Gospel Gleanings’ Booklets. No. 100
Dear reader, let me call your attention to what God has told us of His Son. It concerns you more deeply than aught else. It enables you to judge yourself, and confess your sins. God has spoken in the plainest and fullest terms, that you might hear and live and have yourself cleansed for ever in His sight, that you might know it now, and enjoy assuredly His favour resting on you. If you could be exalted to an empire, what were this transient honour in comparison?
It is not only sinners unawakened who do not believe in that perfect cleansing as open to their need. But few here and there among true saints of God believe it for their own souls as their real living privilege. They are become dull of hearing in Christendom, as the believing Jews were to receive the truth in its fulness. They ought to have an appetite for solid food, whereas their infantine state superinduced the need of milk. None can rise to the place of full-grown men (or what is here called perfection) without resting on the work of Christ as God presents it. And His blood cleanses us from all sin. How could it avail to God and for us, if it did not? If all iniquities be not blotted out, we are inadmissible to God’s presence.
The Jews were used to a constant round of offerings for their recurring sins. It could not be otherwise, if they had only blood of bulls and goats incapable of taking away sins. But now Jesus the Son of God has come and offered His body once for all. The Levitical sacrifices kept up the remembrance of sins: and this was good as far as it went; for the sinner is apt to forget his guilty state. But now that Christ has done God’s will in offering up Himself as the one sacrifice which more than fulfils all sacrifices, He takes away the shadow to establish the everlasting substance: “by which will we [who believe] have been (and are) sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
For a work so amazing a divine Person is essential. Therefore it is that we are shown on the very threshold of this epistle, Who and what He is in Whom God speaks now since the Messiah came. It is no longer partial, as before His advent, but perfect and complete. Many measures and many modes are eclipsed in its fulness. Nor is it from God dwelling in the thick darkness, but in His Son, a Man full of grace and truth, the one True Light wherein there is no darkness at all, shining in love to win and save us by bearing our sins in His body on the tree.
“Son” is His relation to God, not by adoption but by personal right, and hence established “Heir of all things;” truly man, yet as truly Heir of the universe, as none other is or could be. Think how the glory of every other vanishes before it, yea, of all creatures that ever were or could be if put together! Nor need you be surprised, seeing that by Him also God made the worlds. The Creator of all is entitled to be Heir of all. Of whom else could the least part of this work be said but of God? Had He not been God, it could not be attributed to Him; and to Him it is attributed more than to any other person in the Godhead, as appears from John 1:3, and Colossians 1:16, to cite no more.
Nor is this by any means all that is here said to exalt His Person. He is effulgence of God’s glory, and express image of His substance, as He upholds all things by the word of His power, all which only a divine Person could do. His shining forth makes known the divine glory as no angel could, nor yet the archangel. They are but servants. He subsisting in the form of God counted it no object of rapine to be on equality of God, but first emptied Himself, taking a servant’s place and in likeness of men; and then humbled Himself, becoming obedient to death, yea, death of the cross. None but God could either empty Himself or humble Himself. A creature could not leave his first estate without sin against the God Who had put him in it. The highest angel is a servant and could not, save by sin (like Satan), quit his own place as a creature of God. The Son could and did leave His in abeyance, to glorify God, become man, and in due time a sacrifice to God for sinners.
And what was the fruit of such grace by One so glorious? “When he made by himself purification of sins, he sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high.”
He sits there, and is so pointed out by God’s word to you, that you may be assured that His work of purifying sins is finished and accepted by God for all that believe on Him. O then, sin no more by unbelief of what God has thus wrought in His Son, and proclaims to you in the gospel! Surely you must own that only God can forgive sins against Himself, as all your sins have been. Man may forgive what is done against him; but consider the blasphemy of any that pretend to forgive sins against God! Wondrous grace! it is God Himself Who sends you, if you repent and believe on Christ, the glad tidings of entire remission of your sins; because Christ made their purification, and sits on His throne as the witness that the atoning work is done, not a doing or to be done but done, before He took His seat there.
Believe on Jesus, and the blessing is yours. So God has spoken now in His word. Humble yourself as a poor guilty lost sinner, that you may be saved by grace. W.K.