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Chapter XXIV

CHAPTER XXIV.

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"Then said I, Lo, I am come to do Thy will, O God. In which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all."—Hbb. X. 7-10.

"Lo, I come. I delight to do Thy will, O my God."—Ps. xL 7, 8.

T~\AVLD had said: Sacrifices and offerings Thou

U wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein. They had been appointed for a time, as a shadow or picture; they were not what God sought, or what could please Him; they were not really the will of God. David understood that what God wanted was the doing of His Will, and said: I delight to do Thy will, 0 my God. While saying this of himself, he spake it of Christ, in whom alone its true fulfilment could be found. They are the great words with which Christ coming into the world announces His work: Lo, I am come to do Thy will, 0 God. If we are really to penetrate to the very heart of what Christ is and means, of what He did for us and does in us, we must seek to know Him as come from heaven to earth to do the will of God, and so to restore the doing of God's will on earth to the place it has in heaven.

His doing of God's will is first contrasted with the sacrifices and offerings of the Old Testament worship, and then specially connected with the offering of His own body once for all. Of this will of God, as thus done by Him, even unto death, we are taught that in it we have been sanctified, because by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Let us try and learn the great lessons that there are to be found here in connection with our study of the will of God.

The doing of God's will is the only worship that is pleasing to God.—It was this alone that gave their value to the Old Testament sacrifices. Not in the costliness or the multitude of the offerings lay their value, but in the disposition; in the contrition, or the faith, or the consecration of which they were the expression. Not even in these however, except as they were a Divine appointment, and were brought in accordance with God's own command. If not accompanied by obedience they were worse than useless. "Obedience is better than sacrifice." "Thou desirest not sacrifice; Thou delightest not in burnt-offering; the sacrifices of God are a broken heart." It is as far as they were the doing of God's will that they were well-pleasing. And so they became the symbols of a life given up in devotion to God, wholly yielded to His will and service. The doing of God's will is the secret of acceptable worship.

Christ came to this world to do the will of God. —He came and lived as man to show us that the one thing God asks of the creature, that the one thing that can bring the creature life and blessedness, is the doing of the will of God. With this view He not only submitted Himself to all the commandments and ordinances of the law; in all His life and work, in His eating and speaking, in His travels and miracles, He lived a life of absolute dependence upon God's guidance—in everything He did only God's will, He did all God's will. He knew that it was God's will that He should die as a propitiation for our sins. As the time came near, and all that that would imply opened up before His human nature, He had more than once occasion to say: How am I straitened! Now is My Soul troubled! My Soul is sorrowful even unto death! But through it all He thought of God's will; the surrender to God's will sustained Him. And He gave Himself to be what the sin-offering and burntoffering had only typified, a sacrifice unto God, obedient even unto death. It was this gave His inconceivable suffering its inconceivable value; it was borne as the will of God, laying God's just judgment upon Him that the guilty might go free.

It is Christ's doing the will of God even unto death that has effected our salvation. — "In which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." The word sanctified is used here in its larger sense, as it includes justification and regeneration, and the whole of redemption—our being restored to the fellowship of God, and taken possession of by Him. The great sin of Adam and of mankind was doing their own will instead of God's will. The great, the only root, of all sin and misery was self-will. Jesus Christ came to take away sin. He did so by a life and a death of the most perfect sacrifice of His will to the will of God. He bore the consequence, the punishment, the curse that our selfwill had brought. Through His perfect obedience to God's will He made a perfect atonement for our sin, and won for the will of God its place of supremacy in this sinful world. He did this by the offering of His body, once for all, and so perfected for ever them that are sanctified. "By the obedience of one, many are made righteous." As the partakers of a complete and perfect righteousness, won by obedience to the will of God, as "created after the image of God in righteousness," their entrance into the perfect love and life of God is complete and for ever.

The doing of God's will by which Christ wrought out our salvation is now and ever the power of the salvation He imparts.—Doing God's will is not only, as many think, the price by which salvation was won. Doing God's will is salvation itself. In Christ it was the power that conquered every temptation to self-will, that proved what human life ought really to be, that brought a perfect human life and laid it a sacrifice at God's feet, that broke for ever the power of self-will in its dominion over us. In Christ it proved that sacrificing self-will to the very utmost, doing the will of God even unto death, is the path to the fulness of the life and glory of God. In Christ, doing the will of God is seen to be the life and joy of heaven brought down to earth, and the power to rise from earth to heaven. Doing God's will is at once the cause, the object, the power, the blessedness of salvation.

It is only by Christ in us that we can in any measure do the will of God on earth as it is done in Heaven—The prayer that Christ taught us was meant to be heard; God answers it in many various degrees. To pray it daily means to aim at it in the faith of God's answer. And yet how many earnest Christians who are utterly hopeless in regard to it. Their surrender to do God's will is ever failing. Is not the great reason that they are attempting it in the power of a life that is not wholly possessed by Jesus Christ? Listen to His Word: "Lo, I am come to do Thy will." All power to do God's will is in Him. As we can truly say, Christ liveth in me, we shall find His strength is perfected in our weakness. The call comes to each believer, as one sanctified in the will of God, by the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all, and perfected for evermore, to accept the will of God as done by Christ for us, as still being done in us by Him, as God's free gift in Christ Jesus. The one thing needed, when the heart sees and accepts and loves and vows this doing of God's will as its one desire, is the faith that Jesus does take charge of a surrendered will, and that in the power of Him who lives in heaven and lives in us, the doing of God's will can become our daily life.