Ephesians 2:18
For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. If the enmity had not been slain there could not have been access to the Divine presence. Both Jews and Gentiles enjoy this access on a footing of grace and mercy to the throne of God.

I. THE APPROACH IS TO THE FATHER. It is not to a stern Judge or a God wielding terrible power against us, but to a gracious Father, we have access in virtue of Christ's atoning work. It is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who is represented in this Epistle as having blessed us with all spiritual blessings; it is the Father who has made known to us his purpose to reconcile all things to himself in Christ; it is the Father who has made peace through the blood of the cross. We must ever seek the true origin of our salvation, not in the suffering of the cross, but in the bosom of the eternal Father.

II. OUR ACCESS TO HIM IS THROUGH CHRIST.

1. We are brought near to God through his blood (ver. 13).

2. Through his intercession.

Jesus, as Mediator; Advocate, Forerunner, takes us, as it were, by the hand, and presents us to God. This is the doctrine of the Epistle to the Hebrews, which introduces the era of the better hope, under which we draw nigh to God with true heart, in full assurance of faith, because we have such an High Priest over the house of God. But our Savior is more than High Priest; he is Forerunner; he is not merely Representative of believers, as the high priest of Judaism was representative of the theocratic people, but he is Forerunner, entered within the veil, whither his people can follow him to the very place which he has gone before to prepare for them. There is no longer a restriction upon our access to God. It is a free access, an open access, an access that may well inspire confidence, because it is in Christ: "We have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him" (Ephesians 3:12).

III. THE ACCESS IS BY ONE SPIRIT.

1. It is by his influence we are first brought home to the Father. It is by him we are baptized into one body.

2. The indwelling of the Spirit is necessary to the perpetuation and power of "our fellowship with the Father and the Son."

3. It is the Spirit especially who helps our infirmities in prayer (Romans 8:26). Thus we see how the three Persons of the Trinity are concerned in our salvation. - T.C.







For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
The doctrine of the Holy Trinity, which the apostle implies in these words, is the centre of a group of Christian doctrines which may fairly be said not to have been explicitly known antecedently to the teaching of our Saviour and His apostles. More than even other doctrines, this had hardly been guessed at by heathen speculation, hardly understood by Jewish inspiration. It stands in majestic isolation from other truths, a vision of God incomprehensible, the mystery of mysteries. We can find analogies and explanations of other doctrines in the world of nature, physical or moral, but of this we can discover none. When we pass from the work to the Agent, from the government of God to the nature of God, we are lost in mystery; speculation is well nigh hushed before the overpowering glory of the Eternal. We pass from the earth to the heaven, we enter the shrine of the Divine presence. We contemplate in spirit the mystery hidden of old, the mystery of the trinal existence of Him who is the source of all power, the first cause of all creation; Him who, in the depths of a past eternity, existed in the mysterious solitude of His Divine essence, when there was still universal silence of created life around His throne, and who will exist ever in the future of eternity, from everlasting to everlasting, God. Speculation is, on such a subject, vain; yet a reverent attention to that which has been made known to us is our fitting duty. And nothing will more completely prepare us for considering the subject in a proper temper than the reflection that this great doctrine is not revealed to us in the Scripture to gratify our curiosity, but as a practical truth deeply and nearly related to our eternal interests, not in its speculative but in its practical aspects. Our Lord and His apostles taught that the Divine nature consists of three distinct classes of attributes, or (to use our human expression) three personalities; and that each of these three distinct Persons contributes separate offices in the work of human salvation; God the Father pardoning; God the Son redeeming; God the Holy Ghost hallowing and purifying sinful men. The fact that this doctrine involves a mystery, is so far from constituting a fair ground for its rejection, that it agrees in this respect with many of the most allowed truths of human science. For the distinction is now well understood between a truth being apprehended and its being comprehended. We apprehend or recognize a fact when we know it to be established by evidence, but cannot explain it by referring it to its cause; we comprehend or understand it when we can view it in relation to its cause. A thing which is not apprehended cannot be believed, but the analogy of our knowledge shows that we believe many things which we cannot explain or resolve into a law. We know the law of attraction which regulates the motions of the visible universe; but no one can yet explain the nature of the attractive power which acts according to this law. Or, to add an example from the world of organized nature, we may see the same truth in the animal or vegetable kingdoms. We know not in what consist the common phenomena of sleep or of life; and we are equally ignorant of the final causes which have led the Creator to lavish His gifts in creating thousands of species of the lower orders of animals with few properties of enjoyment or of use; or to scatter in the unseen parts of the petals of flowers, the profusion of beautiful colours. In truth, the peculiarity of modern inductive science is, that it professes to explain nothing. It rests content with generalising phenomena into their most comprehensive statement, and there it pauses; it in no case connects them with an ultimate cause. And if truths are thus received undoubtingly in science when yet they cannot be explained, why must an antecedent determination to disbelieve mystery in religion be allowed to outweigh any amount of positive evidence which can be adduced to substantiate those mysteries? We are to believe that the Divine nature exists under three entirely distinct classes of relations, which, through poverty of language, we call existence in three persons. We must be careful, however, when we assert this, not to reduce the Divine nature to similarity with the human; not to commit, in fact, almost the very error into which men of old fell in supposing that the God whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain, is like to birds and beasts and creeping things. The Divine Being is three persons; but by this we only mean that the personal element in man is the analogy under which God has been pleased to convey to us ideas of His own nature and of the relations which He sustains to us. Just as we do not attribute to God a body or human passions, but merely mean that He acts to us as though He possessed them; so when we attribute to Him thought or personality, we must not narrow down the idea of His omniscient intuition by supposing it contracted within the limits of inference which govern man's finite intelligence, or gifted with that limited independence which appertains to human personality. The discoveries of science ought to teach us that we really can scarcely form any positive idea of God's nature. If we track the infinity of creation, we see that each increased power of our instruments reveals to us illimitable profusion in creation; the telescope revealing the troop of worlds stretching to an infinity of greatness, and the microscope a world of more and more minute life, stretching to an infinity of minuteness; or when we turn from the infinite in space to the infinite in time, if we look backward we see written in the rocks of the world the signs of creative life stretching through ages anterior to human history; or if we look forward, we can detect by delicate mathematical calculation, an amazing scheme of Providence providing for the conservation of harmony in the attractions of the heavenly bodies in cycles of incalculable time in the distant future. And when, having pondered all these things, we think of the Being that has arranged them by His providence and conserves them by His power, what notion can we really form of His nature? What notion of the wonderful originality evinced in the conception of creation, what of the profusion shown in the execution of it, what of the power in its conservation? His nature is not merely infinite, it is unlike anything human, and we must turn away with the feeling that when we compare that infinite Being with man, and confine our ideas of His illimitable vastness and His inscrutable existence by the notion of the narrow personality which is delegated to us finite creatures who live but for a day on this small spot of earth, lost amid the millions of worlds which glitter in creation, we may be sure that the Divine nature as really transcends the earthly description of it, as the universe exceeds this world; and though we may thankfully accept the description of God as having three personalities as the noblest to which we can attain as men, and as enough for our present wants in this world, yet let us never doubt that really the Divine nature is vastly nobler; and let us bow with adoring thankfulness in meditating on the idea which we are permitted to attain, imperfect though it be, of that mysterious essence. Yet though the idea of God in three Persons may be held to be thus speculatively imperfect, let us never forget that it is practically all-sufficient for us. For it teaches us the great truth that He acts to us as though He did literally sustain the characters of three wholly distinct persons, and that He demands from us the duties which would belong to us if He were so. If we are thus to believe of God, what is the lesson which this great doctrine that God exists and acts to us as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, ought to convey to us? It is mainly the wondrous thought that this glorious Being is willing to stoop to be our Friend, that He whose happiness is complete in its own infinity, is moved by His own pure eternal love to win us to Himself. Restless (to speak after the manner of men) to secure our happiness, all these blessed Persons of the glorious Godhead are engaged to secure it. It is God the Father whom we have grieved by our sins; and yet He loves us as a Father still; and to rescue us from our misery He has designed the great scheme of salvation, and sent God the Son to dwell on this earth as a man, as a man of sorrows and of poverty, to remove by His atoning death the impediments which, secret perhaps to us, stand in the way of our salvation, and to exhibit the pattern of a faultless human being, that we may follow His steps; and lastly, after God the Son had withdrawn from the earth, God the Spirit, the ever blessed Comforter, has descended to dwell constantly in the hearts of all men that invite His presence, cheering their guilty spirits, stirring them up to the love of holiness, hallowing them for a meetness for the inheritance of heaven. Behold what manner of love God has shown to us! Behold the Triune God engaged in the salvation of each one of ourselves! And can you delay to yield to Him your hearts, your wills, your affections? If you have sinned, or are tempted to sin, either in deed, or word, or thought, remember that it is not merely sin against a law, but that you are verily grieving a loving father, even the Father, God; if you are living a careless, half-religious life, remember that you are perpetrating the ingratitude of making the sufferings of the Eternal Son void as regards your souls; if you are neglecting prayer, neglecting earnest supplications to heaven for holiness, you are declining to avail yourself of that unspeakable gift of the Spirit's help which is for all that ask. God the Father loves us, God the Son has redeemed us, and the Holy Spirit will, if we will ask Him, turn us from sin, and doubt, and half-heartedness, to the love of Himself, and will fit us for that heaven where, no longer trammelled by sin and darkened by ignorance, we shall enjoy the beatific vision, and find our everlasting happiness in communing with the Divine Being face to face.

(Canon A. S. Farrar.)

The doctrine of the Trinity is the description of what we know of God. We have no right to say that it is the description of God; for what there may be in Deity of which we have no knowledge, how can we tell? We are only sure that the Divine life is infinitely greater than our humanity can comprehend; and we are sure, too, that not even a revelation in the most perfect form, through the most perfect medium conceivable, could make known to the human intelligence anything in God save that which has relationship to human life. Man may reveal himself to the brutes, and the revelation may be clear and correct so far as it can go, but it must have its limit. Only that part of man can cross the line and show itself to the perception of that lower world which finds in brutedom some point which it can touch. Our strength may reveal itself to their fear; our kindness to their power of love; some part of our wisdom, even, to their dim capacity of education; but all the while there is a vast manhood of intellect, of taste, of spirituality, of which they never know. And so I am sure that the Divine nature is three Persons, but one God; but how much more than that I cannot know. That deep law which runs through all life, by which the higher any nature is, the more manifold and simple at once, the more full of complexity and unity at once, it grows, is easily accepted as applicable to the highest of all natures — God. In the manifoldness of His being these three personal existences, Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier, easily make themselves known to the human life. I tell the story of them, and that is my doctrine of the Trinity.

1. The end of the human salvation is "access to the Father." That is the first truth of our religion — that the source of all is meant to be the end of all, that as we all came forth from a Divine Creator. so it is into divinity that we are to return and to find our final rest and satisfaction, not in ourselves, nor in one another, but in the omnipotence, the omniscience, the perfectness, and the love of God. God is divine. God is God. And no doubt we do all assent in words to such a belief; but when we think what we mean by that word God; when we remember what we mean by "Father," namely, the first source and the final satisfaction of a dependent nature; and then when we look around and see such multitudes of people living as if there were no higher source for their being than accident, and no higher satisfaction for their being than selfishness, do we not feel that there is need of a continual and most earnest preaching by word and act, from every pulpit of influence to which we can mount, of the divinity of the Father. Why, take a man who is utterly absorbed in the business of this world. How eager he is; his hands are knocking at every door; his voice is crying out for admittance into every secret place and treasure house; he is all earnestness and restlessness. He is trying to come to something, trying to get access, and to what? To the best and richest of that earthly structure from which his life seems to himself to have issued. Counting himself the child of this world, he is giving himself up with a filial devotion to his father. He is the product in his tastes and his capacities of this social and commercial machinery which seems to be the mill out of which men's characters are turned. It is the society and the business of the world that have made him what he is, and so he gives up all that he is to the society or the business that created him. Now to such a man what is the first revelation that you want to make. Is it not the divinity of the Father? This is the divinity of the end. We come from God and we go to God.

2. And now pass to the divinity of the method. "Through Jesus Christ." Man is separated from God. That fact, testified to by broken associations, by alienated affections, by conflicting wills, stands written in the whole history of our race. Analogies, I know, are very imperfect and often very deceptive, when they try to illustrate the highest things. But is it not as if a great strong nation, too strong to be jealous, strong enough to magnanimously pity and forgive, had to deal with a colony of rebels whom it really desired to win back again to itself? They are of its own stock, but they have lost their allegiance and are suffering the sorrows and privations of being cut off from their fatherland and living in rebellion. That fatherland might send its embassy to tempt them home; and, if it did, whom would it choose to send? Would it not take of itself its messenger? The embassy that is sent is of the country that sends it. That is its value, that is its influence. The fatherland would choose its choicest son, taking him from nearest to its heart, and say, Go and show them what I am, how loving and how ready to forgive, for you are I and you can show them. Such was the mission of the Messiah. The ambassador was of the very land that sent Him, "God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten not made, being of one substance with the Father." My friend says God sends Christ into the world, and therefore Christ is not God. I cannot see it so. It seems to me lust otherwise. God sends Christ just because Christ is God. The ambassador, the army is of the very most precious substance of the country that despatches it. This is the meaning of that constant title of our Master. He is the Son of God. The more truly we believe in the Incarnate Deity, the more devoutly we must believe in the essential glory of humanity, the more earnestly we must struggle to keep the purity and integrity and largeness of our own human life, and to help our brethren to keep theirs. It is because the Divine can dwell in us that we may have access to divinity. We and they must, through the Divine method, come to the Divine end where we belong, through God the Son to God the Father.

3. And now turn to the point that still remains. We have spoken of the end and of the method; but no true act is perfect unless the power by which it works is worthy of the method through which and the end to which it proceeds. The power of the act of man's salvation is the Holy Spirit. "Through Christ Jesus we all have access by one Spirit unto the Father." What do we mean by the Holy Spirit being the power of salvation? I think we are often deluded and misled by carrying out too far some of the figurative forms in which the Bible and the religious experience of men express the saving of the soul. For instance, salvation is described as the lifting of the soul out of a pit and putting it upon a pinnacle, or on a safe high platform of grace. The figure is strong and clear. Nothing can overstate the utter dependence of the soul on God for its deliverance; but if we let the figure leave in our minds an impression of the human soul as a dead, passive thing, to be lifted from one place to the other like a torpid log that makes no effort of its own either for cooperation or resistance, then the figure has misled us. The soul is a live thing. Everything that is done with it must be done in and through its own essential life. If a soul is saved, it must be by the salvation, the sanctification of its essential life; if a soul is lost, it must be by perdition of its life, by the degradation of its affections and desires and hopes. Conclusion: When this experience is reached then see what Godhood .the soul has come to recognize in the world. First, there is the Creative Deity from which it sprang, and to which it is struggling to return — the Divine end, God the Father. Then there is the Incarnate Deity, which makes that return possible by the exhibition of God's love — the Divine method, God the Son; and then there in this Infused Deity, this Divine energy in the soul itself, taking its capacities and setting them homeward to the Father — the Divine power of salvation. God the Holy Spirit. To the Father through the Son, by the Spirit. If we recur a moment to the figure which we used a while ago, God is the Divine Fatherland of the human soul; Christ is like the embassy, part and parcel of that Fatherland, which comes out to win it back from its rebellion; and the Holy Spirit is the Fatherland wakened in the rebellious colony's own soul. He is the newly living loyalty. When the colony comes back, the power that brings it is the Fatherland in it seeking its own; So when the soul comes back to God, it is God in the soul that brings it. So we believe in the Divine power, one with the Divine method and the Divine end, in God the Spirit one with the Father and the Son. This appears to me the truth of the Deity as it relates to us. I say again, "as it relates to us." What it may be in itself; how Father, Son, and Spirit meet in the perfect Godhood; what infinite truth more there may, there must, be in that Godhood, no man can dare to guess. But, to us, God is the end, the method, and the power of salvation; so He is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is in the perfect harmony of these sacred personalities that the precious unity of the Deity consists. Let us keep the faith of the Trinity. Let us seek to come to the highest, through the highest, by the highest. Let the end and the method and the power of our life be all Divine. If our hearts are set on that, Jesus will accept us for His disciples; all that He promised to do for those who trusted Him, He will do for us. He will show us the Father; He will send us the Comforter; nay, what can He do, or what can we ask that will outgo the strong and sweet assurance of the promise which we have been studying today: Through Him we shall have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

(Phillips Brooks, D. D.)

In this text we have a declaration of the Holy Trinity; there can be no doubt as to that. Here are all three Persons together: the Father, unto whom we have access or introduction; the Son, by or through whom we are introduced; the Holy Spirit, in whom, in whose communion, we enjoy that access. But what is remarkable about the text is not the mere declaration of the three Persons, which is often to be met with in St. Paul's Epistles, but the practical nature of the declaration. "We both have access," says the apostle, "unto the Father" — and for this word "both" we may substitute "all," since the great distinction of that day between Jew and Gentile has been obliterated, and only those numerous minor distinctions remain which race and clime and colour make within the fold of Christ. We all have access unto the Father — this is the great and blessed fact, the practical sum of our religion; and this is the answer of the gospel to all the seeking and questing of the natural man since the world began. He, who is both God and man — He, the daysman desired of Job — He, who is equally at home both on earth and in heaven, who was in heaven — He, who hath reconciled us unto God, and atoned us, making us one with God by vital union with Himself; — He shall introduce us; by Him we shall have that long sought for, long despaired of access to the Father of our souls — He shall take us (as He only can) by the hand, and lead us (as He only may) into that dread presence. But, again, there is a further questing and seeking of the natural man, when he longs and yet dreads to find his way home to the Father. For after that first difficulty, "Who shall lead us to the Father?" there comes another question quite as hard to answer, and it is this: "If we attain unto Him, how shall we bear ourselves in His presence? how shall we, defiled, stand in that holy place? how shall we, blear-eyed, face that uncreated light? and even if we were safe through our Saviour from any wrath of God, yet how could we escape the bitter sense of contrast, of unfitness, of intrinsic distance intensified by outward nearness?" Now, the practical answer to such questing of the natural man is the revelation of the Spirit. In Him, the Spirit of God, who is also the Spirit of Jesus Christ, who ministers the gifts and graces and perpetuates the life of Jesus within the Church — in Him, who proceedeth from the Father and receiveth of the Son; who being one with the Father and the Son yet dwelleth in us, in our inmost centre of life and thought, and influenceth the secret springs of will and action — in Him, who, dwelling in all, bindeth all into one body with the Son of God, and reproduceth the character of Jesus in the saints; — in Him, the Lord, the Giver of life, the Sanctifier, shall we have true access unto the Father. Taking these two things together, "by the Son," "in one Spirit," we see that they leave nothing unprovided. Here is afforded us both outward approach to God and inward correspondence with God; both the way to heaven and the power to traverse the way; both the joy of our Lord and the capacity of entering into that joy. I suppose that if man had never fallen, God would never have been known as the Three in One. In the ages of the past each blessed Person lay undistinguished in the brilliance of the Godhead until the eternal love moved them to come forth from that obscurity of light for man's salvation. We know the Son by finding Him in mortal guise in our midst, displaying even amidst the cares and sufferings of a human life the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father. We know the Spirit by perceiving His presence in our own souls, by recognizing His abiding influence in the Church of God.

(R. Winterbotham, M. A.)

I. We obtain this privilege as a fruit, and upon account of the reconciliation made by the blood of Christ (see Hebrews 9:8, and Hebrews 10:19-22). Peter also gives us the same account of the rise of this privilege (1 Peter 2:4, 5). That which is ascribed unto believers is, that they offer up "spiritual sacrifices, acceptable unto God by Jesus Christ." That is the worship whereof we speak.

II. The worship of God under the gospel is so excellent, beautiful, and glorious, that it may well be esteemed a privilege purchased by the blood of Christ, which no man can truly and really be made partaker of, but by virtue of an interest in the reconciliation by Him wrought. For "by Him we have an access in one Spirit unto God." This I shall evince two ways. First, Absolutely. Secondly, Comparatively, in reference unto any other way of worship whatever. And the first I shall do from the text. It is a principle deeply fixed in the minds of men, yea, ingrafted into them by nature, that the worship of God ought to be orderly, comely, beautiful, and glorious.

1. The first thing in general observable from these words is, that in the spiritual worship of the gospel, the whole blessed Trinity, and each Person therein distinctly, do in that economy and dispensation, wherein they act severally and peculiarly in the work of our redemption, afford distinct communion with themselves unto the souls of the worshippers.

2. The same is evident from the general nature of it, that it is an access unto God. "Through Him we have an access to God." There are two things herein that set forth the excellency, order, and glory of it.(1) It brings an access.(2) The manner of that access, intimated in the word here used, it is προσαγωγή, a manuduction unto God, in order, and with much glory. It is such an access as men have to the presence of a king when they are handed in by some favourite or great person. This, in this worship, is done by Christ. He takes the worshippers by the hand, and leads them into the presence of God. There are two things that hence arise, evidencing the order, decency, and glory of gospel worship.

1. That we have in it a direct and immediate access unto God.

2. That we have access unto God as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and ours in Him. Before I come to consider its glory comparatively, in reference to the outward solemn worship of the temple of old, I shall add but one consideration more, which is necessary for the preventing of some objections, as well as for the farther clearing of the truth insisted on; and that is taken from the place where spiritual worship is performed. Much of the beauty and glory of the old worship, according to carnal ordinances, consisted in the excellency of the place wherein it was performed: first, the tabernacle of Moses, then the temple of Solomon, of whose glory and beauty we shall speak afterward. Answerable hereunto, do some imagine, there must be a beauty in the place where men assemble for gospel worship, which they labour to paint and adorn accordingly. But they "err, not knowing the Scriptures."There is nothing spoken of the place and seat of gospel worship, but it is referred to one of these three heads, all which render it glorious.

1. It is performed in heaven; though they who perform it are on earth, yet they do it by faith in heaven.

2. The second thing mentioned in reference to the place of this worship is the persons of the saints: these are said to be the "temple of the Lord" (1 Corinthians 6:19).

3. The assemblies of the saints are spoken of as God's temple, and the seat and place of public, solemn, gospel worship (Ephesians 2:21, 22). Here are many living stones framed into "an holy house in the Lord, an habitation for God by His Spirit." God dwells here: as He dwelt in the temple of old, by some outward carnal pledges of His presence; so in the assemblies of His saints, which are His habitation, He dwells unspeakably in a more glorious manner by His Spirit. Here, according to His promise, is His habitation. And they are a temple, a holy temple, holy with the holiness of truth, as the apostle speaks (Ephesians 4:24). Not a typical, relative, but a real holiness, and such as the Lord's soul delighteth in. Secondly, proceed we now in the next place to set forth the glory and beauty of this worship of the gospel comparatively, with reference to the solemn outward worship, which by God's own appointment was used under the Old Testament; which, as we shall show, was far more excellent on many accounts than anything of the like kind; that is, as to outward splendour and beauty, that was ever found out by men.

1. The first of these was the temple, the seat of all the solemn outward worship of the old church; the beauty and glory of it were in part spoken to before; nor shall I insist on any particular description of it; it may suffice, that it was the principal state of the beauty and order of the Judaical worship, and which rendered all exceeding glorious, so far, that the people idolized it, and put their trust in it, that upon the account of it they should be assuredly preserved, notwithstanding their presumptuous sins. But yet, notwithstanding all this, Solomon himself, in his prayer at the dedication of that house (1 Kings 8:27), seems to intimate that there was some check upon his spirit, considering the unanswerable: ness of the house to the great majesty of God. It was a house on the earth, a house that he did build with his hands, intimating that he looked farther to a more glorious house than that. And what is it, if it be compared with the temple of gospel worship? Whatever is called the temple now of the people of God, is as much beyond that of old as spiritual things are beyond carnal, as heavenly beyond earthly, as eternal beyond temporal.

2. The second spring of the beauty of the old worship, which was indeed the hinge upon which the whole turned, was the priesthood of Aaron, with all the administrations committed to his charge. The high priest under the gospel is Christ alone. Now I shall spare the pains of comparing these together, partly because it will be by all confessed that Christ is incomparably more excellent and glorious; and partly, because the apostle on set purpose handles this comparison in sundry instances in the Epistle to the Hebrews, where anyone may run and read it, it being the main subject matter of that most excellent Epistle.

3. The order, glory, number, significancy, of their sacrifices was another part of their glory. And indeed, he that shall seriously consider that one solemn anniversary sacrifice of expiation and atonement, which is instituted (Leviticus 1, will quickly see that there was very much glory and solemnity in the outward ceremony of it. But now, saith the apostle, "we have a better sacrifice" (Hebrews 9:23). We have Him who is the high priest, and altar, and sacrifice all Himself; of worth, value, glory, beauty, upon the account of His own Person, the efficacy of His oblation, the real effect of it, more than a whole creation, if it might have been all offered up at one sacrifice. This is the standing sacrifice of the saints, offered "once for all," as effectual now any day as if offered every day; and other sacrifices, properly so called, they have none.

(J. Owen.)

I. THE UNITY OF THE DEITY. It is much easier to prove from the light of nature that there is one God than to prove the impossibility of there being any more than one. Though some plausible arguments in favour of the unity of the Deity may be drawn from the beauty, order, and harmony apparent in the creatures and objects around us, and from the nature of a self-existent, independent, and perfect Being, yet these arguments fall far short of full proof or strict demonstration. To obtain complete and satisfactory evidence that there is but one living and true God, we must have resort to the Scriptures of truth, in which the Divine unity is clearly and fully revealed. God has always been extremely jealous of His unity, which has been so often disbelieved and denied in this rebellious and idolatrous world. He has never condescended to give His glory to another, nor His praise to false and inferior deities.

II. The one living and true God exists in THREE DISTINCT PERSONS. It is generally supposed that the inspired writers of the Old Testament give some plain intimations of a plurality of persons in the Godhead. But we find this, like many other great and important doctrines, more clearly revealed by Christ and the apostles, than it had been before by the prophets. Christ said a great deal about the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. He commanded His apostles and their successors in the ministry to baptize visible believers in the name of this sacred Trinity. After His death, His apostles strenuously maintained and propagated the same doctrine.

III. This leads us to inquire WHY WE OUGHT TO ADDRESS AND WORSHIP THE ONE TRUE GOD, ACCORDING TO THIS PERSONAL DISTINCTION IN THE DIVINE NATURE.

1. The first reason which occurs is, because we ought, in our religious devotions, to acknowledge everything in God which belongs to His essential glory. Much of His essential glory consists in His existing a Trinity in Unity, which is a mode of existence infinitely superior to that of any other being in the universe.

2. We ought to address and worship God according to the personal distinction in the Divine nature, because we are deeply indebted to each Person in the Godhead for the office He sustains and the part He performs in the great work of redemption.

3. We ought to address and worship the true God according to the personal distinction in the Divine nature, because this is necessarily implied in holding communion with Him. It is owing to God's existing a Trinity in Unity that He can hold the most perfect and blessed communion with Himself. And it is owing to the same personal distinction in the Divine nature that Christians can hold communion with each and all the Persons in the Godhead.

4. We are not only allowed, but constrained, to address and worship the true God according to the personal distinction in the Divine nature, because there is no other way in which we can find access to the throne of Divine grace. This important idea is plainly contained in the text. As it was Christ who made atonement for sin, so it is only through Him that we can have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Sinful creatures cannot approach to the Father in the same way that innocent creatures can.The holy angels can approach to the Father directly, without the mediation or intercession of Christ.

1. This discourse teaches us that the doctrine of the Trinity is one of the essential and most important articles of Christianity.

2. It appears from what has been said, that we ought to regard and acknowledge the Father as the head of the sacred Trinity, and the primary object of religious homage. The Father is the first in order, and the supreme in office; and for this cause we ought to present our prayers and praises more immediately and directly to Him than to either of the other Persons in the Godhead.

3. Since God exists in three equally Divine Persons, there appears to be good ground to pay Divine homage to each Person distinctly. Though the Father is most generally to be distinctly and directly addressed, yet sometimes there may be a great propriety in addressing the Son and Spirit according to their distinct ranks and offices.

4. If we ought to acknowledge and worship the true God according to the personal distinction in the Divine nature, then we ought to obey Him according to the same distinction. We find some commands given by the Father, some by the Son, and some by the Holy Ghost. Though we are equally bound to obey each of these Divine Persons, in point of authority, yet we ought to obey each from distinct motives, arising from the distinct relations they bear to us, and the distinct things they have done for us. We ought to obey the Father as our Creator, the Son as our Redeemer, and the Holy Ghost as our Sanctifier. This distinction is as easy to be perceived and felt, as the distinction between creating goodness, redeeming mercy, and sanctifying grace.

(N. Emmons, D. D.)

1. Access to God always follows the prevailing of the Word.

2. By Christ alone have we access with boldness to God.

3. It is the Spirit which enables us to come to God in prayer.

(Paul Bayne.)

Essex Congregational Remembrancer.
I. NEARNESS TO GOD THE FATHER IS THE HIGHEST AND SWEETEST PRIVILEGE WHICH ANY OF THE HUMAN RACE CAN POSSIBLY ENJOY. The word access in the text means liberty of approach, as every one acquainted with its use in Scripture will admit. Sin alienates the mind of man from Jehovah, and raises a bar in his way to blessedness. But a method has been devised for bringing back those who are banished. We have access to the Father! What a significant and endearing name! The first thing requisite for us is access to the Eternal Father. This being granted, it must, I think, be manifest that our happiness will increase just in proportion to our nearness to God. But could the veil which hides the heavenly world be removed, how would this truth blaze upon us with noontide splendour!

II. WE CAN ENJOY THE PRIVILEGES OF ACCESS TO THE FATHER ONLY THROUGH THE MEDIATION OF CHRIST, AND BY THE AGENCY AND GRACE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

1. Here, then, are we clearly taught that the mediation of Christ is the only means of approach to and acceptance with God. This doctrine forms the grand distinguishing peculiarity of the gospel. But to enter fully into the spirit of our text, Christ must be contemplated in the character which He sustains as the great High Priest of the Church. It is not enough to own that He paid down a ransom price, and offered an atoning sacrifice of unspeakable value; but we must look to His perpetual and all-prevailing intercession. Nearly related both to the Father with whom He intercedes, and to us for whom intercession is made; the nature of each is joined in His Person. As a brother He has a lively sympathy with man, and as a prince He has power with God and prevails.

2. We enjoy this high privilege by the agency of the Holy Spirit.From the subject which has been brought before you, the following inferences may be fairly drawn.

1. If nearness to God be the highest happiness, then distance from Him, or dislike to His will, is the greatest misery.

2. If it is through Christ only that we find free approach to the Father, how thankful ought we to be for such a Mediator. In Him all excellencies, human and Divine, are united.

3. If the influence of the Holy Spirit is necessary to bring us into communion with the Father, as we have shown, then this influence should be earnestly sought and highly prized.

4. If the doctrine here taught is true, Christians of every name, nation, and tribe have substantial grounds of union. In the Church there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free; but Christ is all and in all.

(Essex Congregational Remembrancer.)

The whole power and meaning of that glorious exclamation, "Ye are no more strangers and foreigners," depend on the truth expressed in the previous verse: "We have access by one Spirit to the Father." Paul has told the Gentile Ephesians that they are no longer outcasts from the grand privileges of the Jew; he has asserted that they are actually in fellowship with the prophets and apostles, and the universal Church of the holy; but all the magnificence of the assertion rises out of the principal fact that in Christ they come by one spirit to God. In short, he finds the proof end pledge of Christian citizenship in the power and freedom of Christian prayer. Our subject, then, becomes — The citizenship of the Christian: its foundation; its nature; its present lessons.

I. ITS FOUNDATION. In access to the Father — in the power of approaching Him in full, free, trustful prayer — lies the foundation proof that we are "fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God." We have to see how that conviction rises in the praying soul — how the very fact of Christian prayer contains the proof and pledge that we are citizens of an eternal kingdom. In doing this let us glance at two principles that are here involved.

1. Christian prayer is the approach of the individual soul to God as its Father. By access to God, Paul means the approach to God in which the human spirit comes near to Him as a real Divine Presence, to worship Him in full, free, trustful love; hence it is evident that a man may often have prayed, and yet never have realized this idea of prayer.

2. That prayer of the individual soul must lead it to the united worship of God's Church. "We come by one Spirit unto the Father." Paul has been speaking of atonement and reconciliation. He knew that these were individual; but he seems to imply that until Greek and Jew were united in worship the worship was incomplete. Note one or two facts on this point which are very significant. We cannot always pray alone. God has so made us that our power of praying needs the help of our brethren. There are times when the deep emotions of our nature will not utter themselves, and we groan, being burdened. We need the help of some other soul that has the divine gift of uttering the want we cannot utter, that it may bear us upon its wings of holy sympathy towards the throne.

II. THE NATURE OF OUR CITIZENSHIP. Taking the points we have just noticed, and combining them, let us see how they point to a fellow citizenship with the Church of all ages.

1. Prayer a witness to our fellowship with the Church of all time. Realizing God's Fatherhood in the holy converse of prayer, we are nearer men. Our selfishness — our narrow, isolating peculiarities begin to fade. In our highest prayers we realize common wants. No man ever poured out his soul to God, under the sense of His presence, who did not feel that he was nearer the family of the Father. To take the most obvious illustration, is it not when the cries of confession, of unrest, of aspiration, of hope, mingle in worship that we feel it? Are we not, then, fellow pilgrims, fellow sufferers, fellow warriors? Then our differences vanish, and we know, in some measure, how we belong to the "household of God." But it stays not there. The past claims kindred with us in prayer.

2. Prayer a witness to our fellowship with the Church of eternity. This is harder to be realized, because of our earthliness — we see so dimly through the material veil. But the "household of God" implies this fellowship.

III. ITS LESSONS.

1. Live as members of the kingdom.

2. Expect the signs of citizenship. The crown of thorns; the Cross.

3. Live in hope of the final ingathering. Paul's words point to this. From this hope our efforts and aspirations derive their greatest power; and we feel that our fellow citizenship is incomplete till we pass from the "earthly tabernacle" into the eternal home of the Father.

(E. L. Hull, B. A.)

I. THE GREAT WORK OF SALVATION IN ITS PROCESS.

II. THE GREATNESS OF THE AGENCY EMPLOYED IN THE WORK OF SALVATION.

III. THE WORK OF SALVATION IN THE UNIVERSALITY OF ITS LAW. The same course must be trodden by all.

(T. J. Judkin.)

I. ACCESS TO THE FATHER. The access of the text is the access of reconciliation and peace; all enmity is removed, all differences cleared up. But it is more than this — access to the Father; He is seen. In the case of servitude, servants have access to their master; but here is access, with boldness, of those led by the Spirit of God, who are the sons of God. This is access of sons in "whom the Father is well pleased" — of those who are made "heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ" — of those who, as you see in the nineteenth verse, are "fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God." This access, my brethren, is more than touching the golden sceptre with the hand of faith; it is the mutual embrace with the arms of love; it is the access of a loving son to a loving father.

II. But HOW CAN WE OBTAIN ADMISSION into the presence of the Father? Whence this access? Here, by nature, practice, habit, disposition, we are far from our Father's land. We are "strangers and foreigners" (Ephesians 2:19). Who can tell if He is willing to receive us? And if He will receive us, who is to bring us to Him? These questions are answered by the expression in the text, "through Him," that is, through Christ. Without introduction, there is no admission; and he who introduces another is in general answerable for the manner and conduct of the person introduced. Now, if you look to the context, you will see how Christ introduces us to the presence of the Father. You are "enemies," "rebels"; the first thing, then, to be done is to make peace. He has made peace, as you will see in the fifteenth verse; that is, He settled the terms of peace; He abolished in effect the enmity which existed between us and God. He slew that enmity upon the Cross. But then we were afar off, in a distant country, strangers and foreigners: therefore He came, as you see in the seventeenth verse, "to preach peace to you that were afar off." He tells us what He has done, both in the courts of heaven and upon the heights of Calvary.

III. The remaining expression in the text brings us to THE WORK OF THE HOLY GHOST. By the Holy Spirit we have access to the Father, through Jesus Christ. Thus you see we have the doctrine of the Trinity brought before us in this short verse. It is highly important always to bear in mind that the three Persons in the Trinity are equally concerned in the work of the sinner's salvation. Now, how is it we possess the privilege of access to the Father through the Son? We must recollect that would be no privilege unless there were the capacity to enjoy the same. Bring a blind man to the most attractive sight, and he is unable to behold or to enjoy it. Let heaven ring with a concert of the most angelic music, and the deaf man will not be animated by it. And give a man without the Spirit the privilege of access to the Father, and he has no part in it; he is entirely incapable of appreciating the Divine enjoyments of His presence; he would feel himself "afar off," although he were brought very nigh. Change of place is not enough; there must be a change of heart. Now here comes in the work of the Spirit. Secondly: The Spirit teaches us how to behave ourselves in the presence of the Father; He not only conducts, but teaches and instructs. Without the Spirit's teaching, we could never learn "Abba"; we should never frame our speech aright.

(G. A. Rogers, M. A.)

It is the boldness of the little child that, unabashed by anyone's presence, climbs his father's knee, and throws his arms around his neck — or, bursting into his room, breaks in on his busiest hours, to have a bleeding finger bound, or some childish tears kissed away; that says if any threaten or hurt him, I will tell my father; and, however he might tremble to sleep alone, fears neither ghosts, nor man, nor darkness, nor devils, if he lies couched at his father's side. Such confidence, bold as it seems, springs from trust in a father's love; and pleases rather than offends us.

(T. Guthrie D. D.)

I remember seeing a man in Mobile putting little boys on the fence posts, and they jumped into his arms with perfect confidence. But there was one boy nine or ten years old who would not jump. I asked the man why it was, and he said the boy was not his. Ah, that was it. The boy was not his. He had not learned to trust him. But the other boys knew him and could trust him.

(D. L. Moody.)

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