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below, are the same thing; the one in reality in heaven, the other bodily on earth. That which He was here below, was but the expression, the living, real, bodily manifestation of those divine communications which have been revealed to us, and which were the reality of the position that He assumed.
And it is very important to see these things in the free offer made by divine competency, and that not only in their fulfilment in death. It gives quite a different character to the bodily work here below.
In reality, from chapter i. of this epistle, the Holy Ghost always presents Christ in this way. But this revelation in the Psalm was requisite to explain how He became a servant, what the Messiah really was; and to us it opens an immense view of the ways of God; a view, the depths of which-clearly as it is revealed, and through the very clearness of the revelation-display to us things so divine and glorious, that we bow the head and veil our faces, at having had part, as it were, in such communications, on account of the majesty of the persons whose acts and whose intimate relationships are revealed. It is not here the glory that dazzles us. But in this poor world there is nothing to which we are greater strangers than the intimacy of those who are, in their modes of life, much above ourselves. What then, when it is that of God! Blessed be His name! there is grace that brings us into it-and that has drawn nigh to us in our weakness. We are then admitted to know this precious truth, that the Lord Jesus undertook, of His own free will, the accomplishment of all the will of God, and that He was pleased to take the body prepared for Him, in order to accomplish it. The love, the devotedness to the glory of God, and the way in which He undertook to obey, are fully set forth. And this the fruit of God's eternal counsels-displaces (by its very nature) every provisional sign; and contains, in itself alone, the condition of all relationship with God, and the means by which He glorifies Himself.
The Word then assumes a body, in order to offer Himself as a sacrifice. Besides the revelation of this devotedness of the Word to accomplish the will of God,
the effect of His sacrifice, according to the will of God, is also set before us.
He came to do the will of Jehovah. Now, it is by this will of God, (i. e. by His will who, according to His eternal wisdom prepared a body for His Son), that faith understands that those whom He has called unto Himself are saved, are set apart to God; in other words, are sanctified. It is by the will of God that we are set apart for Him (not by our own will), and that, by means of the sacrifice offered to God.
We shall observe, that the epistle does not here speak of the communication of life, nor of a practical sanctification wrought by the Holy Ghost:d the subject is the person of Christ ascended on high, and the efficacy of his work. And this is important with regard to sanctification, because it shows that sanctification is a complete setting apart to God, as belonging to Him at the price of the offering of Jesus: a consecration to Him by means of that offering. God took the unclean Jews from among men and set them apart, consecrated them to Himself, by means of the offering of Jesus.
But there is another element, already pointed out, in this offering, the force of which the epistle here applies to believers, namely, that the offering is "once for all." It admits of no repetition. If we enjoy the effect of this offering, our sanctification is eternal in its nature. does not fail. It is never repeated. We belong to God for ever, according to the efficacy of this offering. Thus our sanctification, our being set apart to God, has-with regard to the work that accomplished it-all the stability of the will of God, and all the grace from which it sprang; it has, in its nature, the perfection of the work itself, by which it was accomplished, and the duration and the constant force of the efficacy of that work. But the effect of this offering is not limited to this setting apart for God. The point already treated contains our consecration by God Himself, through the perfectly efficacious. offering of Christ, fulfilling His will. And now the po
d It speaks of this in the exhortations, chap. xii. 14. But in the doctrine of the epistle, "sanctification" is not used in the practical sense.
sition which Christ has taken, in consequence of His offering up of Himself, is employed, in order clearly to demonstrate the state it has brought us into before God.
The high-priest among the Jews-for this contrast is still carried on-stood before the altar continually, to repeat the same sacrifices which could never take away sins. But this man, when He had offered one sacrifice for sin, sat down for evere at the right hand of God. There,-having finished for His own all that regards their presentation without spot to God,-He awaits the moment when His enemies shall be made His footstool, according to Ps. cx.: "Sit Thou at my right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool." And the Spirit gives us the important reason so infinitely precious to us: "For He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified."
Here (ver. 14) as in ver. 12, on which the latter depends, the word "for ever" has the force of permanence, uninterrupted continuity. He is ever seated, we are ever perfected, by virtue of His work and according to the perfect righteousness in which, and conformably to which, He sits at the right hand of God upon His throne, according to that which He is personally there; His acceptance on God's part being proved by His session at His right hand.
And He is there for us.
It is a righteousness suited to the throne of God, yea, the righteousness of the throne. It neither varies nor fails. He is seated there for ever. If then we are sanctified, set apart to God, by this offering according to the will of God Himself, we are also made perfect for God by the same offering, as presented to Him in the person of Jesus.
We have seen that this position has its origin in the will, the good will of God (a will which combines the grace and the purpose of God), and that it has its foundation and present certainty in the accomplishment of the work
The word translated here "for ever," is not the same word that is used for eternally. It has the sense of continuously, without interruption as TO INVEKES. He does not rise up or stand. He is ever seated, His work being finished. He will, indeed, rise up at the end to come and fetch us, and to judge the world: even as this same passage tells us.
of Christ, the perfection of which is demonstrated by the session at the right hand of God of Him who accomplished it. But the testimony,-for to enjoy this grace, we must know it with divine certainty; and the greater it is, the more would our hearts be led to doubt it,-the testimony upon which we believe it must be divine. And this it is. The Holy Ghost bears witness to us of it. The will of God is the source of the work; Christ, the Son of God, accomplished it; the Holy Ghost bears witness of it. And here the application to the people, called by grace and spared, is, in consequence, fully set forth; not merely the fulfilment of the work. The Holy Ghost bears us witness, "I will remember no more their sins and iniquities."
Blessed position! The certainty that God will never remember our sins and iniquities, is founded on the steadfast will of God, on the perfect offering of Christ, now, consequently, seated at the right hand of God, and on the sure testimony of the Holy Ghost. It is a matter of faith that God will never remember our sins.
We may remark here, the way in which the covenant is introduced; for although, as writing to "the holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling," he says "a witness to us," the form of his address is always that of an epistle to the Hebrews, (believers, of course, but Hebrews, still bearing the character of God's people). He does not speak of the Covenant in a direct way, as a privilege in which Christians had a direct part. The Holy Ghost, he says, declares, "I will remember no more," &c. It is this which he quotes. He only alludes to the New Covenant; leaving it aside, consequently, as to all present application. For after having said, "This is the covenant," etc., the testimony is cited, as that of the Holy Ghost, to prove the capital point which he was treating, i.e., that God remembers our sins no more. But he alludes to the Covenant (already known to the Jews as declared before of God) which gave the authority of the Scriptures to this testimony that God remembered no more the sins of His people who are sanctified and admitted into His favour, and which, at the same time, presented these two thoughts:-1st, that this complete
pardon did not exist under the first covenant; and 2nd, that the door is left open for the blessing of the nation when the New Covenant shall be formally established.
Another practical consequence is drawn: sins being remitted, there is no more oblation for sin. The one sacrifice having obtained remission, no others can be offered in order to obtain it. Remembrance of this one sacrifice there may indeed be, whatever its character; but a sacrifice to take away the sin which is already taken away, there cannot be. We are, therefore, in reality on entirely new ground-on that of the fact, that by the sacrifice of Christ sin is altogether put away, and that for us who are sanctified and partakers of the heavenly calling, a perfect and everlastingly permanent cleansing has been made, remission granted, eternal redemption obtained. So that we are, in the eyes of God, without sin, on the ground of the perfection of the work of Christ who is seated at His right hand, who has entered into the true Holiest, into heaven itself, to sit there, because his work is accomplished.
Thus, all liberty is ours to enter into the Holy Place (all boldness) by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, i.e., His flesh, that veil rent for us, to admit us without spot into the presence of God Himself, who is there revealed. For that which rent the veil in order to admit us, has likewise put away the sin which shut us
We have also a great High Priest over the house of God, as we have seen, who represents us in the Holy Place.
On these truths are founded the exhortations that follow. One word before we enter on them, as to the relation that exists between perfect righteousness and the priesthood. There are many souls who use the priesthood as the means of obtaining pardon when they have failed. They go to Christ as a Priest, that He may intercede for them and obtain the pardon which they desire, but for which they dare not ask God in a direct way. These souls-sincere as they are-have not liberty to enter into the Holy Place. They take refuge with Christ that they may afresh be brought into the