D. A. Carson, “How Long, O Lord? Steadying Our Soul in the Midst of the Storm,” Bethlehem 2016 Conference for Pastors and Church Leaders (Minneapolis), January 26, 2016:
Picture two Jews, by the name of Smith and Brown. Remarkably Jewish names.
The day before the first Passover they’re having a little discussion in the land of Goshen, and Smith says to Brown, “Boy, are you a little nervous about what’s going to happen tonight?”
Brown says, “Well, God told us what to do through his servant Moses. You don’t have to be nervous. Haven’t you slaughtered the lamb and dobbed the two door posts with blood—put blood on the lintel? Haven’t you done that? You’re all ready and packed to go? You’re going to eat your whole Passover meal with your family?”
“Of course I’ve done that. I’m not stupid. But, it’s still pretty scary when you think of all the things that have happened around here recently. You know, flies and river turning to blood. It’s pretty awful. And now there’s a threat of the first-born being killed, you know. It’s all right for you. You’ve got three sons. I’ve only got one. And I love my Charlie, and the Angel of Death is passing through tonight. I know what God says; I put the blood there. But it’s pretty scary, I’ll be glad when this night is over.”
And the other one responds, “Bring it on. I trust the promises of God.”
That night, the angel of death swept through the land. Which one lost his son?
And the answer of course is: neither.
Because death doesn’t pass over them on the ground of the intensity, or the clarity, of the faith exercised. But on the ground of the blood of the lamb. That’s what silences the accuser.
The blood silences the accuser of the brothers as he accuses us before God. He silences our consciences when he accuses us directly. How many times do we writhe in agony asking if God can ever love us enough, if God can ever care for us enough after we have done such stupid, sinful, rebellious things after being Christians for 40 years?
What are you going to say, “Oh, God, I tried hard, you know. I did my best. It was a bad moment”?
No, no, no.
I have no other argument! I need no other plea! It is enough that Jesus died, and that he died for me!
We overcome him by the blood of the lamb. There is the ground of all human assurance before God. There is the ground of our faith. Not guaranteeing intensity of faith—so fickle are we.
It’s not the intensity of our faith but the object of our faith that saves. They overcome him on the ground of the blood of the lamb.