时间：<2020-06-06 20:56:27 作者：NE建国泌尿外科3Nt 浏览量：9777
But the ministry of the word must also have its public character, and the glad tidings of reconciliation must be publicly preached to a ruined world. It was this that appeared to be the prominent idea in the Apostle’s mind when he spoke of the ministry of reconciliation; for he at once proceeded to give a specimen of it in the great appeal which immediately follows:—“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Cor. v. 20, 21.)
Now, on what does all this tremendous fabric rest? What is there in the word of God to warrant it? What is there in the Scriptures of truth to give a sanction to such a system? So far as the word of God is concerned all hangs on the one text, “This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.” p. 12To these words Romanists appeal again and again, as if they taught the doctrine, whereas the most cursory study of the different passages in which they are contained is sufficient to show that they mean nothing of the kind.
Then, again, with the place there has been a complete change in His employment. He was here to found His kingdom and to make atonement. He is there to carry out the results of that atonement and to reign. His office was represented by the high priest of old, who first in the outer court offered the sacrifice, and p. 7afterwards went in before the mercy-seat to sprinkle the blood. So Christ Jesus here on earth offered Himself as the sacrifice, and now He is gone into the holy of holies there to present the blood before the mercy-seat of God. Thus He is described by St. Peter (Acts, v. 31) as being exalted to be a “Prince and a Saviour;” a Prince, because He is exalted as King of kings and Lord of lords; a Saviour, because as a living friend, He is saving those whom, when on earth, He redeemed by His blood. Every passage, therefore, which describes Him in His present condition, represents Him as in the possession of living power. Sometimes He is said to be reigning, as (1 Cor. xv. 25), “He must reign till He hath put all enemies under His feet.” Sometimes we see Him as the Priest (Heb. iv. 14), “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God.” Sometimes He is the Advocate (1 John, ii. 1, 2), “If any man sin we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;” and sometimes He is the loving Friend, watching the struggles of His faithful disciples, and waiting to welcome His dying servant in the solemn moments of his rough and stormy martyrdom. p. 8“Behold,” said Stephen, “I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God;” and so, having seen it, he followed up the vision by the dying prayer, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” (Acts, vii. 56.)“But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.”
This, then, being the case, we see at once why there is not more self-sacrifice for God. The reason clearly is, that there is a want of the deep sense of mercy. The sacrifice of Christ is not sufficiently realised, and the result is that the self-sacrifice is withheld. I fear there is a great want of self-sacrifice even among those who hold the truth. Surely there are many whose religion never costs them any real personal self-denial. They pass through life easily and respectably, but refer matters more to their p. 44own inclination than to the call of God. They are more ready to pay others to work than to work themselves, and are prone to stand aloof from distasteful service, if, as they say, it does not suit them; or, as they might say, they do not like it. So, again, but few deny themselves in giving, and though many are liberal, there are few whose personal comforts are really diminished by their liberality. Now, why is this? and how is it that the great salvation has not more power over us? Is it not that the salvation itself is not enough felt and appreciated? It is true of us, as it was of the Corinthians, that “we know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, though He was rich, yet for our sakes became poor, that we through His poverty might be rich.” But though we know it, we do not deeply feel it. It is like paint lying on the surface, but it is not burnt into us, so as to become part and parcel of ourselves. Everything may be correct; our doctrine scriptural, and our principles sound: but neither one nor the other has gone home to the inmost soul with such power that we have learned to “count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord.” What is it, then, that we want? What p. 45must lie at the root of all? A more powerful sense of mercy, a deeper conviction of need, a clearer perception of what Christ has done for us, a more thorough appreciation of His perfect sacrifice; and when that is given, we shall be better able to understand the appeal,—“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
Let me briefly give you four reasons.
2. But the sacrifice goes farther, and involves the dedication of our powers to the Lord’s most sacred service. The text implies this when it says, “Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” There is clearly, therefore, to be service,—a service involving the active use of human powers. In some cases the body has been actually surrendered to bleed, or burn, in martyrdom. Many a noble man of God has given his body to be burnt rather than acknowledge the doctrine of the Mass. To this, however, we are not called. But still there may be sacrifice without martyrdom, dedication without death, and such a surrender of the living powers as may correspond to the description, “That they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him that died p. 38for them, and rose again.” This is the secret of the missionary spirit; this it is which has led some of the noblest young men in our Universities to abandon all home prospects, and to devote their whole lives to the great work of proclaiming Christ in distant lands. This, again, is the spirit that at this present time is stirring thousands of our own people at home, devoted men and devoted women, to spend their lives labouring for God, helping the poor, comforting the afflicted, nursing the sick, and striving in every possible way to make known the sweetness of the sacred Name which has brought life and peace to their own souls.Now, such a doctrine seems to me so utterly contrary to all that we are taught in the Scriptures respecting the perfection and consequent oneness of the one offering of our Blessed Lord upon the Cross, that I am utterly unable to comprehend how any person who takes the Scriptures as their authority can, by any process of mind, be brought to believe it. As I have already said, these chapters seem to have been written with a prophetic reference to it; and I do not hesitate to express my firm and fixed conviction, that if we mean to abide by God’s word as our guide, we must protest against the whole movement. Nor must we allow ourselves to be led away by the religious feelings of pious and earnest men; or permit the holy reverence with which, as believing communicants, p. 30we regard the holy communion of the body and blood of Christ, to induce us to think lightly of a deadly error, even though men make use of it in order, apparently, to exalt the peculiar sanctity of the sacrament. We must stand firm to the great principle of Scripture; the principle for which our martyred Reformers did not hesitate to shed their life-blood, that the bread is bread, and the wine wine, after consecration, just as they were before it; that neither the one nor the other is changed into the Lord Jesus Christ; that the Lord Jesus Christ is not sacrificed in the sacrament; and that there never can be, so long as the world lasts, any further sacrifice for sin. When the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross, to use the language of our Church, He “made there (by His one oblation of Himself once offered) a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world:” and, unless we are prepared to deny the sufficiency of the one complete atonement, we must set our face with a holy determination against all ideas of repetition, or perpetuation, of any propitiatory sacrifice for sin.
But our Lord’s words may have been addressed to the whole company; and if so, the laity, and even the women, had as great a share in them as any others. Now, no one supposes that every Christian has the power of forgiving sin; and the only way of understanding our Lord’s language is to regard His words as conveying to His Church the power of Christian discipline. It is clear that such a power is essential to the well-being of the body; for the Church would cease to be a Church if its most sacred privileges were open indiscriminately to all kinds of characters. There must be the right of excluding the wicked, of admitting converts, p. 61of excommunicating those who disgrace their profession, and of restoring such persons when the Church is satisfied respecting their repentance. But this authority, if it is not given here, is given nowhere. When our Lord said, as we read in Matt. xviii. 18, “Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven;” He gave His disciples the power of regulating Church order; and it is reasonable to suppose that in these words He gives a similar authority with reference to persons, for in the one passage it says “whatsoever,” and in the other “whomsoever.”
Nor, again, is this sacrifice the means whereby the great sacrifice is applied to the soul. This p. 41is a more common idea than the other, and one prevailing among many who are thoroughly opposed to Popery. It is in harmony with human nature to suppose that we must make our sacrifice in order to gain a share of the blessings of His. Thus people will sometimes give up, first one thing, and then another, hoping by these sacrifices to find peace through the blood of atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. They have no idea of being saved through anything but the great sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ; but they consider that they must make their sacrifice in order to secure the application of his work to themselves. This is the principle of almost all self-imposed mortifications. People hope through them to be partakers of reconciliation through the great atonement. Yet none of these things satisfy the soul. I have myself known persons who have resolutely made the effort, but utterly failed. They have become anxious about their soul, and set to work to reach the cross of Christ by personal self-denial. They have given up their different pursuits one by one; but at length they have found that nothing has done them any good. They have been just as far from the peace of reconciliation as they p. 42were the day they began. None of these sacrifices had helped them in the least. No, and none could help them. Nothing could help them but a free justification through faith, and faith alone; and that, thank God! at last they have found sufficient. And so will every other guilty sinner who throws himself in utter helplessness, to be freely forgiven, and freely saved, by the great grace of God in Christ Jesus. Let none suppose, then, that any sacrifice which we can render can ever make us partakers of the great salvation once purchased by the one sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. This salvation is given on altogether different terms. It is given as a free gift to those who can produce nothing; a gift bestowed in unfettered mercy on those who can only say, in the language of the hymn:—It is, of course, impossible to attempt a discussion of the whole subject, so that we must confine our thoughts to the lessons from this one passage,—“He hath committed to us the ministry of reconciliation;” and there will be in it quite sufficient important matter, as the words will suggest three most important points,—the authority of the ministry, the object of the ministry, and the means by which that object is accomplished.