King's Business - 1932-07

July 1932

T h e

K i n g ’ s B u s i n e s s


GHudies in ike EPISTLE lo iL HEBREWS . . . B y J ohn C. P age

precious is that atoning blood, how prevailing ! There is, in the blood of Calvary’s cross, enough value and virtue to save every sinner from Adam until time shall be no more. When the heart is thus “ sprinkled,” it can answer back to all the accusations of conscience by pointing to Calvary. In the words of Scripture, it asserts : “We have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins.” And in the words of a favorite song, it sings : O soul, for thee salvation thus By God is freely given ; The blood of Christ atones for sin And makes us meet for heaven. Conscience needs the enlightenment of revealed truth. Like all our faculties, conscience suffered in the fall, and is not of itself a safe guide to salvation. It needs the quickening of the Holy Spirit and the direction of Scrip­ ture—hence the significance of Psalm 119:105: “ Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” The light of nature is not sufficient, as evidenced by the words o f 2 Corinthians 4 :6, “ God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” Conscience needs to be taught and quickened. Apart from this, it will be “ burdened,” “ defiled,” “weak,” or “ seared.” These four words are New Testament terms used in reference-to conscience. In He­ brews 9:14, conscience is described as burdened with dead works. These dead works are the result of effort to atone for sin. In the natural process of our moral faculties, con­ science accuses us of sin (Rom. 2:15). Then the unin­ structed soul puts forth effort of some kind to make atone­ ment for that sin, not knowing the cleansing power of the blood of Christ. A lot of religious works are performed supposedly to the credit of the doer; but conscience can­ not find any real restfulness in this process. Sin is trans­ gression of law ; and until the claims of broken law are sat­ isfied, conscience can never be at rest. The blood of Christ alone answers back to a burdened conscience, cleansing it from dead works and leading a believer into the joy and freedom of service to the living God. The words found in chapter 10, verse 2, “ no more con­ science of sins,” are weighty and startling words. There is nothing similar in all literature outside the Bible. The writer evidently sensed the importance of this phrase, for he proceeds to fortify it by presenting a contrast between the sacrifices of the old covenant and the one sufficient sacrifice of Christ. The argument is found in verses 3 to 14. It is not possible, says the writer, that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins. But the implication by contrast is that through the blood of Christ sins are taken away. T ^ he statement from verse 4 is repeated in verse 11, where we read that the sacrifices offered repeatedly by priests in their daily ministration could never take away sins. Conscience will never consent to this as a ground for access to God and fellowship with Him— henee the veil of the temple beyond which no man could

he doctrinal teaching of the epistle reaches its close and climax in the first eighteen verses of this chapter. The priesthood of Christ, which includes His propitiatory sac­ rifice, is so effective that sins are not only atoned for but actually put awjay. Then, on the ground of this perfect and complete work of our Lord as our Substitute and Repre­ sentative, we are exhorted to draw near to God, to hold fast our confession, and to consider one another in the min­ istry of sympathy and helpfulness. The chapter opens with the statement that the law, with the continual sacrifices offered year by year, could not make perfect them that drew near. Yet God must have per­ fection. In Psalm 18, it is written, “ As for God, his way is perfect,” and in Psalm 19, “ The law of the Lord is per­ fect.” But where is the perfect man? You will find Him in Hebrews 2 :9 : “Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels.” In verse 10, He appears, not only as the per­ fect Man, but also as the Captain of our salvationmade per­ fect as a Saviour through the sufferings of death. Then, in verse 12, we see this perfect Man and this perfect Saviour associating with Himself all who believe, so that they share in His infinite perfections. Oh, the spiritual delight in find­ ing a perfect Saviour, the perfect revelation of God to man and the perfect representative of man to G od ! One of the joys of eternity, probably the chief one, will be'the con­ tinual discovery of our Lord’s blessed perfections. Even now, through His Word, we see Him as the perfect Priest' who offered the perfect sacrifice and entered the perfect sanctuary to perform a perfect service as Intercessor, Rep­ resentative, and Advocate, thereby giving us a perfect ac­ cess to God. The law made nothing perfect, but the" bring­ ing in of a better hope did, by the which we draw nigh to God (Heb. 7:19). No M ore C onscience of S ins Perfect access to God is conditioned on a conscience freed from the burden of guilt. Until that burden is lifted, we shall be like the man in Bunyan’s immortal dream, climbing a hill with a heavy burden upon him from which he could not find deliverance until he saw the Christ of the cross. In the voluntary and vicarious death of our Lord, we see God’s righteous settlement of our sins. Sin was judged and punished on Calvary’s cross. The matter of sin was settled there, righteously and forever. On this righteous and eternal settlement, conscience can rest with­ out a sense of guilt. In the closing words of the second verse of our chapter, there is “ no more conscience of sins.” It was at this point that the Old Testament sacri­ fices failed in their effectiveness. They could not make the worshiper perfect as pertaining to the conscience (Heb. 9 :9 ). But in 10:22, we are invited to draw near, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil, or accusing, conscience. The ground of this is the substitutionary and atoning death o f Christ. Faith sees in the blood of Christ that which meets all righteous requirements. It hears the words spoken long ago, “ When I see the blood, I will pass over you.” So faith sprinkles the blood and is safe. How

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