The Supreme Surrender, and its Eternal Value
Psalm 40:6-8
Sacrifice and offering you did not desire; my ears have you opened: burnt offering and sin offering have you not required.

That some of the psalms are applied to Christ does not warrant us in applying them all to him; and even if some verses of any one psalm are applied to the Messiah, we. are not thereby, warranted in applying all the verses in such psalm to him. There are direct Messianic psalms, which apply only to the Lord Jesus Christ; such are the second and the hundred and tenth psalms. Critics - some of them, at least - demur to this as being contrary to psychological law. But it is not merely by the psychological law of the natural man that these Messianic psalms are declared to have been written. We are pointed, for their origin, to a fourfold divergence from naturalistic psychology.

1. It is not of psychology we have to think, but of pneumatology.

2. Of the pneumatology of the spiritual man.

3. Of the pneumatology of the spiritual man when "borne along" by the Divine Pneuma.

4. Of such action of the Divine Pneuma on the human for a specific Divine purpose. All this is indicated in 2 Peter 1:21; and therefore all such critics as those to which we refer are totally beside the mark (see our remarks on Psalm 32.). But there are also psalms which are indirectly Messianic. They are marked, speaking generally, by the pronoun "I." The writer speaks for himself, in the first instance; but whether he knew or intended it or not, the words had such a far-reachingness about them, that they could only be filled up in their perfect meaning by the Lord Jesus Christ. Such is the case with the verses now before us. They first of all apply to David, and it is quite possible that he intended nothing further; if so, unwittingly to himself, he was borne along to utter words whose fulness of meaning could only be disclosed by the Incarnation, by David's Son, who had eternally been David's Lord; and, as such, the doctrines they contain are truly sublime. There is a somewhat difficult matter, which may be indicated by the questions:

(1) How came the phrase, "Mine ears hast thou opened," to be rendered by the LXX., "A body hast thou prepared me"? and

(2) whether of the two readings is to be accepted? Dean Alford (see his Commentary, in loc.) prefers to leave the difficulties unsolved. Dr. J. Fye Smith ('Script. Test.,' vol. 1. p. 208), Dr. Boothroyd, and others, with little hesitation, express their conviction that the original and correct phrase is that adopted by the LXX. Calmet suggests, "On lit dans l'hebreu antes, peutetre pour corpus autem. Archdeacon Farrar says, in his notes on Hebrews 10:5-7, Finding the rendering in the LXX., believing it to represent the true sense of the original (as it does), and also seeing it to be eminently illustrative of his subject, the writer naturally adopts it." On the whole, then, the variation presents an interesting point in textual criticism, rather than any doctrinal difficulty. Since, in either case, the substantial meaning is, "My bodily frame has been marked out and sealed for the performance of thy will." By the very frequent quotation from the LXX. rather than from the Hebrew, even when they vary, the sacred writers show how much more important in their view was the main thought than the precise form of expression. Having, then, in two separate homilies, dealt with this psalm in its application to David, we will now luxuriate in these verses as finding their highest and noblest application in Christ, and in him alone. In so doing, eight lines of thought require to be laid down.

I. THERE IS A MOMENTOUS PRINCIPLE UNDERLYING BOTH THE HEBREW AND THE CHRISTIAN ECONOMIES. It is this - that sin has disturbed the relations between man and God, so that nothing is right with man till these relations are readjusted and harmony is restored. The whole of the Mosaic economy was an education in the evil of sin. "By Law is the knowledge of sin" (Romans 3:20); "The Law was our child-guide unto Christ" (Galatians 3:24).

II. UNDER THE LAW, THE PEOPLE WERE TAUGHT THAT SIN MUST BE PUT AWAY BY SACRIFICE. "Without shedding of blood is no remission" (Hebrews 9:22). But there will ever remain this wide, this infinite, difference between Jewish and pagan sacrifices - the pagan sacrifices started from man, and expressed his desire to propitiate God; the Jewish sacrifices were appointed by God himself, as by One pardoning iniquity, transgression, and sin, who would cancel guilt only as sin had been condemned.

III. THE VARIED SACRIFICES UNDER THE LAW WERE BUT A "FIGURE FOR THE TIME THEN PRESENT." The doctrine of the insufficiency of fleshly sacrifices is found not only in the Epistle to the Hebrews, but also in the Old Testament (see 1 Samuel 15:22,-23; Psalm 51:16; Psalm 40:6-8; Isaiah 1:11-17; Jeremiah 7:22, 23; Micah 6:6-8). The more discerning and spiritually minded of the Hebrew saints saw and felt how ineffective were all the varied offerings to ensure peace with God; and, because ineffective, they were necessarily typical Hence -

IV. THE OLD TESTAMENT DISPENSATION WAS IN ITS ENTIRETY BUT PROPHETIC OF ONE WHO SHOULD COME. (Cf. Luke 24:44; Acts 17:2, 3; Acts 28:23; Daniel 9:24-27.) The entire argument in Hebrews 9. and Hebrews 10. shows this. From the time when he who saw Messiah's day from afar said, "God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering," the outlook of the Church of God was towards One "who should come into the world."

V. THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, IN THE FACT OF HIS INCARNATION, DECLARED THAT BE HAD COME TO ACCOMPLISH THE UNFULFILLED MEANING OF OLD TESTAMENT SACRIFICES. We are not told here that he said this by his Spirit in the fortieth psalm, but that "when he came into the world" he said it. His entrance into our race was itself the great declaration. That act of "emptying himself" spake volumes then, and will do through all time; and thus he put upon the ancient words the sublimest possible significance.

VI. IN ACCOMPLISHING TYPE AND PROPHECY, JESUS FULFILLED THE WORD OF GOD. His advent to earth was an absolute self-surrender to the Father's will (cf. John 4:34; John 6:38). He fulfilled the Father's will

(1) by revealing the Father;

(2) by honouring the Law;

(3) by condemning sin;

(4) by thus laying a basis for the forgiveness of every penitent.

VII. ON THE GROUND OF THIS SURRENDER OF HIMSELF, SIN IS PUT AWAY. "He put away sin by the sacrifice of himself" (Hebrews 9:26). The absolute surrender of the will of the Eternal Son to the Eternal Father accomplished, in fact, that which all past sacrifices had accomplished only in figure. The surrender of that will ensured the fulfilment of all the purposes for which that will was surrendered. "He hath obtained the eternal redemption for us" (Hebrews 9:12; see John 6:38-40).

VIII. SIN HAVING BEEN PUT AWAY FOR EVER, THE ANCIENT SACRIFICES HAVE CEASED FOR EVER. "He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second" (Hebrews 10:9); "By one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." Any pretended repetition of the Saviour's sacrifice in the Mass is impiety. No repetition of it is possible. All Old Testament sacrifices have ceased; the Old Testament priesthood has ceased, and has never been renewed. Note: What now remains for us? Only

(1) to accept the one offering of the Son of God as all-sufficient; and

(2) to render now the only sacrifice which is possible for us, viz. the loving, the absolute surrender of our will to him who hath loved us, and hath given himself for us, that we may stand perfect add complete in all the will of God. - C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.

WEB: Sacrifice and offering you didn't desire. You have opened my ears. You have not required burnt offering and sin offering.

Jesus the True Messiah
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