SEVENTH SECTION.^ 1-28.
The Power of Christ's Blood in the opening of the New Sanctuary and the New Covenant.
THE HOLY PLACE AND THE MOST HOLY.
EX.—1. Now even the first covenant had ordinances of divine service, and its sanctuary, a sanctuary of this world
2. For there was a tabernacle prepared, the first, wherein were the candlestlok, and the table, and the shewbread; whloh Is called the Holy Place.
3. And after the second veil, the tabernacle which Is called the Holy of Holies.
4. Having a golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was a golden pot holding the manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;
5. And above It oherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy-seat; of which things we cannot now speak severally.
6. Now these things having been thus prepared, the priests go in continually into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the services;
7- But Into the second, the high priest alone, once In the year, not without blood, which he offereth for himself, and for the errors of the people.
Ln chap. vii. the eternal priesthood of Jesus has been revealed to us. In chap. viii. we have seen Him, as Priest seated on the throne of heaven in His twofold work. He is the Minister of the sanctuary in the heavens. He is the Mediator of the covenant in the heart of man on earth. We thus know the Priest and the sanctuary in which He ministers; we are now invited in this chapter to look at the blood which He presents, and what it effects. The word Blood has not yet been used: in this chapter we have it twelve times. In the first half (1-14) we have its efficacy in opening the most holy place, and in sprinkling our conscience to enter there; then (15-22) in dedicating the covenant, and cleansing all connected with it; and after that again in opening heaven and putting away all sin (23-28).
The first portion begins with a description of the worldly sanctuary, the tabernacle and its furniture, of zvhich things, the. writer says, we cannot now speak severally. Just as he said, in chap, viii. 1, This is the chief point: we have such an High Priest, so here too, in speaking of the sanctuary, he has one great thought which he wishes to press home. The tabernacle was so constructed by Moses, after the heavenly pattern, as specially to shadow forth one great truth. In that truth lies the mystery and the glory of the New Testament, the power and joy of the Christian life. That truth is the opening of the way into the Holiest, the access into the presence of God.
We read: There was a tabernacle prepared, the first, which is called the Holy Place. And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies. The priests go in continually into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service; but into the second, the high priest alone, once in the year, not without blood. The one thing the writer wishes to direct our attention to is the difference and the relation between the two compartments into which the tabernacle was divided, and the meaning of the veil that separated them.
The inner sanctuary was called the Holiest of All, or, as it is in Hebrew, the Holiness of Holinesses. It was the highest embodiment there could be of holiness; it was the place where God Most Holy dwelt. His holy presence filled it . No man might enter there on pain of death but the high priest, and even he only once a year. ln the Holy Place, separated from the Most Holy by a heavy veil, the priests entered and served. The truths embodied in the house thus made after a heavenly pattern were very simple. ln the Most Holy God dwelt, but man might not enter. ln the Holy Place man might enter to serve God, but God dwelt not there. The veil was the symbol of separation between a holy God and sinful man: they cannot dwell together. The tabernacle thus expressed the union of two apparently conflicting truths. God called man to come and worship and serve Him, and yet he might not come too near: the veil kept him at a distance. His worship in the tabernacle testified to his longing for the restoration to the fellowship with God he had lost in paradise, but also to his unfitness for it, and his inability to attain it. The two truths find their reason and their harmony in the holiness of God, that highest attribute of the divine Being. ln it righteousness and love are combined. Love calls the sinner near; righteousness keeps him back. The Holy One bids lsrael build Him a house in which He will dwell, but forbids them entering His presence there. The entrance of the high priest once a year for a few moments was a faint foreshadowing that the time would come when access to the Holiest would be given. ln the fulness of time righteousness and love would be revealed in their perfect harmony in Him, in whom those types and shadows would find their fulfilment.
The first and second tabernacles are the symbols of two degrees of the divine nearness, two stages of access to God's presence, two modes of fellowship with God, two ways of serving Him. The one, to which the High Priest had access only once a year, is the promise of what would one day be in Christ: the nearer, the more direct and immediate approach into the presence and fellowship of God. The other is the symbol of the service of God as at a distance with a veil between, without the full light of His countenance. The one thing the writer wants us to learn is the difference between the two stages, and the way by which God leads us from the lower to the higher.
7. Of which things we cannot now speak severally, one by one. There is a time for doing this too. But when souls are to be led on into the perfection of Christ and His work, we must turn then from the multiplicity of truths to the simplicity and unity of one truth, that Christ has opened heaven. Let this be our one question, What has the heavenly High Priest effected for me?
2. l know what Christ has done. l need to know what He had to do. There was a Holy Place into which man might enter. There was a Most Holy into which he might not enter. The veil shut him out. And Chrlsts one work was to tear down that veil, and gioe us the right and the fitness to enter, yea to dwell always in that heretofore inaccessible place. The mystery of the rent veil, of the opened entrance into the Holiest, is the one thing we need to learn.
THE HOLT SPIRIT AND THE WAY INTO THE HOLIEST.
IX.—8. The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the Holy Placo hath not yet been made manifest, while as the first tabernacle is yet standing;
9. Whioh is a parable for the time now present; according to which aie offered both gifts and sacrifices that cannot, as touching the conscience, make the worshipper perfect,
10. Being only (with meats and drinks and divers washings) carnal ordinances, imposed until a time of reformation.
We said that the Holiest of All, or, as it is literally, the Holiness of Holinesses, was the very embodiment of the holiness of God, the place of His presence. The Holy Spirit specially bears the epithet Holy, because He is the bearer of the divine holiness to impart it to man—He is the Spirit of holiness. lt will appear no more than natural that there should be a close connection between the sanctuary as the revelation of God's holiness, and the Holy Spirit as the revealer. This is what we are taught here: the whole construction of the tabernacle and the appointment of the high priest's entrance once a year was so ordered by the Holy Spirit as to be a great object-lesson in which the truth was taught that so long as the veil hung there, the way into the Holiest was not yet open. The Holy Spirit signifying that the way into the Holiest was not yet opened. The words teach us that the truth about the way into the Holiest was entirely in charge of the Holy Spirit. It was He who devised and revealed to Moses the heavenly pattern. lt was He who ordered the veil as the token that the way was not open. lt was He who, by the yearly entrance of the high priest, gave the prophecy that it would one day be opened. lt was He who prepared a body for Him, and later on filled Him who was to be the opener of the way. lt was He, the Eternal Spirit, through whom Christ offered Himself as the sacrifice with whose blood He might enter in. It was He, the Spirit of holiness (Rom. i. 4), through whom Christ was raised from the dead and exalted to the throne of God. It was the Holy Spirit who, when the way had been opened, came out from the Holiest of All on the day of Pentecost, to impart to men the life and the power of the glorified Christ. lt is He who to-day still presides over the way into the Holiest, leading in all who are willing to dwell there.
The lesson for our spiritual life is one of deep suggestiveness. The Holy Spirit has charge of the way into the Holiest; both while that way is not yet manifest and when it is opened up. He alone hath the knowledge and the power to reveal this mystery. For it is still a spiritual mystery. Though everything that Scripture reveals of it can be studied and understood by any man of intelligence, and a clear conception can be formed, or an exposition given of what it means, the living power of the truth, the actual experience of entering in through the opened veil into the presence of God, can only be communicated and wrought in the life within by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit alone can reveal in the heart what the way means, both where it is not yet made manifest, and where it is. He can work in a man the deep conviction that he does, or does not know, the true nearness of God in his own experience.
We have seen that the two compartments of the tabernacle represent two degrees of nearness to God, two dispensations of God's grace, or two stages in the Christian life, a lower and a higher. lnto the Holy Place every priest might come daily to do there the service God had appointed. lnto the Most Holy he might not enter till Christ had opened it for all believers. Many believers never in experience enter into this life of the inner sanctuary, the more complete and abiding nearness to God. They have, in the outer court, seen the altar, and received the pardon of sin; they have entered upon the service of God, they seek to do His will, but the joy of His presence as their abiding portion they know not. And very often they do not know that there is a better life, that there is an entering within the veil, a real dwelling in the secret of God's presence; the need that the Holy Spirit signify to them, work in them the conviction that to them the way into the Holiest hath not yet been made manifest. They need—oh let us, if we have not yet entered in, let us give ourselves to pray for—the discovery that there is an inner chamber; that there is still the veil of the flesh, the life of the carnal Chrisiian, that prevents the access; that only the possession of the Pentecostal blessing, the Spirit that came from the throne when Jesus had rent the veil, that reveals Him and links to Him, is what will bring us in.
When He has signified this to us, and we yield ourselves to the full conviction that we are still without the veil, and strong desire has been awakened at any cost to enter in, the same Spirit who at Pentecost, when our High Priest had just entered with His blood, came forth from the Holiest of All, will come to us in power and bring us in too. As He reveals Jesus Himself as having gone in for us; as He makes us willing for that perfect surrender, in which nothing less than the direct and continual fellowship with God can satisfy us; our hearts will open to the wondrous mystery, that what is impossible to men is possible with God, and that God of His free grace and in His mighty power does indeed grant it to His child, even now in Christ, to dwell with Him in unbroken communion.
O God! let the Holy Spirit witness to every reader who needs it, that to him the way into the Holiest hath not yet been made manifest; and to everyone who is ready for it, that in Christ the way into the Holiest is indeed open. With Pentecost, and the participation it brought of the Spirit of the glorified Jesus, began true Christianity, as a ministration of the Spirit. The enjoyment of the Pentecostal gift, as the communication of the heavenly life and the abiding presence of Jesus the glorified One, in all its Pentecostal freshness and fulness, is the only power that can enable us to live within the veil, in the living experience that the way into the Holiest has now been opened. lt is the Spirit dwelling in us will fit us for dwelling in God's presence.
1. Shall we any longer fear and doubt? The Father in heaven beckoning us into Hie presence; the Son, our Brother, Prophet, Priest, and King, pointing to the way He opened for us and the Holy Spirit within us to be our light and strength, to enable us to walk in that way—shall we fear? No, let us hear the voice that gioes the power: Rise up and walk. Enter in.
2. Do get it very clear that the two compartments are two stages in religious lifa and worship and service. The one when the power of the rent veil is not yet understood; the other where the. Holy Spirit has brought us in.
THE OPENING UP OF THE HOLIEST.
IX.—11. But Christ having come a High Priest of the good things to come, through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, that is to say, not of this creation,
12. Nor yet through the blood of goats and calves, but through his own blood, entered in once for all into the Holy Place, having obtained eternal redemption.
Ln studying the meaning of the Mosaic ritual, there are specially four things, through which the Holy Spirit shadows forth to us the mysteries of redemption, the good things to come of the new dispensation that lsrael was to look for. These are THE PRIEST, The Sanctuary, The Blood, and The Way Into The HOLIEST. We have these four things here together. There is Christ the High Priest of the good things to come, there is the greater and more perfect tabernacle, there is His own blood, and there is His entering in into the Holiest. As we apprehend the power of these things, we shall know the meaning of His having obtained eternal redemption. Let us hear what the Holy Spirit speaks of the opening up the Holiest, and the wonderful path in which that was effected.
The writer uses a very remarkable expression, Christ through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, entered into the Holiest. The two compartments of the sanctuary are the symbols of two states of life, two degrees of fellowship with God. The Epistle teaches us that Christ knew this difference in His own life experience, and, in entering into and opening up the higher one for us, passed through the lower. He entered into the Holiest through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, through the experience of that spiritual reality of which the tabernacle was the shadow. The Holiest is God's immediate presence, the Holy Place a drawing nigh to God with a veil between. The flesh, man's fallen nature in its weakness and its exposure to all the consequences of sin, is the veil. Christ has dedicated for us a new and living way through the veil, that is to say, His flesh. When He came in the likeness of sinful flesh, that life in flesh, with its liability to temptation, and its weakness, with its possibility of suffering and death, with its life of faith and prayer and tears, with its need of learning obedience and being made perfect, with its subjection to the law and its curse, was the Holy Place, the first tabernacle, through which He had to pass to have the veil rent in His death, so to enter in and appear before God. Christ lived with His people in the Old Testament; He passed through the first tabernacle as a spiritual experience in perfect reality; it was only with His resurrection and ascension the New Testament began.
Yes, Christ passed from the Holy Place into the Holiest of All. When He died the veil was rent in twain; the two compartments were made one. The priest who was in the Holy Place could see, could enter into the Holiest. All that was in the Holiest, the light of God's presence between the cherubim, could shine unhindered into the Holy Place. In Christ the veil of the flesh was rent asunder and taken away. The free access to God was opened up, not only as a thing of right and title in virtue of our pardon, but as a thing of power and living reality. Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be the Spirit of Christ dwelleth in you. When the veil was rent and Christ entered in, the two abodes, what had been the dwelling of God, and what had been the dwelling of the priests, were thrown into one. The eyes and the hearts of men might freely and boldly look up and rise up and greet their God and Father; in Christ they had their place before Him. All the light and love and holiness of the Most Holy shone into the Holy Place. The Spirit of God, as He was received by Christ from God the Father on His ascension, passed down into the worshippers. The Pentecostal gift brought down, from above, the higher life into which the blessed Son had entered; the Holy Spirit made the light and love and holiness of the inner sanctuary not only a vision, a revelation, but a possession and an experience.
The veil of the flesh has been rent; Christ has entered once for all, having obtained everlasting redemption; the dwelling of God and man has been thrown into one; the Spirit of heaven has been given to signify to us, and to give us the living experience, that the way into the Holiest has been made manifest. Our entering in,our dwelling in God's presence in the light and nearness and holiness of the Most Holy, is a spiritual, a heavenly reality. lt can only be apprehended by the tender, by the perfect conscience, which the Holy Spirit gives to him who is willing to give up all to be saved completely, by the perfect whose senses are exercised to discern good and evil. But to all who are willing to pass through the rent veil of Christ's flesh, to die with Him as He died, and live with Him as He lived, the Holy Spirit will show it; the way into the Holiest is opened up.
Christ having come, entered in once for all. Four thousand years after man's loss of fellowship with God in paradise had to pass. Fifteen hundred years the veil had to hang with its solemn injunction not to draw near. Thirty-three years the Son of God Himself had to live on this side of the veil. But at length, once for all and for ever, the way was opened. Fear not, O Christian, to whom these things appear too high, fear not. Be thou faithful, through faith and longsuffering we inherit the promises. Persevere in the faith of what Christ has accomplished once for all. He entered in, the Second Adam, in whom our life is, whose members we are. Persevere in the faith of the infinite meaning of that great transaction. And to thee, too, will come a day when, in thy experience, thou shalt enter, and go out no more for ever.
1. This entering in and opening up of the Holiest was solely and entirely on our behalf, that we might live and serve there. Therefore—the practical part of the Epistle commences at once,— therefore, having boldness to enter into the Holiest, let us draw nigh. That is the summing up of the whole Epistle. God is not content that we should serve Him with a veil betu/een. Let us know clearly which of the two positions we occupy as Christians—within or still without the veil.
2. "After l had lived for thirteen years in the Holy Place, seeking to serve God there, it pleased Him, who dwelleth between the cherubim, to call me to pass through the veil, and to enter the Holiest of All, through the blood of Jesus."
THE POWER OF CHRIST'S BLOOD TO OPEN THE HOLIEST.
DC—12. But Christ, through his own blood, entered In once for all Into the Holy Place, having obtained eternal redemption.
Through His own blood. We have seen our great High Priest on the throne of God, a Priest after the order of Melchizedek, in the power of an endless life. When He rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, it was according to that working of the strength of His might, whereby God had raised Him from the dead and set Him at His own right hand. He entered God's presence as the living One who was dead, and behold, He lives for evermore. And yet, strange to say, it was not enough that He should present Himself at the gate of heaven as the conqueror of death and hell, and ask admission. He had to take with Him His own blood, as it had been shed upon earth, as the power by which alone, as the surety of sinners, He could claim access to the presence of God. Through His own blood Christ entered the Holiest of All.
And what does this word, His own blood, mean? To Moses God had said that He gave the blood upon the altar to be an atonement, because the blood is the life. That is, the living blood in the body is the life. And the shed blood? That means death. More than that, it means an unnatural, a violent death. There are only two ways in which this unnatural blood/
shedding comes: by malice or by justice. We have the two together in the words: Whoso sheddeth maris blood, by man shall his blood be shed. ln the death of Christ the malice of men and the righteousness of God met. He was slain, a sacrifice to the evil passions of men, because He resisted unto blood, striving against sin. He was slain, a sacrifice unto God, be cause He was the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. Death is inseparably connected with sin, and the curse which God pronounced upon it. When Jesus, as the Second Adam, tasted death for all; when, in Gethsemane, He with strong crying and tears besought His Father that the cup might pass from Him ; when on the cross He cried, My God! My God! why hast thou forsaken Me? He tasted death in all its bitterness, both as the terrible fruit of sin, the revelation of what sin is in its very nature, and as the penalty God had attached to it . He died, as Scripture says, the just for the unjust; He bore our sins; His blood was shed for us; He gave His life a ransom for many. And the word "blood " in this Epistle includes all that is meant by the death of Christ; the blood is the expression and embodiment of His obedience unto death, of His death for our sins, of the atonement which He made for us as the victim on the altar, as our Substitute.
lt is this blood now, of whose power our Epistle says such wondrous things. lt was in the blood of the eternal covenant that God brought again our Lord Jesus from the dead; the blood was the power of the resurrection. lt was through His blood He cleansed the heavenly things themselves and entered the Holiest on our behalf. ln those heavenly places our sins were in God's book, our sins had as a thick cloud darkened God's presence; for the sake of the blood the sin was blotted out, and access given to Him, and in Him to us, to appear before the very face of God. And now, in the vision of the heavenly glory to which he has given us access, as we have it later in the Epistle, we find in heaven not only God the Judge of all, and Christ the Mediator of the new covenant, but also the blood of sprinkling that speaketh better things than that of Abel . Everywhere we see, besides and along with Jesus Christ, the living One Himself, in His resurrection, in His entering heaven, in His sitting on the throne, as a separate existence and power, the blood, the symbol of the death in which we have our ransom and redemption.
Through His own blood. Let us specially note how the blood is connected with the heavenly priesthood of Christ. We are too apt to think only of the fulfilment of the type of Aaron, the blood-shedding on earth. The Epistle does not speak of it. Where it mentions the blood, it is in connection with the resurrection and the entrance into heaven, as it works in the power of an endless life. lt is as the Holy Spirit reveals this to the soul, the heavenly pozver of the blood, as ministered by our Melchizedek, the minister of the heavenly sanctuary, that we see what a power that blood must have, as so sprinkled on us from heaven, in the power of the Holy Spirit, at once to give us a real, actual, living access into the presence of God.
His own blood. I know of no word in the Bible or in human speech that contains such mysteries! In it are concentrated the mysteries of the incarnation, in which our God took flesh and blood; of the obedience unto death, in which the blood was shed; of the love that passeth knowledge, that purchased us with His own blood; of the victory over every enemy, and the everlasting redemption; of the resurrection and the entrance into heaven; of the atonement and the reconciliation and the justification that came through it; of the cleansing and perfecting of the conscience, of the sprinkling of the heart and the sanctifying the people. Through that blood Christ entered once for all into heaven; through that blood we enter too, and have our home in the Holiest of All. As the Holy Spirit from heaven, dwelling in us, imparts to us the boldness the blood gives, and the love into which it opens the way, our whole inner being will be brought under its power, and the cleansing of the blood in its full extent be our experience.
7. 'Ms in heaven so in earth." Thou hast more interest than thou thinkest in knowing what the blood hath wrought in heaven. As thou enterest by the Spirit into its power there, will thy faith receioe its power within thee.
2. The inner sanctuary—deeper, nearer in to God. He that seeks after this will have the inner sanctuary opened within Himself. The inner life, the law within the heart, in the inward parts, a deepening sense of the life of God in the soul will be gioen to such a one.
3. There are in Scripture two aspects of Christ's death—that of atonement and that of fellowship. He died for us, for our sin, that we might not die. What our Substitute did in bearing the curse of sin, we cannot do, we need not do. He died to sin, and we died with Him and in Him. The blood is the dioine expression for the former aspect: His own blood is the power and the worth of His death taken up and presented and for ever preserved in lts energy and action before God. The sprinkling with the blood includes the transition to the second aspect. As the blood, as a heavenly reality, through the Holy Spirit works in us, the very disposition that animated Jesus in the shedding of it will be imparted to us.
4. Christ can bring us into the Holiest in no other way than He went in Himself, through His own blood. Oh, seek to know the power of Christs blood.
THE POWER OF CHRIST'S BLOOD TO CLEANSE THE
EX.—13. For If the blood of goats and bulls, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling them that have been defiled, sanctify unto the cleanness of the flesh:
14. How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish unto God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
The High Priest went into the Holiest once a year, not without blood. Christ, the High Priest of good things to come, entered the greater and more perfect Holiest of All through His own blood, opening up to us in very deed the way into God's presence. The entrance of the high priest on earth effected a certain external and temporary cleansing and liberty of access. The blood of Christ which had power to open heaven, is able to effect, in its heavenly, eternal power, a heavenly, a divine cleansing in the heart.
To illustrate this, we are referred to Numb. xix. and the cleansing with the ashes of the heifer. Anyone who had touched a dead body was unclean, and had to be excluded from the camp. To meet the need, the ashes of a heifer that had been sacrificed, and of which the blood had been sprinkled towards the tabernacle, were mingled with water, and sprinkled on the one who had been defiled. The sprinkling restored him to his place and privileges; with a clear conscience he could now take part in the life and worship of God's people. And the question is asked—If the blood of a sacrifice had such power, how much more shall the blood of Christ cleanse your conscience to serve the living God? The infinite efficacy of Christ's blood, and the infinite blessedness of the cleansing it effects, can only be measured by what that blood really is.
The power of Christ's blood consists in two things. The one element that gives the blood its value is, the holy obedience of which its outpouring was the proof; the blood of Christ who offered Himself without spot unto God. He came to live the life of man, such as God had meant Him to be, in creating Him. He gave up His will to God, He pleased not Himself but sought only God's pleasure, He yielded His whole life that God might reveal Himself in it as He pleased: He offered Himself unto God. He took and filled the place the creature was meant to fill. And that without spot. His self-sacrifice was complete and perfect, and His blood, even as the blood of a man, was, in God's sight, inexpressibly precious. lt was the embodiment of a perfect obedience. The other element is, that the Eternal Spirit was in the life of that blood. lt was through the Eternal Spirit He offered Himself. It was the Word that became flesh, the Eternal Son of God who was made man. lt was the life of God that dwelt in Him. That life gave His blood, each drop of it, an infinite value. The blood of a man is of more worth than that of a sheep. The blood of a king or a great general is counted of more value than hundreds of common soldiers. The blood of the Son of God !—it is in vain the mind seeks for some expression of its value; all we can say is, it is His own blood, the precious blood of the Son of God!
lt was this twofold infinite worth of the blood that gave it 301
such mighty power—first, in opening the grave, and then in opening heaven. lt was this gave it the victory over all the powers of death and hell beneath, and gave Him the victor's place on high on the throne of God. And now, when that blood, from out of the heavenly sanctuary, is sprinkled on the conscience by the heavenly High Priest—how much more— with what an infinitely effectual cleansing, must not our conscience be cleansed.
We know what conscience is. lt tells us what we are. Conscience deals not only with past merit or guilt but specially with present integrity or falsehood. A conscience fully cleansed with the blood of Christ, fully conscious of its cleansing power, has the sense of guilt and demerit removed to an infinite distance. And no less is it delivered from that haunting sense of insincerity and double-heartedness, which renders boldness of access to God an impossibility. lt can look up to God without the shadow of a cloud. The light of God's face, to which the blood gave our Surety access, shines clear on the conscience, and through it on the heart. The conscience is not a separate part of our heart or inner nature, and which can be in a different state from what the whole is. By no means. Just as a sensibility to bodily evil pervades the whole body, so the conscience is the sense which pervades our whole spiritual nature, and at once notices and reports what is wrong or right in our state. Hence it is when the conscience is cleansed or perfected, the heart is cleansed and perfected too. And so it is in the heart that the power the blood had in heaven is communicated here on earth. The blood that brought Christ into God's presence, brings us, and our whole inner being, there too.
Oh, let us realise it. The power of the blood in which Christ entered heaven, is the power in which He enters our hearts. The infinite sufficiency it has with God, to meet His holy requirements, is its sufficiency to meet the requirements of our heart and life. lt is the blood of the covenant. lts three great promises—pardon and peace in God's forgetting sin; purity and power in having the law of life in our heart; the presence of God set open to us, are not only secured to us by the blood, but the blood has its part too in communicating them. ln the power of the Holy Spirit the blood effects a mighty, divine cleansing, full of heavenly life and energy. The Spirit that was in Christ, when He shed the blood, makes us partakers of its power. His victory over sin, His perfect obedience, His access to the Father,—the soul that fully knows the cleansing of the blood in its power will know these blessings too.
1. The blood that cleanses my conscience is the blood that gave Christ access into the Holiest. lf l truly desire, lf l know and honour and trust the blood, lt will glve me access too.
2. How completely every vestige of an evil conscience can be taken away and kept away by the redeeming power of this precious blood! Let us believe that our High Priest, whose entrance into the sanctuary and whose ministry there, is all in the power of the blood, will make it true to us.
3. This cleansing is what is elsewhere spoken of as Christ's washing us in His blood. A piece of linen that is to be washed is steeped and saturated until every stain be taken out. As ae in faith and patience allow the blood to possess our whole inner being, we shall know what it means that it washes whiter than snow.
THROUGH THE ETERNAL SPIRIT.
IX—14. How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish unto God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
One might well ask for the reason why the blood of Christ, which hath had such infinite power in conquering sin and death and in opening heaven to Christ and to us, does not exercise a mightier influence even in earnest Christians, in cleansing our heart and lifting us into a life in the joy of God's presence. The first answer must be, that we seek too little for a real insight into its divine and infinite worth. The blood of the heavenly Son, shed in the power of the Eternal Spirit, could not but again return heavenward: as God's Spirit leads us by faith to gaze on its power in heaven, and to see how through all heaven its power is manifest, we shall learn to expect and to receive its working to keep us in God's presence, in a power above all that thought can conceive. The same Eternal Spirit, through whom the blood-shedding took place, will effect in us the blood-sprinkling too, and make us indeed partakers of what it has accomplished in God's presence above.
This is a lesson of the utmost consequence. lf the blood is His who offered Himself to God through the Eternal Spirit, if it is in the power and life of that Spirit that the blood was brought into heaven, and now has its place there, we may be sure that that Spirit will ever work with and in that blood. There are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit and tlie water and the blood. The Spirit and the blood must and will ever go together. We must not limit our faith in the power of the blood in our heart to what we can understand. Our faith must ever be enlarging, to expect that the Holy Spirit, according to His hidden but almighty and uninterrupted working, can maintain the heavenly efficacy of the blood in a way to us inconceivable. Just as Christ is the visible revelation on earth and in heaven of the invisible God, so the Holy Spirit again is the communication of the life and redemption of the unseen Christ. The Holy Spirit is the power of the inner life. Within us, down in the to ourselves inaccessible depths of our being, He is able, as the Eternal Spirit, to maintain, in them that yield to Him, the divine power of the blood to cleanse from sin and to give abiding access to the presence of God. Let him who would know to the full the mighty, the divine, the inexpressible power and blessing the blood each moment can bring in Him, remember, it was through the Eternal Spirit it was shed.
ln connection with this there is still another lesson. The Spirit not only applies the power of the blood, but in doing so He reveals its spiritual meaning. The blood has its value, not from the mere act of physical suffering and death, but from the inner life and disposition that animated Christ in shedding it. lt is the blood of the Lamb who offered Himself without blemish unto God, with which our heart is brought into a divine and living contact. Self-offering, self-sacrifice, was the disposition of which the blood was the expression, and from which alone it had its worth. Where the Eternal Spirit communicates the power of the blood, He communicates this disposition. Christ humbled Himself and became obedient to death. There
fore, as the Lamb of God, who gave His blood, He was the
embodiment of meekness, and humility, and submissive surrender
to God's will. It was our pride and self-will that was the very
root and life of sin in us: as we are washed in the blood
of the Lamb, His spirit of meekness and submissiveness
and obedience will work in us, because the same Eternal Spirit,
through which the blood was shed, applies it in our hearts.
We know what it means to wash our clothes in water, how
they are plunged into it and saturated with it, until the
water carries off all defilement. The blood of Jesus Christ
cleanses from all sin, because the Eternal Spirit imparts the
very life and power of which that precious blood-shedding was
the outcome and the fruit. This is the power that cleanses
the conscience from dead works to serve the living God. Not
the blood only, as shed upon earth, as the first object of our
faith for pardon, but the blood as shed through the Eternal
Spirit, and glorified in the spirit life of heaven, brings us truly
into the inner sanctuary, and empowers us to serve Him as the
living God. "As nothing but the Eternal Spirit could have
overcome or redeemed fallen nature, as Christ took it upon
Him, so nothing can possibly overcome or redeem the fallen
soul or body of any child of Adam, but that same overcoming
and redeeming Spirit, really living and acting in it, in the
same manner as it did in the humanity of Christ."
We live in the dispensation of the Spirit—the Spirit of God's
Son, who hath been sent for this into our heart. It is the
dispensation of the inner life, in which we are brought into the
inner sanctuary, the secret of His presence, and the inner
sanctuary is found within us,—in that secret inner place which
none but God's Spirit can search out. ln that hidden depth is the house God hath prepared for Himself; there, in the inner man, the Holy Spirit will reveal, in a way that sense and reason cannot apprehend, the power of Christ's blood to cleanse and bring God nigh. Oh let us believe the infinite mysteries with which we are surrounded. And above all, this mystery too, that within us, the blood of Christ, the Lamb of God—that mystery of mysteries—is being applied and kept in full action by the Eternal Spirit, cleansing us and revealing God's presence in us.
7. What a mystery l what blessedness l a heart sprinkled with the blood of the Son of God l To walk before God day by day with the blood of His Son upon us l To know that the Lamb of God sees us washed in His own blood! Oh, we need, let us ask, the Eternal Spirit to make all this clear to us.
2. 7f our faith is only to belleve what our reason can make clear to us—no wonder the power of the blood effects so little. Let us have faith, not in what we understand, but let us have faith in God, and the heavenly, the inexpressibly glorious realities, of the blood and Spirit of the Son.
3. What a tender, careful, holy fear comes upon a soul that lioes in the full and lioing consciousness of the blessed reality—a heart sprinkled with the blood of the Lamb.
4. Beware of trying to comprehend all the blood means, or of being discouraged when you fail of doing so. The blood in heaven is a dioine and inscrutable mystery i be content to believe in its efficacy. When the Holy Spirit comes into the heart in power, He applies the blood in a power far beyond what we can think or understand.
THE POWER OF THE BLOOD TO FIT FOR THE SERVICE OF THE LIVING OOD.
IX.—14. How much more shall the blood of Christ cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living Ood?
We must not regard the cleansing in the blood of Christ as the end, the final aim, of redemption. It is only the beginning, the means to a higher end—the fitness for the service of the living God. lt is the restoration to the fellowship of Him who has life and gives life. The blood gives cleansing from dead works, the works of the law and of self, with its own efforts; it brings into a living relation to the living God. God and His fellowship, a life in His love and service, the living God and the enjoyment of His presence,—this is the aim of redemption.
The living God! This name was used in the Old Testament as a contrast to the dead idols of the heathen. ln the New Testament it points us to the danger of our forming an image of God, not in wood or stone, but in our mind and imagination—athought-image, in which there is neither life nor truth. What we need first of all in religion is that we believe that God is, that our faith realise Him as the living One, who is all that He is, in the power of an infinite life and energy. He is the living God! He speaks and hears. He feels and acts. He has the power to make us know that He is near to us, and that He receives us when we come near to Him. The knowledge of the living God is the ground of a living faith, a living fellowship, a living service. As the living God, He is all, and does all and fills all—the ever-present, ever-working God.
To serve the living God! The glory of the creature is to serve God, to be a vessel in which He can pour His fulness, a channel through which He can show forth His glory, an instrument for working out His purposes. This was what man was created for in the image of God. The whole object of redemption is to bring us back to a life in the living service of God. lt is for this the Holiest of All was opened to us by the blood as the place of service. It is for this our conscience is cleansed in the blood, as the fitness for service. A life in the Holiest of All is a life in which everything is done under the sense of God's glory and presence, and to His glory; a life that has no object but the service of God.
lt was thus with the priests in lsrael. They were set apart by the sprinkling of blood (Ex. xxix. 19, 20). The object of this was (Deut. x. 8) to fit them to stand before the Lord, to minister unto Him, to bless in His name. One great reason . why many Christians never enter into the full joy and power of redemption, into the life within the veil, is that they seek it for themselves. Let us beware lest we seek the access into the Holiest, the joy of unclouded fellowship with God, the power of the blood to cleanse, only for the sake of our advance in holiness or in happiness. The whole appointment of the sanctuary and the priests was that there might be men who could come before God to minister to Him, and then go out and bless their fellowmen. Christ entered through His blood within the veil, to go and serve; to be a minister of the sanctuary in the power of the blood, by which He could cleanse others and admit them too within the veil. To know the power of the blood to cleanse and admit within the veil, and give us part in the priests' ministry of blessing men: this will come as we seek it as fitness to serve the living God.
How much more shall the blood of Christ cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? The
cleansing is for service. There was a great difference between the people in the outer court and the priests within the tabernacle. The former saw the blood sprinkled on the altar, and trusted for forgiveness; the blood was not applied to their persons. The priests were sprinkled with the blood; that gave them access to the sanctuary to serve God there. We still have outer-court Christians, who look at Calvary, and trust for forgiveness, but know nothing of the access to God which the more direct and powerful application of the blood from heaven by the Holy Spirit gives. Oh let us give ourselves to be priests, wholly separated to the service of God, wholly given up to God, for Him to work in us and through us what perishing men need,— our consecration to this service will urge us mightily to claim an ever mightier experience of the blood, because we shall feel that nothing less than a full entrance into, and a true abiding in God's presence, can fit us for doing God's work. The more we see and approve that the object of the cleansing must only be for service, the more shall we see and experience that the power for service is only in the cleansing.1
How much more shall the blood cleanse from dead works
1 "The blood contains that which makes white (Rev. vii. 14). Not only the man, but his garments are made white. This is more than cleansing. It is the word used regarding Christ's transfiguration garments (Matt. xvii. 2); the angel robes (Matt, xxviii. 3); the heavenly clothing (Rev. iv. 4); the judgment throne (Rev. xx. 11), whiter than snow, white as the garments of Christ. What potency, what excellency, what virtue does this blood contain I How it beautifies! How it glorifies!"—H. Bonar.
to serve the living God! lf we experience in ourselves, or in those around us, that there is little of the power and presence of the living God in our religious service, we have here the reason. lf we find that in that service dead works still prevail, and that in prayer and preaching, in home life and work around us, the duties of 'the religious life are performed without the power of the life and Spirit of God, let us learn the lesson— it is only the effectual cleansing, through the Eternal Spirit, of the blood that has been taken into the Holiest, that can fit us to serve the living God. That blood, witnessed to by the Holy Spirit, brings us into the Holiest, and makes God to us a living God! That blood brings the life of the Holiest into our hearts, cleanses our conscience from every dead work, from every attempt and every hope to do anything in our own strength, gives the consciousness that we are now ransomed and set free and empowered from heaven to serve the God of heaven in the power of a life that comes from heaven. The blood of Christ doth indeed cleanse us to serve the living God!
1. How vain it would have been for anyone to seek the priestly consecration with blood, and the entrance into the sanctuary, if he were not to do the priest's service. Let us glee up the valn attempt. Let us seek the power of the blood to serve the lioing God, as His ministers to our fellow-men. The whole inward life of our High Priest, which He lmparts to us, consisted of these two things: it was a life in the will of God, and in self-sacrificing love to men.
2. The priests honoured the blood sprinkled on them by boldly entering the tabernacle. Oh let us honour the blood of the Lamb by believing that it gioes the power for a life in the Holiest, in the service of the lioing God l
3. Conscience tells me what l must think of myself. The blood tells me what God thinks of me. A conscience cleansed with the blood is a conscience that glories in this, that in holiness and in sincerity of God we behave ourselves in the world.
4. Oh to realise it l Christ went into the Holiest, not for Himself, but for us. And we go in, too, by His blood and in His Spirit, not only for ourselves but for others.
THE POWER OF CHRIST'S DEATH RATIFYING THE COVENANT.
IX.—15. And for this cause he Is the mediator of a new covenant, that a death having taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant, they that have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
16. For where a testament Is, there must of necessity be the death of him that made it
17. For a testament is of force where there hath been death: for doth it ever avail while he that made It llveth?
You remember how in chap. viii. we found two names given to our Lord Jesus, indicating the twofold work He does, with God in heaven and in our heart on earth. As a Minister of the sanctuary, He is in God's presence, ministering the grace of the sanctuary to us, and giving us the enjoyment of that presence. As Mediator of the new covenant, He works in our heart on earth, giving God's law within us, as the law of the Spirit of His own life, and fitting us for the worship and fellowship of the sanctuary. ln the first half of this chapter we have had the exposition of how Christ, as Minister of the sanctuary, opened and entered into it through His own blood, and there ministers the everlasting redemption. He does it by cleansing our conscience, in the power of that blood that has prevailed to open heaven, to enter in boldly and freely to serve the living God. In the second half of the chapter He now proceeds to speak of Christ as the Mediator of the new covenant. With the same blood with which He dedicated the sanctuary He has dedicated the covenant too.
And for this cause he is the Mediator of a new covenant, that they that have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. The word promise reminds of what was said of the better covenant, enacted upon better promises. The word inheritance of the oath of God and the inheriting the promise through faith. The word eternal of all we have heard of our Melchizedek, as a Priest for ever, who does all His work in the power of an endless life. Christ has become a Mediator of this new covenant, that the promise of the eternal inheritance, that blessed heritage of eternal life even now made manifest in the promises of the law written in the heart and full personal fellowship with God, might be our portion ; it is the work of the Mediator to ensure our inheriting the promises. But this could not be till a death had taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant. The first covenant had its sanction in God's appointment; the new covenant could not take its place until the first had met with full satisfaction for its claims. There was no way for this, for the redemption of the transgressions it had seen and condemned, but by a death. All the writer had meant in speaking of the blood, he now includes in the expression, a death. The change of the expression reminds us how the two are one. The blood is through the death; the death is for the blood. The bloodshedding and the death are the redemption, the ransom, that by sin-bearing and atonement deliver from transgressions and their power. All the transgressions of the old covenant had been treasured up; the death of Christ gave satisfaction to all that that covenant could claim, and brought release. So the Mediator of the new covenant begins an entirely new economy, with sin put away by the sacrifice of Himself, and an open path to the beginning of a new life in the favour and power of God.
Now follow two verses which have caused no little difficulty. ln English we have for one word in Greek two words of entirely different meaning. The word "covenant," a treaty between two parties, and "testament," the last will by which one party leaves his property to another, are the same in Greek. Through the whole of Scripture the word may always best be translated "covenant," with the exception of the two following verses. Here the argument renders the meaning "testament" or "will" necessary. For where a testament is, there must of necessity be the death of him that made it. For a testament is of force where there hath been death: for doth it ever avail while he that made it liveth? lt is as if the author turns aside for a moment, led to it by what he had just said of them who receive the eternal inheritance, to use the other meaning of the Greek word in order to prove how, in every connection, a death is indispensable. He had spoken of Christ's death as the sacrifice by which the covenant was ratified. To confirm the thought he adds: "When one who has made a testament dies, he passes away, and the heir takes his place,—even so Jesus, the Heir of all things, in His death gave up all, that we might stand in His place, and inherit all."
Would God that our hearts might take it in. A death having taken place! Now the covenant is sure. The redemption of past transgressions is sure; we may now claim and take the promise of the eternal inheritance. A death having taken place I Now the testament avails. The maker of the testament has died, to put us in complete possession of all He had and all He won for us. And, praise God! He lives again, as no other maker of a testament ever lives, to put us in full possession of the inheritance, and to be Himself its chiefest measure and joy; as Minister of the true sanctuary to keep us in God's presence; as Mediator of the new covenant to keep our heart in the full enjoyment of all its blessings.
7. Everyone can understand how absolutely a last will or testament needs a death. This must help us to believe that a covenant needs it as much for the redemption of transgressions. As sure as the death of a maker of a testament puts the heir in complete possession of the promise, so surely has the death of the Mediator made a perfect redemption from all transgression.
2. Let us get firmly hold of this: in virtue of His death the first covenant could be set aside and the second dedicated with His blood. The second covenant has entirely to do with keeping our heart and life in a right state for entering the sanctuary and abiding there. Let me believe lt can and shall be fulfilled.
EVEN THE FIRST COVENANT-NOT WITHOUT BLOOD.
IX—18. Wherefore even the first oovenant hath not been dedicated without blood
19. For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses unto all the people according to the law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself, and all the people, saying,
20. This is the blood of the covenant which God commanded to you-ward.
21. Moreover the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry he sprinkled in like manner with the blood.
22. And according to the law, I may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and apart from shedding of blood there is no remission.
THE writer returns here to the idea of the covenant in ver. 15. He had there said that a death was needed for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, ere Christ, as Mediator of the new, could put the heirs in possession of the promise. ln confirmation of this necessity, he reminds us how even the first covenant was not dedicated without blood.
God has made more than one covenant with, man, but ever, not without blood! And why? We know the answer (Lev. xvii. 11): The life (soul) of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh atonement by reason of tlte life. The life is in the blood. The blood shed is the token of death, life taken away. Death is always and everywhere God's judgment on sin: The sting of death is sin. The shed blood sprinkled upon the altar, or the person, is the proof that death has been endured, that the penalty of the transgressions, for which atonement is being made, has been borne. ln some cases the hands were laid upon the head of the sacrifice, confessing over it, and laying upon it, the sin to be atoned for. The shed blood upon the altar was the pledge that God accepted the death of the substitute: the sins were covered by the blood, and the guilty one restored to God's favour. Apart from blood-shedding there is no remission; in the blood-shedding there is remission, full and everlasting.
Not without blood! This is the wondrous note that rings through all Scripture, from Abel's sacrifice at the gate of paradise to the song of the ransomed in Revelations. God is willing to receive fallen man back again to His fellowship, to admit him to His heart and His love, to make a covenant with him, to give full assurance of all this; but—not without blood. Even His own Son, the Almighty and All-perfect One, the gift of His eternal love, even He could only redeem us, and enter the Father's presence, in submission to the word, not without blood. But, blessed be God, the blood of the Son of God, in which there was the life of the Eternal Spirit, has been given, and has now wrought an eternal redemption! He did, indeed, bear our sins, and take them away. He put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself The life He poured out in His blood-shedding was a life that had conquered sin, and rendered a perfect obedience. The blood-shedding as the completion of that life, in its surrender to God and man, has made a complete atonement, a covering up, a putting away of sin. And so the blood of the new covenant, in which God remembers our sins no more, cleanses our heart to receive His law so into it, that the spirit of His law is the spirit of our life, and takes us into full and direct fellowship with Himself. It was in this blood of the eternal covenant that God brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus: the blood had so atoned for sin and made an end of it that, in its power, Christ was raised again. lt became the power of a new life to Him and to us. With it He opened the way into the Holiest for us; the way into our hearts for Himself.
Not without blood! ln earth and heaven, in each moment of our life, in each thought and act of worship, this word reigns supreme. There can be no fellowship with God, but in the blood, in the death, of His blessed Son.
But, praised be His name, in that blood there is an access and a fellowship, a life and a blessedness, a nearness and a love, that passeth understanding! Let us seek to cultivate large thoughts of what the blood has effected and can effect. Men have sometimes rejected the word: its associations are so coarse and at variance with a finer culture. Others do not reject it, and yet have not been able to sympathise with or approve the large place it sometimes takes in theology and devotion. The strange fascination, the irresistible attraction the word has, is not without reason. There is not a word in Scripture in which all theology is so easily summed up. All that Scripture teaches of sin and death, of the incarnation and the love of Christ, of redemption and salvation, of sin and death conquered, of heaven opened and the Spirit poured out, of the new covenant blessings, of a perfect conscience and a clean heart, and access to God and power to serve Him, personal attachment to Jesus, and of the joy of eternity, has its root and its fruit in this alone: the precious blood of Christ; the blood of the eternal covenant.
1. Hear what Stelnhofer says i "One drop of that blood, sprinkled out of the sanctuary on the heart, changes the whole heart, perfects the conscience, sanctifies the soul, makes the garments clean and white, so that we are meet for fellowship with God, ready and able to lioe in His love. Such a heart, sprinkled and cleansed with the blood of Jesus, is now fitted for all the grace of the new covenant, all the heavenly gifts, all the holy operations of dioine love, all the spiritual blessings of the heavenly places. The blood of the Lamb dves indeed make the sinner pure and holy, worthy and fit to partake of all that the inner sanctuary contains, and to live in God. Therefore the apostle says: Let as, as those whose hearts are sprinkled from an evil conscience, boldly draw near before the face of God. To be sprinkled with the blood, to have the lioing, cleansing, all-pervading power of the blood of Jesus in the heart,—this fits us for serving God, not in the oldness of the letter but in the newness of the Spirit."
HEAVEN ITSELF CLEANSED BY THE BLOOD.
IX.—23. It was necessary therefore that the copies of the things In the heavens should be cleansed with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
24. For Christ entered not Into a holy place made with hands, like In pattern to the true; but Into heaven itself, now to appear before the face of God for us.
Ln the previous verses we saw how, at the dedication of the first covenant with blood, both the book and the people and, later on, the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry, were sprinkled with blood. Even so, the writer tells us, the bloodshedding on earth was not enough, but there was a needs-be that the heavenly things themselves be cleansed with the blood of the better sacrifice, ere heaven could be opened to us, and we obtain access to a life in the presence of God. There must not a vestige or sign of sin be left there, to rise up against us. Such is the power of this better sacrifice and its blood, that the heavenly things themselves were cleansed by it, and that Christ our surety with His own blood, entered into heaven itself, now to appear before the face of God for us. The heavenly things themselves cleansed, and Christ entered into heaven itself for us,—these are the two aspects of the eternal redemption here put before us.
The heavenly things themselves cleansed. What can this mean? We speak of the heavens being dark, black with clouds. The light of the sun is there, but clouded. When the clouds are gone the heavens are bright and clear. God's word speaks of our sins rising up as a cloud, as a smoke before Him. Our sins are come up before Him, are in His presence, written in His book of remembrance, calling for vengeance. God says to lsrael: / have blotted out as a thick cloud thy transgressions, and as a cloud thy sins. Just as the tabernacle had to be sprinkled and cleansed and hallowed from all the uncleanness of the children of Israel, so the heavenly things themselves by the blood of Christ. As the blood was brought in, every vestige of a thought of sin was removed out of God's presence; the heavens were cleansed; the heavens are now clear and bright, and the love of God can shine out in noonday glory.
And this because Christ is not entered into the Holiest, made with hands, but into heaven itself, now to appear before the face of God for us. This is the great consummation to which all the teaching of the heavenly priesthood of Christ, and the true sanctuary, and the blood of the covenant leads up. Heaven itself is now opened up to us. Christ has entered, not simply on His own behalf, but entirely to appear before the face of God for us. Yes, for us, His entering in has obtained for us boldness to enter in. His entering in was through the rent veil; there is no veil now between God and us. We are called to draw nigh in the fulness of faith. We are taught, Ye are come to the heavenly Jerusalem, and to God. Before the face of God, in the presence of God, is now the home of the soul. Heaven is not only a locality, with its limitations, but a state of life, that condition of spiritual existence in the full enjoyment of God's love and fellowship, into which Christ entered. Christ passed through the heavens, was made higher than the heavens. He ascended far above all tlie heavens, that He might fill all things. Heaven itself, the Holiest of All, into which He entered, the presence of God, is now the sphere in which He exercises His heavenly ministry, into which He brings us in as an actual life and experience, in which we alone can truly serve the living God.
And what, we may well ask, what is the reason that so few of God's children can testify to the joy of entering in and having their abode here in the very presence of God? There can be but one answer, There is such a difference between being the heir of a promise and actually inheriting it. Each of the great words of our Epistle, as God's gift to each one of His children, has an infinitude of meaning and blessing and power in it. Christ a Priest for ever; the power of an endless life; He is able to sympathise, able to succour, able to save completely; the true sanctuary, the new covenant, the blood cleansing the heavens, cleansing the conscience,—all these are divine realities, with a power and a glory that the heart of man cannot conceive. lt is only by faith and longsuffering that we inherit the promises. It is as we give up our whole heart and life to be just one act of faith, looking up and longing, praising and expecting, believing and receiving what God gives and works in Christ, that this life in the Holiest will be ours. lt is as our faith sees the divine unity of the once for all and the for ever, that we shall be bold to believe that the for ever, the abiding continually, has in Christ been made ours once for all, and can be made ours in an entering within the veil as clear as that of Christ's. This faith will prove itself in longsuffering. First, as we diligently, perseveringly hold fast, and gaze and draw nigh and wait on God to take us within the veil; and then, as within the veil, in deepest humility and meekness and patience
and resignation to God, we wait upon Him in service, to perfect us in the work for which we were admitted into His very presence.
But remember where all this begins, and wherein it all consists. Not without blood! With His own blood! How much more 3hall the blood of Christ! These words are the key to
this blessed chapter of the opening of the Holiest to us. As we yield to the Holy Spirit, the Eternal Spirit, to testify to us how the way into the Holiest has been made manifest, and what the blood is by which it was done, and what the cleansing of our conscience in that blood to enter in and serve the living God, we shall in fulness of faith be bold to draw nigh and enter in and abide.
1. Think not that lt will be too difficult for thee to dwell always with thy heart up yonder in heaven. When the sun shines on thee, thou dost not think of its distance; thou rejolcest in lts warmth. lt is so near to thee; thou enterest into lt, and lt enters into thee. Even so with Jesus and the heavenly life. Heaven comes down. The kingdom of heaven is come with power; the Holy Spirit gioes and maintains it in thee. The veil is rent, and the light and life of heaven is come down here where we serve in the Holy Place.
2. To open the way to heaven and to God, Jesus died to sin. We that hates and loses his life will find the way to the life of God.
3. Just as the cleansing of the tabernacle was part of the dedicating of the first covenant, so the sprinkling the heavenly sanctuary, the cleansing of the heavens with the blood of the new covenant, is our assurance that the sanctuary is open to us, and that the covenant is sure and will be fulfilled to us.
SIN PUT AWAY BY THE SACRIFICE OF HIMSELF.
IX.—25. Nor yet that he should offer himself often; as the high priest entereth Into the Holy Place year by year with blood not his own;
26. Else must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once at the end of the ages hath he been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
27. And Inasmuch as It Is appointed unto men once to die, and after this cometh judgment;
28. So Christ also, having been once offered to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time, apart from sin, to them that wait for him, unto salvation.
Ln the previous verses the spiritual and heavenly character of Christ's work was contrasted with the material and earthly figures of the old worship. Here the contrast will be between the unceasing repetition of the old and the once and for ever of the new. Repetition is the proof of imperfection: what needs doing only once is finished, is perfect, is for ever. Now once at the end of the ages hath He been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. As it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment—with death, life is finished and complete, and ripe for judgment; after that comes the full revelation of what that death was—so Christ also, having been once offered to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time—in the full manifestation of what that death accomplished —without sin, to them that wait for Him, unto salvation. What is done once is done for ever: all it waits for is the everlasting manifestation of what is already perfect and complete.
Christ, now once manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself—this is the great lesson of our passage. What Christ effected by His dying once, is for ever. And what He did effect was this—He put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. He was manifested to put it away out of God's presence, out of His book and His remembrance—to put it away from us, so that it has no more power over us, and we enter upon an entirely new state of life, with sin removed and God's law written in our heart.
The question comes up, ls not the expression too strong? Is not the experience of the Church a proof that it cannot be meant so literally? The solution of the difficulty will be found in a truth that leads us into one of the deepest mysteries of the spiritual life. As we saw in our last meditation, the words of God have a divine, an infinite fulness of meaning. They set before us what is an actual fact, a divine reality, a spiritual truth in the power of the endless life. But this truth is seldom fully understood or accepted by believers. And as their knowledge limits their faith, and their faith their experience, the human exposition and witness of what God means seldom if ever reaches to the fulness of what the word contains. We limit the Holy One of lsrael perhaps most when we think we honour Him, by thinking that we know and hold in our formulas all His word means. With its divine contents the word infinitely exceeds our apprehension, and ever invites us to press on to perfection, and prove the deeper and higher truth there is still hidden in the old familiar words. lt is as we yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit, whose it is to reveal the power of the blood and the opening of the way into the Holiest, that we shall be led to inherit this promise too, in all its divine significance—sin put away by the sacrifice of Himself.
By the sacrifice of Himself. The words reveal the inmost meaning of the death of Christ: it was self-sacrifice. Sin, in its deepest root, is a turning from God to self; rejecting God to please self. From the wilderness to the garden this was the one temptation with which Satan sought to lead Him astray. By doing not His own will but the will of His Father, by the sacrifice of Himself to God and His will, He conquered sin in His own person, and gained a victory over it whereby it was for ever vanquished and brought to nought. He gave Himself up to death, as His submittal to it to do its utmost, rather than yield to its temptation. He gave Himself up to death, as His submittal to God's righteous judgment upon sin. lt was in this that His death to sin, as the obedient One, that His death for sin, as our Substitute, had its power, and His atonement its efficacy. To Him, our Head, death was a personal spiritual victory, and thereby a vicarious propitiation. In both aspects He made an end of sin, and of both we are made partakers.
And how? By the sacrifice of Himself He put away sin.1 And now He offers us Himself to take the place of sin. He gives Himself, the sacrificed One, who has finished redemption, to us to put away sin within us, too. lt is as the Son, the living One, that He is High Priest; it is in eternal life power, by a life working in us, that He brings us to God. And so, by His Spirit, He, in His self-sacrifice, lives in us, and makes it true in the
i "The putting away of sin. The thought goes beyond the redemption from transgressions (ver. 15). It is literally for the disannulling of sin (comp. vii. 18). Sin is vanquished, shown in its weakness, 'set at nought' (Mark vii. 9; Gal. iii. 15)."— Westcott.
experience of each true disciple—sin put away by the sacrifice of self. The law for the Head is the law for every member.
And now the alternative is put before us: Which shall it be? Sin and myself or Christ and His Self. Christ has opened for us a heavenly life-sphere, out of which sin has been put away— the sanctuary of God's presence. Which shall it be—selfpleasing or self-sacrifice—a life in self or a life in Christ. Though we may not always be able to see fully all that Christ's work means, or realise all the riches of blessing it brings, there is one word not difficult to carry in which all is centred. That word is Himself. He gave Himself a sacrifice for sin; He gives Himself the putter away, the conqueror of sin; He is Himself all we can desire or need. Blessed the soul that rests in nothing less than Himself.
1. Sin is the refusal to sacrifice one's self to God. Self-sacrifice in the fellowship and Spirit of Jesus is the way out of sin to God.
2. Christ as our Head is our Substitute. The value of His work as Substitute rests in His per' sonal character and obedience. The two aspects are inseparable both in Him and in us. We draw nigh to Him and accept Him, and are saved at once by Him as our Substitute. But then we are at once lmplanted into Him, and the spirit in which He worked our salvation is imparted to us. And so salvation by sacrifice, putting away sin by the sacrifice of self, rules our whole being.