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SERMON XXV.

FOR

GOOD FRIDAY.

THE ONE OFFERING FOR SIN.

Hebrews x. 14.

FOR BY ONE OFFERING HE HATH PERFECTED

FOR EVER THEM THAT ARE SANCTIFIED.

THE atonement which was effected by our Divine Redeemer is the subject to which our attention is directed in a peculiar manner on this day. The benefit conferred by means of this propitiation for sin, and the character of the persons who are interested in it, are set before us in the text. That the one offering of Christ was fully sufficient for the purpose designed by it, is particularly insisted on in the former part of the Epistle for this day. The inferiority of the sacrifices under the Mosaical dispensation to the offering of Christ, is the first thing mentioned. The law 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

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VOL. I.

year continually, make the comers thereunto perfect. The law of Moses afforded a shadow or a figurative representation of the blessings which, in the fulness of time, God was about to bestow upon mankind by the fulfilment of the promise made to our first parents, on the occasion of their grievous fall. It was designed to typify the gospel-dispensation, and the benefits which it would confer; and therefore could not answer the end which was to be accomplished by the dispensation which it typified. The Levitical sacrifices could not remove guilt from the conscience, in such a way as to satisfy the offerer that he was reconciled to God, unless he were able to look beyond the type to the antitype, or from the appointed victim offered at the door of the tabernacle, to Him who was to offer up Himself as the propitiation for our sins in the end of the world, or at the close of the dispensation.

If the Levitical sacrifices had cleansed the offerers from sin in the sight of God, the apostle asks, Then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged, should have had no more conscience of sins. Although the transgressors of the law were restored to the outward privileges of the church of God, when they had offered the appointed sacrifice, it appears that their consciences were burdened with a sense of guilt, from which their sacrifices did not relieve them. Sin still troubled their con

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sciences; so that it was needful for them to humble themselves before God, and to implore His pardoning mercy, through the promised Redeemer of mankind. The apostle proves his assertion further, by observing that in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. Year after year, on the tenth day of the seventh month, the same confession of sins was to be made, the same ceremonies were to be performed, the same sacrifices to be offered: all which proved the insufficiency of the service to answer any other than a temporary purpose.

But the apostle shows the inadequacy of the sacrifices themselves to remove the sense of guilt from the conscience of the offerer. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. He had mentioned in the preceding chapter the purpose which was answered by them; that they sanctified to the purifying of the flesh. But a better sacrifice than these was necessary to purge the conscience from dead works to serve the living God. On this subject therefore he proceeds to speak. Wherefore when He cometh into the world He saith, Sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not, but a body hast Thou prepared Me; in burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin Thou hast no pleasure; then said I, Lo, I come; in the volume of the book it is written of Me, to do Thy will, O God. This quotation is taken from the fortieth Psalm. But there is a remarkable difference

in it. The words, A body hast Thou prepared Me, being in the Psalm, Mine ear hast Thou opened. The expression in the Psalm denoted, that the person who utters the words, was of his own accord, of his free will, the Lord's servant. It referred to the law which enjoined that if a Hebrew servant was unwilling to leave the house of his master in the year of release, his master was to take an awl, and thrust it through his ear unto the door; after which he was to be his servant for ever.2 Lord Jesus Christ, when. He made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.3

This was fulfilled in our

The apostle remarks on the passage which he had produced from the book of Psalms, Above, when He said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings, and offering for sin, Thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; then said He, Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that He may establish the second. Thus, from the Psalmist's own words, the apostle shows that the former dispensation was designed to be a transitory one; or, that by the coming of the Lord's servant, the will of God was to be accomplished and manifested in the fullest and plainest manner, and that in which God had no pleasure, the sacrifice of ani

2 Deuteronomy xv. 17.

3 Philippians ii. 7.

mal victims, was to be abolished. The will of God is that in which He takes pleasure, in the accomplishment of which He delights. It was His love to man which sent His only begotten Son into the world; and it was pleasing to Him to see the work of redemption completed by His beloved Son, in whom He was well pleased. The Father of heaven beheld with delight the sacrifice of His well beloved Son; it was to Him a sweet smelling savour, even while His wrath fell upon Him, the poison whereof drank up His spirits; and He forsook Him, because He was in the place of the guilty, a substitute for the transgressors. And as He beheld with delight the accomplishment of His will, in the atonement made for sin by our ever blessed Redeemer, He beholds with the same delight all those who put their trust in His propitiation for their pardon and salvation. And it is in consequence of the accomplishment of this will of God that believers in Christ are made the children of God, and set apart to His service as a holy people unto the Lord their God, as vessels unto honour, sanctified and meet for the Master's use, and prepared unto every good work. By the which will we are sanctified, through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. There is no sanctification without pardon; until we receive the forgiveness of our

4 Deuteronomy xiv. 2.

5 2 Timothy ii. 21.

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