Clean Hands and Blood-guilt

Clean Hands and Blood-guilt A. The importance of having clean hands is underscored by PSA 24:3-5. 1. God rewards according to righteousness, the cleanness of the hands. PSA 18:20, 24. 2. One’s strength increases accordingly. JOB 17:9. 3. It may be observed that one’s hands may be clean because of avoiding defilement or clean by having defilement washed away. 4. The Jews turned this spiritual/moral principle into a vain tradition of artificial purity tests. MAR 7:1-8. B. When someone is distancing himself from involvement or culpability in a wrongful deed, he might say that he has washed his hands of it, as Pilate. MAT 27:24. 1. Pilate’s ceremony and declaration was a cheap abrogation of his duty as a magistrate which he did for political and personal purposes. c/w MAT 27:19. 2. Christ was basically made a sacrifice for the “greater public good.” c/w JOH 11:48-50. 3. Pilate is held by God to be as guilty in the death of the innocent Christ as Herod, the Jews and their leaders. ACT 4:26-28. 4. The guilt of innocent blood is a high order of unclean hands. ISA 1:15; 59:3; PRO 6:17. 5. The Jews, like Pilate, did not consider themselves culpable. MAT 27:25 ct/w ACT 7:52. 6. Both Pilate and the Jews abused law in condemning Christ. a. Pilate deemed Roman law could not condemn an innocent man but provincial law could so he fudged to prevent a riot. b. The Jews had a law for capital punishment (JOH 19:7) which they falsely brought to bear against Christ. c. Consider PSA 94:20-21; JER 2:34-35. C. The guilt of blood attaches to: 1. shedding of innocent blood. DEU 19:10. 2. delinquency in punishing one who sheds innocent blood. DEU 19:13. 3. delinquency in warning men about wickedness. EZE 3:18 c/w ACT 20:26. 4. the warned but impenitent sinner. EZE 33:4 c/w ACT 18:6. 5. by association, the profaning of the Lord’s Supper. 1CO 11:27. D. DEU 21:1-9 ordered a handwashing ceremony in declaration of innocence of blood-guilt. 1. Under the supervision of the priests/judges, city elders were to kill a heifer which had not been used in man’s service, wash their hands over it and swear their innocence. c/w PSA 26:6. 2. Assuming that there were no liars among the elders, the guilt of innocent blood was pardoned and put away from the people only by following this law. Multitudes may well have been saved from the wrath of God by this procedure. 3. Christ seems to answer to this law in being both the murdered victim and the slain innocent heifer used only in God’s service. a. His body was prepared for God’s work in sacrifice for sinners. HEB 10:5-10. b. He did not bear Adam’s corrupted image, being conceived by God. LUK 1:35. c. His sufferings, bloodshed and death atone for secret and unknown sins, even for all sins of His elect. COL 2:13. d. However, none can claim total innocence in the crucifixion of Christ. All have sinned and come short of God’s glory (ROM 3:23); all are by nature children of wrath (EPH 2:3). It was for the elects’ sins that Christ died! E. The innocent blood which the Jews called upon themselves and their children (MAT 27:25) was the very blood of eternal redemption for many of them. HEB 9:12. 1. Among that wicked generation were elect children of the promise. ROM 9:6-8; 11:5. Clean Hands and Blood-guilt 8-27-23 Page 1 of 2 2. Those who later repented and turned to Christ found temporal remission of sins (even blood-guilt) and relief from wrath according to God’s tender mercies and promise. a. The Holy Ghost pricked their hearts to the ugly reality of what they had done. ACT 2:36-37. b. The awful words, “...His blood be on us, and on our children” (MAT 27:25) should be contrasted with ACT 2:38-41, even “...the promise is unto you, and to your children...” c. The guilt of blood was offset by the gift of the blood: eternal forgiveness that secured their heavenly inheritance, and temporal remission of sins that gave them an inheritance in God’s kingdom in this world: the house of God which is the N.T. church. 1TI 3:15. 3. Their repentance, faith and baptism was the means by which they would “...Save yourselves from this untoward generation” (ACT 2:40). a. untoward: Difficult to manage, restrain, or control; intractable, unruly, perverse. b. It was “ evil and adulterous generation...wicked generation” (MAT 12:39, 45). c. It was a “...faithless and perverse generation...” (MAT 17:17). d. The humble, repenting, obedient believers saved themselves from that generation’s corruption and from its massive blood-guilt that would be required of them. LUK 11:50-51 c/w 1TH 2:14-16. e. This provision did not apply to the hardened unbelievers. ACT 18:6. 4. Thousands in Israel turned to Christ and were saved from wrath and blood-guilt. ACT 2:41; 4:4; 21:20. a. These were not saved by declaring, “...Our hands have not shed this blood, neither have our eyes seen it” (DEU 21:7), but rather by admitting that they were guilty and repenting. ACT 2:36-41. b. Repentance and submission to Christ is by far the best way to clean one’s hands. JAM 4:8. 5. Are you concerned about your own sin, guilt and ignorance of God, about the corruption and perversion of the culture around you and what it could come to? Peter’s words still apply. ACT 2:38-40. Clean Hands and Blood-guilt 8-27-23 Page 2 of 2

Addendum to Sermon on Blood-Guilt On August 27, 2023 I preached on “Clean Hands and Blood-Guilt.” That topic generated some post-assembly observations. Here is an important one: It is true that the decisions and actions of Herod, Pontius Pilate, the Gentiles and the people of Israel in that place were responsible for the sufferings, blood-shed and death of Jesus Christ: Act 4:25 Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? Act 4:26 The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. Act 4:27 For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, Act 4:28 For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. It is also true (as noted in the sermon) that this was the very means by which the eternal redemption of the elect by the blood of Christ was accomplished (EPH 1:3-7) and that the temporal remission of the sin of blood-guilt became available to repenting believers thereafter by the very same blood’s power to forgive sinful thoughts and acts (ACT 2:36-41; 3:18; 1JO 1:7-9). As Joseph had once said of wicked actions of his own brothers which God used to put Joseph into a position of power to be a savior unto them years later, “ thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive” (GEN 50:20). One could foolishly conclude that what Herod, Pilate, the Gentiles and the Jews did was wise and commendable since sinners could not be saved without the bloodshed, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and therefore all the elect owe that conspiracy a great debt of gratitude. But as I also mentioned on Sunday, it was pointedly the entire family of the elect that were the very reason Christ suffered, bled and died: we could also foolishly conclude that we are the cause of our own salvation by the blood of Christ! Such asinine reasonings are what Paul tended to cut off with “God forbid...” (ROM 3:4, 6, 31; 6:2, 15; 7:7, 13; 9:14; 11:1, 11; 1CO 6:15; GAL 2:17; 3:21). Paul summarized such fallacy as the errant proposition, “...Let us do evil, that good may come...” (ROM 3:8). The first proponent of that insidious doctrine was Satan in the garden of Eden: Gen 3:4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: Gen 3:5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. Satan’s doctrine was that the maximum potential for humanity is achieved by sinful disobedience: restricting oneself to righteousness and belief of God’s word is actually a hindrance to good. His spirit still works that same game in the children of disobedience (EPH 2:2). Every temptation to which we yield is a replay of this devilish principle: there is something personally beneficial to be gained by sin in spite of knowledge to the contrary so “...let us do evil that good may come.” This folly is always the product of deception in which we are either duped or deliberate. Let us also be wary of confusing this horrible doctrine with what Scripture does teach about lesser law being overruled by greater law when those two come into conflict (MAT 12:1-8).

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