For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh:…
I. THE AGENCY THROUGH WHICH CHRIST'S SACRIFICE WAS PRESENTED, AND THE CHARACTER OF THAT SACRIFICE. Christ offered Himself to God, both in obedience and in suffering. His whole life was one season of oblation.
II. THE EFFECTS OF THIS SACRIFICE. St. Paul's representation rather embraces a point than extends itself to the whole of the effects of the atonement: the expression " dead works," denotes sinfulness in general, by which all our consciences are polluted, in opposition to those things by which spiritual uncleanness was removed. We have, then, simply to inquire into the truth and meaning of the assertion, that the blood of Jesus cleanseth the soul of the believer from sin, and thus qualifies him for the service of the living God. And, first of all, we have full warrant for affirming that so soon as there is faith in the heart, binding a man to Christ as a member of the head, the sins of all men are swept completely away, being not only forgiven, but actually forgotten by God. It is membership with Christ which gives its might and its majesty to the gospel. Faith admits me into the invisible Church of Christ, and the members of the invisible Church make up one sinless body in the sight of the Father — the perfect righteousness of the Head being considered as belonging equally to the meanest of the members. So that when I have faith in Christ, I am literally one with Christ, and then where are my sins? The countless iniquities of my youth I the multiform transgressions of my. riper years! where are they? "I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgression, for Mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins." Oh! how unlike is His forgiveness to that of men, who may forgive but cannot forget! Oh! the word of the Lord is — "the blood of Jesus Christ shall purge your conscience from dead works."
III. THIS "PURGING OF THE CONSCIENCE" IS PREPARATORY TO "SERVING THE LORD." The man of whom much has been forgiven will love much, and loving without obeying is a paradox which never yet deformed practical Christianity. Like as Christ offered Himself through the Eternal Spirit unto God, so also must we through the same Spirit present ourselves as living sacrifices to the Most High. This is the service to which we are pledged; this is the consecration bound upon us by all that is most solemn in duty and glorious in hope.
(H. Melvill, B. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: