Изображения страниц

(2.) His saving to the uttermost, with regard to the duration of it, may be considered in reference to the world that is to come. This salvation will be eternal. He does not only save to the uttermost of time in the present life: but to the boundless ages of another world. “ Israel shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation,” Isaiah xlv. 17. Their life in the world to come is called “life eternal.” When the Christian contemplates the glory that is to come, and the felicity of living for ever with him who died to save, under the influence of “a good hope through grace,” it is his privilege now in anticipation to sing :

“ Millions of years my wondering eyes

Shall o'er thy beauties rove,
And endless ages I'll adore
The glories of thy love."

But it may

He is able to save, and will completely save, from all the effects of sin : triumphantly, notwithstanding the difficulties which obstruct, and the enemies which oppose the work; and for ever in duration. How this adds to the greatness of the salvation, that it is for ever! Yes ;

“A perpetuity of bliss is bliss.” He who is the Captain of our salvation in this world, will be for ever the source of light, and life, and joy, in the realms of everlasting glory.

II. We have to consider the manner in which this salvation is obtained-conting unto God by him. Coming unto God by him frequently implies much the same as believing in him. be remarked in this place

1. That Christ as a Mediator is the only way of worship. Man in his created state enjoyed uninterrupted communion with God : he was elevated to that state of being, as to be capable of worshipping and enjoying God; and his nature was so pure that he could draw near unto his Creator in acts of worship; and his mind was so holy, that God could receive his adoration with complacency and satisfaction. But when sin entered into the world, it broke off all communication between man and heaven. Man could no more approach God in the way of worship ; nor God meet man with honour. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, revealed unto fallen man the gracious economy of sovereign love; and taught man the way of worship through him who was from eternity appointed as a Mediator between the offended Creator and the offending creature-between the injured Legislator and the transgressing subject. By the sacrifices appointed, Adam was led to discover, through faith, the provisions of the great mediatorial scheme. In the advancing ages of the world, this important truth

was more and more clearly revealed, until the ritual of Moses was established, and priests were ordained under the law, who offered for the people the sacrifices which they brought, and by which they came to God” in the way of worship.

Now the apostle here has a reference to these divinely appointed institutions, as he contrasts the high-priests under the law, with our great High-Priest; shewing from thence the superiority of the New Testament economy to that of the Old Testament. The worshippers under the law "came unto God” through the high-priest; yet these priests had not in any sense the power to save the worshippers. But our great High-Priest has opened “a new and living way,” whereby we have “ boldness to enter into the holiest :" "for through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” He“ is also able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him.” But

2. This implies faith in him as our great High-Priest, whereby we become interested in his saving power. Faith in him enables the believer to feel and say, with the apostle Paul, "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us through the vail, that is to say, his flesh; and having an High-Priest over the house of God : let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith,” Heb. x. 19–22. As he is the Legislator of the New Testament dispensation, as well as the only Priest, we must worship God in the way of his appointment. We are to come unto the Father in his name, seeking the influence of the Holy Spirit to help our infirmities. It is of the greatest importance that this should always be impressed upon our minds, that every act of worship must be presented in his name, and every deed of service in God's cause must be done in his name : for without him we can do nothing; nor can any come unto the Father, but through him.

We must also come with affiance in his mediatorial office, as to the acceptance of every act of worship and obedience. Without this simple reliance and humble confidence, we can have no saving interest in the blessings of redemption through him. We must abide in him, or else be cast forth as branches that are withered, which men gather, and cast into the fire, and they are burned,” John xv. 6. In all this, we must have a believing view of his mediatorial character: in the atonement he made for sin by the one sacrifice of himself, the just for the unjust; and in his now prevailing intercession in heaven, seated on the right hand of the Majesty on high. His glorious person, in his complex character as God and man, is the only foundation of our faith. He thus possesses both absolute and moral authority to

He has absolute authority: for all power is given unto him in


heaven and in earth. Matt. xxviii. 18. He possesses a moral right to save; because it was promised him, in the covenant of redemption, that he should be rewarded for his sufferings and sacrifice. “ He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities," Isaiah liii. 11. “Seeing then that we have a great HighPriest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need,” Heb. iv. 14, 16.

3. This will enable us to judge, whether we are among the number of those who are saved through him. If we are, we know what it is to , plead his all-sufficient atonement before the mercy-seat, as the only ground of our acceptance with God. We know what it is to relinquish every other hope of salvation, and “count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord,” Phil. iii. 8. We know what it is to be looking for the acceptance of every act of obedience and service to God, through him. We know what it is to be constantly pleading the infinite merit of his blood, before “the throne of the heavenly grace,” in the closet, at the family altar, and in the house of God. If we have “come unto God by him," he is become unto our souls “all and in all;" and we say

“Other refuge have I none, -
Hangs my helpless soul on thee:
Leave, ah, leave me not alone;
Still support and comfort me.
All my trust on thee is stay’d;
All my help from thee I bring :
Cover my defenceless head

With the shadow of thy wing."
III. The reason which the apostle assigns in confirmation of this

Seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for us.”—This


shews us,

1. That the mediatorial work of Christ, while on earth, was accepted of God. This was clearly manifested by his triumphant resurrection from the dead; his glorious ascension into heaven; and the honour with which he was crowned in the heavenly world. “He appeared once in the end of the world to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself," Heb. ix. 26. And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him,” Heb. v. 9. And, “ by his own blood, he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us,” Heb. ix. 12. And "when he had by himself purged our sins, he sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high,” Heb. i. 3.

Respecting the life of Christ in heaven, we may observe,

[blocks in formation]

(1.) He lives as God. He has life in himself. John v. 26. Now this shews his divinity ; for no creature can be said to have life in himself: all creatures receive life from God, and by him they are preserved in existence ; in him they live, and move, and have their being. But Christ lives in himself; and therefore is the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last. But

(2.) He lives a life of endless and ineffable glory in his human nature. This is a part of the reward of his sufferings in this world,the glory and honour with which he is crowned,—" that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man,” Heb. ii. 9. In this world he appeared in the form of a servant, the man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Here he appeared the suffering, persecuted, dying Jesus of Nazareth ; but now he lives a life of glory and honour, to die no more. As he himself said unto his servant John, “I am he that liveth, and was dead ; and, behold, I am alive for evermore; and have the keys of hell and of death,” Rev. i. 18. In our nature he hath “ascended up far above all heavens,” above principalities

O! could we draw aside the veil that hides immortality and glory from us, and see, on the eternal throne, that body that was nailed to the cross, that was pierced with the spear ;—that body which died on Mount Calvary, which lay in the grave ;-that body which his disciples handled and felt after his resurrection ;-we should see that head which was crowned with thorns surrounded with the diadem of heaven,—that mouth which was mocked with vinegar and gall speak, and all heaven moving in obedience to his command,—those hands and feet which were nailed to the cross, shine with greater lustre than the sun in his meridian splendour,and those eyes which were darkened with death, beam forth with ineffable glory, imparting light, and life, and joy, through all the regions of endless bliss !

and powers.

“ This is the man, the exalted man,

Whom we unseen adore;
But when our eyes behold his face,

Our hearts shall love him more.' 2. He lives to carry on the work of redemption. Though exalted at the right hand of the Majesty on high, yet he remembers his people below, and makes intercession for them above. Let us here consider

(1.) The fact itself is abundantly evident, that Christ maketh intercession in heaven.

This was typified under the law, by the daily sacrifice which was offered, morning and evening, for all the people, (Exod. xxix. 38—42 ;) by the living fire that was continually on the altar, (Lev. vi. 13;) but more especially by the incense that was burned in the sanctuary. Now this was

1st, The incense wherewith the high-priest entered into the most holy place, once a year, on the day of expiation. The priest was to offer first the sin-offering sacrifice, and then to take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the Lord; that is, the sacred fire that first came down from heaven, and which was kept continually burning on the altar of burnt offering : and he was to fill his hands with sweet incense beaten small, and take it within the vail : and he was to put the incense upon the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of the incense might cover the mercy-seat that was upon the testimony, that he died not. It would be certain death for the priest, if the cloud of the incense covered not the mercy-seat. And he was to take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger upon the mercy-seat. Lev. xvi. 12–14. Now all this typified the priestly office of Christ, who first offered himself a sacrifice for sin ; then entered, not by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us, (Heb. ix. 12,) when he filled heaven at his entrance with the sweet savour of his intercession, a sacred fire, kindled with his own eternal love, by which he offered himself without spot unto God.

2dly, This was also typified by the incense that was offered daily, both morning and evening, on the altar of incense. Exod. xxx. 7, 8. This was done by the priests in their courses. Luke i. 9. This represented prayer, as we see in Psalm cxli. 2, where David says, “Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense ; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice." And prayer always accompanied the offering of the morning and evening incense; as we see from Luke i. 10: when Zacharias the priest was offering incense, the whole multitude of the people were praying without, at the time of incense.” This prefigured the continual intercession of Christ, with which, as much incense, he ever offers the prayers of all saints. Rev. viii. 3.

This is explicitly stated in the Scriptures. He interceded for his disciples while he was in our world. He prayed for Peter, that his faith should not fai]. Luke xxii. 32. And in his intercessory prayer, recorded in John xvii., he prayed for his disciples, and for all them who should believe on him through their word. We find this stated in Rom. viii. 34 : “ Who also maketh intercession for us.” And in the text, and in 1 John ii. 1, 2, we have the same truth asserted.

(2.) Let us consider the manner of it. It is difficult for us to determine with any certainty what outward visible transactions

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »