A Sermon Delivered On Sunday Evening, By C. H. Spurgeon. At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington. *1/14/2013
By that will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all. [Heb 10:10]
1. Dear friends, ever since the Lord has quickened us by his grace we have begun to look into ourselves and to search our hearts to see our condition before God. Hence many things which once caused us no turmoil now create great anxiety in us. We thought that we were all right, and felt it to be enough to be quite as good as others. We dreamed that if we were not quite as good as we should be we should certainly grow better, though we did not stop to enquire how or why. We took stock of our condition and concluded that we were rich and increased with goods, and had need of nothing. A change has come over the spirit of the scene; the grace of God has made us thoughtful and careful. We dare not take things for granted now. We test and prove things, for we are very anxious not to be deceived. We look upon eternal realities as being of the utmost consequence, and we dare not take them for granted as being certain to be right. We are afraid of being presumptuous; we long to be sincere. We hold an assize within our spirits, and we are so afraid that we may be partial, as probably we shall be, that we ask the Lord to search us and try us, to see if there is any wicked way in us, so that he may lead us out of such a way into the way everlasting. This is all very wise and very proper, and I would not for a moment try to discourage the people of God from a proper measure of this state of heart; and yet let it never be forgotten that we are in the sight of God other in some respects than we shall ever see ourselves to be if we look through the mirror of feeling and consciousness. There are other matters to be taken into consideration, matters which our anxiety may lead us to overlook, and our inward search may cause us to forget.
2. Faith reveals to us another position for the people of God besides what they occupy in themselves. Some call it an evangelical fiction, and the like; but, thank God, it is a blessed fact that, sinners as we are in ourselves, yet believers are saints in God’s sight, and that sinful as they feel themselves to be, yet they are washed, cleansed, and sanctified in Jesus Christ. Notwithstanding all that we mourn over, the very fact that we do mourn over it becomes an evidence that we are no longer what we once were, and do not stand now where we once stood. We have passed from death to life. We have escaped from under the dominion of law into the kingdom of grace. We have come from under the curse, and we reside in the region of blessing. We have believed on him who justifies the ungodly, and our faith is counted for righteousness. [Ro 4:5] There is therefore now no condemnation for us, for we are in Christ Jesus our Lord, and walk no longer after the flesh but after the Spirit. So that your hearts may be gladdened, I want to think of the noble position into which the grace of God has lifted all believers — the condition of sanctification which is spoken of in the text — for by the “will of God we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all.”
3. We shall, first, speak of the eternal will; secondly, of the effective sacrifice by which that will has been carried out; and, thirdly, of the everlasting result accomplished by that will through the sacrifice of the body of Christ. May the Holy Spirit who has revealed the grand doctrine of justification now enable us to understand it and to feel its comforting power.
4. I. First, then, THE ETERNAL WILL — “By that will we are sanctified.”
5. First of all this will must be viewed as the ordained will of old by the Father — the eternal decree of the infinite Jehovah, that a people whom he chose should be sanctified and set apart for himself. The will of Jehovah stands firm for ever and ever, and we know of it that it is altogether unchangeable, and that it has no beginning. It is an eternal will, we have no vacillating deity, no fickle God. He wills changes, but he never changes his will. “He is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desires, even that he does.” The will of God is invincible as well as eternal. We are told in the Ephesians that he works all things after the counsel of his own will. “Who can restrain his hand, or say to him, ‘What are you doing?’ ” The good pleasure of his will is never defeated: there cannot be such a thing as a vanquished God. “His purpose shall stand, and he will do all his pleasure.” In fact, the will of God is the motive force of all things. “He spoke, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood firm.” His word is omnipotent because his will is behind it, and it puts force into it. He said “Light be,” and there was light, because he willed that there should be light. He commanded creatures to come forth, numerous as the drops of dew, to populate the world that he had made, and they came forth, flying, leaping, swimming, in varied orders of life, because he created them by his own will. His will is the secret power which sustains the universe, and threads the starry orbs, and holds them like a necklace of light around the neck of nature. His will is the Alpha and the Omega of all things. It was according to this eternal, invincible will of God that he chose, created, and set apart a people that should demonstrate the glory and riches of his grace, a people that should bear the image of his only-begotten Son, a people that should joyfully and willingly serve him in his courts for ever and ever, a people who should be his own sons and daughters, to whom he would say, “I will dwell in them and walk in them, and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.” Thus stood the eternal will of old. “For whom he foreknew, he also predestinated to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
6. But the people concerning whom this will was made were dead in sin, defiled with evil, polluted by transgression. The old serpent’s venom was in their veins. They were fit to be set apart for the curse, but not to be set apart for the service of the thrice-holy God. And the question was, how then should the will of the Immutable Invincible ever be carried out? How shall these rebels become absolved? How shall these fountains of filth become clear as crystal, pouring out floods of living water and divine praise? How shall these unsanctified and defiled ones become sanctified to the service of God? It must be, — but how shall it be? Then came the priests, with smoking censers, and with basins full of blood, steaming as it came fresh from the slaughtered victims, and they sprinkled this blood upon the book and upon the people, upon the altar, and upon the mercy seat, and upon all the hangings of the tabernacle, and all the ground where the worshippers walked, for almost all things under the law were sanctified by blood. This blood of bulls and of goats was everywhere. Fresh every morning and renewed every evening. Still, God’s will was not done, the chosen were not sanctified by this, and we know they were not, because it is written, “Sacrifice and offering you do not wish.” His will was not fulfilled in them, It was not his will that they should sanctify the people. They were inefficacious for such a purpose, for, as the Holy Spirit has said, “It was not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins”: and so, if these offerings had been all, centuries of the house of Aaron and of the priests of the tribe of Levi might have come and gone, and yet the will decreed by the eternal Father would not have been an accomplished fact.
7. So we are landed at our second point, which is, that this will by which we are sanctified was performed by the ever-blessed Son. It was the will of God the Father, but it was carried out by the divine Son when he came into the world. A body was prepared for him, and into that body, in a mysterious manner which we will not attempt even to conceive of, he entered, and there he was the incarnate God. This incarnate God, by offering his own blood, by laying down his own life, by bearing in his own body the curse, and in his own spirit enduring the wrath, was able to accomplish the purpose of the everlasting Father in the purging of his people, in the setting of his chosen apart, and henceforth making them holiness to the Lord. Do you not see what the will of the Father was — that he should have a people who should be sanctified to himself? But that will could not be carried out by the blood of bulls and of goats, it must be achieved by the offering up of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all. Our Lord Jesus Christ has done whatever that will of the Father required for its perfect achievement. This is our satisfaction.
8. We will not enter at this time into a detailed account of our Lord’s active and passive obedience by which he magnified the law and set apart his people. I urge you, however, never fall into the error of dividing the work of Christ as some do, and saying, “Here he made atonement for sin, and there he did not.” In these modern times certain brethren have invented refinements of statement of so trivial a character that they are not even worth the trouble of thinking over, and yet, like babes with a new rattle, they make a noise with them all day long. It is amusing how these wise professors make grave points out of mere hairsplitting distinctions, and if we do not agree with them they give themselves mighty airs, pitying our ignorance, and esteeming themselves as superior people who have an insight into things which ordinary Christians cannot see. May God save us from having eyes which are so sharp that we are able to spy out new occasions for difference, and fresh reasons for making men offenders for mere words. I believe in the life of Christ as well as in his death, and I believe that he stood for me before God as much when he walked the acres of Palestine as when he hung on the cross at Jerusalem. You cannot divide and split him asunder and say, “He is so far an example, and so far an atonement,” but you must take the entire Christ, and look at him from the very first as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. “Oh, but,” they say, “he made no atonement except in his death,” which is, let me tell you, an absurdity in language. Listen for a minute. When does a man die? I cannot tell you. There is the minute in which the soul separates from the body; but all the time that a man may be described as dying he is alive, is he not? A man does not suffer when actually dead. What we call the pangs of death are truly and accurately pangs of life. Death does not suffer; it is the end of suffering. A man is in life while he suffers; and if they say, “It is Christ’s death that makes an atonement, and not his life,” I reply that death, alone and by itself, makes no atonement. Death in its natural sense, and not in this modern unnatural severance from life, does make an atonement; but it cannot be viewed apart from life by any unsophisticated mind. If they must have distinctions we could make distinctions enough to worry them out of such an unprofitable business, but we have nobler work to do. To us our Lord’s death seems to be the consummation of his life, the finishing stroke of a work which his Father had given him to do among the sons of men. We view him as having come in a body prepared for him to do the will of God once, and that “once” lasted throughout his one life on earth. We will not, however, dwell on any moot point, but sincerely rejoice that whatever was needed to make God’s people wholly sanctified to God, Christ has accomplished. “By that will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once.” It is finished. Does the divine law require for our acceptance perfect submission to the will of the Lord? He has rendered it. Does it ask for complete obedience to its precepts? He has presented the same. Does the fulfilled will of the Lord call for abject suffering, a sweat of blood, pangs unknown, and death itself? Christ has presented it all, whatever that “all” may be. Just as, when God created, his word accomplished all his will; so, when God redeemed, his blessed and incarnate Word has done all his will. In every point, as God looked on each day’s work and said “It is good,” so, as he looks upon each part of the work of his dear Son, he can say of it, “It is good.” The Father joins in the verdict of his Son, that it is finished: all the will of God for the sanctification of his people is accomplished.
9. Beloved, this work must be applied to us by the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who brings us to know that Jesus Christ has sanctified us, or set us apart, and made us acceptable with God. It is the Holy Spirit who has given us the New Testament, and shed a light upon the Old. It is the Holy Spirit who speaks to us through the ministers of Christ when he blesses them to our conversion. It is especially the Holy Spirit who takes away from us all hope of being sanctified before God by any means of our own, brings us to see our need of cleansing and reconciliation, and then takes the things of Christ and reveals them to us. Not without the exertion of his sacred power are we made to take the place of separation, and dedication, to which the Lord of old ordained us.
10. So it is by the will of the Father, carried out by the Son, and applied by the Holy Spirit, that the church of God is regarded as sanctified before God, and is acceptable to him.
11. I do not tarry longer on any one point, because these great things are best spoken of with few words: they are subjects better fed upon by quiet thought than exhibited in speech.
12. II. I invite you, dear friends, in the second place, to consider THE EFFECTIVE SACRIFICE by which the will of God with regard to the sanctity of his people has been carried out. “By that will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ.”
13. This implies, first, his incarnation, which of course includes his eternal deity. We can never forget that Jesus Christ is God. The church has produced many a valiant confession to his deity; and woe be to her should she ever vacillate on that glorious truth! Yet sometimes she has great need earnestly to insist upon his humanity. As you bow before your glorious Lord, and adore him with all the sanctified, yet remember that he whom you worship was truly and really a man. The gospel of his incarnation is not a spiritual idea, nor a metaphor, nor a myth. In very deed and truth the God who made heaven and earth came down to earth, and nursed upon a woman’s breast as an infant. That child, as he grew in stature and wisdom, was as certainly God as he is at this moment in glory. He was as surely God when he was here hungering and suffering, sleeping, eating, drinking, as he was God when he hung up the morning stars and lit the lamps of night, or as he shall be when sun and moon shall dim at the brightness of his coming. Jesus Christ, very God of very God, did certainly stoop to become such as we are, and was made in the likeness of sinful flesh. It is a truth you all know, but I want you to grasp it and believe it. It will help you to trust Christ if you clearly perceive that, divine as he is, he is bone of your bone and flesh of your flesh — your kinsman, though the Son of God.
14. All this is implied in the text, because it speaks of the offering of the body of Christ. But why does it specifically speak of the body? I think to show us the reality of that offering; his soul suffered, and his soul’s sufferings were the soul of his sufferings, but still, to make it palpable to you, to record it as an absolute historical fact, he mentions that there was an offering of the body of Christ.
15. I take it, however, that the word means the whole of Christ — that there was an offering made of all of Christ, the body of him, or that of which he was constituted. It is my solemn conviction that the deity co-worked with his humanity in the wondrous passion by which he has sanctified his elect. I am told that deity cannot suffer. I am expected to subscribe to that because theologians say so. Well, if it is true, then I shall satisfy myself with believing that the deity helped the humanity by strengthening it to suffer more than it could otherwise have endured: but I believe that deity can suffer, heterodox as that notion may seem to be. I cannot believe in an impassive God as my Father. If he pities and sympathises, surely he must have some sensitivity. Is he a God of iron? If he wills it he can do anything, and therefore he can suffer if he pleases. It is not possible for God to be made to suffer, that would be a ridiculous supposition; yet if he wills to do so he is certainly capable of doing that as well as anything else, for all things are possible for him. I look upon our Lord Jesus as in his very Godhead stooping down to bear the weight of human sin and human misery, sustaining it because he was divine, and able to bear what otherwise would have been too great a load. So all of Christ was made a sacrifice for sin. It was the offering, not of the spirit of Christ, but of the very body of Christ — the essence, subsistence, and most obvious reality and personality of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Most High.
16. And this was wholly offered. I do not know how to bring out my own thought here; but to accomplish the will of God in sanctifying all his people Christ must be the offering, and he must be wholly offered. There were certain sacrifices which were only presented to God in part, so far as the consumption by fire was concerned. A part was eaten by the priest or by the offerer, and so far it was not a whole burnt offering. In this there was presented much precious truth, of which we will not speak at this present time; but as our sin offering, making expiation for guilt, our blessed Lord and Master gave himself wholly for us, as an atoning sacrifice and offering for sin: and that “himself” sums up all you can conceive to be in and of the Christ of God; and the pangs and griefs which like a fire went through him consumed him, even to the uttermost of all that was in him. He bore all that could be borne, stooped to the lowest to which humility could come, descended to the utmost abyss to which a descent of self-denial could be made. He made himself of no reputation: he emptied himself of all honour and glory. He gave himself up without reserve. He saved others, he could not save himself; he spares us in our chastisements, but he did not spare himself. He says of himself, in the twenty-second Psalm, “I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised by the people.” [Ps 22:6] You do not know, you cannot imagine, how fully the sacrifice was made by Christ. It was not only a sacrifice of all of himself, but a complete sacrifice of every part of himself for us. The blaze of eternal wrath for human sin was focused upon his head! The anguish that must have been endured by him who stood in the place of millions of sinners to be judged by God and punished in their place is altogether inconceivable. Though himself perfectly innocent, yet in his own person to offer up such a sacrifice as could honour the divine justice on account of myriads of sins of myriads of the sons of men was a work far beyond all human comprehension. You may set your reason and your imagination free, and rise into the seventh heaven of sublime conception as with eagle wing, but you can never reach the utmost height. Here is the sum of the matter — “Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift,” for it certainly is unspeakable and inconceivable when we view the Lord Jesus as a sacrifice for the sins of men.
17. This offering was made once, and only once. The pith of the text lies in the finishing words of it, “through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all.” Those words “for all” are very properly put in by the translators; but you must not make a mistake concerning their meaning. The text does not mean that Christ offered himself up once and for all, — that is, for all mankind. That may be a doctrine of Scripture, or it may not be a doctrine of Scripture, but it is not the teaching here. The passage means “once and for all” in the sense of — all at once, or only once. As a man might say, “I gave up my whole estate once and for all to my creditors, and there was an end of the matter,” so here our Lord Jesus Christ is said to have offered himself up as a sacrifice once and for all — that is to say, only once, and there was an end of the whole matter. His sacrifice on behalf of his people was for all the sins before he came. Think of what they all were. Ages had succeeded ages, and there had been found among the various generations of men criminals of the blackest dye, and crimes had been multiplied; but the prophet said in vision concerning Christ, as he looked on all the multitude, “All we like sheep have gone astray: we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” That was before he came. Reflect that there has been no second offering of himself ever since, and never will be, but it was once, and that once did the deed. Let your mind conceive of this, nearly two thousand years have passed since the offering, and if the prophet were to stand here tonight and look back through those almost two millennia, he would still say, “All we like sheep have gone astray: we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Oh! it is a wonderful conception — the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus was the reservoir into which all the sin of the human race ran, from this quarter, and that, and that, and that, and that. All the sin of his people rolled in a torrent on him, and gathered as in a great lake. In him was no sin, and yet the Lord made him to be sin for us. You may have seen a deep mountain stream which has been filled to the brim by innumerable streamlets from all the hillsides all around. Here comes a torrent gushing down, and there trickles from the moss that has overgrown the rock a little drip, drip, drip, which falls perpetually: great and small tributaries all meet in the black stream, which after the rain is full to the brim, and ready to burst its banks. That lone lake pictures Christ, the meeting-place of the sin of his people. It was all laid on him, so that the penalty might be exacted from him. At his hands the price must be demanded for the ransom of all this multitude of sins.
18. And it is said that he did this once and for all. I have no language with which to describe it: but I see before me the great load of sin, the huge, tremendous world of sin. No, no, it is greater than the world. Atlas might carry that, but this is a weight compared with which the world is only as a pin’s head. Mountains upon mountains, alps on alps, are nothing to the mighty mass of sin which I see before my mind’s eye: and lo, it all falls upon the Well-Beloved. He stands beneath it, and bows under it until the bloody sweat oozes from every pore, and yet he does not yield to its weight so as to get away from the burden. It presses more heavily, it bows him to the dust, it touches his very soul, it makes him cry in anguish, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” and yet at the last he lifts himself up and flings it all away, and cries, “It is finished!” and it is gone. There is not a vestige of it left: no, not an atom of it left. It is all gone at once, and once and for all. He has borne the immeasurable weight and cast it off from his shoulders for ever; and just as it lies no more on him so also it lies no more on them. Sin shall never be mentioned against his people any more for ever. Oh, wondrous deed of deity! Oh, mighty feat of love accomplished once and for all. The Redeemer never offered himself to death before. He never will do it again.
19. Look this way, my brethren, the reason why it never will be done again is because there is no need for it. All the sin that was laid upon Jesus is gone: all the sin of his people is for ever discharged. He has borne it: the debt is paid. The handwriting of ordinances against us is nailed to his cross: the accuser’s charge is answered for ever. What, then, shall we say of those who come forward and pretend that they perpetually present the body of Christ in the bloodless sacrifice of the mass? Why, this — that no profane jest from the lip of Voltaire ever had even the slightest degree of God-defiant blasphemy in it compared with such a hideous insult as this horrible pretence. It is infernal. I will say no less. There can be nothing more intolerable than that notion: for our Lord Jesus Christ has offered himself for sin once, and once and for all; and he who dares to think of offering him again insults him by acting as if that once were not enough. I cannot believe any language of abhorrence to be too strong if the performers and attendants at the mass really knew what is implied in their professed act and deed. In the judgment of Christian charity we may earnestly pray, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
Our words fail and our conceptions faint at the thought of the great
Substitute with all the sins of his people condensed into one black
draught and set before him. How shall we think of him as putting that
cup to his lip, and drinking, drinking, drinking all the wrath until
he had drained the cup to the bottom and filled himself with horror?
Yet see, he has finished the death-drink and turned the cup upside
down, crying, “It is finished.” At one tremendous draught the
loving Lord has drained destruction dry for all his people, and there
is no dreg nor drop left for any one of them; for now the will of
God is accomplished — “by that will we are sanctified through the
offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all.” Glory be to
God! And yet again, glory be to God!
He bore on the tree the sentence for me,
And now both the Surety and sinner are free.
In the heavenly Lamb thrice happy I am;
And my heart doth rejoice at the sound of his name.
21. III. Now I close with our third point, and that is THE EVERLASTING RESULT.
22. The everlasting result of this effective carrying out of the will of God is that now God regards his people’s sin as expiated, and they are sanctified. Our sin is removed by expiation. Atonement has been offered, and its efficacy endures for ever. There is no need of any other expiation. Believers repent bitterly, but not in the way of expiation. There is no penance to be exacted from them by way of putting away guilt. Their guilt is gone; their transgression is forgiven. The covenant is made with them, and it runs like this: “I will remember their sins and their iniquities no more for ever.” Their sins have, in fact, been ended, blotted out, and annihilated by the Redeemer’s one sacrifice.
Next, they are reconciled. There is no quarrel now between God
and those who are in Christ Jesus. Peace is made between the two of
them. The middle wall that stood between them is taken away. Christ
by his one sacrifice has made peace for all his people, and
effectively established an amity which never shall be broken.
Lord Jesus, we believing
In thee have peace with God,
Eternal life receiving,
The purchase of thy blood.
Our curse and condemnation
Thou bearest in our stead;
Secure is our salvation
In thee, our risen Head.
Moreover, they are not only accepted and reconciled, but they are
purified; the taint that was upon them is taken away. In God’s
sight they are no more regarded as unclean; they are no longer shut
outside the camp, they may come to the throne of the heavenly grace
whenever they wish. God can have communion with them. He regards them
as fit to stand in his courts and to be his servants, for they are
purified, reconciled, expiated through the one offering of Christ.
Their admission into the closest intimacy with God could never be
allowed if he did not regard them as purged from all uncleanness, and
this has not been accomplished at all by themselves, but only by the
Thy blood, not mine, oh Christ,
Thy blood so freely spilt,
Has blanched my blackest stains,
And purged away my guilt.
Thy righteousness, oh Christ,
Alone does cover me;
No righteousness avails
Save that which is in thee.
25. Now, what has come of it? That is the point. I want you now just to let me leave the doctrine and try and bring out the experience arising from it. What Christ has done in the carrying out of the great will of God has accomplished salvation for all his chosen; but this is applied to them actually and practically by the Holy Spirit’s dwelling in them, by which indwelling they know they are now God’s people. The Israelites were God’s people, after a fashion; the Levites were more particularly so, and the priests were still more especially so, and these had to present perpetual sacrifices and offerings so that God might be able to look upon them as his people, for they were a sinful people. You and I are not typically, but really and truly his people. Through Jesus Christ’s offering of himself once and for all we are really set apart to be the Lord’s people henceforth and for ever, and he says of us — I mean, of course, not of all of us, but of as many as have believed in Jesus, and to whom the Holy Spirit has revealed his finished work — “I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” You, believers, are sanctified in this sense, that you are now the set-apart ones for God, and you belong entirely to him. Will you think that over? “I am now not my own. I do not belong now to the common order of men, as all the rest of men do. I am set apart. I am called out. I am taken aside. I am one of the Lord’s own. I am his treasure and his portion. He has through Jesus Christ’s death made me one of those of whom he says — ‘They shall dwell alone, they shall not be numbered among the people.’ ” I want you to feel it so that you may live under the power of that fact; that you may feel, “My Lord has cleansed me. My Lord has made expiation for me. My Lord has reconciled me to God, and I am God’s man, I am God’s woman. I cannot live as others do. I cannot be one among you. I must come out. I must be separate. I cannot find my pleasure where you find yours. I cannot find my treasure where you find yours. I am God’s, and God is mine. That wondrous transaction on the cross of which our minister has tried to speak, but of which he could not speak as he ought, — that wondrous unspeakable deed upon the cross, that wonderful life and death of Jesus, has made me one of God’s people, set apart for him, and as such I must live.”
26. When you realise that you are God’s people, the next thing is to reflect that God in sanctifying a people set them apart for his service, and he made them fit for his service. You, beloved, through Christ’s one great offering of his body for you, are permitted now to be the servants of God. You know it is an awful thing for a man to try and serve God until God gives him permission: there is a presumption about it. Suppose that one of the Queen’s enemies, who has sought her life, and has always spoken against her, were to say, “I intend to be one of her servants, I will go into her palace and I will serve her,” having all the while in his heart a rebellious, proud spirit; his service could not be tolerated, it would be sheer impudence. Even so, “To the wicked God says, ‘What have you to do to declare my statutes?’ ” A wicked man, pretending to serve God, stands in the position of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, trying to offer incense; because he is not purified and not called to the work, and has no fitness for it. But now, beloved, you who are in Christ are called to be his servants. You have permission to serve him. It ought to be your great joy to be accepted servants of the living God. If you are only the Lord’s shoe polisher you have a greater privilege than if you were an emperor. If the highest thing you ever will be allowed to do should be to loosen the latchet of your Master’s shoe, or to wash his servants’ feet, if that master is Christ, you are favoured more than the mightiest of the mighty. Men of renown may envy you: their orders of the Garter or the Golden Fleece are nothing compared with the high dignity of being servants of King Jesus. Look upon this as being the result of Christ’s death upon the cross, that such a poor, sinful creature as you are, who was once a slave of the devil, is now allowed to be the servant of God. On the cross my Master bought for me the privilege to preach to you at this time; and he bought for you, dear mother, the privilege to go home and train your little child for the great Father in heaven; in fact, he bought for us a sanctification which has made us the Lord’s people, and has enabled us to engage in his service. Do we not rejoice in this?
27. Next to that we have this privilege, that what we do can now be accepted. Because Jesus Christ by the offering of his body once has perfected the Father’s will, and has sanctified us, therefore what we do is now accepted with God. We might have done whatever we wished, but God would not have accepted it from a sinner’s hands — from the hands of those who were outside of Christ. Now he accepts anything from us. You dropped a penny into the box: it was all that you could give, and the Lord accepted it. It dropped into his hand. You offered a little prayer in the middle of business this afternoon because you heard a bad word spoken; and your God accepted that prayer. You went down the street and spoke to a poor sick person; you did not say much, but you said all you could: the great God accepted it. Acceptance in the Beloved, not only for ourselves, but for our prayers and our work, is one of the sweetest things I know of. We are accepted. That is the joy of it. Through that one great, bloody sacrifice, once and for all offered, God’s people are for ever accepted, and what his people do for him is accepted too; and now we are privileged to the highest degree, being sanctified — that is to say, made into God’s people, God’s servants, and God’s accepted servants. Every privilege which we could have had, if we had never sinned, is now ours, and we are in him as his children. We have more than would have come to us by the covenant of works; and if we will only know it, and live up to it, even the very privilege of suffering and the privilege of being tried, the privilege of being in poverty, should be looked upon as a great gift, for I think an angel spirit, seated high alone there, meditating and adoring, might say within himself, “I have served God: these swift wings have borne me through the ether on his errands, but I never suffered for him. I was never despised for him. Drunkards never called me bad names. I was never misrepresented as God’s servant. After all, though I have served him, it has been one perpetual joy. He has set a hedge around me and all that I have.” If an angel could envy anyone, I think he would envy the martyr who had the privilege of burning alive to the death for Christ, or such as Job, who, when stripped of everything and covered with sores, could sit on a dunghill and yet honour his God; because such as these achieved a service unique within itself, which has sparkling diamonds of the first water glittering about it, such as cannot be found in an unsuffering ministry no matter how complete it may be. You are favoured sons of Adam, you who have become sons of God. You are favoured beyond cherubim and seraphim in accomplishing a service for the exhibition of the riches of the grace of God, which unfallen spirits never could accomplish. Rejoice and be extremely glad that this one offering has put you there.
And now you are eternally secure. No sin can ever be laid to your
door, for it is all put away, and sin being removed every other evil
has lost its fang and sting. Now you are eternally beloved for you
are one with him who can never be other than dear to the heart of
Jehovah. That union never can be broken, for nothing can separate us
from the love of God, and hence your security can never be
imperilled. Now you are in some measure glorified, for “the spirit of
glory and of Christ rests upon you,” and our citizenship is in
heaven, from where we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus, who has
already raised us up together, and made us sit together in the
heavenlies. Heaven is already ours in promise, in price, and in
principle, and the preparation for it has also begun. I feel at
this hour that —
All that remains for me
Is but to love and sing,
And wait until the angels come
To bear me to their King.
I would always live in such a spirit. Brothers and sisters, are you
depressed at this time? Do you have great trouble? Are you alone in
the world? Do others misjudge you, or does the iron of scandal pierce
your very soul? Do fierce coals of juniper await those vicious
tongues that wrong you? Do you feel bowed into the dust? Yet, why are
you despairing? Child of God, and heir of all things, why are you
cast down? Joint-heir with Christ, why do you grovel? Why do you lie
among the pots when you already have angels’ wings about you? Up,
man, up. Your inheritance is not here among the dragons and the owls.
Up! You are one of God’s eagles, born for brighter light than earth
could bear — light that would blind the bleary-eyed sons of men if they
were once to get a veiled glimpse of it. You, a twice-born man, one
of the imperial family, one who shall sit upon a throne with Christ
as surely as Christ sits there, what are you doing to be moaning and
groaning? Wipe your eyes and smooth your brow, and in the strength of
the Eternal go to your life battle. It will not be long. The trumpet
of victory almost sounds in your ears. Will you now beat a retreat?
No. Play the man and win the day. “Trust in the Lord and do good; so
you shall dwell in the land, and truly you shall be fed,” until he
comes to catch you away where you shall see what Jesus did for you
when he made his body a sacrifice once and for all, that he might
fulfil the will of the eternal Father, and sanctify you and all his
people to God for ever and ever. May the best of blessings rest upon
all who are in Christ Jesus.
[Portion Of Scripture Read Before Sermon — Heb 10:1-22]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Names and Titles — Priest” 395]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Names and Titles — Surety” 406]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Contrite Cries — Be Merciful To Me” 593]
Stockwell Orphanage For Girls. — The land being bought and paid for,
Mr. Spurgeon is anxious to begin building, since large numbers of
orphans are applying. The block, which will contain houses for 250
girls, and the various schoolrooms, will cost about £8,000, of which
£3,000 is promised. To raise the rest of the money will need the
united generosity of many, and the special bounty of the few who are
wealthy. It is proposed that the first stone should be laid on Mr.
Spurgeon’s birthday, June 19, should a sufficient sum be in hand to
make it prudent to begin. Sympathising readers can forward donations
to Mr. Spurgeon, Nightingale Lane, Balham, and he will gratefully
acknowledge the same.
Jesus Christ, Names and Titles
395 — Priest
1 Jesus, in thee our eyes behold
A thousand glories more
Than the rich gems, and polish’d gold,
The sons of Aaron wore.
2 They first their own burn offerings brought
To purge themselves from sin:
Thy life was pure without a spot,
And all thy nature clean.
3 Fresh blood as constant as the day,
Was on their altar spilt:
But thy one offering takes away
For ever all our guilt.
4 Their priesthood ran through several hands,
For mortal was their race;
Thy never changing office stands
Eternal as thy days.
5 Once in the circuit of a year,
With blood, but not his own,
Aaron within the veil appears,
Before the golden throne.
6 But Christ by his own powerful blood
Ascends above the skies,
And in the presence of our God
Shows his own sacrifice.
7 Jesus, the King of Glory, reigns
On Sion’s heavenly hill;
Looks like a lamb that has been slain,
And wears his priesthood still.
8 He ever lives to intercede
Before his Father’s face:
Give him, my soul, thy cause to plead,
Nor doubt the Father’s grace.
Isaac Watts, 1709.
Jesus Christ, Names and Titles
406 — Surety <7s.>
1 Christ exalted is our song,
Hymn’d by all the blood bought throng;
To his throne our shouts shall rise,
God with us by sacred ties.
2 Shout, believer, to thy God,
He hath once the winepress trod;
Peace procured by blood divine,
Cancell’d all thy sins and mine.
3 Here thy bleeding wounds are heal’d,
Sin condemn’d, and pardon seal’d;
Grace her empire still maintains;
Love without a rival reigns.
4 In thy Surety thou art free,
His dear hands were pierced for thee;
With his spotless vesture on,
Holy as the Holy One.
5 Oh the heights and depths of grace!
Shining with meridian blaze;
Here the sacred records show
Sinners black, but comely too.
6 Saints dejected, cease to mourn,
Faith shall soon to vision turn;
Ye the kingdom shall obtain,
And with Christ exalted reign.
John Kent, 1803.
The Christian, Contrite Cries
593 — Be Merciful To Me
1 With broken heart and contrite sigh,
A trembling sinner, Lord, I cry;
Thy pardoning grace is rich and free;
Oh God! be merciful to me.
2 I smite upon my troubled breast,
With deep and conscious guilt oppress’d:
Christ and his cross my only plea;
Oh God! be merciful to me.
3 Far off I stand with tearful eyes,
Nor dare uplift them to the skies;
But thou dost all my anguish see;
Oh God! be merciful to me.
4 Nor alms, nor deeds that I have done,
Can for a single sin atone;
To Calvary alone I flee;
Oh God! be merciful to me.
5 And when, redeem’d from sin and hell,
With all the ransom’d throng I dwell,
My raptured song shall ever be,
God has been merciful to me.
Cornelius Elven, 1852.