Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Crimson River

There is a fountain filled with blood, drawn from Immanuel’s vein.
And sinners plunged beneath that flood, lose all their guilty stain.

There is a Crimson River that flows from the heart of God to men and women all around the world. It flows by every person on earth, but only flows through those who repent of their sin and trust Jesus as Savior and Lord.

The Crimson River began as a single drop of blood that flowed down Jesus back as a Roman soldier brought down his cruel whip. With each lash another drop mixed with the first. These drops formed a trickle as the crown of thorns was driven deep into Jesus’ brow, as cruel fists struck his face, and his beard was pulled out. The trickle grew stronger as Jesus dragged the cross down the Via Dolorosa toward Golgotha. Then, as the soldiers drove nails through Jesus’ hands and feet, as they raised the cross high, as they dropped it into its hole, the trickle became a stream.

For six long hours, as Jesus hung between heaven and earth, between God and man, the Lamb of God dying for the sins of the world, the stream ran red and strong. Jesus suffered horrible pain and the stream flowed. He was ridiculed by passers-by, and the stream flowed. The sun grew dark as Jesus bore our sins, and therefore the full weight of God’s wrath against that sin – and still the stream flowed.

Then came the decisive moment. Having borne our sins and paid their full price, he rose up and uttered those fateful words. “It is finished.” At that moment, the stream became a river – a river of mercy and grace, a river of forgiveness, a life-giving, sin-forgiving, power-delivering, forever-living river of love flowing from the heart of God to all who would repent and believe.

The river flowed first to the throne of God, where Jesus sprinkled that blood of the heavenly mercy-seat, presenting his blood as the payment for our sins. Looking at the broken body of His Son and at the Crimson River flowing from the cross, the Father said, “It is enough. The debt is paid.” The blood of Christ purchased our eternal salvation and washed away our sins.

Then, the Crimson River began to flow across the earth. Deep if flowed, and wide. It flowed to a notorious criminal, hanging next to Christ. He was a wicked man, deserving of death and hell. But sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stain. He was caught up in the Crimson River and carried off, that day, to be with Jesus in Paradise.

The Crimson River flowed by a Roman soldier, a centurion, who gazed at the crucified Christ and exclaimed, “Surely this was the Son of God.”

The Crimson River flowed to 11 cowards, who had abandoned Jesus in his hour of need. It restored them to fellowship and joy. On the day of Pentecost it swept away 3000 people in its flood. It took them away from dead religion into a living relationship with Jesus Christ.

Some time later the River caught up an angry young man on his way to Damascus. He was determined to stop the River, to dam its flow, but the River swelled up and carried him away and through him has flowed to untold millions throughout history.

The River flowed to Timothy, Titus, Silas and Aristarchus. It caught up Clement and Iranaeus and Polycarp. It flowed to Eusebius and Athanasius and Augustine.

For many years it seemed that the River’s flow was dwindling away to nothing, but nothing can stop the flow of God’s grace. It flowed to a young man in Germany trying to figure out what had gone wrong with the church. It flowed from Luther to Calvin to Zwingli. Unstoppable, the flood ran through Wesley, Whitefield, and Jonathan Edwards. It flowed through Charles Spurgeon and Hudson Taylor and Lottie Moon; through Jeremiah Lamphier and Evan Roberts and Duncan Campbell. It flowed to Billy Sunday and Billy Graham, and Chuck Swindoll and Chuck Smith.

It has flowed to millions of anonymous men and women in every country on earth. It flows to male and female, to rich and poor, to red and yellow, black and white. It flows in Africa and Asia and Europe and the Americas.

For 2000 years, the mighty torrent of God’s mercy and grace has flowed, immeasurable and unstoppable. Sometimes, it rages like a mighty flood, sometimes it slows to a trickle – but still it flows. When the flow is slowed, its critics crow that the River is gone for good, but nothing can stop the Crimson River.

Dictators have outlawed the Crimson River, but they cannot stop it. False religion has tried to pollute the stream with legalism and ritualism, but still the River flows. Communism tried, Humanism and the New Age still try to dam the River or divert its flow, but the Crimson River is a mighty flood. No matter the foe, it continues to flow from Immanuel’s vein, and sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stain.

In February of 1964, it flowed by Elder Lane NW in Cedar Rapids, and I was caught in it. It continues to flow all over the world today. In Korea and Kenya, Taiwan and Indonesia, the river flows. In Tanzania and the Philippines and England and Japan, men and women are being caught up in its flood. At the risk of their very lives, people in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Morocco and Libya are jumping into the river to find the forgiveness of sins.

And, my friend, wherever you are today, that River flows. If you will turn from your sin and trust your life to Christ, you can be swept away in the flood tide of God’s grace. All over the world, the River flows. Has it flowed to you?

Have you been to Jesus for the Cleansing power?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Are you fully trusting in his grace this hour?
Are you washed in the blood of the lamb?
Are you washed, in the blood, in the soul-cleansing blood of the lamb?
Are your garments spotless?
Are they white as snow?
Are you washed in the blood of the lamb?

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