And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death…
I. We have to inquire IN WHAT SENSE OR SENSES MAY WE SPEAK OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AS A TESTATOR. What is involved in this idea? If a will is made, two things are implied — that there is something to leave: that there is some measure of interest felt in those who are mentioned as legatees.
1. Now in the case of our Lord Jesus Christ, we see one who has large and royal possessions, and who has these absolutely at His own disposal. All things are described as the property of Christ. All things were made by Him and for Him. Jesus Christ has power and authority to bestow all gospel blessings and privileges upon His people. He gives them grace here; He will crown them with glory hereafter.
2. And then, in making His will, Christ has distinctly in view those who are interested in its provisions — His friends, His relations those for whom, though they had no natural claim upon Him, the Saviour has bound Himself to provide. And we have the means of determining very exactly who these are. His friends are those who love Him, and who show their love by keeping His commandments.
3. A testator, in making his last will and testament, so far as there is in it any different disposition of property, supersedes, renders null and void, any will that may have been previously made. So Jesus Christ disannulled the law of the old covenant by establishing the new. Let us see to it that we put in our claim under the last will and testament of Christ. Let us not expect to receive under the law what can only come to us as a matter of free grace, under the gospel.
4. As in the case of a merely human testator, so in the case of Jesus Christ — where a testament is, for it to have force, for it to take effect, there must needs be the death of the testator; "otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth." In this particular instance there was need for the death of the testator on several different accounts. Among men it is the death of the testator which renders a testament effectual. And so this testament was confirmed and ratified by the death of Jesus Christ, and but for that death it could have had no force at all. And as after death a will may not be altered or revoked by the testator, but remains the expression of his mind to be carried out as exactly as possible, so it may not be interfered with by others. You may question its meaning, you may question whether it be the will of him who is declared to have drawn it up, you may question his right to make it, or make it in that precise form, yet, admitting it as a will, though it be only a human will, "no man disannulleth or addeth thereunto." How much more truly is this the case with the testament, the will of Christ! And we must bear in mind, in the case of this testament, that there was a. necessity for the death of Christ, which does not exist in the case of any ordinary testament. The death of Christ not merely rendered His will irrevocable, and afforded the heirs of promise a way of entering upon the enjoyment of their inheritance, as the death of every testator does, but there was this peculiarity — the very blessings which were disposed of by the will of Christ were secured and purchased by His death. A testator appoints executors in trust, who undertake, according to their ability, to see that all the provisions of his will are faithfully carried out. The Father and the Holy Ghost engage to carry out the will of Christ, and are ever actually doing so. But there is a high and important sense in which Christ is His own executor. "He ever liveth" to carry out those gracious designs which find changeless expression in His last will and testament. In the record of our Saviour's visible residence among men, we are told only " of all that Jesus began, both to do and to teach."
II. Having considered Christ as the testator, let US NOW LOOK AT THE GOSPEL AS THE "LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF CHRIST, We are presented with the will of Christ, not as so much mere hearsay — not as a vague and floating tradition — not as the "lingering echo" of His much-loved voice — not as a general and unaccredited expression of His intention: we have it in a written record, an authentic document. It is necessary that a human will should be written. And though it has been determined that an oral will, under certain circumstances (as in the case of soldiers on actual service, or mariners at sea), is valid, if properly attested, yet that even must be reduced to a written form. And so have we the will of Christ embodied in words of human speech. Nor can we be too thankful that it has been so handed down to us. It is not enough that a will and testament be written, it must be attested; it must be proved to be authentic and genuine. It must be shown to be the will of that very person whose will it purports to be. This last will and testament of Christ is proved by much concurrent testimony. The gospel of the great salvation, "which at first began to be spoken by the Lord, was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him; God also bearing them witness, both by signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to His own will." I feel that I am safe in affirming that the proof which sustains the testament of Christ is immeasurably stronger and more convincing than that which sustains any human and earthly will. There has been a practical proof of a twofold kind. For eighteen hundred years and more this will has been repeatedly disputed by the enemies of Christ. The wit and wisdom and science of the world have done all that they could do to invalidate it, but all these attempts have been in vain. For the same period the will has been proved by Christ's friends. We might summon a great cloud of witnesses, all of whom could bear the testimony of personal experience. There is, in every testament, provision implied or expressed that it should, with all convenient speed, be published and made known. This is necessary, that the legatees may become aware of that which has been bequeathed to them, and be in a position to put in their claim. Christ has ordained and provided that His disciples should publish His will and testament to all the children of men. We are "put in trust with the gospel." We are bound to publish the glad tidings in every direction. And we ought to ask ourselves how far we are discharging this obligation. This will and testament of Christ informs us of all that is provided for us. All that we enjoy, we enjoy under this will; all spiritual blessings and privileges come to us as they are bequeathed by the Lord Jesus Christ. This will of Christ is our sure and sufficient title to all that we possess as Christian believers. The provisions of a will constitute an absolute title as far as it goes. If you would invalidate my right to what is bequeathed, you must go back and question the right of him who bequeathed it. And so, does any one question us as to our right to the spiritual privileges and possessions we enjoy, we reply by pointing to the last will and testament of Christ, and any further question must be raised with Christ Himself. We must not look for our title to our own merit — to anything we are, or have done — but to the will trod testament of the Saviour.
(T. M. Morris.)CHRIST'S WILL: —
I. THE ESTATE WHICH HE HAS LEFT BY IT.
1. The pardon of all sin.
2. The merit of His own most glorious righteousness.
3. His own most Holy Spirit.
4. But the most glorious part of the property bequeathed by Jesus to His people is that "inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away," which is "reserved for them in heaven."
II. THE EVENT BY WHICH IT IS MADE OF FORCE. Because He hath "poured out His soul unto death," that His heirs enter into possession of the property which He hath left them. Indeed, the death of Christ has a bearing on the privileges He has bequeathed among His people beyond what can be said with reference to man's bequests. Man's death must happen before his will can fake effect because, whilst he lives, he enjoys his property himself. But Christ's death is, as it were, the purchase-money of the estate which He bequeaths. His death therefore was as essential to their enjoyment of these blessings as the payment of the sum demanded is to the possession of a piece of land.
III. THE PERSONS INTERESTED IN ITS PROVISIONS.
1. Convinced of sin.
2. Men of faith.
3. Men of grace.
(A. Roberts, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
WEB: For this reason he is the mediator of a new covenant, since a death has occurred for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant, that those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.