SECTION EIGHT.-x. 1-18.
The New Way into the Holiest.
THE SACRIFICES OF THE LAW CANNOT MAKE PERFECT.
X.—1. For the law having a shadow of the good things to come, not the very Image of the things, they can never with the same sacrifices year by year, which they offer continually, make perfect them that draw nigh.
2. Else would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshippers, having been once cleansed, would have had no more conscience of sins?
3. But in those sacrifices there Is a remembrance made of sins year by year.
4. For It is Impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins.
We have now seen the Priest for ever, able to save completely (chap, vii.); the true sanctuary in which He ministers (chap, viii.); and the blood through which the sanctuary was opened, and we are cleansed to enter in (chap. ix.). There is still a fourth truth of which mention has been made in passing, but which has not yet been expounded, What is the way into the Holiest, by which Christ entered in? What is the path in which He walked when He went to shed His blood and pass through the veil to enter in and appear before God? In other words, what was it that gave His sacrifice its worth, and what the disposition, the inner essential nature of that mediation that secured His acceptance as our High Priest. The answer to be given in the first eighteen verses of this chapter will form the conclusion of the doctrinal half of the Epistle, and especially of the higher teaching it has for the perfect.
To prepare the way for the answer, the chapter begins with once again reminding us of the impotence of the law. The law having a shadow of the good things to come, not the very image of the things. The law had only the shadow, not the substance. The gospel gives us the very image. The image of God in which man was created was an actual spiritual reality. The Son Himself, as the image of the Father, was His true likeness—ever in possession of His Father's life and glory.
When man makes an image, it is but a dead thing. When God gives an image it is a living reality, sharing in the life and the attributes of the original. And so the gospel brings us not a shadow, a picture, a mental conception, but the very image of the heavenly things, so that we know and have them, really taste and possess them. A shadow is first of all a picture, an external figure, giving a dim apprehension of good things to come. Then, as the external passes away, and sight is changed into faith, there comes a clearer conception of divine and heavenly blessings. And then faith is changed into possession and experience, and the Holy Spirit makes the power of Christ's redemption and the heavenly life a reality within us. Some Christians never get beyond the figures and shadows; some advance to faith in the spiritual good set forth; blessed they who go on to full possession of what faith had embraced.
In expounding what the law is not able to do, the writer uses four remarkable expressions which, while they speak of the weakness of the law with its shadows, indicate at the same time what the good things to come are, of which Christ is to bring us the very image, the divine experience.
The priests can never make perfect them that draw nigh. This is what Christ can do. He makes the conscience perfect. He hath perfected us for ever. These words suggest the infinite difference between what the law could do, and Christ has truly brought. What they mean in the mind of God, and what Christ our High Priest in the power of an endless life can make them to be to us, this the Holy Spirit will reveal. Let us be content with no easy human exposition, by which we are content to count the ordinary low experience of the slothful Christian— the hope of being pardoned, as an adequate fulfilment of what God means by the promises of the perfect conscience. Let us seek to know the blessing in its heavenly power.
The worshippers once cleansed would have had no more conscience of sins. This is the perfect conscience—when there is no more conscience of sins—a conscience that, once cleansed in the same power in which the blood was once shed, knows how completely sin has been put away out of that sphere of spiritual fellowship with God to which it has found access.
In those sacrifices there is a remembrance made of sins year by year. The cleansing of the heavens and the putting away of sin is so complete that with God our sins are no more remembered. And it is meant that the soul that enters fully into the Holiest of All, and is kept there by the power of the eternal High Priest, should have such an experience of His eternal, always lasting, always acting redemption, that there shall be no remembrance of aught but of what He is and does and will do. As we live in the heavenly places, in the Holiest of All, we live where there is no more remembrance of sins.
It is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins. What is impossible for the law is what Christ has done. He takes away not only guilt but sins, and that in such power of the endless life that those that draw nigh are made perfect, that there is no more conscience of sins, that there be no more remembrance of sins.
To how many Christians the cross and the death of Christ are nothing so much as a remembrance of sins. Let us believe that by God's power, through the Holy Spirit, revealing to us the way into the Holiest, it may become the power of a life, with no more conscience of sins, and a walk with a perfect conscience before God.
7. Here we have again the contrast between the two systems. in the one God spake by the prophets, glving thoughts and conceptions — shadows of he good things to come. But now He speaks to us in His Son, the likeness of God, who glves us he very image, the actual likeness, in our experience of the heavenly things. lt is the deep contrast between the outward and the inward—the created and the dioine.
2. A perfect conscience. No more conscience of sin. Let me not fear and say, Yes, this is the conscience Christ glves, but it is lmpossible for me to keep lt or enjoy its blessing permanently. Let me believe in Him who is my Priest, after the power of an endless life, who ever lioes to pray, and is able to save completely, becavse every moment His blood and love and power are in full operation,—the perfect conscience in me, becavse He is for me in heaven, a Priest perfected for evermore.
A BODY DIDST THOU PREPARE FOR ME.
X.—6. Wherefore when he oometh Into the world, he salth,
Sacrifice and offerlDg thou wouldest not,
But a body didst thou prepare for me;
6. In whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hadst no pleasure:
7. Then said I, Lo, I am come
On the roll of the book it is written of me)
To do thy will, O God.
THE writer has reminded us of the utter insufficiency of the sacrifices of the law to do what was needed to take sin away, or to perfect the worshipper. ln contrast to these he will now unfold to us the inner meaning, the real nature and worth of the sacrifice of Christ. ln speaking of the blood in chap. ix. he has taught us what its infinite power and efficacy is. But what we need still to know is this: what gave it that infinite efficacy; what is its spiritual character, and what its essential nature, that it has availed so mightily to open for us the way to God. Even when we believe in Christ's death, we are in danger of resting content with what is not much better than its shadow, the mere doctrinal conception of what it has effected, without entering so into its divine significance, that the very image, the real likeness of what it means, enters into us in power.
Our writer here again finds what he wants to expound, in the Old Testament. He quotes from Psalm xl., where the Psalmist uses words which, though true of himself, could only have their full meaning revealed when the Messiah came. Our author makes special use of two significant expressions, A body thou didst prepare for Me, and, Lo, I am come to do Thy will, 0 God. Speaking of the sacrifices of the Old Testament, the Psalmist had shown that he understood that they never were what God really willed: they were but the shadows pointing to something better, to a spiritual reality, a life in the body given up to the will of God, as a divine prophecy of what has now been revealed in Christ.
A body didst thou prepare for Me. lnstead of the sacrifices, God prepared a body for Christ, which He so offered up or sacrificed that we have now been sanctified by the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Christ's body was to Him just what any man's is to him—the dwelling and organ of the soul; the channel for intercourse with the outer world, susceptible of impressions of pleasure and of pain, and therefore one of the first occasions of temptation. His body was a part of His human personality and life. He was in danger, just as we are, of using the body for His own service or pleasure, a means of gratifying self. But He never did this. He was filled with one thought—God prepared Me this body; l have it for His disposal, for His service and glory; l hold it ready every moment to be a sacrifice to Him. The body comes from God; it belongs to Him; it has no object of existence but to please Him. The one value My body has is, that l can give it a sacrifice to God.
lt was the purpose of the Old Testament sacrifices to waken this disposition in the worshipper. There was to be not only the thought—as specially in the sin offering—This sacrifice dies in my stead, so that l need not die. But the farther thought — this the burnt offering specially symbolised—The giving up of this lamb and its life in sacrifice to God, is the image and the pledge of my giving up my life to Him. l offer the sacrifice to God, in token of my offering myself to Him. Substitution and Consecration were equally symbolised in the altar.
This was the feeling of David in writing the Psalm. What he could only partly understand and fulfil has been realised in Christ. And what Christ accomplished for us, of that we become full partakers as it is wrought into us, in a life of fellowship with Him. The word comes to us, Present your bodies a living sacrifice unto God. The real essential nature of the sacrifice of Christ, what gives it worth and efficacy, is this: the body that God prepared for Him, He offered up to God. And just as David, before Christ, through the Spirit of Christ, said these words of himself, so every believer after Christ, in the Spirit and power of Christ, says them too: A body hast thou prepared for me. This is the new and living way that Christ has opened up. David walked in it by anticipation; Christ the Leader and Forerunner walked in it and fully opened it up ; it is only as we, too, by participation with Him, walk in it, that we can find access into the Holiest.
Every believer who would be fully delivered from the Old Testament religion, the trust in something done outside of us, that leaves us unchanged, and would fully know what it means that we are sanctified and perfected by the one offering of the body of Christ, must study to appropriate fully this word as true of Christ and himself as a member of His body—A body didst thou prepare for Me. ln paradise it was through the body sin entered; in the body it took up its abode and showed .its power. ln the lust for forbidden food, in the sense of nakedness and shame, in the turning to dust again, sin proved its triumph. In the body grace will reign and triumph. The body has been redeemed; it becomes a temple of the Spirit and a member of Christ's body; it will be made like His glorious body. A body didst thou prepare for Me: through the body lies, for Christ and all who are sanctified in Him, the path to perfection.
And yet how many believers there are to whom the body is the greatest hindrance in their Christian life. Simply because they have not learnt from Christ what the highest use of the body is—to offer it up to God. lnstead of presenting their members unto God, of mortifying the deeds of the body through the Spirit, of keeping under tlie body, they allow it to have its way, and are brought into bondage. Oh for an insight into the real nature of our actual redemption, through a body received from God, prepared by Him, and offered up to Him.
7. The soul dwells in the body. The body has been well compared to the walls of a city. in time of war, not only the city and lts indwellers must be under the rule of the king, but specially the walls. Jesus, for whom God prepared a body, who offered His body, knows to keep the body too.
2. The mystery of the incarnation is that Godhead dwelt in a body. The mystery of atonement, the one offering of the body of Christ. The mystery of full redemption, that the Holy Spirit dwells in and sanctifies wholly the body too.
3. "Know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you? Glorify God. therefore, in your body." Did you ever know that the Holy Spirit ls specially glven for the body: to regulate its functions, and sanctify it wholly?
LO, I AM COME TO DO THY WILL.
X.—8. Saying above, Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou wouldest not, neither had pleasure therein (the which are offered according to the law),
9. Then hath he said, Lo, I am come to do thy will. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.
10. By which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
On the word, A body didst thou prepare for Me, as the expression of God's claim, there follows now in the Psalm that other on the surrender to that claim—Lo, I am come to do Thy will.
ln this, the doing of God's will, we have the destiny of the creature, the blessedness of heaven, the inmost secret of redemption. ln this consists the worth of Christ's sacrifice, and this alone is the reason why His blood prevails. The path He opened up to God, the path He walked in and we walk in, to enter the Holiest, is—I am come to do Thy will. lt is through God's will alone we enter in to God Himself. The central blessing, Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant, gives us, when He gives us Himself, is a heart in which the will of God lives.
We have more than once spoken of the two aspects of Christ's death—substitution with the atonement it wrought, and fellowship with the conformity it brings. The two are inseparably connected. As long as we look to the substitution simply as an act accomplished outside of us, without seeking to know its inner nature and meaning, the fellowship and conformity of Christ's death will be an impossibility. But as we enter into the real meaning of the death for us and in our stead, to that which constituted its divine life and power, we shall find that death and the life out of death becomes ours in truth, laying hold of us, and bringing us into the true life-fellowship with our blessed Leader and Forerunner; we shall see and experience that what was to Him the way into the Holiest will be to us the only but the certain, the living way thither.
Lo, I am come to do Thy will, 0 God. "He humbled Himself, and became obedient—therefore God hath highly exalted Him." Because God is the all-perfect fountain of life and goodness and blessing, there can be no life or goodness or blessing but in His will. The whole evil and ruin of sin is that man turned from God's will to do his own. The redemption of Christ had no reason, no object, and no possibility of success, except in restoring man to do God's will. lt was for this Jesus died. He gave up His own will; He gave His life, rather than do His own will. lt was this that gave value to His bearing our sins, with their curse and consequences, to His tasting death for every man. lt was this that gave such infinite worth to His blood. lt was this that made Him a real propitiation for the sins of the world. And it is this we are made partakers of—first, as an obedience for the sake of which we are made righteous; but, further also, in the fellowship of the very spirit of the death and the life in which He entered the presence of God. I come to do Thy will, is the way into the Holiest, for Him and for us.
By which will we have been sanctified. By which will, as willed by God, as done and fulfilled by Christ in His one offering, as accepted by us in faith. When we accept Christ, the will of God wrought out in Christ on our behalf, is accepted by us too; it becomes the power that rules in our life by the Holy Spirit. In which will, not as a dead past transaction, or as the mere performance of a certain work to be done, but as a living eternal reality restoring man into God's will in living power—this it is in which we have the new and living way to God.
In which will we have been sanctified. Sanctification in this Epistle is a word of larger meaning than what is meant by that title in ordinary Church doctrine. It includes all that is implied in bringing us into living fellowship with God. He is the Holy One. His life is His holiness. The inner sanctuary to which we enter in, is the Holiness of Holinesses. ln chap. ii. we read: Both He that sanctifieth, and they who are sanctified are all of one. Our sanctification is rooted in our oneness with Jesus. In the which will we are sanctified, delivered from the power of sin and this evil world, brought into fellowship with the Holy One, and fitted for entering the Holiest of All.
In the which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ. His offering has such power, because it was the doing of the will of God, the entering into the will of God, and through it into the holiness of God, into the very Holiest of All. And now, as no one but Christ had power of Himself to say, Lo, I am come to do Thy will, so no one can speak thus, or live thus, but because the divine nature of Christ is truly born and formed within him, and is become the life of his life and the spirit of his Spirit. lt is thus that His priesthood manifests His power to bring us nigh to God.
Fellow-Christian! hast thou learnt to believe and to regard
thyself as sanctified in the will of God as done by Jesus, admitted
to the fellowship of the Holy One? ls not this possibly the reason that thou hast not yet entered the rest of God within the veil, because thou hast never, in accepting Christ, accepted that which really constitutes Him the Christ? He is the Christ who came to do tliewill of God—this constitutes Him a Saviour. Oh, come and believe that this is what He did for thee and on thy behalf, that thou mightest be able to do it too. The new and living way into the Holiest, which Jesus as Leader and Forerunner hath opened up, is the way of a body prepared for me by God, a body offered to Him, and a life given to do His will. As l say with Jesus, l am come to do Thy will, l have no other object in life, for this alone l live, I shall with Him abide in God's presence.
1. The only way to God is through the will of God. A truth so simple and self-evident l and yet so deep and spiritual that but few fully apprehend it. Yes, this is the way, the only way, the new and lioing way into the Holiest which Jesus opened up. Let us follow Him, our Leader and Forerunner, walking in His footsteps, in the will of God.
2. Be not afraid to say—Yes, O my God, here am l, absolutely given up in everything to do the will of God; by Thy grace and Holy Spirit, to make every part of my being a doing of the will of God l So help me, God l
3. For the penitent convert it is enough to know the beginning of the doctrine of Christ, His obedience has atoned and makes me rightevus. The believer who seeks to grout and become conformed to the image of the Son, seeks and finds more. The obedience that gave the sacrifice lts power in heaven, exercises that power in his heart. The adorable Substitute becomes the beloved Leader and Brother, the High Priest in the power of the heavenly life, bringing us near to God by leading us and keeping us in His will.
ONCE AND FOR EVER.
X.—11. And every priest Indeed standeth day by day ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, the which can never take away sins:
12. But he, when he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
13. From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made the footstool of his feet.
14. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
In the last verses of chap, vii., where the eternal priesthood of Jesus had been set forth, He was spoken of as one who needeth not daily to offer, for this He did once for all, when He offered up Himself—a Son, perfected for evermore. And so in chap, ix., with its teaching of the efficacy of His blood, we had the thought repeated, Christ entered in once for all. Not that He should offer Himself often, else must He have often suffered; now once hath He been manifested; Christ once offered shall appear a second time. The contrast is put as strongly as possible between the sacrifices ever repeated, and the offering of Christ once for all. So, too, in the beginning of our chapter the impotence of the sacrifices year by year continually is proved from the fact, that the conscience once cleansed would need no new sacrifice; as a fact, they only renewed the remembrance of sins. And now, in the concluding verses of the argument, the thought is summed up and pressed home anew. The priest standeth day by day offering oftentimes; Christ offered one sacrifice for ever. By one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. The once of Christ's work is the secret of its being for ever: the more clear the acceptance of that divine once for all, the more sure the experience of that divine for ever, the continually abiding working of the power of the endless life.
Once and for ever: see how the two go together in the work of Christ in its two principal manifestations. In His death, His sacrifice, His blood-shedding, it is once for all. The propitiation for sin, the bearing and the putting away of it, was so complete that of His suffering again, or offering Himself again, there never can be any thought. God now remembers the sin no more for ever. He has offered one sacrifice for ever; He hath perfected us for ever. No less is it so in His resurrection and ascension into heaven. He entered once for all through His blood into the Holiest. When He had offered one sacrifice for ever, He sat down on the right hand of God. The once for all of His death is the secret of the for ever of the power of His sacrifice. The once for all of His entering through the blood, the power of the for ever of His sitting on the throne.
What is true of Christ is true of His people. The law of His life is the law of theirs. Of the once for all and the for ever of His work on earth and in heaven, their lives and spiritual experience will feel the power and bear the mark. See it in conversion. How many have struggled for years in doubt and fear, simply because they did not apprehend the once for all of Christ's atonement. They could not understand how it was possible for a sinner once for all to believe and be saved. No sooner was it made plain to them that the punishment was borne, that the debt was paid, once for all, all became clear and they counted it their duty and joy at once to accept what was so finished and so sure. And they could see, too, how the once was for ever—the power of the endless life bearing them on into the for ever of God's presence.
And no otherwise is it with the believers entering within the veil, into a life of unclouded and unbroken fellowship. We saw in Christ's work the two manifestations of the once and the for ever. lt was not only in the death and blood-shedding, but in the entering into the Holiest and the blood-sprinkling in heaven. To many it appears at variance with all the laws of growth and development, that there should be a once for all of an entrance within the veil. And yet there are witnesses not a few who can testify that when the once of Christ's entering in was revealed in its infinite power as theirs, all doubt vanished, and not only boldness but power of access was given, which brought them into an experience of the eternal and unchanging power of the heavenly priesthood, and of the kingdom within as set up and kept by the Holy Spirit, which they never had thought of. And that once was followed by the for ever of the continually abiding, which the priesthood of Jesus was meant to secure.
But He, when He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting till His enemies be made the footstool of His feet. We have said before, the Epistle would fill us with the thought of a heavenly Christ; nothing less than the knowledge of that can enable us to live as the partakers of a heavenly calling. Let us fix our eyes here again upon Christ as King. The once of sacrifice and death issues in the for ever of the nearness and the power of God. The once of our entrance into the death of Christ and His life, brings us back to the fellowship with Christ in the love and power of the Father in heaven. His for ever is one of victory, and of the blessed expectation of its full manifestation in the subjugation of every enemy. Our life within the veil may be one too of possession and expectation combined; the enjoyment of the overcoming life, with the going on from strength to strength in the victory over every foe. Between these two pillars—on the one hand, this ONCE FOR ALL, on the other this FOR EVER, the way into the Holiest passes and brings us to the throne of God and of the Lamb.
1. The time when the long and patient preparation was perfected in this once for all wa» in God's hands. Christ waited on the Father. Even so, our full participation in it is not something we can count a thing to be grasped; in the faith of it we bide God's time, seeking each day to live in a redemption that is perfected and eternal. Through faith and longsufferlng we inherit the promises.
2. Once for alL That covers my past completely—my past not only of guilt, but of sin with all its consequences. For ever. That covers my future, with all its possible needs. Between these two, in the present moment, the Now of daily life, l am saved with an everlasting salvation; the To-day of the Eternal Spirit, even as the Holy Ghost saith. To-day—makes the Once and the for ever a daily present reality.
THE SANCTIFIED PERFECTED FOR EVER.
X.—14. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
This verse is in reality the conclusion of the doctrinal part of the Epistle. The four following verses are simply the citation of the words of the new covenant to confirm its teaching with the witness of the Holy Spirit. The writer having, in the context, expounded the nature of Christ's sacrifice, as showing what the way into the Holiest is, sums up his proof of its worth and efficacy in the words: By one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. We find here five of the most important words that occur in the Epistle.
Sanctified. That looks back to the great purpose of Christ's coming, as we had it in chap. ii. Sanctified is cleansed from sin, taken out of the sphere and power of the world and sin, and brought to live in the sphere and power of God's holiness in the Holiest of All. lt looks back, too, to ver. 10: In which will we are sanctified by the offering of the body of Christ.
He hath perfected them that are sanctified. lt not only says that He has finished and completed for them all they need. The word points back to what was said of His own being made perfect. All He became was for us. ln His one sacrifice He was not only perfected Himself, but He perfected us; He took us into the fellowship of His own perfectness, implanted His own perfect life in us, and gave His perfected human nature to us what we were to put on, and to live in.
For ever. He hath perfected us once for all and for ever. His perfection is ours; our whole life is prepared for us, to be received out of His hand.
By sacrifice. The death, the blood, the sacrifice of Christ, is the power by which we have been alike sanctified and perfected. lt is the way which He opened up, in which He leads us with Himself into what He is and does as the One who is perfected for evermore, and the Holiest of All.
By one sacrifice. One because there is none other needed, either by others or Himself; one divine, and therefore sufficient and for ever.
The chief thought of the passage is: He hath for ever perfected them that are being sanctified. The words in ver. io, In which will we have been sanctified, speak of our sanctification as an accomplished fact: we are saints, holy in Christ, in virtue of our real union with Him, and His holy life planted in the centre of our being. Here we are spoken of as being sanctified. There is a process by which our new life in Christ has to master and to perfect holiness through our whole outer being. But the progressive sanctification has its rest and its assurance in the ONCE and FOR EVER of Christ's work. He hath perfected for ever them that are being sanctified.
ln chaps, ix. 9 and x. 1 we read that the sacrifices could never, as touching the conscience, make the worshipper perfect, never make perfect them that draw nigh, so that they have no more conscience of sins. Our conscience is that which defines what our consciousness of ourselves before God should be: Christ makes the worshipper perfect, as touching the conscience, so that there is no more conscience of sins. He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. At the close of the chapter on Christ's priesthood we read of Himself (vii. 28): He is a High Priest, a Son, perfected for evermore. Here at the close of the unfolding of His work, it is said of His saints: He hath perfected them for ever. The perfection in both cases is one and the same. As the Son of Man, as the Second Adam, who lives in all who are His, He perfected Himself for them, and them in Himself. His perfection and theirs are one.
And wherein His perfection consists we know too. (See in ii. 10 and v. 9.) A Leader in the way of glory, God made Him perfect through suffering; perfected in Him that humility and meekness and patience which mark Him as the Lamb, which are what God asks of man, and are man's only fitness for dwelling with God. Having offered up prayer, and having been heard for His godly fear, though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by what He suffered, and was made perfect. His godly fear, His waiting on God in the absolute surrender of His will, His submitting to learn obedience, His spirit of self-sacrifice, even unto death,—it was by this that as man He was perfected, it was in this He perfected human nature, and perfected His people too. ln His death He accomplished a threefold work. He perfected Himself, His own human nature and character. He perfected our redemption, perfectly putting away sin from the place it had in heaven (ix. 23), and in our hearts. He perfected us, taking us up into His own perfection, and making us partakers of that perfect human nature, which in suffering and obedience, in the body prepared for Him, and the will of God done in it, He had wrought out for us. Christ Himself is our perfection; in Him it is complete; abiding in Him continually is perfection.
Let us press on to perfection, was the call with which we were led into the higher-life teaching of the Epistle. Here is our goal. Christ, by one offering, hath perfected us for ever. We know Him as the Priest for ever, the Minister of the new sanctuary, and the Mediator of the new covenant, who by His blood entered into the Holiest; there He lives for ever, in the power of an endless life, to impart to us and maintain within us His perfect life. lt is the walk in this path of perfection, which as our Leader He opened up in doing the will of God, which is the new and living way into the Holiest.
1. The work of Christ is a perfect and perfected work. Everything is finished and complete for ever. And we have just by faith to behold and enter in, and seek and rejoice, and receive out of His fulness grace for grace. Let every difficulty you feel in understanding or claiming the different blessings set before you, or in connecting them, find its solution in the one thought—Christ has perfected us for ever; trust Him, cling to Him, He will do all.
2. One sacrifice for ever. We perfected for ever. And HE who did it all, HE for ever seated on the throne. Our blessed Priest-King, He lioes to make lt all ours. in the power of an endless life, in which He offered Himself unto God, in which He entered the Holiest, He now lioes to gioe and be in our hearts all He hath accomplished. What more can we need? Wherefore, holy brethren 1 partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus.
THE WITNESS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
X.-15. And the Holy ahost also beareth witness to us: for after he hath said,
16. This Is the covenant that I will make with them After those days, saith the Lord;
I will put my laws on their heart, And upon their mind also will I write them; then saith he,
17. And their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
18. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.
The writer has concluded his argument. He has made clear that the sacrifice of Christ, as the offering up of His body to the will of God, had opened for us a new way into the Holiest. Through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ we have been sanctified. When He had offered one sacrifice for ever, He sat down on the right hand of God. By one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. His sacrifice is over, and has everlasting power; in virtue of it He sits on the throne, expecting His final triumph; those He has sanctified are perfected for ever. The sacrifice is of infinite worth; it has opened the entrance to a state of perfect and everlasting holiness and glory; nothing is now needed but to rejoice and wait and see the King on the throne applying and revealing the power of His finished work.
The writer appeals to the words of the institution of the new covenant (viii. 6-13), in support of what he has said. He does so with the words, And the Holy Ghost also beareth witness
to us. The words of Jeremiah are to him the words of the Holy Spirit. He believes in a direct inspiration. It was the God who knows the end from the beginning, who had planned all from the least to the greatest in the preparation of redemption, who had revealed to Jeremiah the new covenant that would be made centuries later. lt was the same Holy Spirit who had inspired the first record of Melchizedek, and the Psalm with the oath of God, who had ordered the tabernacle and the veil to signify that the way into the Holiest was not yet open, and had watched over the first covenant, and its dedication not without blood, through whom the promise of the new covenant was spoken and recorded. Our writer appeals to Him and His witness.
He does so as one who himself has the teaching of that Spirit. Anyone might read the words of the covenant, and of the death of Jesus; no one could connect and expound them in their divine harmony and their everlasting significance but one taught by the same Spirit. These men preaclud the gospel with the Holy Glwst sent down from heaven; the Spirit, from the King sat down upon the throne, revealed in and to them the will of God, and the eternal power of the one sacrifice, to open the way into the Holiest.
And what is now the witness of the Holy Ghost in the new covenant? The witness to the two blessings of the covenant in their divine inseparable unity. I will put My laws in their heart, and their sins will I remember no more. The complete remission of sins, the removal of sin out of God's sight and remembrance for ever, was promised. Now, our writer argues, where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. The one offering hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. The death of Christ has opened up and introduced us into a relationship to God, a state of life before Him, in which sin has been finally put away, and God receives us into His fellowship as those who have been sanctified in Christ. He receives us into the Holiest of All through the blood. The blood that sprinkles the mercy-seat also sprinkles and cleanses our conscience, bringing the full remission, the full deliverance from sin and its power, into our inmost being; and, fitting our heart to receive that Spirit of heaven which witnesses with the blood, as a Spirit of life, puts the law within us, as the law of our life.
And so we enter into the finished work of Christ, and the rest of God in it; enter the perfection with which He Himself was perfected for evermore, and hath perfected us for ever; into that Holiest of All, into which God fulfils the promise, I will be to them a God, and they shall be to Me a people. And the offering of the body of Christ once for all, the one sacrifice for ever, becomes, in ever-growing blessedness, the one thought, the one trust, the one joy, the one life of the believer. His salvation and redemption are finished and eternal realities, His perfection and sanctification too. Our one need is to believe and abide in and receive what our Priest-King on the throne imparts through His Spirit: a full entrance into the no more offering for sin, with all that flows from it, in the person and throne and work of our Priest for ever: this is the entrance into the Holiest.
And the Holy Ghost also beareth witness to us. lt is easy to understand the truth of the forgiveness of sin as one of the elementary foundation truths, of which we read in chap. vi. (ver. i). But if we seek to press on to perfection, and to know what the fulness of salvation is into which it leads, we may count upon the Holy Spirit to reveal it, to witness to it, in our inner life. He reveals it not to the mind, or as the reward of earthly study, but to the poor in spirit and them that are of a lowly heart. It is in the heart God sends forth the Spirit of His Son; the heart that longs for and chooses and loves and waits for this life of perfect fellowship with God more than its chief joy, shall have it witnessed by God's Spirit that the no more offering for sin is indeed the opening up of the Holiest of All. The Holy Ghost who comes from heaven, bears witness of what is in heaven. We can know nothing really of what takes place in heaven but by the Holy Ghost in our heart. Dwelling in us He gives in our inmost life the full witness to all the efficacy of Christ's atonement and His enthronement in the presence of God.
1. The one central truth to which the Holy Spirit testifies is this: that the old way of living and serving God is noui completely and for ever come to an end. Death and the devil are brought to nought; the veil is rent; sin is put away; the old covenant is disannulled, vanished away, taken away. A new system, a new way, a new and eternal life has been opened up in the power of Christ Jesus. Oh to have our eyes and hearts opened to see that is not merely a thought, a truth for the mind, but a spiritual state of existence which the Holy Ghost can bring us into.
2. The Holy Ghost beareth witness. For this He came down on the day of Pentecost out of the heavenly sanctuary and from our exalted Priest-King, to bring down the heavenly life, the kingdom of heaven to the disciples, and make it real to them, as a thing found and felt in their hearts. Each one of us needs and may claim the Holy Spirit in the same Pentecostal power, and the new, the eternal, the heavenly life will fill us too.