Sermon 759. Jesus Putting Away Sin
Delivered on Lord's-day Morning, JULY 7, 1867, by
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington
"...now once in the end of the age has He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself."- Hebrews 9:26.
WHEN the conscience is unenlightened and the heart is rebellious, man is divided from his God by a false sense of personalrighteousness. He imagines that God deals harshly with him, that He looks upon his sin in too severe a light, and that althoughHe may be offended, yet, in some other respects, he has a claim upon the consideration of his Maker. As soon, however, asthe Spirit of God illuminates the understanding, this self-righteousness disappears! It is a flimsy cobweb which the broomof the Law soon sweeps away. It is no more substantial than the mist of the morning, and it is at once dissipated by the risingsun of Divine Grace.
Then man feels himself divided from his God by another and more real barrier-he has given up his self-righteousness, but nowhe is painfully conscious of his sinfulness, which appears to him to be an impassable gulf- separating him forever from thejust and holy God. The more the conscience becomes quickened and the more fully the understanding is enlightened, the moredesponding does the man become as to any hope of his ever becoming acceptable to the Most High. He puts himself into God'sposition-his enlightened understanding enables him to look upon sin in some degree as God would regard it-and he is horrifiedto think that he should have been so ungrateful to so kind a Father!
He is ashamed that he should have broken laws so perfectly just, and he is altogether out of heart with himself for havingdone despite to a government every way so generous and righteous as the moral government of God. The awakened sinner sayswithin himself, "I can never make recompense for the injury which I have done to God's honor. It is not possible that anythingI do or suffer may compensate for my continued rebellion and obstinacy. Even if I could cease from sin in the future, yetI cannot hope to meet my God with peaceful mind when I remember the unhallowed and disgraceful past."
And thus the very enlightenment of conscience, which is one of the best signs of hope in quickened sinners, causes in hima consciousness of sin which becomes to him the ground of self-despair. I have no doubt I have some such in this congregation.Even among you who have believed in Jesus there may be some such. Every now and then we must go back to first principles andget, again, a distressingly vivid sight of sin. We need, once more, to understand how God can be just and yet the justifierof him that believes.
Brethren, if you are now desirous to be at one with God. If your spirit longs for His embrace-and yet you feel as if you couldnot come to God by reason of the sin which troubles you-it will be a great joy to you to know that eternal wisdom has deviseda plan, and carried it out, too, for the effectually putting away of sin! This is a wonder of wonders which will create, forever,enthusiastic gratitude among celestial spirits. Eternity shall not diminish the amazement of our minds at the thought thatthe impenetrable partition wall of our sin has been broken down, and the awful veil of thick darkness which shut us out fromthe Mercy Seat has been forever removed.
Belshazzar's knees knocked together and the joints of his loins were loosened when he saw the handwriting on the wall whichdeclared his condemnation. What joy would have filled his despairing spirit if suddenly that writing had been blotted out,and another hand had written "I have loved you with an everlasting love"! Can you conceive the joy of that astonished monarch-thetransport of that frightened throng?
Yet this morning I have as good news to tell to the penitent as though such were their position, and such the act of pardoningmercy! Jesus has blotted out the handwriting which was against us, and written words of love concerning us! The Angel of Wrathonce stood over Jerusalem, having a drawn sword in his hand, but Jehovah has put away the sin of
His people and now the avenging sword is returned to the scabbard and God regards His Zion with everlasting love! I have saidthat this is a wonder, and so it is, when you recollect that the angels fell.
The sons of the morning kept not their first estate, but for fallen angels there is no putting away of sin. Shut up forever,chained with adamantine bands, their sufferings shall know no pause, their anguish shall find no end. And yet we, creaturesof inferior mold, we have enlisted the sympathy of the Ever Blessed who undertook to make atonement for our sin, and has achievedthe purpose of His Grace. Brethren, it might have been easy enough for God to have put away human sin itself by the destructionof our race. It would no more need an effort of power on God's part to destroy us than for us to tread upon a moth-no, Hismere will could have done it-and I do not know that one of the crowns of His glory would have lost a jewel.
He might instantly have created another race superior to ourselves if so it had pleased Him, and every gap which the destructionof mankind might have caused in the universe might have been at once filled up. But, wonder of wonders, He spares us at avast expense-He spared not His own Son, but freely delivered Him up for us all! It has sometimes been asked why God did notpardon sin without an atonement. That is a question which we must leave those to answer who propound it. We do not doubt butwhat God might have done so if so He had willed-we doubt whether He ever would have willed to do so, for our view of the constitutionof His glorious Character seems to require that sin should be punished.
But that is not a question for us-we know that the Lord has not willed to let sin escape. He has been pleased to make thedisplay of His Grace to sinners an opportunity for the revelation of all His other attributes, that-
"God, in the Person of His Son,
Has all His mightiest works outdone." Without raising questions which would minister no profit to us, it is ours to beholdthe great love which the Lord has loved us-that He sent His Son to redeem us from our iniquities by the shedding of His ownmost precious blood-
"Oh, fathomless abyss!
Where hidden mysteries lie!
The seraph finds his bliss
Within the same to pry.
Lord, whatis man, Your desperate foe,
That You should bless and love him so?" I propose, this morning, as God may help me, to comfort those who are longing forreconciliation with God by showing them that no difficulties exist, since Jesus Christ has forever put away the sin whichwould have separated a penitent soul from its God. We shall look at the text carefully, and I think we shall notice in itseveral things which minister comfort to seeking sinners. Jesus Christ has appeared once, in the end of the age, to put awaysin by the sacrifice of Himself.
I. Let us consider, first, THE TIME OF THIS GREAT PUTTING AWAY OF SIN, in the end of the world, or the age-"in these lastdays"-as one of the Apostles words it. Why was that time selected? Was it not in order to exercise the faith of ancient saints,who, like Abraham, saw Christ's day in vision-saw Him and were glad? They were denied the great privilege which we possess.Prophets and kings desired it long, but died without the sight. Nevertheless, above the mausoleum of ancient saints we readthis inscription, "These all died in faith."
They rested in confidence in the Messiah that was to come, and their faith received its reward. Did not God place the puttingaway of sin at the close of the age in order to glorify His Son by letting us see that the very anticipation of His deathwas sufficient for the salvation of men? Before Peter touched the sick, we find that his shadow had a healing efficacy, andso, before Jesus literally took upon Himself our flesh, we find that the shadow of His Advent saved the chosen sons of men!
Long before the sun has risen in these summer mornings, the twilight begins. Before his wheel has touched the horizon, hisrefracted light banishes the darkness. And so, before the Savior actually came there was a blessed twilight of Gospel Grace,in the light of which Patriarchs found their way to Jerusalem the golden. Let us glorify the blood of Jesus, which in God'sdecree was shed from before the foundations of the world! Let us magnify the Divine Sacrifice which, before it was led tothe slaughter was capable of redeeming from death and Hell unnumbered thousands of God's elect!
Was not this Sacrifice placed at the end of the world to be, as it were, the crown of all Jehovah's works? I see before mea stupendous pyramid, the base of it is exceedingly broad. It is the inanimate creation. Stars unnumbered lie close to-
gether at its base like the sands of the Libyan desert. Ponderous masses of matter underlie the whole amazing structure, allradiant with the glory of God with a light like a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.
Measureless fields of space and all but infinite leagues of matter form the grosser basis of the pyramid which now rises beforemy astonished vision. Overlying this, as though it were a layer of malachite or emerald veined with blue, and scarlet, andvermillion, I see the vegetable creation with all its beauty of form and splendor of color-cedar and hyssop, olive and lily,oak and bramble. No art of man or polished jewels of the mine can rival its magnificence. Over these, sparkling like the stonewhich was full of eyes, I see the animal kingdom with its mingled varieties of symmetry and strength, energy and vitality.
Here on high the pyramid is narrower, but its light is far more excellent, for the likeness of the living creatures sparkleand flash like burning coals of fire, with an energy unseen in the broader foundations which are placed beneath. Beasts andall cattle, creeping things and flying fowl all magnify the master Builder who has ordained for them their place in the pyramidof His manifested glory. Higher still I see man, who is made to have dominion over all the lower works of God-man, of whomit is written, "You have been in Eden the garden of God. Every precious stone was your covering, the sardius, topaz, and thediamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold."
Above these I see men twice made-the regenerated men, the precious sons of Zion-comparable to fine gold, the peculiar portionand crown jewels of Jehovah. But can my eyes endure to gaze upon the glowing brightness which forms the apex of the glitteringpyramid? I look, and lo, above the firmament, higher than the Heaven of Heaven, I see the likeness of a throne, as the appearanceof a sapphire stone, and upon the throne there sits the Son of Man in all the brightness of His Father's glory, encircledwith a rainbow like unto an emerald, and hymned by innumerable spirits in strains like these: "You are worthy, O Lord, toreceive glory and honor and power: for You have created all things, and for Your pleasure they are and were created."
O my Soul, are you not overwhelmed with the vision of Man upon the Throne of God? Man most true and manlike, born of a virgin,the woman's promised Seed and yet God over all, blessed forever! When that pyramid was crowned with such a matchless Topstonewell might the morning stars sing together, and all the sons of God shout for joy! Well might there be from men and angelsjoyous shouts of "Grace! Grace unto it." The great Master of the feast has kept the best wine until now! Richest and rarestof the wines on the lees, well refined is that which was shed on Calvary by the soldier's spear! Rich was the store whichthe glorious Monarch of the ages placed upon the table of His benevolence!
But in these last days He brings out the choicest of His dainties, the Bread of Heaven, the wine which makes glad the heartof God and man. "Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift." The practical point I drive at in referring to the period ofour Lord's Sacrifice is just this-you and I live in a period when the putting away of sin has been perfectly accomplished.Beloved, sin is put away! We have not to exercise the faith of a Noah, or an Isaac, or a David in looking forward to the expiationas a blessing yet to come, but the testimony of the Holy Spirit is that Jesus has once and for all finished transgression,and made an end of sin, and brought in everlasting righteousness!
Jesus has been led like a lamb to the slaughter. The Passover is slain, the Propitiation is made. It is a recorded fact. Itis a fact that never can be blotted from the annals of time, that redemption is finished! Sin is put away by the one greatSacrifice, and we may come to God who is reconciled through the death of His Son. May I press this upon those of you who wouldcome to God, but are afraid? Come back, poor Prodigal! The heart of God towards you is that of a loving Father! You need notfear! Come back, you Wanderer, however far you may have gone-
"Sprinkled now with blood the Throne, Why beneath your burdens groan? On My pierced body laid, Justice owns the ransom paid.Bow the knee, and kiss the Son; Come and welcome, Sinner, come."
If, in the earliest ages you had come in faith that this atonement would be offered, you would have been accepted. But howcan you linger when the atonement is already presented? Once, in the end of the ages, the work of Divine Grace has been done.You have not to wait until the bridge spans the gulf. You have not to enquire who shall roll away the stone,
for, behold, One greater than an angel has descended and rolled away the stone from Heaven's gate and opened the kingdom ofHeaven to all Believers!
There are no barriers now between a seeking soul and God except such as unbelief shall set up. I pray you, build no barricadesto exclude yourself from happiness! Christ has dashed down all the partition walls that your sin had erected and there isa straight path from your present position right up to God's greatest glory! Come now, even now, unto the Lord, believingin the Atonement which is achieved.
II. Secondly, let us meditate upon THE PERSON ACCOMPLISHING THE WORK. Once, in the end of the world, has HE appeared. Rememberwho it was that came to take away sin that you may find solid and substantial ground for comfort, and may the Holy Spirithelp you to stand upon it. He who came to take away sin did not come unsent. He was appointed and delegated by God. As Topladyhas put it in his hymn-
"The God for your unrighteousness Deputed to atone."
He was not only so appointed and elected, but He was also qualified by God. The Spirit of the Lord was upon Him. He came inHis Father's name, clothed with His Father's authority: "I do not My own will," He said, "but the will of Him that sent Me."He continually calls it His Father's work and business which He came to do. This ought to give us richest consolation. Jesusis no amateur Savior who has no right to appear as our Representative-He comes in a legal and proper manner. The King of kingshas appointed Him, and what He does He does in the name and by the authority
God has sent His Son into the world. His death, though voluntary on His own part, was not without the consent and will ofHis Father. It pleased the Father to bruise Him-He has put Him to grief. Should we not, when God has set Him forth as a Propitiationfor sin-should we not cheerfully accept whom God appoints?
Attentively observe the constitution of His Person. He who came to save men is no other than God! Therefore is He capableof viewing sin from God's point of view and capable of understanding what was due God. By bracing His Godhead to His ManhoodHe was capable, in his twofold Nature, of sustaining pangs which humanity could not have endured apart from Godhead, and ofreceiving into His infinite mind a sight of sin and a horror concerning it such as no finite mind ever could have endured.
You think you comprehend sin? My Brothers and Sisters, you cannot! It is an evil too monstrous for the human mind fully toknow its heights and depths, its lengths and breadths. But Christ, who is God Incarnate, knew what sin meant. He plumbed itto the very bottom and knew how deep it was. He gazed upon it and felt all the horror of its unrighteousness, ingratitude,and turpitude. Its sinfulness struck His mind with all its force and overwhelmed His holy soul with a horror which none butHe could bear. He was a perfect Man and therefore had no need to die, else His death were for Himself.
It behooved Him to suffer, not because He was the Son of God, or the Son of Man, but because He was the Redeemer, the Sponsorand the Surety of men! Can you trust Him? When I have felt the burden of my sin, I do confess I have at times felt as if itwere too great to be taken away by any conceivable power. But, on the other hand, when I have seen the excellence of my Master'sPerson, the perfection of His Manhood, the glory of His Godhead, the wondrous degree of His anguish, the solid value of Hisobedience, I have felt as if my sin were too little a thing to need so vast a Sacrifice!
I have felt like John Hyatt who, when dying, said he could not only trust Christ with one soul, but he could trust him witha million souls if he had them. Were my sins greater than they are, and God forbid they should be. Were my sense of them 10,000times more vivid than that sense is now-and I could wish I had a more clear and humbling view of my own iniquity-yet eventhen I know my Lord and Master is a greater Savior than I am a sinner.
From the constitution of His Person as God and Man I am certain that if I had heaped up my iniquities till they assailed theskies, and though, like the giants in the ancient mythology I had piled Pelion upon Ossa, mountain of sin upon mountain ofrebellion, and had thought to scale the very Throne of God in my impious rebellion-yet the precious blood of Jesus Christcould cleanse me from all sin! My dear Hearer, if you are trembling because of your guilt, do not try to be rid of a senseof the guilt of sin but study much and devoutly the Person of God, the Sin-Bearer. Let your thoughts dwell upon the greatSavior and His work, and so shall you be able to say, "I will, even I will believe that Jesus Christ is
able to save to the uttermost them that come unto Him, and I will cast myself upon Him. I will rest in His Atonement now."
I feel as if I must pause to say to some here how anxiously do I wish that they would, this morning, have done with seekingrest where no rest is to be found! Have done with reliance upon anything within or anything without, except the Son of God!God Himself puts away sin. What more do you want? You have a God to be your Savior, and will you link your pitiful weaknesswith His Omnipotence? Would you yoke an ant with a cherubim? Will you join your rags to the fair white linen of the righteousnessof Christ? Your nothingness-shall that contribute to His fullness?
Your strength? It is perfect weakness and your merit is a lie! Will you bring these to put them side by side with Jesus? No,Sinner, may the Holy Spirit constrain you now to rest on Him who, in such a glorious manner, has put away sin in the end ofthe ages by the sacrifice of Himself! If those two points do not yield you comfort, I will gladly hope and pray that a thirdconsideration drawn from the text may do so.
III. Note in the text THE APPEARANCE MENTIONED. "Now once in the end of the ages has He appeared to put away sin." Dwell onthis. The way by which God has put away sin is one which is not obscure, concealed, recondite, inexplicable, but one whichis eminently plain and manifest! You will remember that when the High Priest made atonement for sin, he took the basin filledwith blood and passed within the veil. No one saw him there. And while he stood before the Mercy Seat and sprinkled blood,no human eye beheld it-his typical work was a thing of mystery.
But, my Brothers and Sisters, the great High Priest and Prophet of our profession has torn the veil and appeared openly, andthe putting away of sin by Him is a manifest thing which can be seen by the understanding! No, in some respects it was evenseen by human eyes and heard by mortal ears! Christ appeared, that is to say, when He came down among men He lived for noless than 32 years under daily human inspection. He was seen as a Child in the manger by shepherds and by Eastern wise men.He was not concealed and put away like Moses, hidden from the Egyptian murderers, but He was the Observed of all observers.
As a Child, no doubt, His bringing-up was well known, so that they said, "His sisters and His brothers, are they not all withus?" "As for this man, we know where He is." That short portion of His life which was allotted to public ministry was publicin the highest degree. "In secret," said He, "I did nothing." "I taught openly in your streets." For "the Word was made flesh,and dwelt among us," says John, "and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of Grace andtruth." No, more not only was His Manhood apparent, but His Godhead, too. Did He not raise the dead with His voice?
When He walked on the sea, when He healed the leper, when He opened the blind eyes, when He unstopped the deaf ears-were notall these gleams and glimpses of His eternal power and Godhead? These things were not seen by a few priests set apart to enterinto the sacred circle, and then to bear witness, but throughout all Galilee and Judea it was openly heard abroad that theMessiah had come, and "these things were not done in a corner."
And further, Brethren, the great act by which our Lord redeemed us was an open act. True, there were inward depths into whichthe human mind cannot dive. God knows, and God alone, all that His Beloved suffered. But still, the scourging and the mocking,the spitting and the crowning with thorns, the nailing and the Crucifixion and the death- these were open and manifest things.Did not all Jerusalem ring with the news that Jesus of Nazareth, a Man sent of God, had been put to death? And I will proceeda step further.
Not only were the Incarnation of Christ and His Deity, and His death manifest things, but the way in which these things relateto the forgiveness of sin is also clearly revealed to us. We do not come to you this morning, and say, "Believe in Jesus Christ-itis a great mystery, you cannot understand it, but if you trust in Jesus Christ, God will save you." No, we tell you that thereis a ground for your trust which your reason may apprehend-it is this, that Jesus Christ stood in the place and stead of sinners-thatGod visited Him with the stripes which were due to us. That, to use the words of our hymn-
"He bore, that we might never bear His Father's righteous ire."
Now, this is a clear explanation of the plan of salvation. Not thus is it with the mummeries of superstition. The priestsof Baal tell us that when they take an infant in their arms, and put water on its face, using a certain ritual, that the
unconscious babe becomes then and there a member of Christ, a child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of Heaven! Canthey tell us how this marvelous change is worked upon a dormant intellect, a slumbering soul?
No, they can only mutter that it is by some occult influence! Occult, indeed! For the child grows up to live as others live,and perhaps to die in unbelief. Such mummeries, with their base pretensions to occult influences, are worthy to be rankedwith the whispers and incantations of the witch of Endor, or the dealings of Balaam, the son of Peor. But we can tell youhow it is that sin is put away by the Sacrifice of Christ. There is nothing occult in the Cross.
The doctrine of the Atonement appeals to the understanding and the judgment. Christ pays the debt-then, of course, the Believeris free. Christ suffers for me. Then how can two suffer for the one offense? Here is something for men in their wits to thinkof-something for the most profound intellect to ponder over. As for the shams of confession, priestly absolution, etc., whichBaal's priests are continually thrusting in your way instead of our blessed Lord and Master-such shams that my soul boilsat the very thought of them-regard them not, neither endure them!
With their vestments, their genuflections, and their ceremonies they are as wizards that peep and mutter and forge a lie todeceive. They would use an unknown language if they dared, like Babylon's priests. As it is, their intoning makes plain wordshard to be understood. Their religion is not a revelation, but an rejection-not a manifestation of God- but a veiling of Hisface. Like the children of the old Covenant of Bondage, they have a veil over their faces and they see not the Truth of God!But we who preach Jesus Christ in the fullness of His Gospel use great plainness of speech, for we tell you good news whichyou can comprehend.
We tell you that Truth of God which appeals to your understanding and intellect-for once in the end of the ages Jesus Christhas made a disclosure of Himself. He has brought life and immortality to light and has revealed to you how God can be just,and yet the Justifier of the ungodly. Surely there is no one here who does not understand the plan of Substitution. If therewere, I would try to elucidate it still further. Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, stood in the place of men-in your place, dearHearer, if you trust Him! He suffered for you.
You can understand how God is just in taking this Sacrifice, offered voluntarily, instead of your sacrifice- punishing Christinstead of you, and then saying to you-"I have vindicated the honor of My government. I have magnified My Law and shown thatit must not be trifled with, and now I forgive you-freely do I pardon you, for Jesus died." I pray you receive with your heartwhat you have accepted with your understanding.
My dear Hearer, kick not against a Gospel so simple, so just to God, so safe to you! Yield to it, I pray you, yield now, andremember, if you believe in the appointed Savior you are saved! If you will trust yourself now with Jesus Christ, He willnot fail you. He will cover you with His righteousness, cleanse you with His blood, protect you by His power, and, by-and-byenshrine you in His glory, world without end. But we must pass on.
IV. A fourth matter which should yield us consolation is THE SACRIFICE ITSELF. "Once in the end of the ages has He appearedto put away sin"-how? "By the sacrifice of Himself." Observe, Brothers and Sisters, Christ did not come into the world merelyto put away sin by His example-His example is most blessed-and if we follow it, it becomes a potent means of promoting virtue.Jesus did not come into the world merely to put away sin by His teaching-although His teaching does do that wherever it isreceived, since in the strength of His doctrine men become mighty through His Spirit to overthrow their inbred sin.
But we are told in the text that He came to put away sin by sacrifice. Oh, how some people writhe and rage at this! ThoseSocinians who sat at the foot of the Cross when Jesus Christ died, and said, "Let Him come down from the Cross and we willbelieve in Him," held the same beliefs as their successors who will admire Jesus everywhere but as a sacrifice for sin. Manymen kick the Crucified Son of God. "No," they say, "the doctrine of the Atonement, the doctrine of suffering for sin-sin beingput away by blood-it is that which we cannot endure."
Know, then, you proud objectors, that this is the Gospel-the sum and substance, and essence of Mercy's message- this is theGood News from Heaven, that Jesus Christ has put away sin not by His teaching, nor by His example alone, but by making a bloodysacrifice of Himself! I fear that this doctrine is covertly assailed by a school of men who mingle with the orthodox, andare much admired for their intellect and boasted liberality. In some way or other they try to get rid of this sacrifice byblood.
Substitution, Atonement by suffering they cannot believe in, but I pray you, dear Friends, as you would be saved, hold thisTruth of God. No, do more! Build your soul's only hope upon it, for no other foundation can man lay than
this-the foundation of salvation through faith in Jesus' blood. "The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from allsin." And nothing but the blood! Take the blood of Jesus away and you have removed the only effectual consolation from a troubledconscience.
Note that the text affirms that our Lord took away sin by the sacrifice, not of His honor, though He left that and forsookthe courts and courtiers of Heaven. Not by the sacrifice of His wealth, for though He was rich, yet for our sake He becamepoor. It does not say that He took away sin by the sacrifice of His reputation though He did make a sacrifice of that, andmade Himself of no reputation, and took upon Himself the form of a servant-but it was the sacrifice of HIMSELF-His body andHis soul.
It was that sacrifice, my Brothers and Sisters, which commenced in Gethsemane when the bloody sweat bedewed Him from headto foot-when every portion of His body and every power of His soul was full of anguish and dismay. It was that sacrifice whichwas carried on in the halls of Pilate, before the judgment seat of Caiaphas, at the bar of blustering Herod-a sacrifice whichHe offered when they scourged Him. When they plaited a crown of thorns. When they spat upon Him. When they struck Him withtheir fists and mocked Him-a sacrifice which culminated when He hung upon the Cross in the extreme of thirst, and shrieked,"My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"
O Sinner, I would that you would stand at the foot of the Cross and think of Jesus till you could find comfort! I believethe shortest way to faith is to consider well the Object of faith. The true way to get comfort is not to try and comfort yourselfaway from the Cross, but think of Christ dying for you till you are comforted. Say to your soul, "I will never depart fromthe Cross until I am washed in His precious blood!-
'Blest Savior, at Your feet I lie, Here to receive a cure or die. But Grace forbids that painful fear, Almighty Grace, whichtriumphs here.'"
You know the healing came to the sin-bitten by looking at the serpent-not by looking at their own wounds, nor yet by hearingabout the cure of others! And, even so, healing will come to you-not by looking at sin, nor hearing about Christ-so much asby fixing your mind's eye upon the Cross and meditating upon Him who died there, till, as by considering His merits you believeon Him and so are saved!
Beloved, put these two or three thoughts together. God comes into the world as Man-the Mediator dies. Easily said, but whata weight of meaning in it! Now, what merit there must be in the suffering and death of the dying Mediator! What power theremust be in the blood of Him who, while He is Man, is nevertheless God! Come, guilty Sinner! Plunge into this Fountain filledwith blood, and you shall be made clean, or else God speaks not the truth. Come, you blackest, foulest, filthiest, most defiledof all the human race! Come now and look to Jesus, dying, bleeding, and you must be saved, for God's Word is pledged to it!He cannot cast into Hell the soul that rests upon the sacrifice of Christ. Only let us be well persuaded that sin is put awayby nothing but by the Lord Jesus making himself a Sacrifice.
V. Still, if this should not yield comfort, though I pray it may, for one moment I ask you to think, in the fifth place,
of THE THOROUGHNESS OF THE WORK WHICH WAS CONTEMPLATED. In the end of the ages Christ was revealed to put away sin. He didnot come into the world to palliate it merely, or to cover it up, but He came to put it away. Observe, He not only came toput away some of the attributes of sin, such as the filth of it, the guilt of it, the penalty of it, the degradation of it-Hecame to put away sin itself, for sin, you see, is the fountain of all the mischief.
He did not come to empty out the streams but to clear away the fatal source of the pollution. He appeared to put away sinitself, sin in its essence and being. Do not forget that He did take away the filth of sin, the guilt of sin, the punishmentof sin, the power of sin, the dominion of sin-and that one day He will kill in us the very being and existence of sin-butremember that He aimed His stroke at sin itself.
My Master seemed to say, as the king of Syria did of old, "Fight neither with small nor great, save only with the king." Heaimed His shafts at the monster's head, smote his vital parts, and laid him low. He put Hell itself to flight, and captivitywas led captive. What a glorious word-our Lord put away sin! We read in the Word of God, sometimes, that He cast it into thedepths of the sea. That is glorious, nobody can ever find it again-in the shoreless depths of the sea Jesus drowned our sins!
Again, we find He removed it as far as the east is from the west. Who can measure that distance? Infinite leagues divide theutmost bounds of space-so far has He removed our transgressions from us. We read again that He has made an
end of sin. You know what we mean by making an end of a thing-it is done with, annihilated, utterly destroyed and abolished.Jesus, we here read, has put sin away, He has divorced it from us. Sin and my soul are no more married! Christ has put sinaway-He has borne it away as the scapegoat carried the iniquity of the people in type and shadow. He has literally taken uponHimself the sins of all His people, and, stronger than Atlas, has borne the load and carried it away and hurled it into Hissepulcher where it lies buried forever.
"Who shall lay anything to the charge or God's elect? It is God that justifies. Who is he that condemns? It is Christ thatdied, yes, rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us." Sin isclean gone. If you believe in Christ, there is nothing that can be laid to your charge! The past, the present, the future-every sin was laid on Christ! Sins of tongue, and brain, and heart, and hand, and thought were all laid on Him. Sins againstmen, sins against God, adultery, murder, blasphemy-everything-all were laid on Jesus!
He became, as it were, the common reservoir for all the sin of His people to meet, and then He emptied it all out by His atoningSacrifice, so that the filth of His people is removed. He has crossed the Kedron and put away the filth of sin. You and Imay sing concerning sin as Israel sang concerning Egypt when the ransomed nation stood upon the shore of the Red Sea. "Thedepths have covered them: there is not one of them left."
O for a sweeter voice than Miriam's! O for virgins more joyful and more tuneful than the daughters of Israel! O for high-soundingcymbals and lofty timbrels to resound with our exulting song! "Sing unto Jehovah Jesus, for He has gotten unto Himself thevictory! He has appeared and put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself! And now, as for our iniquities, the depths have coveredthem-there is not one, not one, not one of them left! They sank unto the bottom like a stone! They sank like lead in the mightywaters! Sing you unto the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously!"
VI. O that some soul may get a ray of light from the last consideration, if all others shall have failed! THE EVIDENT COMPLETIONof this work, upon which we have already touched, demands a word because of its being rendered conspicuous by the word, "once.""Once in the end of the ages He has appeared to put away sin."
If He had not put away sin, He would have come again to do it, for Jesus Christ never leaves His work unfinished. What Heundertakes He achieves. The pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hands. My Brothers and Sisters, Christ's one offeringput away all sin forever. Away! Away with those priests of Baal with their "unbloody sacrifice," as they call it, offereddaily for the propitiation of sin! Traitors to God's truth! Traitors to the souls of men! May they never dominate in thisland, but may their barefaced impertinencies be cast forth as dung upon the face of the earth, and may they themselves berejected as salt which has lost its savor!
What right have they to eat the bread of a Protestant people while doing the Pope's work? Our Lord has once and for all madean Atonement, and all attempts to tamper with His finished work is treason such as shall be answered for in the court of Heaven!And terrible shall be the doom of those who have dishonored Christ in the point where He is most jealous of His honor.
Brethren, Christ's being in Heaven today is a proof that there is nothing to divide a sinner from God on God's part-
"If Jesus had not paid the debt,
He never had been at freedom set." He would have been imprisoned in the prison of the tomb at the present moment if He hadnot discharged all the debts and liabilities of His people. And His exaltation in Heaven is the evidence that He has completedHis work. There He takes His seat because the work is done. If the work had not been accomplished, He would be suffering,suffering often, until at the last He could say, "It is finished."
But His redemption is complete! Sin is put away and Believers are saved. What I have to say, in conclusion, is this. Willyou not come, poor, guilty, empty, needy Sinners? Will you not come and partake of the glorious fullness of Christ's meritthis morning? O why do you stand back? You need no fitness. Wait not for it. No goodness is asked of you. Do not look forit. All goodness dwells in Him. Come with your hard hearts, He will soften them! Come with the stone that is within, He willtake it away and give you a heart of flesh. Come to Jesus now for all-
"True belief and true repentance, every Grace that brings us near,
Without money, come to Jesus Christ and buy."
Oh, if I knew how to preach my Master to you plainly, I would! If the words would be called vulgar, I should not care forthat so long as I could make men see what is the mystery of Christ Jesus, which was hid in the ages past, but now is mademanifest in Him. O trust Him, Souls, trust Him, and you shall be saved!
I heard the day before yesterday what greatly cheered me. I heard that at the late meeting of Believers at Chicago, one camefrom the far West who asked for a missionary to preach in a newly-formed district, and the reason he gave for wishing forthe missionary was this-that they had read my sermons on Sunday, and that no less than 200 souls had been converted to Godby the reading of those sermons. When I read that report I did exceedingly rejoice, but then I thought, "Alas, there are manywho have those sermons first hand, and get no blessing from them." And I thought of some of you who had heard me these manyyears, and I have been faithful to you-I trust I have-God knows I desire to be-and yet you are in the gall of bitterness andin the bonds of iniquity!
While across the blue Atlantic, the echo of our words has called men from the grave of sin to life in Christ, you, thoughyou love to listen to us, have not heard our voice in the depths of your soul! Shall it always be so? It will be, I fear,with some of you, for I foresee your ruin. You will go down to Hell with the Gospel sounding in your ears and wake up in thepit with this to aggravate your woe, that you knew the Gospel and refused it! How shall you escape if you neglect so greata salvation, so great that angels cannot tell its greatness, and human tongues are dumb, at best, when they attempt to speakof the excellent glory of it? Why will you reject it when it is in your hands, when, if you with your hearts believe and withyour mouths confess Christ, you shall be saved? Why those hard hearts? Why those silent mouths? May the Eternal Spirit bringyou to Jesus, and His shall be the praise, world without end. Amen.