Hebrews 9. 24
Christ for ME To-Day in the Glory.
LET us read Hebrews 9. 24: "For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into Heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us."
I. CHRIST OUR REPRESENTATIVE.
For us, as our Representative, He appears before God, like Aaron, in his robes of beauty and glory, bearing the children of Israel upon his breast and shoulders; so Christ bears us continually before God on His heart, the seat of His affection; and on His shoulders, the place of strength. He appears in the presence of God as us. In 1 John 4. 17 we read: "Because as He is, so are we in this world."
There were two grand truths which filled the soul of MARTIN LUTHER with peace and power; viz., justification by faith, and Christ appearing in the presence of God as us. He exclaimed, when first seeing the latter, ·"Oh the blessedness of knowing, that as Christ is before God, so am I!"
Lady POWERSCOURT used to say, that "a child of God ought not to be so much walking on earth and looking to Heaven, as living in Heaven and walking on earth."
God does not merely look upon His people down here in the midst of failures and infirmities, but He looks upon each one of us in the person of His Son at His right hand, and says, even to the feeblest saint, "Thou art all fair, My love; there is no spot in thee." In 1 Cor. 12. 12 we read: "For as the Body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one Body being many, are one Body; so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one Body." When a sculptor is about to model a statue, he commences by forming the head out of his solid block of marble; so God, when forming the mystic body the Church, begins with "The Head"—Christ. (Eph. 1. 19-23).
At the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit—the promise of the Father—was poured out, and He baptized all living believers as members of Christ's body. That is, He livingly united them to a risen Christ at the right hand of God. This baptism cannot be repeated. Since then, every child of God, on believing, is baptized by the Holy Spirit, and made a member of Christ.
This blessed union has two sides; first, Christ is one with us, and second, we are one with Christ.
II. CHRIST IS ONE WITH US.
1. As to Humanity. Christ took upon Him our humanity. · We must be careful, when speaking of this precious and solemn truth, not to go beyond the words of Scripture, as many have done. As the men of Beth-Shemesh lifted the lid of the ark and looked in, were punished by God for so doing; so many teachers have blasphemously sought to pry into the deep mysteries of God, manifest in the flesh, with terrible results.
Scripture speaks very guardedly, but at the same time very plainly, concerning this great mystery, as in John 1. 14: "The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us." Again, Romans 8. 3: "God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh." And again, in Phil. 2. 7: "He made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross."
Never anywhere in Scripture is it said that Christ took upon Him our nature, which is sinful and liable to death. And yet how blessed to think of Him as Man, very Man, perfect Man. "Forasmuch then, as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same" (here He is our blessed Kinsman); "that through death, He might destroy" (annul his power) "him that had the power of death, that is, the Devil" (here He is our Avenger); "and deliver them" (as our Redeemer) "who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage"—the Old Testament saints (Heb. 2.15).
2. As to Our Sorrows. How blessed to think of Him as "the Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief." If all the accumulated griefs and sorrows of the Church of God, from first to last, were collected together in one great mass, we may have some little idea of the burden the Son of Man had to bear when passing through this sin-stained world.
Child of sorrow! be comforted in owing that your Saviour deeply sympathizes with you in your bereavements and sorrows, as He did with the loved sisters of Bethany at the tomb of Lazarus.
3. As to our Sins. He was the Holy One of God, who "had no sin," and "knew no sin."
But still we find that He so identified Himself with His people, that He made their sins His own, confessing them to God, and bearing the terrible judgment due to them. We read in the Psalms of David, the deep experiences of One confessing sins to God. Who was this, but Christ confessing the sins of His people as if His own? He came to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself; that is, to glorify God and satisfy the claims of His justice and holiness, also to bear the sins of His people into the land of forgetfulness.
4. As to Death. Death is the terrible sentence of God, against sin, and Jesus tasted death for every man (Heb. 2. 9). Some tell us Jesus was a mere man, that He suffered for His principles as a Martyr. If so, why those sobs and sighs in Gethsemane's garden? Why that agonizing cry on the Cross, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?"
Is it anywhere recorded in history, that God forsook His servants when suffering for His cause at the stake or the scaffold? Never!
Christ was no mere Martyr. He was the Sacrifice of God's providing, to render to Him a full, perfect atonement and satisfaction for the whole World, "that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." God is perfectly satisfied with the death of Christ as such, and proved it by raising Him from the dead on the third day.
III. WE ARE ONE WITH CHRIST.
1. As Regards Acceptance. The resurrection of Christ is God's witness to us that He accepted the death of His Son on the Cross for every one that believes. The resurrection of Christ is the great keystone in the arch of this great salvation. God raised Him by His power and glory and seated Him at the right hand of the Majesty on high as a proof of acceptance. We are "accepted in the Beloved." God accepted the death of Christ for His people, and we are so one with Him that God accepts us too. "Christ has once suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God" (1 Peter 3. 18). He brought us into God's presence in holiness, acceptance, and righteousness.
2. As to Life. Christ is our life. The life of the Head is the life of the members. The same vital principle runs from the Head to all the members. The throbbings of the Divine nature in us, beat in unison with the heart of Christ inside the veil.
.3. As to Place. Jesus Christ made our peace by the Blood of His Cross. He gave us peace when we believed on Him; and “He is" now at the right hand of God, "our peace," so we can sing:
"That which can shake the Cross
May shake the peace it gave,
Which tells me Christ has never died,
Or never left the grave."
So, dear child of God, you have a peace apart from yourself, that nothing can disturb, that nothing can mar, and that nothing can break. Christ at God's right hand is your peace.
4. As to Righteousness. We were justified; that is, pronounced not guilty by the righteous Judge when we accepted the Death of Christ, the righteous sentence of God justly due to us. But more than that, we are accounted righteous in the Righteous One, and "made the righteousness of God in Him." We stand complete in Him. Blessed standing! For He "of God is made unto us, wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption" (1 Cor. 1. 30).
5. As to Place. We are pilgrims and strangers here, and Heaven is our Home. That is our place. We are already there, seated in Christ, and waiting to be glorified together with Him. Soon, He will come and receive us to Himself, "that where He is, there we may be also" (John 14. 3).
6, As to Glory. The glory of our risen Head is upon us now. As the oil from the head of Aaron, flowed down to his feet, so the glory of Christ flows out from Him, down to the very members that are farthest removed from the Head. In what is known as the Lord's Prayer, in John 17, Jesus said, "And the glory which Thou gavest Me, I have given them, that they may be one, even as We are one." This glory, we are to reflect here.
In 2 Cor. 3. l8, we read: "But we all, with unveiled face, reflecting as from a mirror (R.V.) the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." If I stand before a mirror, it is my image that is reflected in that mirror; but if I am a mirror (and this is the figure made use of here), and Christ stands before me, it is His image that is seen in and reflected from it. This is our position here in the world, to reflect this glory. The mirror must be kept bright and burnished; no green veil of the world, or dust of earth, being allowed on it, else the image is dim, and the reflection uncertain.
But in holy communion with Himself, we reflect His image—that is, "we show forth the virtues—not merely the praises—the graces, the longsuffering, the love of Jesus, who hath called us from darkness into His marvellous light" (1 Peter 2. 9), thus fulfilling our holy mission till Jesus comes.
Then the second aspect of the glory will be fulfilled—"Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory." More than that, we shall share His glory as partakers thereof (1 Peter 5. 1).
“The Witness” 1936