Christ hath Perfected us.
'But Christ, through the greater and more perfect tabernaclc, through His own blood, entered in once for all into the holy place.'—Heb. ix. 11, 12.
'By one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.'—Heb. X. 14.
TN Christ's work, as set before us in the Epistle •*• to the Hebrews, there are two parts. In contrast with the worldly sanctuary, He is the minister of the true tabernacle. The Holiest of all is now open to us: Christ has opened the way through a more perfect tabernacle into the presence of God. Ho has prepared and opened up for us a place of perfect fellowship with God, of access, in a life of faith, which means a life in full union with Christ, into God's immediate presence.
There must be harmony between the place of •worship and the worshipper. As He has prepared the perfect sanctuary, the Holiest of all, for us, He has prepared us for it too. 'By one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.' For the sanctuary the sanctified ones; for the Holiest of all a holy priesthood; for the perfect tabernacle the perfected worshipper.
'By one sacrifice He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.' The word perfected cannot mean here anything different from what it meant in the three passages where it has been previously used of Him (ii. 11, v. 9, vii. 28). They all point to that which constituted the real value, the innermost nature, of His sacrifice. He was Himself perfected for our sakes, that He might perfect us with the same perfection with which God had perfected Him. What is this perfection with which God perfected Him through suffering, in which He was perfected through obedience, in which as the Son, perfected for evermore, He was made our High Priest?
The answer is to be found in what the object was of Christ's redeeming work. The perfection of man as created consisted in this, that he had a will with power to will as God willed, and so to enter into inner union with the Divine life and holiness and glory. His fall was a turning from the will of God to do the will of self. And so this self and self-will became the source and the curse of sin. The work of Christ was to bring man back to that will of God in which alone is life and blessedness. Therefore it became God, it was proper and needful if He was to be the Leader of our salvation, that God should make Him perfect through suffering. In His own person He was to conquer sin, to develop and bring to perfection a real human life, sacrificing everything that men hold dear, willing to give up even life itself, in surrender to God's will; proving that it is the meat, the very life of man's spirit, to do God's will. This was the perfection with which Christ was perfected as our High Priest, who brings us back to God. This was the meaning and the value of His sacrifice, that 'one sacrifice' by which 'He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.' In the same sacrifice in which He was perfected He perfected us. As the second Adam He made us partakers of His own perfection. Just as Adam in his death corrupted us and our nature for evermore, so Christ, in His death, in which He Himself was perfected, perfected us and our nature for evermore. He hath wrought out for us a new perfect nature, a new life. With. Him we died unto sin; in Him we live unto God.
And how do we become partakers of this perfection with which Christ hath perfected us 1 First of all the conscience is perfected so that we have no more conscience of sin, and enter boldly into the Holiest, the Presence of God. The consciousness of a perfect redemption possesses and fills the soul. And then, as we abide in this, God Himself perfects us in every good thing, to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ. Through Christ, the High Priest in the power of the endless life, there comes to us in a constant stream from on high, the power of the heavenly life. So that day by day we may present ourselves perfect in Christ Jesus.
A soul that seeks to dwell in the Divine perfection of which the Epistle speaks; that holds fellowship with Him who in such intense human reality was perfected through suffering and obedience; that in faith turns to Him who has perfected us, and now holds our perfection in Himself to be communicated as a life in us day by day, for us to practise and put it into exercise in walking in His footsteps; may count most surely that He Himself will lead it into the promised inheritance.