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that the Holy Scriptures assert Him to be, the Way, the Truth, and the Life—the one Mediator between man and God — the one Offering for man’s sin — the one Priest who bears that offering to the feet of our Father: who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption !
THE LAMB OF GOD.
JOHN, i. 29. Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the
This day is this Scripture fulfilled in our ears. This day, in a very especial manner, we do behold the Lamb of God-beholding Him in the very act of redeeming us— taking away the sin of the world !
For what, brethren, are we gathered together this day in God's house? Is it not to remember the exceeding great love of our Master and only Saviour, Jesus Christ, dying for us upon the cross, making there and then, by “His one oblation of Himself once offered, a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for the sin of the whole world ?"
Indeed it is even so: and well does our Church
assist us in the commemoration; well and fully does she proclaim to us the great act which was done as on this day on Calvary, and the innumerable benefits which are derived from it.
I need not, then, dwell upon the harrowing circumstance of our Lord's crucifixion. We have been, as it were, spectators of it already in the services of this solemn day. We have stood beholding ; looking on at what was done unto Him; seen the things which came to pass on that first Good Friday in Jerusalem !
What I now desire is, that we should notice the significance of that event, the benefits that have flowed to us and to all mankind from it. What I desire is, that we should bring home to our hearts the deliverance which Christ's death has wrought for us; that so we might be stirred up to love Him as He ought to be loved—as our Preserver, our Redeemer— Who so loved us that He laid down His life on our behalf. Scarcely for a righteous man will one die ; but God commendeth His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us !
It is because the verse now before us fixes our thoughts upon the person of our Lord, and upon Him in His character of Redeemer, that I chose it for a text to-day,-Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world!
The words are the words of John the Baptist. Beholding Jesus coming.to him, he bore this open testimony to Him,- Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world ! This was said at the beginning of our Lord's ministry, but it anticipated the end of that ministry. Already to John the Baptist it was revealed that Christ should be a Saviour, and that in order to save He should be a sufferer. Behold, he said, as if the scene on Calvary were then present to his mind; as if he saw that solemn day which we are now remembering; as if Christ were already hanging on the cross,—Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world !
Now this is very important for us to notice, because it goes a long way to establish that great doctrine of our Church, that Christ was born, lived, and died, died the cruel death of the cross, “ to reconcile His Father to us, and to be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for all actual sins of men.” [Art. ii.]
It is, I fear, not uncommon in these days to blink the question of the Atonement. Even Christian teachers, Christian divines, who can write and speak eloquently about Jesus Christ, and His loveable and perfect character, are altogether silent about His saving sacrifice. The doctrine of the cross, as it was foretold, is to them
foolishness. They cannot accept it in its simplicity; they stumble at it, and pass it over in their scheme of teaching.
God forbid that we should do this! God forbid that we should stumble at the cross of Christ! God forbid that we should ever do
anything but glory in it! glory in it as the proof of God's love, and the exhibition of His wisdom—the means devised by Him, in His unfathomable counsels, by which He might be just -just in exacting penalty for sin-and yet the justifier of him who believes in Jesus !
Surely, then, it ought to be a great help to us, in holding by this chief article of our faith, to find it put forth so early and so prominently in the Gospel. It appears there in other passages as well. Witness our Lord's own words,—And I, if I be lifted up, shall draw all men unto me. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. There is abundant reference to it also throughout the Epistles. But here, in the very first page of the Gospel, we meet with it, in the earliest recorded interview between our Lord and His forerunner,—Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world!