时间：<2020-06-07 03:41:20 作者：Hyo4D 浏览量：9777
But this ministry of the word of reconciliation will vary according to circumstances.The sense of reverence may take a wrong as well as a right direction. It led John himself to worship an angel, and to bring on himself the severe reproof which he has so faithfully recorded, and it may lead misguided men to give that which is not God the worship due to God alone. But while we think this, let none fall short in the deepest reverence. None can adore Him enough; none can be holy enough in His presence and at His feet. But it p. 17is the living Saviour at the right hand of God whom we will adore. It is the Prince on the throne, the Priest at the right hand of the Father. It is the living, reigning, triumphant Saviour, “far above all principalities and powers, and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come;” and not a small piece of lifeless bread, which is said to have been turned into God by the miraculous powers of a priest.
In that passage it is perfectly clear that our Lord Jesus Christ is said to forgive, and the Church to absolve. The change of words is most remarkable, and clearly proves the doctrine. The Church is said to have power to absolve; and the Lord Jesus Christ is entreated to forgive. The minister, therefore, absolves, and at the same time prays that the Lord may forgive: and who can doubt that, when the troubled heart truly repents and believes in Him, the prayer is answered, the forgiveness granted, and the absolution, or declaration, ratified in heaven?One thing is perfectly clear. It is not done by the offering of any fresh sacrifice. This was the chief duty of the Jewish priests, but it forms no part of that of the Christian minister. From one end of the New Testament to the p. 56other you can find no allusion to any such thing as a Christian sacrifice for sin. The one sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ was once and for ever, final, complete, and sufficient for all the sins of the whole world. The work of sacrifice is finished, as we are taught in the words, “To wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself;” and if there can be no sacrifice, it is perfectly plain that there can be no sacrificing priest. Nor can the idea be gathered from the Prayer-book any more than it can from the New Testament. There is not an allusion there, either to a sacrifice or a sacrificing priest, except where it says, in Art. xxxi., “The sacrifices of masses, in the which it was commonly said that the priest did offer Christ for the quick and the dead, to have remission of pain or guilt, were blasphemous fables and dangerous deceits.” There is no Christian sacrifice recognised by the Church of England but the thankful dedication of heart and life on the part of those who have been saved by the sacrifice of the Lord. But this sacrifice requires no priest to offer it. It may rise at any moment, and from any place, from the depths of any thankful heart. Thus, according to our Communion Service, all offer p. 57it together, and the whole congregation having together met around their Father’s table, and together tasted the joys of their Father’s love, together bring their sacrifice, and say, “Here we offer and present unto thee, O Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice unto thee.”
The one point brought out in these eighteen verses is, that in the case of the Jewish sacrifices there was unceasing repetition; and in the case of our blessed Lord, His one offering was once and for ever.
In every work carried on by man we are perfectly certain to meet with human infirmity, and human error; and the work of the ministry forms no exception to the rule. It is carried on by common men, with common flesh and blood, exposed to the common temptations of common life, so that we are sure to find in it the common failures of our common humanity. Yet, with all this, it fills a most important place in the life of all of us. It not only imparts a distinctive character to our public worship, but it reaches our home life; so that there is not a family in a parish that is not, in some way or other, more or less affected by the ministry in p. 47the Church. The influence may not always be for good, but it always exists. In some cases it may be simply negative, and actually do harm by not doing good. In some cases it may be positively mischievous, as when it is made the means for the dissemination of deadly error. While in many it is made God’s means for conferring incalculable blessings; so that through it the young are instructed, the careless awakened, inquirers directed to the Lord Jesus Christ, and the children of God confirmed in faith and aroused to holy energy for their Lord. The position of a clergyman is such that the influence of his ministry is sure to be felt throughout his parish. He has the sacred privilege of leading the worship of the religious portion of his people. They are all brought into contact with his office, and all are, some way or other, affected by the manner in which that office is fulfilled.
What, then, is the relationship between our sacrifice and His? and how are they connected? There can be no doubt on this subject if we turn to the text, where we read, “I beseech you therefore, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice.” It is, therefore, the deep sense of unmerited mercy that is to p. 43call out the willing sacrifice from a saved and thankful people. This is just how it stands in our Communion Service. We first come with the confession of sin; we then partake of the sacred feast; and seek, by God’s grace, to realise in living faith the body broken and the blood shed for our sins; after which, but not before, we “offer and present to Him ourselves, our souls and our bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and lively sacrifice unto Him.” Our sacrifice, therefore, is the result of our deep sense of unmerited mercy shown in His perfect sacrifice on the cross. It is a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. It is the willing offering of those who have found mercy, and are most deeply and humbly thankful for it.
In 1 Cor. x. 17; xi. 26, 27, 28, we are all p. 13said to partake of bread: “Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.”The reconciliation of God to the sinner has been wrought out for us by the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the great work of God incarnate, and He wrought it alone, in His great sacrifice of propitiation. Of this part of the work, therefore, the Apostle says,—“To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.”
I. What, then, is the nature of the sacrifice? or, What is it we are to offer? It is not a lamb, or a goat, or a bullock, but, according to the language of our Communion Service, the offering which we are to render is ourselves. “Here we offer and present unto thee ourselves, our souls and bodies.” Just so we read of the p. 35churches of Macedonia, “that they first gave their own selves unto the Lord.” A moment’s thought will suffice to show that such a sacrifice as this is much more costly than any other. It would be a light matter to sacrifice a bullock, but it is a very costly one to sacrifice Self—an easy thing for the wealthy prince to bring a thousand lambs to the altar, but a hard thing for either rich or poor to bring his own will to be crucified with Christ.Such, then, is the contrast, and such the reason for it. What, then, are we to think of the teaching of the Church of Rome when it says,—“In this divine sacrifice which is performed in the Mass, that same Christ is contained, and sacrificed without blood, who once, with blood, offered Himself upon the altar of the Cross?”  And again:—“If any man shall say that the sacrifice is not propitiatory, and profits the receiver only, and ought not to be offered for the living and the dead, for sins, punishments, satisfaction, and other necessities, let him be anathema?” Now, what do these passages teach?
I. The contrast.
We studied last Sunday the one perfect and final sacrifice made for the sins of the whole world, when our Lord Jesus Christ completed our propitiation on the cross. We found that that sacrifice differed from those of the ceremonial law, in the great fact that it was once and for ever; that it was so perfect, so complete, so fully sufficient to satisfy the whole claim of the law, that when it was once offered there was no place left for repetition, perpetuation, or addition. The veil of the temple was then rent from the top to the bottom, and there was no space left for any further rending. The Lord himself said, “It is finished;” so the whole was done, and done for ever.