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

Chapter 50 - Hebrews 7:18, 19 - The Introduction of the Better Hope Light & Truth: The Lesser Epistles by Bonar, Horatius




The Introduction Of The Better Hope.


     "For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before, for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.  For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God."-Hebrews 7:18, 19.



     While our translation brings out the substantial meaning of the passage, the following paraphrase will better show the point and force of the argument. 'There is thus, on the one hand, the disannulling of the preceding commandment on account of its weakness and unprofitableness (for the law made nothing perfect); and, on the other, there is the introduction of a better hope, by means of which (introduction of the better hope) we draw nigh to God.' Keeping this in view, we take up the apostle's statements in the following order:-

     I.  The disannulling of the commandment.-The commandment here is not the moral law; but rites and ceremonies, and such outward ordinances. These have all passed away; not swept away by the spoiler, but cancelled and removed by God Himself. The taking down was effected by the same hands as built up. In both we see God. Both have a special significance. 'He taketh away the first,' is the announcement which turns our eye away from all types and shadows to the true blood and the living Christ. Outward things can do nothing for the conscience; no amount of blood could give us a good conscience. Blood must cease to flow; the lamb must no more be offered; altar and temple must be swept away, that God and the sinner may come directly into contact with each other through the one medium, a dead and risen Christ. The same Architect who planned and built the temple, takes it down to erect something more glorious in its stead.

     II.  The reasons for the disannulling.-(1.) It was weak; or it had no spiritual power or life. (2.) It was unprofitable. It did not accomplish anything; it left all things in the same state in which it found them. (3.) It made nothing perfect. God's object was perfection; perfection of the conscience, of the heart, of the whole man; perfect worship, perfect service; but the law could contribute nothing to this. This ritual law was in itself an imperfection, and it could not communicate what it did not possess. It spoke of perfection, but did not effect it. It was not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sin. It could not remove it out of God's sight, or from our consciences. It accomplished no pardon, no acceptance, no reconciliation. It did its best, but that best was imperfection. And if a divinely instituted law could not secure peace or pardon, how can our own self selected performances do this? All is weak, unprofitable, imperfect. We need something better and more satisfying.

     III.  The introduction of a better hope.-Hope means the things hoped for; the things promised through Messiah; the good things to come, whether connected with His first or second coming. This hope is in all respects better than anything going before; better in its nature, its foundation, its objects, its results. This better hope was pointed out by the temple ritual, but not realized. Ere it could come fully out into view, the ritual must be disannulled; ere the glorious building can be seen, the scaffolding must be taken down. On the ruins of the temple there rose up this better hope. Thus it was that Messiah introduced this hope. He took away the first that He might establish the second. His blood made perfect; it purged the conscience; and that which the Church from the beginning had been hoping for,-to which all sacrifices, from Abel's downward, looked forward,-was now introduced and established. And this better hope still endureth. On it we stand.

     IV. The object and result of this better hope.-To draw us nigh to God. In this better hope many things are contained. It contains the glory and the kingdom, which are still future; but it also contains such a revelation of grace and righteousness, as emboldens us to draw near to God. It shows us Messiah Himself, the new and living way; it shows us the rent veil, the sprinkled blood, the golden mercy seat, the High Priest after the order of Melchisedec sitting on it,-all things provided to make the sinner's approach safe to himself and honourable to God. Christ as the High Priest of good things to come, beckons us in, takes us by the hand, blesses us with all spiritual blessings. Without Him and His blood, there was no access to God; only distance, separation, dread. The sinner could not look on God without terror; nor God on him without abhorrence. But now he does not need to stand afar off or without. Blood has been shed, which removes terror, which gives a good conscience, which makes the inner shrine or presence of God not only safe, but the safest place of all; nay, the only safe place anywhere for the sinner. So that it is not now the question, 'Dare I venture in?' But it is, 'Dare I stand without?' There is now no safe place anywhere but in the very presence of God. For safety, as well as for favor and blessing, we must draw near. This hope does not say, You had better come, but, You must; you dare not stand without, amid wrath and peril and darkness. Nor does it say, Come and take your chance of being received; it says, Come and you shall be received,-at once, and without qualification, solely on the ground of the one great sacrifice. Come boldly; draw near with a true heart, and in full assurance of faith; for that which bids you come at all, bids you come at once with boldness. It is not what we see in ourselves, or our prayers, or our experiences, that emboldens us, but simply what we see in the blood and in the throne. We are believers in the blood, not believers in our own faith.

     Are you waiting for more substantial faith before you are bold? What! is the excellence of your faith better than the blood? Can it do what the blood cannot? How can we do anything else than come boldly? How can we come doubtingly, uncertainly, despondingly? It is, moreover, a daily drawing near; or, rather, it is a constant dwelling there, as in our proper home.