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This, then, is the mighty work of God in Christ: and this passage proves its nature; and shows that it consists, not in the change of disposition p. 53in man, but in the non-imputation of sin on the part of God,鈥斺淭o wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.鈥 You observe that the words teach that there were trespasses and real guilt: such trespasses that, if they were imputed, or allowed to stand for the condemnation of the sinner, there could be no reconciliation, and the sinner must die. But God in Christ does not impute our trespasses unto us: and, therefore, the barrier is removed; and in Him there is complete reconciliation. But we have not yet done with the subject; for the question arises, How is it consistent with the righteousness of God, that He should thus not impute trespasses to those who are really guilty? What has become of His government, if real guilt is not reckoned to the real sinner? The question is answered in v. 21: for we are there taught that guilt is not imputed to us, because, in the marvellous counsel of God, it has been imputed to the Lord Jesus Christ in our stead: for look at his words,鈥斺淔or He hath made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.鈥 There is no explanation of this passage, except that He who knew no sin was p. 54reckoned sinful, in order that we, who are deeply sunk in sin, might be reckoned righteous. Sin is not imputed to man; because the Lord Jesus Christ became our substitute; and it has been imputed to Him in our stead..
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His place, then, is heaven itself; and His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Father. In His real human body He has ever been like ourselves, in one place at one time. When He was here he passed from place to place; from Galilee to Jerusalem, and from Jerusalem to Galilee. So when Lazarus died He was absent from Bethany, and after his death He went there. Just so in His ascension He passed into the heavens, and, being there, He is as much absent from us in the body as He was absent from Martha and Mary in their deep anxiety about their brother. When present here, in His human person, He was absent there. Being present there, He is now absent here. [6]?
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We studied last Sunday the one perfect and final sacrifice made for the sins of the whole world, when our Lord Jesus Christ completed our propitiation on the cross. We found that that sacrifice differed from those of the ceremonial law, in the great fact that it was once and for ever; that it was so perfect, so complete, so fully sufficient to satisfy the whole claim of the law, that when it was once offered there was no place left for repetition, perpetuation, or addition. The veil of the temple was then rent from the top to the bottom, and there was no space left for any further rending. The Lord himself said, 鈥淚t is finished;鈥 so the whole was done, and done for ever.!
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p. 64It is clear at a glance, that there is no allusion in either of these passages to general or habitual confession; and that the case contemplated is that of a person troubled by some particular sin weighing on the conscience, and keeping the soul from peace. It is just in such a case that the ministry of the word is required for the help of the individual; and that something more is wanted than the general preaching of the truth. Such a person requires the Gospel to be applied to his own particular anxiety, in order that he may be assured of God鈥檚 forgiveness of that particular sin which keeps his soul in trouble. It is this assurance which is called in the Prayer-book 鈥渁bsolution.鈥 There is a vast difference between a judicial act of forgiveness, and a declaration or assurance of the forgiveness by God. Thus, to 鈥渁bsolve鈥 is not to 鈥渇orgive,鈥 but to assure the troubled heart of the full forgiveness, freely granted, by the Lord Himself. [64] Nothing can be clearer than this distinction in the absolution in the service for the Visitation of the Sick. 鈥淥ur Lord Jesus Christ, who hath left power to His Church to absolve all sinners who truly p. 65repent and believe in Him, of His great mercy forgive thee thine offences: and by His authority, committed to me, I absolve thee from all thy sins, In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.鈥.
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p. 21With all this the Apostle contrasts the one perfect sacrifice of our blessed Lord, made on the cross once and for ever. There are no less than six places in which he brings out this one point, and brings it out with such clearness that it really seems as if the whole passage was written as a prophetic safeguard against the doctrine of the mass. In Heb. ix. 25, 26, he says: 鈥淣or yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; 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.鈥 So in vv. 27, 28, he draws a comparison between the death of the Lord Jesus and the natural death of man, and says: 鈥淎s it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.鈥 So that it would be just as absurd to expect men to die twice, as to believe that there can be any second offering of the Lord Jesus Christ for sin. The one death throughout mankind is the type or pattern of the one Sacrifice once p. 22made for sin. So, again, in x. 10, we read,鈥斺淏y the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.鈥 And again, in vv, 11, 12, St. Paul returns to the contrast between our Lord and the Jewish priest, and says, 鈥淓very priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: but this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.鈥 And once more, in ver. 14, he sums up all by saying, 鈥淏y one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.鈥 It would be a matter of deep interest to study carefully the meaning of the word 鈥減erfected鈥 in this most important text. It does not mean perfect in personal holiness, i.e. in the inward work of the Spirit on the soul; but perfect in justification: perfect, because the curse was perfectly blotted out, the law being perfectly satisfied, and the sinner, after propitiation, perfectly free. But we must not stop to dwell on that now, our one point at present is that the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus was once, and for ever; and this is most remarkably brought out in the words,鈥斺淏y one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.鈥
21 August, 2019 - 13:08
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21 August, 2019 - 13:08
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