Hebrews x. 10-14.
The One Offering.
by Henry Heath
IF it is necessary that believers should have right, i.e., scriptural thoughts concerning God's love, so is it also essential to the abiding peace of their souls that they perceive and believe the perfection of Christ's one offering on the Cross. This is surely proved by the frequency, simplicity, and fulness with which the Holy Ghost presents it to us in the Word of God. He has pointed to it by type, from the offering of Abel down to the last offering before the Cross. The same Holy Ghost now dwells in us to instruct us in the value and perfection of Christ's one offering, the antitype of all those types.
Nothing short of perfection could satisfy God, and until believers see Christ's perfectness as theirs through believing, they cannot have settled peace and rest. This said, let us examine the two-fold testimony of the Spirit of God; first by types, second to the antitype.
The term type (from tupos, a blow, an impression, a counterpart) is something very definite. It is more than an illustration, and implies a design on the part of God to foreshadow or represent something else; and we know that by the offerings under the law, i.e., the old dispensation, He designed to foreshadow the one offering of His Son made flesh in its varied virtues and comprehensive value.
With respect to the types, we observe a divine order. From the first recorded offering, that of Abel, until the times of Moses, we read only of one kind of offering, viz., the burnt-offering, the ascending-offering.
It is said of Jacob, indeed, that he offered sacrifices (Gen. xlvi. 1); but while there was plurality, there is no mention of variety. To the eye of God, and in His estimation, the one offering comprehended all; and to every true believer, whatever may have been the measure of his intelligence, Jehovah imputed the full value of the anti-typical offering of Christ. Now also the babe in knowledge has the full value of His one offering; and the father can have no more, although he has fuller intelligence of its value, and consequently fuller, deeper joy in God.
The law was given by Moses, and it entered that the offence might abound. It revealed and defined sin as it had not before been revealed, and to meet that revelation, the variety of sacrifices and offerings was introduced in Leviticus. As was the revelation of sin, so also was that of the varied virtues of the offering—burnt-offering, sin-offering, trespass-offering, meat-offering, peace-offering, etc.
To us, that ritual is only a matter of history; we have nothing to do with it, thanks be to God, except by the shadow to learn more of the substance. Ours is the happy privilege of simple confidence in the one all-comprehensive offering of Christ; so that by one glance of faith at Christ, we see all, and by presenting Him to God, we present all.
The mummery of modem ritualism is mimicry of Judaism, without the sanction from God which Judaism originally had—this is its folly; while parts of it contradict the Word of God and dishonour the sacrifice of Christ—this is its enormity, its wickedness. Beware of it, beloved believing reader; it betrays ignorance of dispensational differences, and also of the true worship of the Church of God.
God is a Spirit, and they who worship Him, must do so in spirit and in truth. We may well be thankful to assemble within walls under cover and at set times; still, even when so gathered, if we worship aright, it is as being by faith and in spirit in the heavenly courts, where indeed the great High Priest, the only Priest over His brethren, leads divine worship. This we could do if necessary, and with equal acceptance in the sight of God, in the open field.
We have seen that by the typical sacrifices and offerings, the Holy Ghost pointed to the "one offering" of Christ in its different aspects and results. These had their day; but we hear one saying, in the spirit of prophecy by David, "Sacrifice and offering Thou didst not desire; mine ears hast Thou opened; burnt-offering and sin-offering hast Thou not required. Then said I, "Lo, I come; in the volume of the Book, it is written of Me, I delight to do Thy will." This very Scripture is quoted by the Holy Ghost, and applied to Christ on purpose to prove the excellence of His sacrifice for sin. There is this important and explanatory change made in this passage; instead of, "Mine ears hast Thou opened," it is, "A body hast Thou prepared Me." It was by the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once (once for all) that the mighty deed was effected. He came to do the will of God; He delighted to do it; it was His meat. That will required that "He should lay down His life, and take it again." "By which will, we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once." See then, dear Christian reader, that as by faith, you are linked to that one offering which accomplished the will of God, and reconciled you to Him, you are sanctified (Heb. x. 10).
Again, in verses 11-15, He contrasts the posture and action of the typical priests and Christ. They stood daily ministering and repeating their sacrifice, because imperfect; but Christ, when He had made one sacrifice for sin, sat down, not needing to rise again for the purpose of offering for sin; "for by His one offering, He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified;" the one offering both sanctified and perfected forever everyone who is by faith connected with it. In Eph. v. 2, Paul, taught by the Holy Ghost, says, "Christ loved the Church, and gave Himself for it, an offering and a sacrifice" (victim) "to God for a sweet-smelling savour." Yes, dear reader, whatever (to speak as men) that sacrifice involved of cost, pain, and sorrow, it was and is gratifying to God, and we are accepted in Him; and that offering in its virtue, savour, and value, is imputed to, and reckoned to the account of the one who trusts it, although his faith may be the weakest, and his intelligence of its value the smallest.
Of old, the offerer and the offering were accepted together—it for him, and he in it; so now the truster in Christ and Christ the trusted One are accepted together. "He hath made us accepted in the Beloved, Who gave Himself for us." God, by one act, has eternally accepted you in Him, in Christ; for He changeth not. Of His gift of Christ for us, and His calling of us to Christ, He will not repent. In both these acts, He is "without repentance" (i.e., a change of mind). Here then, beloved, rest, and keep your daily sabbath with God by faith in His Son and in His accomplished work. And should you fail in your walk; should sin defile your conscience, and so disturb your rest of soul, the remedy is at hand. Confess fully, definitely, believingly, and you will find the Comforter ready to fulfil His ministry—viz., the repeated presentation to your soul of Christ in that offering which once for all covered all your sins, and answers fully for you in the presence of the Father. "Little children, sin not; and if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." For "if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Jealously watch, that nothing comes between your soul and this, between you and Christ, but Christ only between your soul and God. No, nothing; not your obedience any more than your sin. Obedience may be, indeed should be, the purpose of your life, but not the rest of your soul.
"On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand."
Make His one offering also your shield against the fiery darts of Satan; present Christ to him, direct him to Christ respecting you; that is, refer him with his every charge to Christ. If it is true, Christ is your shield; if false, He will refute it, and give you peace. Thus live your life as he lived his who said, "The life that I live in the flesh" (the body), "I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me"; in a word, make Christ your all.