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spiritually circumcised and spiritually baptised with Christ. Read the 12th verse.
“ Buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, Who hath raised Him from the dead." What is the baptism which the Apostle here speaks of ? He rejected carnal circumcision in the eleventh verse for spiritual circumcision. And now in this twelfth verse he rejects water baptism for the baptism of the Spirit. You know that the spiritual circumcision of which Christ is the Author, is a real thing. So also is spiritual baptism. In the 20th chapter of St. Matthew's Gospel, you read of our Lord's baptism of suffering. Jesus asked the sons of Zebedee whether they were able to be baptized with the baptism that He was baptized with? They answered and saill they were able. He then promised them that they should be baptized with the baptisin that He was baptized with. When Christ was baptized every believer was baptized with Him. If it were not so, who could go to heaven ? When Christ rose out of His baptism of suffering and death, all believers rose with Him. “Buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with Him.” One with Christ. The proof is this :—“ Ye are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God.” By one Spirit we are all baptized into Christ. It is by this baptism of the Spirit that we know what that faith is which is of God's operation. Faith is the evidence of our resurrection life with Christ. We cannot count the benefits and blessings which we have by virtue of our union with Christ.
“The Apostle then goes on to say: “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh.” This is what they were : Dead, spiritually dead, and spiritually uncircumcised. But God circumcised them in their Head first, and then in the fulness of time by the Holy Ghost. This is spiritual quickening; you may call it regeneration. This quickening life God communicates to the dead sinner in a sovereign way. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: and I give unto them eternal life ; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand” (John x. 27 and 28). Well, some may say they can pluck themselves out of His hand. If so, they are no men. Quickened with Christ, they are His sheep,---as an evidence of what ? that God has forgiven them their trespasses. Do you remember when God forgave you? You say: yes, it was on a certain day, and under the influence of a certain sermon.
Now this is not exactly the way to put it. God, in his own eternal purpose, forgave you, and in due time buried all your sins out of His sight, buried them in the blood of Christ. And then the quickening power of the Holy Ghost brought you to the knowledge and enjoyment of forgiveness of sins. God in His purpose plans the forgiveness of sins. Christ in His death meritoriously puts away, and the Spirit then reveals the great secret to the sinner's soul. And when He reveals the great secret in the sinner's soul by the power of His effectual working, peace and joy in believing are experienced.
But then you say, why should we pray to have our sins forgiven ? Well, when I use this language in prayer, I mean this, Lord make a fresh manifestation to me by Thy Spirit, that my sins are blotted out, and that they will no more be remembered against me. These fresh discoveries of forgiveness bring joy, and peace and rejoicing in Christ. These things are according to Christ. According to the manifold wisdom of God. The variegated wisdom of God displayed in His own great Gospel scheme. Variegated wisdom as laid up in the purpose of Him who works all things after the counsel of His own will. Variegated wisdom as unfolded by Christ in His wonderful redemption. Variegated wisdom. Meditate upon the life of Christ, upon His sufferings and death, upon His resurrection, ascension, and session. The variegated wisdom of the Spirit in His convincing, converting, and crowning the work of grace in the soul. What variegated wisdom! and these are but parts of His ways in His great Gospel scheme. If there be any philosophy calculated to make a man wise and free, it is God's philosophy, the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. And a Christian is a wise and free man in Christ. He is free from human philosophy and vain deceit. He is free from the tradition of men. And He is free from the rudiments of the world. As a free man then let him stand. “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made you free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” What more can we say ?
Compared with Christ, in all beside
No comeliness, I see ;
Is to be one with Thee.”
AT ST. GEORGE THE MARTYR'S, SOUTHWARK, LONDON,
WEDNESDAY EVENING, APRIL 4TH, 1877.
In the 10th Chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, and at the
14th Verse, you will read the following words:
“ FOR BY ONE OFFERING HE HATH PERFECTED FOR EVER THEM THAT
THE Epistle to the Hebrews is a remarkable contrast between Christ and the persons that preceded Him, between His work and theirs. If you look at the persons mentioned in this Epistle, whether they be prophets or priests,—whether Moses or Aaron, or the Levitical priesthood,-Christ is greater than they all. If you examine the sacrifices that were offered from the first even down to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, you will find no more in them than a shadow ; whilst in the One Sacrifice, or Offering of Christ, there was this superiority, it was the Substance. The Apostle opens this Chapter with this idea. "For 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 continúally, make the comers thereunto perfect.” He declares
that all these things were only a shadow, and that they could neither satisfy God, nor reach the consciences of the worshippers. “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" (verses 2 and 3). The first part of this chapter refers to the annual sacrifices and offerings, and these annual sacrifices and offerings reminded the offerers of their sins again and again,--showing that sin deserves death. “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins” (verse 4). This is what the Apostle asserts, and then he says, I will
prove that what I say is true from a Scripture contained in the Old Testament, and which is taken from the 40th Psalm : “Wherefore, when He cometh into the world,”—when the Son of God cometh into the world,—“He saith, Sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not, but a Body hast Thou prepared Me” (Hebrews x. 5, and Psalm xl. 6). This was the body of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was a prepared Body by the Holy Ghost. And then it was taken by the Second Person in the Trinity, and filled with “ the fulness of the Godhead bodily" (Collosians ii. 9). This Body, which had been prepared was to be the Sacrifice, for by the Body is meant,--not simply flesh and blood, but Body and Soul,—the perfect humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ. burnt offerings, and sacrifices for sin, Thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I,”—This is what the Second Person in the Trinity says,—“Lo, I come in the volume of the Book it is written of Me),"_in the 40th Psalm, it is written of Me. And in the volume of the Covenant which is deeper still, "it is written of Me I come to do Thy will, O God.” Above when He said, Sacrifice and offering, and burnt offerings, and offering for sin, thou wouldst not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; then said He, 'Lo I come to do Thy will 0 God.' He taketh away the first,"—that is all the sacrifices of the law, that He may establish the second : the One Sacrifice of Christ Jesus our Lord. "By the which will we are sanctified,”—that is by the will of Jehovah Father—"through the offering of the Body of Jesus Christ once :” Here the offering of Christ stands in contrast with all the repeated offerings of the Levitical priesthood. “And every priest standeth daily ministering, and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices.” This refers, as you will perceive, to the daily offerings, and to the daily sacrifices which were offered by the priests. But these could “never take away sins.” The Apostle contrasts these daily sacrifices with Christ's—“But this Man,(God's Man)-- after he had offered one Sacrifice for sins, for ever sat down on the right hand of God.” There was no need of a repetition. The end for which it was designed had been accomplished." From henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool,” according to what had been prophesied of Christ in the 110th Psalm. Then the Apostle introduces the language of my text as a reason : “For by One Offering (and that One Offering of Himself) He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” This will show you that there is a remarkable contrast running through this Epistle. I shall not presume to enlarge further upon this contrast; as I am about to preach to you, this evening,
a sermon which is suggestive rather than explanatory of every little detail to which I may refer. I take it for granted that you are prepared to hear suggestive sermons and that you will search and see for yourselves what is contained in the Word of God, which will tend to lead you to think more and more of the deep truths of the everlasting Gospel.
My First point is this: The one offering of Christ. And the second is this: The excellency of this one offering of Christ as regards those persons who are interested therein. “ He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified."
Allow me to speak to you, in the First place, of the one offering of Christ. This will lead me to speak upon the subject of sacrifice, not only of the One Sacrifice offered by Christ Himself, but of the sacrifices that were offered before Christ came in the flesh. The first burnt offering, or sacrifice, that we have recorded in God's word is that of Abel's. As far as I can see there would have been no need of any sacrifice at all if there had been no sin. Hence, sacrifice or offering implies at the very outset that there was sin, and that sin deserved death. This is easy to see when it is viewed in connection with the 5th chapter of St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans—“By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin ; and so death passed upon all men,”-in whom all sinned. That is, all sinned in Adam. Now after sin had been committed we find that Adam and his wife tried to hide themselves from the presence of the Lord. They flew to fig leaves and made themselves aprons to cover their nakedness, and being afraid they hid themselves among the trees of the garden. But poor Adam's work would not do. He could not cover in this way the folly, and the sin, and the shame, into which he had fallen with all his posterity. What was to be done? We find a verse in the 3rd chapter of Genesis, which seems to imply that sacrifices were offered before Abel's time, and that they were offered by Abel's father. You will read in the 21st verse that God made use of the skins of those beasts which had been slain, for it is said that “God made them coats of skins and clothed them.” If it were necessary we might enlarge upon this passage and show you that God made the first suit of clothes for man in which he could appear covered from sin and shame. “ God made them coats of skins, and clothed them.” And I think that in this you have a figure of that perfect clothing worked out by Christ Jesus, and in which all His children are clothed. It seems to me that sacrifices were offered from the time of Adam. In the account which is given of Abel's sacrifice, it is said that he “ brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof." But it is said that his brother Cain “ brought of the fruits of the ground.” There is a wonderful difference between the two men. Abel comes before God as a spiritual worshipper, but Cain comes before God as a carnal professor, thinking that he had something to commend himself withal. The Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering ; but unto Cain and his offering He had not respect.
The difference between the two is most marked. What could be the cause ? The Apostle helps us by giving the answer—" By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God