2693. Priest And Victim

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Priest And Victim

No. 2693-46:445. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, August 28, 1881, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, September 23, 1900.

He offered up himself. {Heb 7:27}

1. 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 man who has such a message as that in my text to deliver to his fellow men; but burdened is the man who feels that the message is far too great for his lips, or, indeed, for any human tongue to convey. To be allowed to announce to men that our Lord Jesus Christ “offered up himself” on their behalf is, indeed, an errand which angels might envy, but the theme is too great for any human being to encompass. I comfort myself with the reflection that it does not require any excellence of speech to tell it, the excellence lies in the truth itself; and if men’s minds are in a right condition, if they are conscious of their lost state, and they really desire to know what Christ has done to save them from it, they will want no garnishing or tawdry fripperies of human eloquence; all they will want will be to hear, as plainly and as earnestly as it can be spoken, the message of reconciliation which God has sent through Jesus Christ his Son. Yet I cannot help feeling that the meaning of my text is 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 conveyance are ready to snap when freighted with such a load of infinite love and wisdom as comes to us in my short, full text: “He offered up himself.”

2. But, to begin, I would remind you, dear friends, that the idea of a sacrifice for sin is, in some sense or other, found in almost all human religions. I believe that some of the most ignorant tribes of Africa, and also Unitarians, {a} have been found without the doctrine of an atoning sacrifice in their religion; but I do not think there are any other people so benighted as these to be found anywhere. Go where you may, you will discover that, as soon as people ever begin to say “God,” the next thing they say is “sacrifice”; and though their idea of God is often distorted, and their idea of sacrifice is distorted also, yet both ideas are there. Man, however degraded, cannot altogether forget that there is a God; and then, shrinking back from the awful majesty of the divine holiness, he at least hopes that there is a sacrifice by which his sins may be put away. He feels that there must be one if he is ever to be brought into connection with God; and so, in some form or other, the notion of sacrifice crops up wherever there is any religion at all. It may be in the ghastly form of human sacrifice, which is a hideous misinterpretation which has crept in under the darkness and gloom of heathenism or false teaching; or it may appear in the continued sacrifice of young bulls, or lambs, or other victims; but, somehow or other, the idea is there. Man seems to know, in his innermost nature, that he must bring a sacrifice if he would appear before God; and this is, by no means, an error on his part. However erroneous may be the form that it takes, in its essence there is truth in it.

3. Brothers and sisters, did you never know this truth in your own souls? Has not the conviction come to you, under a sense of sin, as an absolute certainty, that sin must be punished? I will not say that you have thought so when you have imagined yourself to be all right; or, at least, to be pretty nearly clear of anything wrong. No; but when conscience has been awakened, and 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? That —

    “Dread of something after death,” —

of which the world’s poet speaks, is an indication of belief in the truth which is most sure, that the Judge of all the earth will not permit his laws to be trampled on with impunity, but that he will certainly punish iniquity, transgression, and sin.

4. 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 could not pardon me without punishing my sin, — or that, if he did, his moral government of the whole universe would be weakened. If he permitted the guilty to enjoy the same rewards as the righteous received, where would be his justice? An amnesty to the guilty would, practically, be an abolition of the 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 is the doctrine that they teach, — that we may rebel against God, we may blaspheme God, we may despise God, — we may cheat, we may lie, 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 whoever lives. Does not the least atom of common morality that remains in man compel him to shrink back from a 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 go to pieces under such an arrangement as that, and the Judge of all the earth would have to abdicate his throne before this could be. Many years ago, I put into words for myself, when I was under a sense of sin, a feeling which I believe others must have had under similar circumstances; and I said, “If God does not punish me for my sin, he ought to do so.” I felt that, if he did not condemn me for my sin, my conscience would condemn him; and that, if he allowed me to go unpunished when I was guilty, in some way or other he would cease to be a just God, and would no longer be worthy of the respect of my own conscience.

5. Now, that is a truth, a great truth, a terrible truth; and hence it is that the mind of the convicted sinner is driven to the hope of an atonement. If God is to pardon sin, there must be something done by which his law can be honoured, his justice can be 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 must be lost for ever. I wish that we all not only believed this truth, — as I suspect that most of us do; — but that we felt it to be the case in our own personal experience, that we realized our need of an atoning sacrifice, in order that God might be just, and yet be the Justifier of the ungodly, — that the honour of his law might shine out in unsullied purity like the terrible crystal, and yet that “a rainbow all around the throne, in sight like an emerald,” might be seen by the sons of men, reminding them of the covenant made between the Father and the Son concerning all who believe in Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.

6. This brings me to the blessed announcement of the text, that the atonement which men have blindly felt 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 offered up himself.” Spirit of God, help us to think about this sublime truth, and to speak of it properly!

7. I. Here is, first, THE PRIEST: “He offered up himself.” Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came into the world, and “offered up himself” as a sacrifice for sin. The great High Priest, who officiated on the occasion of that amazing and unique sacrifice, was Jesus Christ himself.

8. “He,” who was of infinite dignity, — he who, in his first estate as very God of very God, was worshipped and obeyed by all the angels of heaven, — he who was with the Father when he spanned the heavens, and laid the foundations of the universe, — it was he, this Son of God, who “offered up himself.” No inferior priest was there. There were wicked men, who were the instruments employed in accomplishing his death; but, after all, the great hand that presented the Lamb of God as the one sacrifice for sin was the hand of the Christ of God: “He offered up himself.” Our High Priest is of such dignity that no one 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, because it may help you to see how great must have been the merit of the sacrifice when it was God himself who “offered up himself.” He was no mere delegated or elected priest, but Christ Jesus himself, in whom “dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily”; — Christ, who is the brightness of his Father’s glory, and the express image of his person, it was he who stood at the altar presenting “himself” to God as the one and only sacrifice for sin. Oh sinful men, come here, for here is a sacrifice which may well satisfy the demands of the divine law, since Christ himself puts on the priestly garments, and offers it to God!

9. “He offered up himself”; that is to say, he voluntarily agreed to be the Victim for this amazing sacrifice. Did you not notice this 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, oh God.” Christ was not compelled to come to earth except by the sweet compulsion of his own love; but with that as his master-motive, —

    Down from the shining seats above
       With joyful haste he fled.

Voluntarily he took on himself our nature, and was born at Bethlehem, and voluntarily he lived here for thirty-six years. He might have gone back when “he came to his own, and his own did not receive him.” But he had come in order that he might be a sacrifice for sin, so he remained until the hour appointed for his death; and, even then, he was not forced to die: “He offered up himself.” Pilate’s servants and Herod’s soldiers could not have slain him unless he had been willing to die. He only had to 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, have put him to death without his own consent. When he only spoke to them in the Garden of Gethsemane, they went backward, and fell to the ground. He who made the earth to quake and open when he died could have shaken them off the earth, or buried them 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 on him to die, except that compulsion of love of which I have spoken. You and I must die; the infirmities of nature will compel us to give up the ghost; but he was strong and vigorous even at the moment of his death. That glorious shout, “ Consummatum est, ” — “It is finished,” — came from One who was still in the vigour of his strength, and just entering into his eternal victory. When he bowed his head, it was because he would do it, and willingly yielded up his soul, committing his spirit to the Father, — not under constraint, but “he offered up himself.” Oh, this makes the sacrifice of Christ so blessed and glorious! They dragged the young bulls and they drove the sheep to the altar; they bound the calves with cords, even with cords to the altar’s horn; but it was not so with the Christ of God. No one compelled him to die; he laid down 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.”

10. From this great truth, we may learn two or three practical lessons. The first is, the blasphemy of supposing that any so-called “priest” can offer up Christ. There are men who say that, in the bloodless sacrifice of the mass, “there is offered to God a true, proper, and propitiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead.” Stand back, beloved; withdraw from the sons of 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 shavelings {b} say that they offer him again. May God have mercy on them, and open their blind eyes, so that they may no longer perpetrate an infamous blasphemy against his holy name!

11. But there is a lesson for us also to learn; and that is, the folly of our attempting to offer any sacrifice whatever to God in and of ourselves; for, brethren, there never was such a sacrifice as Christ on earth. It was the best sacrifice that could ever be, yet no one offered that except Christ himself. What are your sacrifices and mine? They are very poor things, so shall we dare to offer them to God? No, let us ask Christ to offer all our sacrifices for us. If the best sacrifice needed Christ 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 to God,” yet we are only priests in him, and our sacrifices are only presented in and through him. It must be so; for, if the chief sacrifice is offered by him, all the minor ones must also be presented by him if they are to be accepted by God.

12. And, dear brethren, here is one other lesson, namely, the security of those who trust in the sacrifice of Christ; for if I accept the 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 the great High Priest, when “he offered up himself,” did not perform an effective work. That would be a terrible imputation on his honour. God forbid that we should entertain it for a single moment! Much, it is said, in the offering of the mass in the Roman Catholic Church, depends on the intention of the priest. I should think so; but we know what the intention of our High Priest was. We dare not rely on the intention of any human priest, but we know that our Lord Jesus Christ “offered up himself,” — not in fiction or hypocrisy, but in reality, and with his whole heart and soul; and we are certain that he offered an acceptable and a potent 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 firm rock, and there rest securely whatever doubts may come to assail you.

13. II. Now, in the second place, I shall ask you to carefully look at THE SACRIFICE: “He offered up himself.” That is to say, Jesus Christ did not offer lamb or ram, bird or bull; but “himself.”

14. 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 nature as man, perfect and sinless, and indissolubly united with his divine nature. I do not say that God died, nor would I put it quite like that; but I will say that he who died was God, though man, and that “he offered up himself,” — his entire self, — in sacrifice to God on our behalf. His precious body suffered pains which are indescribable, but which I ask you never to undervalue or forget. I have seen criticisms concerning what is called “the sensuousness” 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 his soul were the soul of his sufferings, yet the sufferings of his body were the body of his sufferings, and he who does not think much of the body of the sufferings is not likely to know much about the soul of them.

15. His body was given for you and for me; and, then, his spiritual nature — his mind, his intellect, his heart, his imagination, — every pure unspotted faculty of that blessed soul of his, — he gave up all for us. The alabaster box, his body, was broken; and the precious nard, his soul, was poured out like a divine perfume on 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; — not his life only, though he laid down his life for us; — but “he offered up himself.” Oh, it is a great word, but it describes a great sacrifice; and it needed all that to make an atonement for our sins, and all that he gave.

16. “He offered up himself”; that is, he presented himself to God as a sacrifice, and he did actually die. Oh brothers and sisters, I cannot describe that amazing death! You and I have never died. We have been sick, but to actual death we have never yet come. Some of us never shall know death as Christ knew it; for, remember, death was death to him; but for his saints the bitterness of death is past. Christ had to endure death in all its bitterness, but he has taken away the wormwood and the gall of death for us who believe in him. Many of those who were martyred for his name’s sake, when they burned at the stake could sing as they died, and considered the flames as though they were only beds of roses, for he was with them, and God was with them to sustain them; but, for him, there was no such help, no divine support. “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” was the cry into which more grief was packed away than can even be found in any sufferer in hell; for, remember, the griefs of Christ were not the griefs sufficing for one lost man, but for unnumbered myriads who would otherwise have been banished from the presence of God for ever. “He offered up himself.” Oh! see him die, if you can bear the sight; his blessed soul exhaled, his body left behind to be buried in the tomb. “He humbled himself, and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross.”

17. I always think, with regard to that offering up of himself, that it was a very mysterious transaction, into which you and I must not pry with any sinful curiosity. Yet, as I meditated on this subject, it appeared to me that the cross, which seemed so small a thing out there on that little rising ground of Golgotha, — that one cross, standing in the centre of the three, appeared to me to be the centre of the entire universe, and so it is. If the inhabitants in all the stars did not see Christ die, 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 dusky planet, sin struggled against incarnate love, and love, to conquer it, did die, and in the dying won the victory. I cannot tell you how many races of intelligent beings there are besides the hierarchy of angels, but it is not at all improbable that there are as many worlds as there are grains of sand on the sea-shore, and perhaps every one of these teems with inhabitants more than our earth does; and they have heard, and they keep on hearing, and the news keeps spreading everywhere, that the God, who made them all, took human form, and died to put away human sin.

18. And, supposing this is the case, what do you think all these intelligent beings say? It must be that the impression made on them is that sin is a horrible thing, since it stabs at God himself. All intelligences must also feel that God is just, since he himself will sooner die than let sin go unpunished. It further rings throughout the spheres that God is love, — that he will sooner bleed to death than let his creatures perish; and that here he once proved, in his death, that he was infinite both in his vengeance and his mercy. All the universe throughout eternity shall hear this wonderful story; it is so marvellous that it will never grow stale. They are telling it, tonight, to wondering assemblies, compared with which this vast congregation is only as a drop in a bucket. Standing in some central star, some mighty intelligence is proclaiming this 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 on himself the sin of men, and at last suffered and died in the room and place of guilty sinners.

19. You say, perhaps, that I am dreaming while talking to you like this. But dear friends, we sometimes learn more truth in dreams than when we are awake. At any rate, this I know. I would sooner be mistaken in enlarging too much on the amazing fact and efficacy of the cross than I would ever become one of those who shrivel up the atonement until there is little or nothing of it left. I believe that there was such a necessity for Christ to die as you and I have never yet imagined; that he did not die merely because his death was necessary on this planet, but that it was necessary through every province of the infinite dominions of God, and that it was necessary for the very nature of God himself, which is saying even more. There was a supreme necessity that Christ should die; I am sure of it, for otherwise he would not have died. The Father would never have given up his Son to the death of the cross unless it had been imperative that this sacrifice should be offered, or else that men should suffer for ever. Oh, wonder of wonders! Tell it everywhere, and never cease to tell it. “He offered up himself.”

20. III. Now, lest I should weary you, I will, in closing, only say a little on the third point, which is, CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THIS TRUTH, WHICH ARE VERY IMPORTANT TO US.

21. The first is this. “He offered up himself”; but he did not offer up himself for himself. That is an offering which cannot be imagined. So far as Christ was by himself concerned, there was no necessity that he should die. He was infinitely glorious and blessed. “He offered up himself,” but not for himself; then, for whom did he die? For men. We are told that he did not take up angels, but he took up the seed of Abraham, he took up sinful men. Oh 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 was not 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, “It was for me. He loved me, and gave himself for me. He endured the cross for me, his blood was shed for me, those agonies and cries 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 even so. There must have been something great done for you there. Your great sin must have been buried there. The great hell, which you ought to have endured, must have been extinguished there as far as you are concerned. The great heaven, which you could never otherwise have entered, must have been opened there, if he died there for you. Untold blessings are insured to you in that matchless death. Dwell on that thought, beloved. “He offered up himself”; but not for himself. It must have been, then, for the guilty. Oh my soul, it must have been, it was for you if you believe in him!

22. Next, notice that this great deed of love was really done:“ He offered up himself.” He did really do it. I know that, when I am preaching, some of you seem to think that I am only talking about fanciful or imaginary matters. If I were to begin to speak of President Garfield and his sickness, or about the wet weather and the harvest, you would say, “These are facts.” Oh sirs, but this also is a fact, and the greatest of all facts: “He offered up himself.” It happened long ago, but it is true that he did this. That same God who painted every flower, — who spread the skies, — the God who made us, — came here in human form, and after living here a life of blessing and beneficence, he died as a sacrifice for human guilt. This is not something that is 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, and become 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, and can it be imagined that he should come down to earth, and be veiled in human flesh, and in that flesh should suffer and die? It cannot be.” But I have to tell you that it has been done, it is an accomplished fact. He did it: “He offered up himself.” It may sometimes have been a question among believers who lived before Christ died, — “Will he really die?” But it is no question for you and me, for he has died, his great deed of love is done.

23. 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, — that he only died once because there is no need that he should ever die again. His one death has slain death for all who trust him. His one bearing of sin has put their sin away for ever. God can now justly forgive the believing sinner; and he may well blot out the debt when it has been paid by his Son. Well may he remit the sentence against us now that his Son has stood in 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 do so? Did Christ pay my debts, and am I arrested for them? Did he die for me, and shall I perish? Where then is the atonement? Beloved, if you believe in Jesus, be glad that he died once, and be even more glad that he cannot die again, and that there is no need that he should. The atonement is completed; you are saved; and you shall never come into condemnation. How I wish that I could preach on such a theme as this as it deserves! But I do not know how it is to be done; it does not seem to me as if any human words could ever properly describe such an amazing mystery. Indeed, though they were written across the face of the sky, — unless God himself wrote them with a finger of lightning, — I know of no way in which this truth could be properly told: “He offered up himself”

24. 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 my whole life; 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 room and place and stead of all his people, of all who believe in him, and that, therefore, they are safe for ever.

25. I must sum up, in a few words, much more that I might have said. And, first, this truth quiets the conscience. “He offered up 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; that is all I will ever need.”

26. This truth also satisfies my understanding. Let those who wish 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 Christ to be an atonement for sin, and if he is satisfied with his sacrifice, I may well be content. Surely, if my great Creditor and Judge is appeased by what his Son has offered on my behalf, it is not for me to begin to criticize it. I know how some criticize the great central truth of the atonement. I do not care how they criticize it as long as God has accepted it; and since he has also accepted me in Christ Jesus, my Lord and Saviour, my soul feels perfectly content, and understands why she is contented.

27. And, oh! how this truth also wins the affections of men! Can you help loving the Christ who offered up himself for you? And loving him, do you not desire to honour and glorify him? Do you not feel that you hate the sin that made him die? Do you not wish to be like him, and in everything to give him pleasure by a life of holiness, and 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.

28. Does this truth not also arouse your admiration? Say, brothers and sisters, if there is anything that can move you like this glorious truth of which I have been speaking? Does it not arouse your highest admiration when you remember that the Lord Jesus Christ took your sin on himself, and suffered in your place? I know that there is no hand that can sweep the strings of my heart with such power as can the hand that was pierced for me. This theme kindles my enthusiasm, and stirs my passions to a flame, and makes me wish for the tongues of men and of angels so that I might be able to proclaim this story of “love so amazing, so divine.” I would ask no other heaven, if I might have my choice, than, having to meditate on the passion of my Lord, and to proclaim it to others, and then to fall at his dear feet, and worship him world without end, for he was slain, and has redeemed me by his precious blood. You take Christ out of the gospel, and out of your preaching, and see whether you will arouse 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 places of worship, and very few men and women. They run away, if they are wise, from the place where Christ is not preached, and his atoning blood is not constantly proclaimed. Point that place out to me on the map of London, and I will show you the place where there is a beggarly array of empty benches, and few hearers; for they flee, and rightly so, as hungry men flee from the place where there is no bread, and as the thirsty in the wilderness turn away from the dried-up well. They get even more thirsty as long as they stay by the empty mockery, so they hurry away from it. But preach Jesus Christ and him crucified, preach the atoning sacrifice, and see how the people flock together. Let them believe this truth, let them love it, and their whole spirit is stirred within them, and everyone becomes a soldier of the cross, a warrior 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 “as in water face answers to face, so the heart of man to man.”

29. And, finally, this truth that Christ offered up himself, leads us who accept it to be ready for self-sacrifice. It makes the believing man say, “Just as he offered himself for me, so I must give myself for him.” It teaches the doctrine of the self-sacrifice of men for God, and of men for men. This is the nursery of brave spirits, and the school in which true heroes are trained. None have been bolder for the truth and for the right, and for the advancement of the ages, and for the glory of God, than those who have enshrined the blood-red cross within their hearts, and who have been prepared even to die for love of it. Oh Christ of God, you who have offered yourself for us, we offer ourselves to you; accept us now! Amen.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Heb 10:1-22}

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 they offered year by year continually make the comers to it perfect.

Those who were sprinkled with the blood of the Old Testament sacrifices did not feel that their sin was put away for ever. They went back, after the victim had been offered, with a certain measure of rest and relief, but not with that perfect rest which is the accompaniment of the pardon that Jesus gives to those who come to God through him.

2. For —

If the worshippers had 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 the worshippers once purged should have had no more consciousness of sins.

The fact that there was a lamb to be offered every morning and every evening, and that there was a great day of atonement to be observed every year, proved that there was sin still remaining, which had not been put away, and that the worshippers needed to come again, and again, and yet again, with new sacrifices for their new 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 of bulls and of goats should take away sins.

Your common sense tells you “it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” Although rivers of such blood should continually be flowing, what efficacy could there be in them to 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 Saviour and our God, “when he comes into the world,” —

5-7. He says, “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but you have prepared a body for me: in burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you have had no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do your will, oh God.’ ”

That will had not been done, although myriads of sacrifices had been offered. But Christ really came to do that will by offering himself as the one and only acceptable sacrifice.

8, 9. Previously when he said, “Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin you did not desire, neither had pleasure in it”; which are offered by the law; then he said, “Lo, I come to do your will oh God.” He takes away the first, so that he may establish the second.

An end was made of the types and shadows of the ceremonial law, so that the real substance might be introduced by Christ. Never imagine, dear friends, that the old Jewish ceremonial law is to drag on its existence, and to be intermixed with the Christian age. Ah, no! As the shadows of the night vanish when the sun arises, as the lamps in that street are put out when daylight returns, so it was with all the types and shadows of the ancient law when the 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 ministering and offering often the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: but this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; —

Oh, what a blessed doctrine this is, — that the one offering of Christ has done what the tens of thousands of offerings under the old law never could accomplish! All the work of man is only the spinning of a righteousness which is undone as quickly as it is spun; but Christ has finished the seamless and spotless robe of his righteousness which is to last for ever. By his one sacrifice he has ended all the fruitless labour of the ages; and, now, as many of us as have believed in him have all the benefits of his perfect work.

Having completed his great task, he “sat down on the right hand of God”; —

13. From henceforth expecting until his enemies are made his footstool.

“Expecting.” That was the subject of this morning’s sermon. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1616, “Saved in Hope.” 1616} We are expecting something better than we have yet seen. “We were saved in hope.” We are expecting what is yet to be revealed; and our Covenant-Head is expecting, too. This is the age of expectancy. We have not yet come to the fulness of the blessing that 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 for ever those who are sanctified. Of which the Holy Spirit also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, “ ‘This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days,’ says the Lord, ‘I will put my laws into their hearts, and I will write them in their minds; and I will remember their sins and iniquities no more.’ ”

Oh, what a blessed covenant this is! Christ’s death has established a covenant of grace in which there is no flaw, and no possibility of failure, for the one condition of the covenant has been fulfilled by Christ, and now it stands as a covenant of “shalls” and “wills” on God’s part from which he will not renege. 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 I will write them in their minds; and I will remember their sins and iniquities 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 of atonement is fully done, and done for ever. Since the sin of all who believe in Jesus is put away, what need is there of any further sacrifice 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, which he has consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having a High Priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Received by Faith — The True Scapegoat” 555}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Sufferings and Death — Jehovah Satisfied” 299}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Sufferings and Death — Wonders Of The Cross” 289}

{a} Unitarian: One who affirms the unipersonality of the Godhead, especially as opposed to an orthodox Trinitarian. OED. {b} Shaveling: A contemptuous epithet for a monk or priest whose head is shaved. OED.

Gospel, Received by Faith
555 — The True Scapegoat
1 Not all the blood of beasts
      On Jewish altars slain,
   Could give the guilty conscience peace,
      Or wash away the stain.
2 But Christ, the heavenly Lamb,
      Takes all our sins away;
   A sacrifice of nobler name,
      And richer blood than they.
3 My faith would lay her hand
      On that dear head of thine,
   While like a penitent I stand,
      And there confess my sin.
4 My soul looks back to see
      The burdens thou didst bear,
   When hanging on the cursed tree,
      And hopes her guilt was there.
5 Believing, we rejoice
      To see the curse remove;
   We bless the Lamb with cheerful voice,
      And sing his bleeding love.
                           Isaac Watts, 1706.

Jesus Christ, Sufferings and Death
299 — Jehovah Satisfied
1 More marr’d than any man’s,
      The Saviour’s visage see;
   Was ever sorrow like to his
      Endured on Calvary?
2 Oh, hear that piercing cry!
      What can its meaning be?
   “My God! my God! oh! why hast thou
      In wrath forsaken me?”
3 Oh ‘twas because our sins
      On him by God were laid;
   He who himself had never sinn’d,
      For sinners, sin was made.
4 Thus sin he put away
      By his one sacrifice,
   Then, conqueror o’er death and hell,
      He mounted to the skies.
5 Therefore let all men know
      That God is satisfied;
   And sinners all who Jesus trust,
      Through him are justified.
                     William Russell, 1861.

Jesus Christ, Sufferings and Death
289 — Wonders Of The Cross
1 Nature with open volume stands,
   To spread her Maker’s praise abroad;
   And every labour of his hands
   Shows something worthy of a God.
2 But in the grace that rescued man
   His brightest form of glory shines;
   Here, on the cross, ‘tis fairest drawn
   In precious blood and crimson lines.
3 Here I behold his inmost heart,
   Where grace and vengeance strangely join,
   Piercing his Son with sharpest smart,
   To make the purchased pleasures mine.
4 Oh, the sweet wonders of that cross,
   Where God the Saviour loved and died!
   Her noblest life my spirit draws
   From his dear wounds and bleeding side.
5 I would for ever speak his name,

Spurgeon Sermons

These sermons from Charles Spurgeon are a series that is for reference and not necessarily a position of Answers in Genesis. Spurgeon did not entirely agree with six days of creation and dives into subjects that are beyond the AiG focus (e.g., Calvinism vs. Arminianism, modes of baptism, and so on).

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Modernized Edition of Spurgeon’s Sermons. Copyright © 2010, Larry and Marion Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario, Canada. Used by Answers in Genesis by permission of the copyright owner. The modernized edition of the material published in these sermons may not be reproduced or distributed by any electronic means without express written permission of the copyright owner. A limited license is hereby granted for the non-commercial printing and distribution of the material in hard copy form, provided this is done without charge to the recipient and the copyright information remains intact. Any charge or cost for distribution of the material is expressly forbidden under the terms of this limited license and automatically voids such permission. You may not prepare, manufacture, copy, use, promote, distribute, or sell a derivative work of the copyrighted work without the express written permission of the copyright owner.

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