Sermon 2693. Priest and Victim
INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 1900.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, AUGUST 28, 1881.
"He offered up Himself." Hebrews 7:27.
I DO not know when I have ever felt a more decided conflict of emotions in my own heart than I do just now. Happy is the manwho has such a message as that in my text to deliver to his fellow men-but burdened is the man who feels that the messageis far too great for his lips, or, indeed, for any human tongue to convey. To be allowed to announce to men that our LordJesus Christ "offered up Himself on their behalf is, indeed, an errand which angels might envy, but the theme is too greatfor any human being to compass. I comfort myself with the reflection that it does not require any excellence of speech totell it-the excellence lies in the Truth itself. And if men's minds are in a right condition-if they are conscious of theirlost state and they really desire to know what Christ has done to save them from it-they will need no garnishing or tawdryfripperies of human eloquence. All they will need will be to hear, as plainly and as earnestly as it can be spoken, the messageof reconciliation which God has sent through Jesus Christ, His Son. Yet I cannot help feeling that the meaning of my textis so weighty that it may break the backs of the words that attempt to bring it to us. The axles of my human medium of conveyanceare ready to snap when freighted with such a load of Infinite Love and Wisdom as comes to us in my short, full text-"He offeredup Himself."
But, to begin, I would remind you, dear Friends, that the idea of a sacrifice for sin is, in some sense or other, found inalmost all human religions. I believe that some of the most ignorant tribes of Africa, and also Unitarians, have been foundwithout the doctrine of an atoning sacrifice in their religion, but I do not think there are any other persons so benightedas these to be found anywhere. Go where you may, you will discover that as soon as ever people begin to say, "God," the nextthing they say is, "sacrifice." And though their idea of God is often distorted and their idea of sacrifice is also distorted,yet both ideas are there. Man, however degraded, cannot altogether forget that there is a God and then, shrinking back fromthe awful majesty of the Divine holiness, he at least hopes that there is a sacrifice by which his sins may be put away. Hefeels that there must be one if he is ever to be brought into connection with God and so, in some form or other, the notionof sacrifice crops up wherever there is any religion at all. It may be in the ghastly form of human sacrifice, which is ahideous misinterpretation which has crept in under the darkness and gloom of heathenism or false teaching. Or it may appearin the continued sacrifice of bulls, or lambs, or other victims, but, somehow or other, the idea is there. Man seems to know,in his inmost nature, that he must bring a sacrifice if he would appear before God, and this is, by no means, an error onhis part. However erroneous may be the frmit takes, in its essence there is truth in it.
Brothers and Sisters, did you ever know this Truth of God in your own souls? Has not the conviction come to you, under a senseof sin, as an absolute certainty, that sin must be punished? I will not say that you have thought so when you have imaginedyourself to be all right, or, at least, to be pretty nearly clear of anything wrong. No, but when conscience has been awakenedand has begun to speak in the quiet night watches, in times of sickness, or when you have seemed to be on the brink of eternity,I ask you, has there not come the thought that sin would surely be visited with punishment?
"Dread of something after death"
of which the world's poet speaks, is an indication of belief in the Truth of God which is most sure, that the Judge of allthe earth will not suffer His Laws to be trampled on with impunity, but that He will certainly punish iniquity, transgressionand sin.
Then there has also come to your mind, I feel sure-at least I remember well when it came to mine-the thought that God couldnot pardon me without punishing my sin-or that, if He did, His moral government of the whole universe would be weakened. IfHe permitted the guilty to enjoy the same rewards as the righteous received, where would be His justice? An amnesty to theguilty would, practically, be an abolition of His Law-it would be tantamount to saying, "It does not matter how you live,all will come right at last." There are some who teach that doctrine, nowadays, and, to state it in plain English, this isthe doctrine that they teach-that we may rebel against God, we may blaspheme God, we may despise God-we may cheat, we maylie, we may murder, and so on-but it shall be just as well with us one day as it will be with the best man that lives! Doesnot the least atom of common morality that remains in man compel him to shrink back from teaching so intolerable as that?It cannot be right! We need not argue about the matter, it is impossible that it should be so, for human society would goto pieces under such an arrangement as that and the Judge of all the earth would have to abdicate His Throne before this couldbe! Many years ago, I put into words for myself, when I was under a sense of sin, a feeling which I believe others must havehad under similar circumstances. I said, "If God does not punish me for my sin, He ought to do so." I felt that if He didnot condemn me for my sin, my conscience would condemn Him and that if He allowed me to go unpunished when I was guilty, insome way or other He would cease to be a just God and would no longer be worthy of the respect of my own conscience.
Now, that is a truth, a great truth, a terrible truth and hence it is that the mind of the convinced sinner is driven to thehope of an atonement. If God is to pardon sin, there must be something done by which His Law can be honored, His justice canbe vindicated and His truthfulness can be established. In fact, there must be an atonement! That is what it all comes to,or else pardon is impossible and you and I would be lost forever. I would to God that we all not only believed this Truth-asI suspect that the most of us do-but that we felt it to be the case in our own personal experience, that we realized our needof an atoning Sacrifice in order that God might be just, and yet be the Justifier of the ungodly-that the honor of His Lawmight shine out in unsullied purity like the terrible crystal and yet that "a rainbow round about the Throne, in sight likeunto an emerald," might be seen by the sons of men, reminding them of the Covenant made between the Father and the Son concerningall who believe in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior!
This brings me to the blessed announcement of the text, that the Atonement which men have blindly sought after has been made!That the Sacrifice which the conscience longs for has been presented! Here is the best possible news in four words-"He offeredup Himself." Spirit of God, help us to think about this sublime Truth and to speak of it aright!
I. Here is, first, THE PRIEST-"HE offered up Himself." Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came into the world and "offered up Himselfas a Sacrifice for sin. The Great High Priest, who officiated on the occasion of that wondrous and unique Sacrifice, was JesusChrist Himself.
"He," who was of infinite dignity-He who, in His first estate as very God of very God, was worshipped and obeyed by all theangels of Heaven-He who was with the Father when He spanned the heavens and laid the foundations of the universe-He it was,this Son of God, who "offered up Himself." No inferior priest was there. There were wicked men who were the instruments employedin accomplishing His death, but, after all, the great hand that presented the Lamb of God as the one Sacrifice for sin wasthe hand of the Christ of God-"He offered up Himself." Our High Priest is of such dignity that none can be compared with Him.He is the Son of the Highest, the equal of the Father. I want you to think of this Truth of God because it may help you tosee how great must have been the merit of the Sacrifice when it was God Himselfwho "offered up Himself." He was no mere delegatedor elected priest, but Christ Jesus, Himself, in whom "dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily"-Christ, who is the brightnessof His Father's Glory and the express image of His Person, He it was who stood at the altar presenting "Himself to God asthe one and only Sacrifice for sin! O sinful men, come here, for here is a Sacrifice which may well satisfy the demands ofthe Divine Law, since Christ Himself puts on the priestly garments and offers it to God!
"He offered up Himself," that is to say, He voluntarily agreed to be the Victim for this wondrous Sacrifice. Did you not noticethis Truth in the chapter we read just now? "Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of Me), to do
Your will, O God." Christ was not compelled to come to earth except by the sweet compulsion of His own love. And with thatas His master-motive-
"Down from the shinning seats above With joyful haste He fled."
Voluntarily He took upon Himself our nature and was born at Bethlehem, and voluntarily did He tarry here for 33 years. Hemight have gone back when "He came unto His own, and His own received Him not," but He had come in order that He might bea Sacrifice for sin, so He remained until the hour appointed for His death. And, even then, He was not forced to die-"He offeredup Himself." Pilate's servants and Herod's soldiers could not have slain Him unless He had been willing to die. He had butto breathe the wish and the legions of Heaven would have burned up the legions of Herod as chaff is consumed in the furnace!Neither the Romans nor the Jews could have nailed Him to the tree, nor could all their priests, nor all the ribald mob haveput Him to death without His own consent. When He did but speak to them in the Garden of Gethsemane, they went backward andfell to the ground! He that made the earth to quake and open when He died could have shaken them off the earth, or buriedthem in it while He lived, if He had so pleased. But He voluntarily delivered Himself up to death.
To the very last there was no compulsion upon Him to die, except that compulsion of love of which I have spoken. You and Imust die. The infirmities of nature will compel us to give up the ghost, but He was strong and vigorous even at the momentof His death. That glorious shout, "Consummatum est-"It is finished!"-came from One who was still in the vigor of His strengthand just entering on His eternal victory! When He bowed His head, it was because He would do it and willingly yielded up Hissoul, committing His spirit to the Father-not under constraint, but, "He offered up Himself." Oh, this makes the Sacrificeof Christ so blessed and glorious! They dragged the bullocks and they drove the sheep to the altar. They bound the calveswith cords, even with cords to the altar's horn, but it was not so with the Christ of God! None compelled Him to die-He laiddown His life voluntarily, for He had power to lay it down and to take it up again. "For the joy that was set before Him,He endured the Cross, despising the shame." "He offered up Himself."
From this great Truth of God, we may learn two or three practical lessons. The first is the blasphemy of supposing that anyso-called "priest" can offer up Christ. There are men who say that in the "unbloody sacrifice of the mass, there is offeredto God a true, proper and propitiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead." Stand back, Beloved! Withdraw from the sonsof Korah, Dathan and Abiram, lest the earth should again open and swallow them up, and they should perish alive in their iniquity!"He offered up Himself," and yet these fools say that they offer Him again! God have mercy upon them, and open their blindeyes that they may no longer thus perpetrate an infamous blasphemy against His holy name!
But there is also a lesson for us to learn and that is the folly of our attempting to offer any sacrifice whatever to Godin and of ourselves, for, Brothers and Sisters, there never was such a Sacrifice as Christ on earth. It was the best Sacrificethat could ever be, yet nobody offered that but Christ Himself. What are your sacrifices and mine? They are very poor things-soshall we dare to offer them to God? No, let us ask Christ to offer all our sacrifices for us. If the best Sacrifice neededChrist to present it to His Father, then our imperfect sacrifices can only be offered by Jesus Christ our Great High Priest.And though we, who trust Him, and love His name, are all priests, for He "has made us kings and priests unto God," yet weare only priests in Him, and our sacrifices are only presented in and through Him. It must be so, for, if the chief Sacrificeis offered by Him, all the minor ones must also be presented by Him if they are to be accepted by God.
And, dear Brethren, here is another lesson, namely, the security of those who trust in the Sacrifice of Christ, for if I acceptthe Sacrifice of Christ for me and trust in it, if I am not saved by it-suppose that to be possible-then it follows that theGreat High Priest, when "He offered up Himself," did not perform an effectual work. That would be a terrible imputation uponHis honor. God forbid that we should entertain it for a single moment! Much, it is said, in the offering of the "mass" inthe Roman Catholic Church, depends upon the intention of the priest. I should think so, but we know what the intention ofour High Priest was! We dare not rely upon the intention of any human priest, but we know that our Lord Jesus Christ "offeredup Himself-not in fiction or hypocrisy, but in reality and with His whole heart and soul-and we are certain that He offeredan acceptable and an effectual Sacrifice to God, and that we who trust in it must be saved. Heaven and earth shall pass away,but the effect of that dread Sacrifice must stand, for He who offered it is the Son of God! Fall back, my Soul, on this firmRock and rest there securely whatever doubts may come to assail you!
II. Now, in the second place, I shall ask you carefully to look at THE SACRIFICE. "He offered up Himself." That is to say,Jesus Christ did not offer lamb or ram, bird or bullock, but "Himself."
That is a great word and it means that His whole Nature as Man was offered up in death as an Atonement for us- His whole Natureas Man, perfect and sinless, and indissolubly united with His Divine Nature. I do not say that God died, nor would I put itquite so, but I will say that He who died was God, though Man, and that "He offered up Himself-the whole of Himself-in Sacrificeto God on our behalf. His precious body suffered pains which are indescribable, but which I pray you never to undervalue orforget. I have seen criticisms concerning what is called "the sensuous-ness" of certain of our hymns that speak of His wounds,and so on. Never mind the criticism-be willing to be called sensuous-Holy Scripture might be condemned on the same ground.You will never understand the agony of Christ's soul if you despise the agony of His body, for, while the sufferings of Hissoul were the soul of His sufferings, yet the sufferings of His body were the body of His sufferings and he who does not thinkmuch of the body of the sufferings is not likely to know much about the soul of them.
His body was given for you and for me and, then, His spiritual Nature-His mind, His intellect, His heart, His imagination-everypure unspotted faculty of that blessed Soul of His-He gave up all for us! The alabaster box, His body, was broken, and theprecious nard, His Soul, was poured out like a Divine perfume upon the head of our poor humanity. It was all given for us!"He offered up Himself." Not His garments only, though He was stripped naked-not His Glory only, though He emptied Himself-notHis life only, though He laid down His life for us-but "He offered up Himself." Oh, it is a great word, but it describes agreat Sacrifice and it needed all that to make an Atonement for our sins-and all that He gave.
"He offered up Himself," that is, He presented Himself to God as a Sacrifice and He did actually die. O Brothers and Sisters,I cannot describe that wondrous death! You and I have never died. We have been sick, but to actual death we have never yetcome. Some of us never shall know death as Christ knew it, for, remember, death was death to Him, but for His saints the bitternessof death is past. Christ had to endure death in all its bitterness, but He has taken away the wormwood and the gall of deathfor us who believe in Him. Many of those who were martyred for His name's sake, when they burned at the stake could sing asthey died! They counted the flames as though they were but beds of roses, for He was with them, and God was with them to sustainthem. But, for Him, there was no such succor, no Divine support. "Eloi, Eloi, lama Sabachthani?" was the cry into which moregrief was packed away than can even be found in any sufferer in Hell! For, remember, the griefs of Christ were not the griefssufficing for one lost man, but for unnumberedmyr-iadswho would otherwise have been banished from the Presence of God forever."He offered up Himself." Oh, see Him die, if you can bear the sight! His blessed soul exhaled, His body left behind to beburied in the tomb. "He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross."
I always think, with regard to that offering up of Himself, that it was a very mysterious transaction into which you and Imust not pry with any sinful curiosity. Yet, as I meditated upon this subject, it appeared to me that the Cross, which seemedso small a thing out yonder on that little rising ground of Golgotha-that one Cross, standing in the center of the three,appeared to me to be the center of the entire universe, and so it is. If the inhabitants in all the stars did not see Christdie. If from all worlds they could not behold the dreadful sight, yet they must have heard of it in many a star by this time.Swift spirits have told, in those bright orbs where myriads of unfallen creatures dwell, the story that on this little duskyplanet, sin struggled against Incarnate Love, and Love, to conquer it, died and, in the dying, won the victory. I cannot tellyou how many races of intelligent beings there are beside the hierarchy of angels, but it is not at all improbable that thereare as many worlds as there are grains of sand upon the seashore-and perhaps every one of these teems with inhabitants morethan our earth does-and they have heard and they keep on hearing, and the news keeps spreading everywhere that the God whomade them all took human form and died to put away human sin!
And, supposing this is the case, what do you think all these intelligent beings say? It must be that the impression made uponthem is that sin is a horrible thing since it stabs at God Himself! All intelligences must also feel that God is just, sinceHe will sooner, Himself, die than let sin go unpunished. It further rings throughout the spheres that God is Love-that Hewill sooner bleed to death than let His creatures perish! And that here He once proved, in His death, that He was Infiniteboth in His vengeance and His mercy! All the universe throughout eternity shall hear this wondrous story! It is so marvelousthat it will never grow stale. They are telling it, tonight, to wondering assemblies, compared
with which this vast congregation is but a drop in a bucket. Standing in some central star, some mighty intelligence is proclaimingthis story, perhaps to as many worlds as there are men and women in this building. Certainly, it is worthy of such an audience,for never was there such news as that the Infinite, Immortal, Eternal, Invisible, Almighty loving God did come and take uponHimself the sin of men-and at last suffered and died in the place of guilty sinners!
You say, perhaps, that I am dreaming while talking to you thus. But dear Friends, we sometimes learn more truth in dreamsthan when we are awake! At any rate, this I know, I would sooner be mistaken in enlarging too much upon the wondrous factand efficacy of the Cross than I would ever become one of those who shrivel up the Atonement till there is little or nothingof it left. I believe that there was such a necessity for Christ to die as you and I have never yet imag-ined-that He didnot die merely because His death was necessary upon this planet, but that it was necessary through every province of the infinitedominions of God-and that it was necessary to the very Nature of God, Himself, which is saying still more. There was a supremenecessity that Christ should die. I am sure of it, for otherwise He would not have died. The Father would never have givenup His Son to the death of the Cross unless it had been imperative that this Sacrifice should be offered, or else that menshould suffer forever. Oh, wonder of wonders! Tell it everywhere and never cease to tell it! "He offered up Himself."
III. Now, lest I should weary you, I will, in closing, only say a little upon the third point, which is, CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCESSURROUNDING THIS TRUTH WHICH ARE VERY IMPORTANT TO US.
The first is this. "He offered up Himself," but He did not offer up Himself for Himself. That is an offering which cannotbe imagined. So far as Christ was Himself, alone, concerned, there was no necessity that He should die. He was infinitelyglorious and blessed. "He offered up Himself," but not for Himself. Then, for whom did He die? For men. We are told that Hetook not up angels, but He took up the seed of Abraham. He took up sinful men. O poor Sinner, I want you to think of this!Let your soul see Jesus on the Cross-bleeding, writhing, suffering, tortured, dying, dead. And then remember that there wasnot one pang, or groan, or sigh for Himself-it was all for others-for His enemies. I wish we could all say, one by one, "Itwas for me. He loved me and gave Himself for me. He endured the Cross for me. His blood was shed for me. Those agonies andcries and griefs were all for me. For me the death-pang and the expiring groan-all for me, for me." If you believe in Jesus,it is so. There must have been something great done for you there. Your great sin must have been buried there. The great Hellwhich you ought to have endured must have been extinguished there. So far as you are concerned, the great Heaven which youcould never have entered must have been opened there, if He died there for you! Untold blessings are insured to you in thatmatchless death. Dwell on that thought, Beloved. "He offered up Himself," but not for Himself. It must have been, then, forthe guilty! O my Soul, it must have been-it was-for you if you believe in Him!
Next, notice that this great deed of love was really done. "He offered up Himself." He did really do it! I know that whenI am preaching, some of you seem to think that I am only talking about fanciful or imaginary matters. If I were to begin tospeak of President Garfield and his sickness, or about the wet weather and the harvest, you would say, "These are facts."O Sirs, but this also is a fact, and the greatest of all facts-"He offered up Himself." It happened long ago, but it is truethat He did this! That same God that painted every flower-that spread the skies-the God that made us- came here in human formand, after living here a life of blessing and beneficence, He died as a Sacrifice for human guilt! This is not something thatis yet to be done. It is all over! Jesus Himself said, "It is finished." If I had to tell you that God would come here andbecome Man and die for us, you might say, "It may not be-it is too great a condescension. Do you know how great God is andcan it be imagined that He should come down to earth, be veiled in human flesh and in that flesh should suffer and die? Itcannot be!" But I have to tell you that it hasbeen done-it is an accomplished fact! He did it-"He offered up Himself." Itmay sometimes have been a question among Believers who lived before Christ died- "Will He really die?" But it is no questionto you and me, for He hasdied-His great deed of love is done!
And He so completely did this that it will never be done again. If you will not accept this Christ, there will never be another,and if you will not be saved by His redemption, you will never be redeemed at all! And there is this comfort about it-thatHe only died once because there is no need that He should ever die again! His one death has slain death for all who trustHim. His one bearing of sin has put their sin away forever. God can now justly forgive the believing sinner and He may wellblot out the debt when it has been paid by His Son. Well may He remit the sentence against us, now that His Son has stoodin our place and borne the penalty due to our sin. God is therefore just when He justifies those for
whom Christ died. Where would His justice be if He did not? Did Christ pay my debts and am I arrested for them? Did He diefor me and shall I perish? Where, then, is the Atonement? Beloved, if you believe in Jesus, be glad that He died once andbe still more glad that He cannot die again, and that there is no need that He should! The Atonement is completed. You aresaved and you shall never come into condemnation. How I wish that I could preach on such a theme as this as it deserves! ButI do not know how it is to be done. It does not seem to me as if any human words could ever fittingly set forth such a wondrousmystery. No, though they were written across the face of the sky-unless God Himself wrote them with a finger of lightning-Iknow of no way in which this Truth of God could be fitly set out-"He offered up Himself."
But, my dear Hearers, I wish you would all lay hold of this blessed Truth! When I laid hold of it, it was the crisis in mywhole history-and to this hour it is the joy of my soul! I could not give up this blessed belief-that "He offered up Himself"in the place of all His people, of all who believe in Him and that, therefore, they are safe forever!
I must sum up, in a few words, much more that I might have said. And, first, this Truth quiets the conscience. "He offeredup Himself." Conscience never murmurs after the blood of Jesus has been applied to it. I say to myself, "Jesus died for me.Jesus suffered in my place. Jesus took my guilt. Jesus bore my punishment." And my conscience says, "That is enough. Thatis all I need!"
This Truth of God also satisfies my understanding. Let those who will, sneer at the simple Gospel and the Doctrine of Substitution,but I have no understanding that is too large to be satisfied with these things. It seems to me that if God appointed Christto be an Atonement for sin, and if He is satisfied with His Sacrifice, I may well be content. Surely, if my great Creditorand Judge is appeased by what His Son has offered on my behalf, it is not for me to begin to quibble at it! I know how somecriticize the great central Truth of the Atonement. I care not how they criticize it so long as God has accepted it! And sinceHe has also accepted me in Christ Jesus, my Lord and Savior, my soul feels perfectly content and understands why she is contented.
And, oh, how this Truth also wins the affections of men! Can you help loving the Christ who offered up Himself for you? Andloving Him, do you not desire to honor and glorify Him? Do you not feel that you hate the sin that made Him die? Do you notwish to be like He and in everything give Him pleasure by a life of holiness, self-denial and self-sacrifice? I know you do!It must be so. Because Jesus sacrificed Himself for you, you feel that you must love Him with all your heart.
Does not this Truth of God also awaken your admiration? Say, Brothers and Sisters, is there anything that can move you likethis glorious Truth of which I have been speaking? Does it not awaken your highest admiration when you remember that the LordJesus Christ took your sin upon Himself and suffered in your place? I know that there is no hand that can sweep the stringsof my heart with such power as can the hand that was pierced for me! This theme enkindles my enthusiasm and stirs my passionsto a flame-and makes me wish for the tongues of men and of angels that I might be able to tell out this story of "love soamazing, so Divine." I would ask no other Heaven, if I might have my choice, than having to meditate upon the passion of myLord and to tell it out to others-and then to fall at His dear feet and worship Him, world without end, for He was slain andhas redeemed me by His precious blood! You take Christ out of the Gospel and out of your preaching, and see whether you willawaken any enthusiasm among your people!
There is a cold, steely religion, sharp and deadly, out of which the Atonement has gone. But was it ever a power in this land,or any other, or will it ever be? Only preach the Christless Gospel and you shall have spiders in abundance in your placesof worship-but very few men and women! They run away, if they are wise, from the place where Christ is not preached and Hisatoning blood is not constantly set forth! Point that place out to me on the map of London and I will show you the spot wherethere is a beggarly array of empty benches, and few hearers, for they flee, and rightly so, as hungry men flee from the placewhere there is no bread! And as the thirsty in the wilderness turn away from the dried-up well, they get still more thirstyas long as they stay by the empty mockery, so they hasten away from it.
But preach Jesus Christ and Him Crucified-preach the atoning Sacrifice-and see how the people flock together! Let them believethis Truth, let them love it, and their whole spirit is stirred within them and everyone becomes a soldier of the Cross, awarrior for Jesus Christ! I am sure it is so and what I feel within my own spirit I know that you all feel, too, for, "asin water, face answers to face, so the heart of man to man."
And, finally, this Truth of God that Christ offered up Himself, leads us who accept it to be ready for self-sacrifice. Itmakes the believing man say, "As He offered Himself for me, I must give myself for Him." It teaches the doctrine of the self-sacrificeof men for God and of men for men. This is the nursery of brave spirits and the school in which true heroes are trained. Nonehave been bolder for the truth and for the right, and for the advancement of the ages, and for the Glory of God, than thosewho have enshrined the blood-red Cross within their hearts, and who have been prepared, for love of it, even to die. O Christof God, You who have offered Yourself for us, we offer ourselves to You! Accept us now! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: HEBREWS 10:1-22.
Verse 1. For the law-The old ceremonial law of Moses-
1. Having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which theyoffered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect Those that were sprinkled with the blood of the Old Testamentsacrifices did not feel that their sin was forever put away. They went back, after the victim had been offered, with a certainmeasure of rest and relief, but not with that perfect rest which is the accompaniment of the pardon that Jesus gives to thosewho come unto God through Him.
2. For-If the worshippers had thus been made perfect. If they had been completely cleansed and accepted through these sacrifices-
2. Then would they not have ceased to be offered? Because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscienceof sins. The fact that there was a lamb to be offered every morning and every evening, and that there was a great Day of Atonementto be observed every year, proved that there was sin still remaining, which had not been put away, and that the worshippersneeded to come again, and again, and yet again, with fresh sacrifices for their fresh sins. The Apostle's argument is unanswerable.
3, 4. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year For it is not possible that the blood ofbulls and of goats should take away sins. Your common sense tells you "it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goatsshould take away sins." Although rivers of such blood should continually be flowing, what efficacy could there be in themto put away the moral stain of guilt and transgression against God?
5. Therefore when He comes into the world-That great HE-that Divine HE-our Savior and our God. "When He comes into the world."
5-7. He said, Sacrifice and offering You would not, but a body have You prepared for Me: in burnt offerings and sacrificesfor sin You have had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of Me), to do Your will,O God. That will had not been done, although myriads of sacrifices had been offered. But Christ came to do that will by offeringHimself as the one and only acceptable Sacrifice.
8, 9. Previously when He said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin You would not, neither hadpleasure therein; which are offered by the Law; then said He, Lo, I come to do Your will O God. He takes away the first, thatHe may establish the second. An end was made of the types and shadows of the Ceremonial Law, that the real substance mightbe introduced by Christ. Never imagine, dear Friends, that the old Jewish Ceremonial Law is to drag on its existence, andto be intermingled with the Christian dispensation. Ah, no! As the shadows of the night vanish when the sun arises. As thelamps in yonder street are put out when daylight returns, so was it with all the types and shadows of the ancient Law whenthe great Antitype appeared!
10. By that will. That is, the will of God as done by Christ-"By that will."
10-12. We are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all And every priest stands daily ministeringand offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: but this Man, after He had offered one Sacrificefor sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God. Oh, what a blessed doctrine this is-that the one Offering of Christ hasdone what the tens of thousands of offerings under the old Law never could accomplish! All the work of man is but the spinningof a righteousness which is undone as quickly as it is spun, but Christ has finished the seamless and spotless robe of Hisrighteousness which is to last forever! By His one Sacrifice He has ended all the fruitless
labor of the ages! And now, all of us who have believed in Him have all the benefits of His perfect work! Having completedhis great task, He "sat down at the right hand of God."
13. From henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool "Expecting. " That was the subject of this
morning's sermon. [Sermon #1616, Volume 27-Saved in Hope] We
are expecting something better than we have yet seen. "We were saved in hope." We are expecting that which is yet to be revealedand our Covenant Head is expecting, too! This is the age of expectancy. We have not yet come to the fullness of the blessingthat is ours in Christ Jesus. The mercy of God is, at present, only in the bud-the fully-developed flower has yet to be seen.Christ is expecting. His saints are expecting. The whole creation is expecting!
14-17. For by one offering He has perfected forever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Spirit also is a witness tous: for after that He had said before, This is the Covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord, Iwill put My Laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; and their sins and iniquities will I remember nomore. Oh, what a blessed Covenant this is! Christ's death has established a Covenant of Grace in which there is no flaw andno possibility of failure, for the one condition of the Covenant has been fulfilled by Christ! And now it stands as a Covenantof "shalls" and "wills" on God's part from which He will never run back. It is not, "If they do this, and if they do that,I will do the other," but it is all, "I will." "I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more."
18. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. No more offering for sin is needed, for the work ofAtonement is fully done, and done forever. As the sin of all who believe in Jesus is put away, what need is there of any furthersacrifice on account of it? The Atonement is complete! Let us, therefore, rejoice in it and praise God for it!
19-22. Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, whichHe has consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh; and having an High Priest over the house of God; letus draw near with a true heart in full assurance offaith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodieswashed with pure water.