roads to all of these cities were to be very plainly marked, and individuals who fled to these cities were to find protection from the avenger of blood. As long as the high priest lived, they remained in the city and they were safe. If they went out of the city for any reason at all, then their life was in the hands of the avenger.

If the murder was a premeditated thing, the individual might run to the city of refuge for safety. Nobody could bother him while he was there, but the elders of the city of refuge upon demand were to produce him to the elders of the city in which the murdered man lived. He was to be examined and if he was found guilty of murder in the mouth of two or three witnesses, he was executed by hanging. This indicated how important life was to God. It all began in Genesis, chapter 9, when God said that if man shed man's blood, then by man should his blood be shed.

The sanctity of human life was also illustrated for us in our discussions as related to war because God gave some very definite illustrations, rules, regulations as to how war should be carried on. For example, the individual Israelite who was not prepared for war emotionally, physically, and mentally was to be excused from the battle because his life would be lost and not only his life but the lives of the people whom he was to protect. Life was precious, so God said there should be no needless shedding of blood. Then he mentioned that an individual who was to go to war leading an army should never assault a city just as it seemed to him it should be assaulted, but he should always make overtures of peace. If those overtures of peace were received, then he was not to attack the city; but if they left no recourse to him but to attack the city, he was do it bravely and well because God expected him as an Israelite to stand for righteousness.

The last thing that we said that we wanted to think about in this particular paragraph is indicated by the statement as related to an unsolved murder—the sanctity of human life as related to an unsolved murder. That is the reason I have asked you to turn to Deuteronomy, chapter 21, because in this chapter, we are going to find the record of an unsolved murder and exactly what was done about it. Follow in your Bibles as I read:

Deuteronomy 21:

1If one be found slain in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee to possess it, lying in the field, and it be not known who hath slain him:
2Then thy elders and thy judges shall come forth, and they shall measure unto the cities which are round about him that is slain:
3And it shall be, that the city which is next unto the slain man, even the elders of that city shall take an heifer, which hath not been wrought with, and which hath not drawn in the yoke;
4And the elders of that city shall bring down the heifer unto a rough valley, which is neither eared nor sown, and shall strike off the heifer's neck there in the valley:
5And the priests the sons of Levi shall come near; for them the Lord thy God hath chosen to minister unto him, and to bless in the name of the Lord; and by their word shall every controversy and every stroke be tried:
6And all the elders of that city, that are next unto the slain man, shall wash their hands over the heifer that is beheaded in the valley:
7And they shall answer and say, Our hands have not shed this blood, neither have our eyes seen it.
8Be merciful, O Lord, unto thy people Israel, whom thou hast redeemed, and lay not innocent blood unto thy people of Israel's charge. And the blood shall be forgiven them.
9So shalt thou put away the guilt of innocent blood from among you, when thou shalt do that which is right in the sight of the Lord.

We would like to emphasize to you that this is a literal regulation related to an unsolved murder. There are many unsolved murders in the history of American today, as I am sure you realize, any number of people who have been killed and nobody knows why; nobody knows how. At the time the murder is committed and it is fresh on everybody's mind, there is a lot of encouragement to the law enforcement officers to do something about it, and sometimes there is a lot of agitation. “We can't let this murder go unsolved; it has got to be solved.” That is the feeling everybody has, but by and by, people forget. Occasionally, you read in your newspapers about murders that were committed years ago and still remain unsolved.

Without being critical of our law enforcement officers, without being critical of anybody that is related to it, let us say that after a number of years, there is very little concern. But this passage of Scripture reminds us that there is great concern on the part of God for every unsolved murder because life is precious to Him. He said to the Israelites, “When you go into the land of promise, which is your land, and there is a murder committed and nobody knows who did it, you cannot ignore it because guilt is there. The stain of blood is on the land, and something must be done about it.” They might just throw up their hands and say, “Well, what can be done? We haven't the slightest idea who it is who has committed the murder, so how can we do anything about it?”

God said, “You can do this. First, you can call for the elders and the judges who are ruling over the entire nation at that particular time.” Remember, Moses got tired of the job he had of ruling the nation and he complained to God about it, so God said, “You choose seventy men. I will take the power that is resting upon you and I will split it seventy-one ways. I'll give you some of the power and these seventy elders some of the power and they will help you bear the burden.” So these elders were to be sent for, along with the judges. These judges were to investigate the case very thoroughly. If they couldn't find who was the guilty party, then they were to get out their tape measure to measure the distance from where the murdered man's body was found to the nearest city, and that city was to be held responsible for the murder of that man.

As far as God was concerned, they were guilty because of circumstantial evidence. In all probability, someone in the city did do the murder. Something had to be done about it, so God said that a heifer had to be taken into a rough valley. Its neck had to be broken and then the priest and the Levites were to be called in and they would make pronouncement over the slain heifer related to the guilt of the individual concerned. The elders of the city, in behalf of the murderer and in behalf of the city itself, would confess the sin, acknowledge the substitution that had been made, plead for mercy, and God would absolve them from all crime.

The Stain of Sin

That is the story that we have read, and if you were interested solely in the facts of the Bible, we could stop our discussion here as far as this paragraph is concerned and say that there is nothing more to think about. But we are not interested, and never have been, in just the simple facts of the Word of God. We believe that every passage of Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable. We believe we are to learn something from it, and I believe the spiritual lesson that we are to learn from this particular portion of the Word of God is God's solution for sin. Sin is ever with us. Something has to be done about it, and I believe that this particular chapter contains a good illustration of God's solution for the sin problem.

Sin carries with it a stain. Now nothing stains any more than blood. No stain is any more difficult to remove than a blood stain. So the first thing that is brought to our attention as we endeavor to look at the spiritual lesson in this chapter is the stain of sin. Notice verse 1 again:

Deuteronomy 21:

1If one be found slain in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee to possess it, lying in the field, and it be not known who hath slain him:

There is the dead man lying in the field, and his blood stained the ground. Go back in your Bibles with me, please, to the book of Genesis, chapter 4, to read about the first murder that was committed and why we say that the blood stained the ground and why that blood stain represents the stain of sin. You are all familiar with the story of Cain and Abel, the jealously that existed between the two boys. Cain was jealous of Abel because God saw fit to accept Abel's sacrifice and reject Cain's sacrifice. You will remember that when God accepted Abel's sacrifice and refused to accept Cain's sacrifice, Cain became alarmed and upset about it. God said to Cain, “Cain, if you are not doing well, if you are not satisfied, you have no one to blame but yourself. A sin offering lies at the door. All you need to do is take the sin offering and use it.”

But Cain asked Abel to go out in the field with him one day, as no doubt he had often done many, many times. After he got him out in the field, he entered into a discussion concerning the matter at hand and the discussion ended up in a fight between the two boys. Look at verse 8:

Genesis 4:

8And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.
9And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: am I my brother's keeper?
10 [notice carefully now] And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground.

God said to Cain, “Where is your brother?” God knew, but he wanted a confession from Cain. Cain said, “I don't know where he is. Am I my brother's keeper?” God said, “You may not know where he is and you may act as if you do not know where he is, but the ground has been stained with his blood and the voice of his blood is crying to Me from the ground, and something has got to be done about it.”

This is just another way of saying that sin is never hidden from God. Oh, how we ought to remember this. Picture that murder that is described in Deuteronomy, chapter 21, if you will. We don't know how it happened. We don't know who did it, and the individual who did it got away with it apparently, for the man lay out in the field long enough for him to be discovered by somebody else, and the murderer went on his way rather satisfied with the situation. He had gotten away with something. Nobody knew it. But God knew it, and I believe the spiritual lesson that God would have us emphasize for our hearts is that just as certainly as the blood of Abel cried out from the ground to God, just as certainly as this murdered man lay in the field discovered alone by God, sin is never hidden from God.

Some of us folk are so old that it doesn't make a whole lot of difference about us one way or another, but I like to emphasize to young people, my own children and other young people, that sin is never hidden from the Lord. Realize that if we can inculcate that principle into our children and into our young people, we will not need to be greatly alarmed about what they are doing when they are away from us. You may think you know everything they are doing while they are away, but you don't. Some of your children are honest and sincere enough to discuss things freely with you, and I hope that you live in such a way that they feel like they can come to you and tell you anything that they have done, even though it may be a disappointment to you at the time, but still they can tell you. But emphasize to them that whether they do tell you or whether you ever learn about it or not, there isn't anything that they do that God doesn't know about.

Turn in your Bibles with me to the book of Hebrews, chapter 4, for emphasis upon this very thing. Notice verse 12:

Hebrews 4:

12For the word of God is quick [That means “living.”] and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

When we read here in verse 12 that the Word of God is as a sword, it would be better for us to read that the Word of God is as a sacrificial knife, for that is really the meaning of the word. It is not a reference to a sword with which you fight a battle. It is a reference to the knife with which the high priest cut asunder the sacrifice that was offered before God to see if it was a perfect sacrifice. That is the reason it speaks of piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit and of joints and of marrow and is a discerner of the thoughts and the intents of the heart. That is the reason it is so important for us to preach God's Word. It is God's Word that will bring to light what needs to be brought to light.

May I say a word to you parents. It is God's Word that will work with our children, will train them, bring to light the thing that needs to be brought to light. It isn't your lecturing. It isn't your nagging. It isn't your everlasting, incessant fussing about things that don't please you. It is the Word of God that will bring about the effect that is needed. Notice verse 13:

Hebrews 4:

13Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

I say this reverently, but I say it with all the force of which I am capable. God has x-ray eyes. You may hide things from other people, but you can't hide things from God. Some of you ladies, you know, have a few blemishes as the years go by and if you get the right kind of makeup and look at the thing right in the mirror and have a deft hand, you can cover up the blemishes, and the average man can't tell the difference. My wife is always amazed at how much less grey hair I have when I come from the barbershop than I have when I go. She is so amazed about it that she insists that he and I have an agreement to do a little touching up now and then while I am in the barber chair. Well, I don't have any such agreement, but I haven't fully convinced her of that fact. You can touch up the grey hairs where they are not too noticeable, but Friend, everything is naked and open before Him with whom we have to do.

I was talking with a wife who was faced with the possibility of unfaithfulness on the part of her husband. I said to her, “Do you know that he is unfaithful?” She said, “No, I don't know it, and frankly, I don't want to know it. If he is, I'd rather not find it out.” I said, “That is rather a strange approach. Why do you feel that way about it?” She said, “As long as I am not sure, I don't have to do anything. I love him. My children love him. As long as I am not sure, I don't have to do anything; but once I am sure, then my self respect would demand that I do something about it. I cannot ignore it once I know.”

I would like to remind you that this same thing is true of God. Nothing is ever hidden from Him. For that reason, sin cannot be ignored. Sin is never hidden from God, and for that reason sin, cannot be ignored. You and I, because we don't know, may find some way of never knowing, but God is omniscient. He knows everything, and because He knows it, He cannot ignore it.

The Stern Sentence

We have thought about the stain of sin which is known to God and which cannot be ignored, and that brings us back to Deuteronomy, chapter 21, verse 2, where we read:

Deuteronomy 21:

2Then [after the stain of sin is evident] thy elders and thy judges shall come forth, and they shall measure unto the cities which are round about him that is slain:
3And it shall be, that the city which is next unto the slain man, even the elders of that city shall take an heifer, which hath not been wrought with, and which hath not drawn in the yoke;

The elders of that city will have to accept the responsibility for sin, so that leads us to suggest another thought to you that I refer to as the stern sentence because the stain of sin always calls for a stern sentence. The reason I say that it is a stern sentence is that as soon as the sin is recognized for what it is, elders and judges are called in. Elders in the Scripture are the exponents of truth and judges are the exponents of righteousness, and this is the only way that God can deal with sin. There is no other principle which God uses in dealing with sin than truth and righteousness. Turn to Psalm 96 and notice an exhortation to sing a song, a song because some day God is going to deal with the whole earth on the very principle that we are talking about now. Notice verse 13:

Psalm 96:

13Before the Lord: [This is what we are interested in.] for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.

The elders represent truth. The judges represent righteousness, and God always judges on the basis of those two things—righteousness and truth.

Think with me. If God judged you on the basis of truth, where would you stand? If He judged you on the basis of righteousness, where would you stand? If you said, “Well, I'm not just real bad.”, that is very possibly true. You are not real bad, but God says that you are all bad. What answer do you have for that? You say, and you are sincere when you say it, “I try to do the very best that I know how to do,” and you do. You try to do the very best that you know how to do, and God says, “You may, but it doesn't measure up to My righteousness, and it is not good enough.”

We pass a church as we are coming and going all the time. They have a sign out in front, and I am always interested to notice what is on that sign. I don't know who is responsible for what is on the sign, but there are a lot of good slogans on that sign. There was one on it that reminded me of what we are talking about. It said: “If you don't get what you deserve, be thankful.” Let that sink in a minute. That is good. You know, a lot of us go around saying, “I don't get what I deserve. I deserve better than that.” Do you? Friend, when you are dealing with Almighty God, if you don't get what you deserve, you be thankful. If you got what you deserved, and if I got what I deserved, every one of us would wind up in Hell if God had not made some special provision because God deals with truth and righteousness; and when God deals with an ordinary human being in truth and righteousness, nothing but trouble lies ahead for us. Thank God, though He must deal in truth and in righteousness (He has no other choice.), He can do something about it. What He did about it is described in verses 3-4 of Deuteronomy, chapter 21. We read again:

The Spotless Substitute

Deuteronomy 21:

3And it shall be, that the city which is next unto the slain man, even the elders of that city shall take an heifer, which hath not been wrought with, and which hath not drawn in the yoke;
4And the elders of that city shall bring down the heifer unto a rough valley, which is neither eared nor sown, and shall strike off the heifer's neck there in the valley:

I like to refer to the truth that is found in verses 3-4 of that chapter by the phrase, “the spotless substitute,” because that is exactly what you are reading about there. The city that was judged guilty, just as you and I are judged guilty before God, had no way of amending the harm that had been done. The man was slain. They were guilty, and they said, “What can we do?” God said, “Find a substitute.” So the elders of the city took this heifer who became the spotless substitute. Several things had to be absolutely true about this heifer if you will notice again in verse 3, the statement, “which hath not been wrought with.” That means a heifer that had never been worked. Then you will notice that this heifer was not the only one which had not been wrought with, but one which had not drawn in the yoke. Literally. that is one who was never pulled in the yoke.

What is the significance of all of this? A heifer that had not been touched with human hands, so to speak, had not been trained with human hands. It had not been affected by the human because any touch of the human is sinful. That is the reason God's Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the only One Who could meet God's demands in relation to your sin and mine. What do you read in the first part of the book of Genesis? God created man in His own image. Then what do you read? The first son of Adam was not begotten in God's image. He was begotten in Adam's image, and every person from that day to this has been begotten in Adam's image, touched by the human. That is the reason the Lord Jesus Christ was the only One Who could meet the needs.

Did you notice there in verse 4, as you look at it again, that this heifer, described in the manner in which we are talking about, was to be taken into a rough valley? This phrase, “rough valley,” is an interesting phrase from a twofold standpoint. It is very descriptive of what this world was to our Lord Jesus Christ, for certainly He did not find any home here in this earth to which he came. He didn't find any ready welcome. There wasn't anything that encouraged Him to think that anybody really loved Him or cared for Him. Isaiah described it as “a root growing up out of a dry ground.” The rough valley is so typical of the earth to which the Savior came when He became the spotless substitute for your sin and for mine.

This phrase, “rough valley,” or the word “valley,” more literally speaks of a valley with a stream running through it. It speaks of a valley with running water, and the interesting thing about it is that this was the place where the spotless substitute was to be slain. We are always interested with the emphasis on water in relation to our salvation. If you look at that water as literal water, then you look on it as baptism and you believe in baptismal regeneration and you dismiss the whole thing and say, “You are baptized in water and that settles the whole question.” It doesn't settle the whole question because it provides so many contradictions. It raises so many questions that we don't believe that this valley with running water has anything to do with baptism, but we do believe that it has something to do with an item that is very vital in relation to our salvation. The beauty of the entire Scripture is brought to my mind afresh and anew when I see this here because the truth of the Word of God, from the Old Testament all the way through the New Testament, runs as an unbroken trend. Turn in your Bibles to the book of Titus, chapter 3, where you have a suggestion as to why in the Old Testament this heifer would be slain in a rough valley, or why the heifer would be slain in a valley through which a stream was running. Notice verse 4:

Titus 3:

4But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
5Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

Regeneration is described as a washing, a cleansing. Two things are emphasized in the Word of God as a means of cleansing. One of them is the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the other is the Word—the washing of the water by the Word. Never, never, anywhere in the Scripture do you find that an individual is cleansed from a spiritual standpoint by water. As a matter of fact, in II Peter, chapter 3, we are reminded that water cannot cleanse anything but the filthiness of the flesh.

Look again at this passage in Deuteronomy, chapter 21, and notice the last statement of verse 4:

Deuteronomy 21:

4And the elders of that city shall bring down the heifer unto a rough valley, which is neither eared nor sown, and shall strike off the heifer's neck there in the valley:

So the last thing I want to emphasize is that the elders of the city, the elements of justice and righteousness, were to demand that the heifer's neck be broken. It isn't a good translation to say that they shall strike off the heifer's neck, as is described in verse 4. The word beheaded in verse 6 is not an accurate translation. They did not cut off the heifer's neck. Instead, they broke the neck of the heifer and that is more in keeping with the entire story of the Cross. How is it that an individual dies when He is hung upon a tree? Through the breaking of the neck. And what do we read concerning the Lord Jesus Christ? That He himself was hung upon a tree for your sake and for mine.

That leads us to suggest that we look at verse 5, for in this verse there is recorded another precious truth related to our eternal salvation. In verse 5, you read:

Deuteronomy 21:

5And [Actually, it should say “then”.] the priests the sons of Levi shall come near; for them the Lord thy God hath chosen to minister unto him, and to bless in the name of the Lord; and by their word shall every controversy and every stroke be tried:

The word tried is in italics, as you shall see, and that means that it is not in the original text. The suggestion is that, “By their words shall every stroke, every controversy be settled.” I refer to the appearance of the elders and the priests with the term sufficient grace .” That is the story of eternal redemption.

Notice that the Levites, the priests, did not make their appearance until a spotless substitute had been found. The grace of God did not make its appearance in the lives of men until a spotless substitute had been found. Your life, my life, is under the stain of sin and will remain under the stain of sin until a spotless substitute is found. Thank God, One such has been found in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, and as soon as the spotless substitute is found the priests began their office work of intercession which consists of two things: One we are going to call advocacy , and it is suggested by the phrase, “come near.” “Then shall the priests the sons of Levi come near.” Only after sin has been atoned for can they approach the throne of grace. Only as sin has been atoned for can we approach the throne of grace as well. That is the reason we come boldly unto the throne of grace and make our wants and our wishes known unto the Lord.

Gospel Must Be Personally Appropriated

Who were the guilty people in this little story that we are thinking about? The city that was closest to where the murdered man was found. Even though the priests came and even though by their word the whole controversy was settled, it would have meant absolutely nothing without what I am going to call appropriation . That is the reason the mere preaching of the Gospel is not going to save the world. It must be personally appropriated. So what do we read in verse 6? Notice:

Deuteronomy 21:

6And all the elders of that city, that are next unto the slain man, shall wash their hands over the heifer that is beheaded in the valley:
7And they shall answer and say, Our hands have not shed this blood, neither have our eyes seen it.
8Be merciful, O Lord, unto thy people Israel, whom thou hast redeemed, and lay not innocent blood unto thy people of Israel's charge. And the blood [that is, the blood of the slain man] shall be forgiven them.

This is appropriation. You can get into all kinds of theological discussions if you are not careful about the right terms that you use. For example, I have heard it said that if you confess your sin, it isn't necessary for you to ask God to forgive your sin, because He automatically does according to I John, chapter 1, verse 9:

I John 1:

9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

That is absolutely true, but you know sometimes we can get so bogged down in the accuracy of theological approach that we make it difficult for people to lay hold of the truth. The substitute had been made in this passage of Scripture. The priest came and extended the mercy, but the appropriation had to be made. What did these folk do to appropriate the efficacy of the spotless substitute? They washed their hands over the blood of the heifer over the running water and they said, “Be merciful to us, Lord. We have not done this thing,” and they asked for the forgiveness that had already been provided. That is the reason I am not too concerned about the thing that a man says when he comes to Christ if he is really coming to Christ. That is the reason I am not concerned whether he said, “Lord, I receive you as my Savior,” or “Lord, I believe in you as my Savior.” God knows what is in his heart. That is the reason I am not concerned whether he confesses his sins and asks for forgiveness or confesses his sin and accepts the forgiveness. God knows what is in his heart. It is a matter of accepting the substitute that has already been provided.

The Satisfied Claims

There is one last thing in this story and it is really the capstone, the climax. It is the last chapter, so-to-speak. It is what is found in verse 9, where you read:

Deuteronomy 21:

9So shalt thou put away the guilt of innocent blood from among you, when thou shalt do that which is right in the sight of the Lord.

I have referred to that as the satisfied claims . You see, when we started out in this chapter, God had a claim. He had a claim against everybody that was in sight of that dead man, for the blood of that dead man cried to Him from the ground, and God's claim had to be met. It couldn't be met by anything that man could do, so a spotless substitute was provided, and God's claims were met. Not through what man did, but through what God Himself did because it was His officers and His representatives that provided the spotless substitute. I would like to say in closing, Beloved, that God (I am going to put this in the past tense by faith.) had a claim against every one of us and that claim was met in Jesus Christ, so that today we can say, as did the elders of this city, we are innocent of any sin. The heifer, slain in the rough valley, bore all of our sin.

Conclusion

I said by faith I was going to put that in the past tense, but I must not presume too much, so may I remind you that if you have not taken advantage of God's gracious provision of grace, God still has a claim against you, so think about it for a moment, will you, very carefully. Has the claim that God has against you been met? Has it? Oh, how happy I would be if everybody within the sound of my voice was saved, eternal life their present possession. I don't mean to imply that I do question it; but I want to say to you that if the spotless substitute has not been personally appropriated by you, then God still has a claim against you, and it has got to be met. It can be met through no other means than the shed blood of a perfect sacrifice. Thank God that perfect sacrifice is Jesus Christ.


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