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Free Books » Bonar, Horatius » Light & Truth: The Lesser Epistles

Chapter 41 - Hebrews 1:3 - The One Great Purging Light & Truth: The Lesser Epistles by Bonar, Horatius




The One Great Purging.


"He by Himself purged our sins."-Hebrews 1:3.



     There is no difficulty in ascertaining who the 'He' is here. He is well described to us. He is the 'Son;' the 'heir of all things;' the 'maker of the worlds;' the 'brightness of Jehovah's glory;' the 'express image of His person;' the 'upholder of all things.' Such is He; the Word made flesh; the only begotten of the Father; infinite, eternal, divine!

     The special thing which this glorious One is described as doing, in our text, is 'purging our sins.' For this He descended, lived, died, and was buried. And this work is one which comes in between a glorious past and a glorious future,-a brief but marvelous interruption or interposition. He, the eternal Son, descends to do a work on earth; He does it in thirty-three years, and then reascends to eternal glory. Yet, ere He went, He could say, 'It is finished.'

     We should be led to conclude from His person and character and past eternal history, that the work He comes to do will be thoroughly well done; and we should no less conclude from His subsequent history of exaltation and honour, that it had been fully and satisfactorily accomplished. His sitting down on the right hand of the Majesty on high implies that He Himself is satisfied, and that the Father is also satisfied. He is glorified because His work is done.

     The work is that of purging our sins; and these He purged 'by Himself.' Let us consider this; it is literally, 'Through Himself He made purgation of our sins.'

     I. A purgation or cleansing is needed.-The need of purgation arises from the existence of sin. It has come in as guilt and as evil. It has come in to defile us; to pollute our consciences; to render our persons unacceptable to God. It has made us filthy, so that God cannot approach us; and it has produced such a sense of filthiness that we cannot approach God. Purgation, then, is needed because of pollution. It is needed to satisfy God, and to satisfy us. So long as this defilement exists, there can be no approach to God; no intercourse, and no peace of conscience; no safety; but distance, terror, isolation like that of the leper; fearful looking for of judgment;-no service, no safety, no peace, no strength, no love, without it. If our sins are not purged, we are yet in them, and they in us; God is yet angry with us, and we at enmity with God.

     II. It must be sacrificial purgation.-The washing away of sin is something special and peculiar.

     (1.) It is not indifference to sin, or forgetfulness of it, either on our part or that of God. This cannot satisfy God, or relieve our consciences. Yet this is all the purgation to which most betake themselves!

     (2.) It is not God's love to us.-God's love in itself cannot purge sin. It may, and does, lead to the adoption of measures for the purgation; but it must not be confounded with these. It cannot pacify the conscience.

     (3.) It is purgation by pardon.-Our consciences cannot be purged without forgiveness. No pardon, no purgation. Where there is righteous pardon, there is true purgation.

     (4.) It is purgation by priesthood.-The purging of the conscience is a priestly act. It is by priesthood that the relationship between us and God is established on its true footing. There must be priesthood in everything pertaining to the removal of sin; and this priesthood must be divine.

     (5.) It is purgation by blood.-It is the blood that purges; the blood of the Lamb; the blood of the Priest. This blood is the blood of the Substitute. It purges, because it is the life; and purgation can duly come by the giving of life for life.

     III.  Christ Himself has made this purgation by Himself.-It is not merely that He purged our sins; but He did it by Himself.  He was High Priest, altar, temple, sacrifice. It was His own blood, His own death that did the work. That which He did on earth is our purgation; He wrought that thing which purges, pacifies, pardons. In consequence of it, it was a righteous thing in God to draw near to us, and a safe thing for us to draw near to God. God looks at it and says, It is enough, 'I draw near;' we look at it and say, It is enough, 'let us draw near.' All that sin and guilt and condemnation produced of distance, displeasure, dread, are done away by this. The sacrifice has been offered, the blood has been shed, life has been given for life; it is finished. Not by our works of righteousness, but by the one work done by the Son of God, we are saved, our sins are purged, our approach to God is provided for. Nothing more is needed to propitiate God, or to purge our conscience, than the sacrifice of Calvary. Without this, God would have remained unpropitiated, and the sinner's conscience unpurged, unpacified. Mark-

     (1.) The love of God is here.-Herein is love. Love originated the propitiation. It is not, God gave His Son that He might love the world; but, God so loved the world that He gave His Son.

     (2.) The open gate is here.-It is the blood that has rolled away the stone, and opened the gate; not love alone; but love working its way to us through the blood. The veil is rent. The flaming sword is removed or quenched.

     (3.) The removal of dread is here.-It is not mere love that removes the distrust and terror. More than love is needed. The sacrifice presents that which is needed. Now we do not need to fly from God, nor dread Him as an enemy. Now He is both gracious and righteous, loving and holy. We need not be terrified at the mention of His name or law.

     Here is the purging sacrifice. You are not actually washed till you believe; but here is the cleansing work. Receive God's testimony to its meaning, its nature, its efficacy, its power. It purges all who believe.