« PreviousContinue »
them from the practice and guilt of them. For this purpose he has authority, by the covenant of redemption, to send the Holy Spirit into the world to convince of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; to change the disposition of the human heart; to sanctify the affections and to keep the subjects of his effectual operations through faith unto salvation. This appears to be necessary, in order to prepare them to receive the remission of their sins. For if they were pardoned in a state of impenitence, and rebellion against divine authority, it would frustrate alike the design of the law and of the atonement.
Inseparably connected with the sacrifice of Christ, is his obedience. In his abasement and sufferings, he was submissive to the will of the Father. He yielded a perfect obedience to the divine law; and proved that it was holy, just and good. He gave as full and clear evidence in favor of the divine commands, as mankind would have done by a perfect observance of them. Had the Lord Jesus Christ made only an expiation for sin, he would only have saved them from suffering; he would not have procured for them the reward of righteousness. But he did not leave the work of salvation unfinished. He is “the Lord, our Righteousness. He is the end of the law for righteousness.” He has suffered the penal part, and he has obeyed the preceptive part of the law for the human race.
He has fulfilled the law; and he maintains its dignity and efficacy, while he offers pardon and reward to those, who believe on his name. On this plan the faith of men is accounted to them for righteousness; and God is just, while he justifies them. Had any
created being, of whatever grade, proposed to substitute his obedience for the obedience of the human race, so that his righteousness might be accounted to them, could he have done it? Could he have performed more than his own duty, so that he could have had a surplus of righteousness, which might be set to their account; and for which they might receive the reward of everlasting blessedness? Were reward granted on this ground, would not the law greatly suffer; and would not people set a small value- upon a righteousness and its reward, which might be obtained at so low a rate?
If we examine the ancient sin offering, and view it in connexion with the sufferings and death of Christ, we shall obtain light on the subject. The type and the antitype unite their influence to lead us into the knowledge of a truth the most interesting to a fallen world. “The Hebrews had properly but three sorts of sacrifices; the burnt offering, which was wholly consumed, only the priest had the benefit of the skin, Lev. 7:8. The sacrifice for sin, or expiation for him, who had fallen into any offence against the law, Lev. 4. The peace offering, which was offered voluntarily, in praise to God, or to ask favors, &c. Lev. 7:31,34."
The trespass offering was an expiatory sacrifice. The law concerning this was explicit. "If a soul sin and commit a trespass against the Lord, and lie unto his neighbor, in that which was delivered him to keep; -or have found that which was lost, and lieth concerning it, and sweareth falsely,--he shall even restore it in the principal, and shall add the fifth part more thereto; and be shall bring his trespass offering unto the Lord, a ram without blemish out of the flock. And the priest shall make an atonement for him before the Lord, and it shall be forgiven him for any thing of all he hath done in trespassing therein.” (See Leviticus 6:) For a sin of a different kind the transgressor was required to bring his trespass offering unto the Lord; and the priest shall make atonement for him with the ram of the trespass offering before the Lord for the sin, which he hath done; and the sin which he hath done shall be forgiven him," Lev. 19:21,22.
When Aaron and his sons were consecrated to the priest's office, Moses brought a bullock for a sin offering; and they laid their hands upon the head of the bullock, and he slew it for a sin offering. (See Ley. 8:)
After the death of Aaron's sons, it was an established ordinance for him and his successors to offer a sin offering once a year for himself and for the sins of the people. He sacrificed a bullock to make atonement for his own sins. For the people he took two goats; one he sacrificed; and over the other, with his hands on its head, he confessed their iniquities, putting them upon the head of the goat; and then he sent it, bearing their sins, into the wilderness. (See Leviticus 16:) This was the law for making atonement for the sins of the priest, and for the sins of the people.
Had we no further information on this subject than what we derive from the law of sacrifices, we could discover no wisdom in their institution; no efficacy in the blood of beasts; no connexion between the sacrifice of animals and the forgiveness of sin. But the apostle Paul, in his Epistle to the Hebrews, gives us the information on this subject, which we need. He speaks of the legal sacrifices; contrasts them with the sacrifice of Christ; and shews the vast superiority of the latter. “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 year continually, make the comers thereunto
perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered; because that the worshippers once purged, should have had no more conscience of sins. 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. But Christ being come an high Priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood, he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh; how much more shall the blood of
Christ, who, through the eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?-Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest enteroth into the holy place every year with blood of oth
For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world, but now once in the end of the world, hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” (See Heb. 9: and 10:)
From a contrast of the Jewish sin offerings with the sacrifice of the high priest under the gospel dispensation, we perceive that the former were but a shadow of good things to come; that they were a representation of the sacrifice of the Lamb of God; and that they derived all their meaning, and all their efficacy from this connexion. If the legal sin offerings were appointed to be efficacious in procuring remission of sin, much more would the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, in which all others terminated, lay a foundation for the pardon of sinners. Without this allusion, the Hebrew ritual appears as unmeaning and unavailing as the superstitious rites of the heathen. If the Jews, as a nation, had waxed
and through their carnal ordinances did not discern spiritual things, there is no reasonable doubt that the Jewish saints viewed the trespass offering as an expiatory sacrifice, looking forward to the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, and drawing all its import and all its value from that source. The ancient prophecies shed some glimmering rays upon this one, great sacrifice. The saints by faith caught the light; and like Abraham, they saw the day of Christ, and were glad. If, at the time the Messiah was upon earth, the principal part of the Jewish nation had no idea of a suffering Savior, there is no doubt there were some of that bation, who had correct views of the prophecies relating to his incarnation and death; and had faith in the divine promises. Caiphas, the high priest, though an enemy of Jesus, appeared to have correct views of the design of his sacrifice. “It is expedient for us,” said he, “That one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.-He prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation. And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together ‘in one, the children of God, that were scattered abroad."
The scriptures very fully and clearly represent the sufferings of Christ to be a sacrifice for sin. “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.–For the transgression of my people was he stricken. He bare the sin of many. (See Isaiah 53:) This is of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. (Matt. 26:28.) For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ranson for many. (Mark 10:45.) Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption, that is in Christ Jesus; whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood. (Rom. 3:24,25.) Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. (Rom. 4:25.) For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.-But God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son; much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. (Rom. 5:6,8,9,10.) For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures. (1 Cor. 5:7; and 15:3.) For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (2 Cor. 5:21.) In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of