Atonement and Action - RR198K20
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|This transcript is unedited. It was:|
|Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library|
|Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules|
|Posted by permission of the Chalcedon Foundation|
Let us worship God. I will come into thy house in the multitude of Thy mercy, and in Thy fear will I worship toward Thy holy temple. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight oh Lord my strength and my redeemer. Let us pray.
Our Father we come indeed into Thy presence in the multitude of Thy mercies. We Thank Thee that Thou art ever near, closer to us than we are to ourselves, more mindful of us than we are of ourselves. Oh how great is Thy mercy and grace, and we praise Thee. Teach us so to walk say by day that in gratitude and thanksgiving we may render Thee this service which is Thy due, and that in all things we may praise Thee and rejoice in Thy providential care, in Christ’s name, amen.
Our scripture is Hebrews 9:18-28. Our subject: Atonement and Action. Atonement and Action. Hebrews 9:18-28.
“18Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood.
19For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people,
20Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you.
21Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry.
22And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
23It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
24For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
25Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;
26For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
27And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
28So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” [00:03:31]
The reference in our text is to the making of the covenant...
The reference in our text is to the making of the covenant, to Exodus 24 and 34. This was a Testament or covenant in blood, half of which was sprinkled on the people, and half on the altar. This set forth the covenant vow of both parties, God and the covenant people, to be faithful unto death to the covenant and the covenant law. A covenant is a treaty of law, it is given by God’s grace to mankind as man’s freedom, his liberty.
We are totally deluded if we think of the law as a restraint upon us. That shows that we are sinners because it is the hunted man who fears the law, but the godly man who feels the law as a protection, and therefore his freedom is in the law. It protects him from murder and theft and every other crime, and it gives him the freedom to live. Now, the Exodus covenant is called the first because it is the first with the people as a whole and not restricted to a man and his family as with Noah and Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and others. In verse 19 we are told that Moses gave every precept of the law to the people before sprinkling the law and all the people.
The book refers to the covenant law book. This is material new to us, but apparently well known, that is that the covenant laws given to Moses on the mount were also sprinkled. We are given the laws other than the Ten Commandments after the ratification of the covenant. Apparently the commandments, Ten Commandments, as a summary of the whole law, represented all the law. The text indicates that every commandment had been spoken to all the people, which may have been the case before the ratification by blood.
Moses in so doing declared: “This is the blood of the Testament which God hath enjoined with you.” These words were echoed at the last supper by our Lord: “This cup is the new Testament in my blood.” And their meaning was inescapable to the disciples. They knew that it referred to the Mosaic covenant now being fulfilled. This blood God hath enjoined unto you, or purposed for you. Moses sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. This is partly described in Exodus 40, so that we know that only when the sanctuary was built was this aspect taken care of. [00:07:24]
Then in verse 22 we are told that almost all things...
Then in verse 22 we are told that almost all things are by the law purged with blood. And without shedding of blood there is no remission, that is, of sin. The almost, means that in some instances such as Exodus 19:10, purification was all that was in some cases required.
In verse 23 we are told that the two sanctuaries, the one on earth and the one in heaven, require purification before men can have access to God. The earthly sanctuary can be cleansed by means of these typical sacrifices, the blood of bulls and of goats. But the heavenly sanctuary requires much more. The atoning sacrifice of Christ. The sanctuary typifies access to God, and it is the reality, the heavenly sanctuary. Therefore only Christ’s atonement effects for us the perfect access to the triune God. The penalty for sin is death, Jesus Christ as our representative and federal head provides himself as our vicarious substitute, to die for our sins. The Levitical system is a shadow of the reality, and cannot be given priority above Jesus Christ our great High Priest. Neither temple nor church can make of itself a closed door, or the true access to God.
Verse 24 tells us that the true cleansing power belongs to the blood of Jesus Christ. The earthly sanctuary was made with hands, Christ did not enter into the holy of Holies in Jerusalem, but in heaven; to make effectual atonement for us, and to represent us in the very presence of God. We are continually and constantly before God, before His very face in the person of Jesus Christ so that we are never forgotten nor can we be. [00:10:06]
In verses 25-26 we are told that while there is a perpetual...
In verses 25-26 we are told that while there is a perpetual intercession, there is no continuing sacrifice as with the Levitical priesthood. The high priests of the Levitical line had to make an annual and typical atonement. They offered not their own blood but the blood of the sacrificial animals. Their sacrifices required repetition because they were not forever effectual. Now, at the consummation of the ages or the end of the world as the text says, Jesus Christ has set forth the goal, the true atonement. Whereby the new human race is created, and the new heavens and earth begun. Sin has been put away from us, and the power of death broken. Jesus Christ, the eternally existent one was from all eternity our appointed redeemer.
In verses 27-28, we are told that it is appointed unto man once to die, but after this, the judgement. Christ’s redeemed people see Him a second time as the sinless one who has saved His people. He will as judge award eternal salvation to His people. The fullness of salvation is brought in by His coming at the end of history. The goal of Christ’s first coming was atonement. Our sins are forgiven, and we are made His new human race. Our goal is now given to us as in Matthew 28:18-20; to disciple all nations, teaching them all things which our Lord commands, and bringing all things into captivity to Christ our king. The goal of Christ’s second coming is to bring in the fullness of His kingdom.
The theology of salvation has now been given to us, beginning in Chapter 10 Hebrews goes on to apply this salvation to our daily lives. The purpose of Jesus Christ, God the Son, is not to enhance the Levitical sacrifices, but to declare that atonement is the prelude to service. Atonement is the prelude to service. God therefore is not satisfied with the forms of sacrifice, as Hebrews 10:5 tells us, but He tells us that our lives must reflect that of the servant Son, who says in Hebrews 10:17, citing the Psalm: “Lo I come, in the volume of the book it is written of me, to do Thy will oh God.” And thus must every Christian on his redemption say. Lo I come to do Thy will, oh God. [00:13:59]
We are given this strong statement and warning because...
We are given this strong statement and warning because like the temple before and the synagogue the church gets easily wrapped up in its own life, rather than a life in Christ. It tends to put more emphasis, as did the temple and synagogue on ritual than on the reality. In chapters 11 and 12, Hebrews strongly stresses the living faith of past saints, to separate us from an institutional piety unto faith at work in the world. This is the goal of Hebrews, faith at work in the world. We are shown that faith is never abstracted from the context of life, nor its challenges and problems. I believe it is of the providence of God that the epistle of James is placed after Hebrews because both stress faith with works. Atonement leads to action, not to withdrawal and retreat. Let us pray.
Our Father we give thanks unto Thee for this Thy word. We thank Thee for Christ’s atonement, that through his blood we are now a new creation. May this always lead to faithfulness and action in our lives, that we may manifest that indeed He is our savior, and that we are the people, the flock of His pasture. Grant us this in Christ’s name, Amen.
Are there any questions about our lesson? Yes?
[Audience Member] Rush I would presume that this passage of itself would seem to refute the dispensationalist idea of the rebuilding of the temple and Jerusalem, and the reinstitution of sacrifices and all that. [00:16:23]
[Rushdoony] Yes, The dispensationalist, and of course...
[Rushdoony] Yes, The dispensationalist, and of course especially the Schofield Bible, have strongly stressed the rebuilding of the temple, and in fact there have been organizations in this country of people who are planning, or collecting funds, or trying to take steps towards rebuilding the temple. And of course there are those in Israel, the Israelis, who have a common purpose. Now, this is totally to say that Jesus Christ’s sacrifice was in vain. Some of these people will defend themselves by saying, that is, those who are in the church: “It will only be a memorial.” Where is a memorial sacrifice asked of us in the Bible? So it is a very specious kind of thing, and it does indicate that sacrifice is not efficacious for them insofar as Christ made it. It has to be somehow repeated and commemorated.
It is interesting that these people believe that the sacrifice of our Lord was for every man, not for the elect. Therefore it was not efficacious, because it does not work for the unredeemed, according to their thinking. So, they begin with a contradictory position and it leads to absurdities.
[Audience Member] One criticism by Protestants of the Catholic Mass is that it is a continual crucifixion of Christ, is that a valid criticism?
[Rushdoony] Well, it is not too different from that of these dispensationalists, in that it is a commemorative, unbloody sacrifice. However it is ostensibly efficacious for those who take it, so that in that sense it in a sense echoes the reality of the atonement, and claims to perpetuate it. But if Hebrews is right it’s not through ritual that the reality is set forth, but it is faith in action. [00:19:28]
The church has always had a proneness to ritual, and...
The church has always had a proneness to ritual, and we tend to think of the liturgical churches as the ones with a liturgy, but there is a ritual in the most plain of Protestant churches as well, and there are more than a few when pressed see an efficacy to that ritual. Hebrews draws strong line between ritual and reality. It does not despise the ritual, nor can we say that ritual is totally out of place. But when the ritual begins to replace the reality, and when the church sees that it is the end in itself, then they have replaced the real thing with its symbol.
Are there any other questions or comments?
As we can see, Hebrews is a very revolutionary book, an amazing one because it so thoroughly tears apart any kind of return to the practices of the temple. It also in the process bars the church from setting up itself as though it could provide the mediation. It points emphatically to action. Now, I indicated that I felt that the order of the books is providential because immediately after we have James. “Faith without works is dead.” And what does Peter stress? “Judgement begins at the house of God.” And what does John stress? That love means as Paul had earlier put it, the fulfilling of the law, that sin is anomia, lawlessness. So, these books tie in very closely. [00:22:20]
[Audience Member] I think the whole thrust of the book is that we should be forward looking and not backward looking.
[Rushdoony] Exactly, very well put. We are to be forward looking and not backward looking. Well, if there are no further comments or questions, let us conclude with prayer.
Our Father we thank Thee for this Thy word, grant that our faith have works; that day by day we move to bring every area of life and thought into captivity to Jesus Christ, that we submit ourselves, our calling, our families, all that we have and are to Thy government and to Thy word and Spirit.
And now go in peace, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost bless you and keep you, guide and protect you, this day and always, Amen. [00:23:32]