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

Chapter 53 - Hebrews 9:27, 28 - The One Offering and the Great Reappearing Light & Truth: The Lesser Epistles by Bonar, Horatius




The One Offering And The Great Reappearing.


     "And as 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."-Hebrews 9:27, 28.



     There are three special things presented here: (1.) Man's one dying. (2.) Christ's one offering. (3.) Christ's one great reappearing.

     I. Man's one dying.-This refers specially to the first sentence, 'unto dust shalt thou return;' 'Thou shalt surely die.' This was the great visible penalty; not the only one, but the great visible one, which proclaimed the curse and the condemnation, and with which were conjoined many others. The one loss of the one life was to be the penalty. It was not two deaths, but only one. Not as many deaths as sins, but only one! This is 'appointed to man.' The word is not a judicial or governmental one; it is the same as elsewhere translated, 'laid up'-'Henceforth there is laid up for me.' This one dying is 'laid up' for man by God. Awful and mysterious treasure! Laid up, and then given out at the appointed time. The stress here is evidently on the 'once.' It is this one dying that God keeps in reserve for man! Only one dying! Then how solemn a thing is death, and how terrible its proclamation of God's hatred of sin! Only one dying, and then the judgment! How irrevocable the consequences! No retracing our steps, or undoing what was at first done amiss! Only one dying, and then the final settlement! How great a thing does God reckon this being of ours, when the taking to pieces of His handiwork is thus recognized as the visible doom of sin!

     II. Christ's one offering.-Let us note here the following things:-

     (1.) Christ offered.-It is the same Christ that is referred to in verse 24, who is gone into heaven: the Christ of God is the propitiation for sin. The word 'offered' means presented, brought to the altar of God, there presented to God as a victim. Yes, Christ has been offered! He suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust. The offering is done. The presentation has taken place, and been accepted. God is so well pleased with it, that on the footing of it He is willing to accept the guiltiest.

     (2.) Christ once offered.-This one offering corresponds to the one death. Not two deaths, so not two offerings. One sacrifice to meet, and undo the one death. 'Once, in the end of the ages, hath He appeared, to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.' What stress the apostle lays on that once! Once, yet complete, perfect! No need of repetition. It has ceased to be offered, for it accomplished all that was needed. What a gospel the word once contains! All that was needed for the taking away the sinner's sin, and bringing Him nigh to God, is contained in that one offering.

     (3.) Christ offered to bear the sins of many.-The many are the great multitude that no man can number; and their sins are as the sands by the seashore. These sins are laid on Him. He carries them up to the altar,-to the cross, and there He expiates them to the full. He is the Sin-bearer; the Propitiation; the Atonement; the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.

     This, then, is our gospel. The Christ, the Son of God, has been once offered for sin! He has finished the work. It is done! No second Gethsemane or Golgotha! No second cross or grave. The first did it all! No sooner had He done the work than the altar (the cross) was taken down, in testimony that it was not to be required again. The old altar stood for ages; this but for a day, not to be reared again. Nay more, in testimony that the once giving of His life for us had done the work, that life of His was given back to Him by God, and He was raised from the dead! O gospel of gospels! The atoning work is done. Jesus has finished transgression, and made an end of sin!

     III. Christ's great reappearance.-How closely does the apostle connect the two comings! The one is, in his eyes, the necessary sequel and consummation of the other.

     (1.) He shall appear the second time.-It is, literally, 'He shall be seen,'-'every eye shall see Him;' He shall no longer be hidden, or far off. He shall be as visible the second time as He was the first. This same Jesus shall so come as He went! The second coming is to be as personal, as visible, as real as the first. It is to this visibility that reference is so frequently made: 'Behold He cometh with the clouds!' 'The Son of man shall come in His glory;' 'A fire goeth before Him.' So His coming is compared to the rising of the morning star and the sun. No one shall mistake that coming. It shall be too striking and too glorious to be mistaken for anything else than the appearing of the Son of man. There is but one offering, but there are two comings. The one offering was completed at His first coming; but the fruits of the offering are to be gathered at His second.

     (2.) He shall appear without sin.-At His first coming 'He was made sin for us.' He knew no sin, yet sin and the curse were on Him; He was treated both by God and man as such. But when He comes the second time He is done with this. He does not come as the Sin-bearer, but as Judge and King. He is done with all sin-bearing work. The cross is taken down; the scars may still be in His hands and feet, but they are only the marks of a thing completely done, not to be repeated. He appears without sin; He suffers no more; He dies no more. The one death was enough.

     (3.) He shall appear to them that are looking to Him for salvation.-This is the proper order and meaning of the words. In one sense every eye shall see Him; but in the true and blessed meaning of the word, He shall appear, or show Himself only to those who are now looking to Him as the Saviour. As He showed Himself to His disciples, so shall He show Himself then. 'When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall we also appear with Him in glory.'

     Thus Christ's two comings are here announced. Let us receive God's testimony to both.

     1. Let us look to Jesus.-He died for our sins. Let us realize His one offering. It did its work on the cross. It is doing so still; communicating its perfection to the imperfect; purging the conscience; securing everlasting forgiveness to the guilty; and providing a channel through which the great love of God may freely flow to us.

     2. Let us look for Jesus.-He is coming the second time. That great reappearing is for glory to Himself and to us. Let us desire it; watch for it; pray for it. 'Even so come, Lord Jesus!'