The Epistle to the Hebrews was written by the eternal
Spirit for the whole Church of God in all ages. It
shows us on what footing we are to stand before God as
sinners; and in what way we are to draw near as
It assumes throughout, that the present
condition of the Church on earth is one continually
requiring the application of the great sacrifice for
cleansing. The theory of personal sinlessness has no
place in it. Continual evil, failure, imperfection,
are assumed as the condition of God's worshippers on
earth, during this dispensation. Personal imperfection
on the one hand, and vicarious perfection on the
other, are the solemn truths which pervade the whole.
There is no day nor hour in which evil is not coming
forth from us, and in which the great bloodshedding is
not needed to wash it away. This epistle is manifestly
meant for the whole life of the saint, and for the
whole history of the Church. God's purpose is that we
should never, while here, get beyond the need of
expiation and purging; and though vain man may think
that he would better glorify God by sinlessness, yet
the Holy Spirit in this epistle shows us that we are
called to glorify God by our perpetual need of the
precious bloodshedding upon the cross.
Matthew 5.3 - "Blessed are the poor in spirit"
*Contented are those who know their need of God*
No need of
washing, may be the watchword of some; they are beyond
all that! But they who, whether conscious or
unconscious of sin, will take this epistle as the
declaration of God's mind as to the imperfection of
the believing man on earth, will be constrained to
acknowledge that the bloodshedding must be in constant
requisition, not (as some say) to keep the believer in
a sinless state, but to cleanse him from his hourly
We are either in the state of: "sinning"- thinking of "sinning"- or repenting of "sinning"
*Paraphase of C.S. Lewis
Boldness to enter into the holiest is a
condition of the soul which can only be maintained by
continual recourse to the blood of sprinkling, alike
for conscious and for unconscious sin: the latter of
these being by far the most subtle and the most
terrible,--that for which the sin-offering required to
"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive
ourselves, and the truth is not in us." The presence
of sin in us is the only thing which makes such
epistles as that to the Hebrews at all intelligible.
When, by some instantaneous act of faith, we soar
above sin, (as some think they do) we also bid
farewell to the no longer needed blood, and to the no
longer needed Epistle to the Hebrews.
"Through the veil, which is His flesh," is our
one access to God; not merely at first when we
believed, but day by day, to the last. The blood-
dropped pavement is that one which we tread, and the
blood-stained mercy-seat is that before which we bow.
In letters of blood there is written on that veil, and
that mercy-seat, "I am the way, the truth, and the
life; no man cometh to the Father but by me": and,
again, "Through Him we have access, by one Spirit,
unto the Father."
Every thing connected with the sanctuary, outer
and inner, is, in God's sight, excellent and precious.
As of the altar, so of every other part of it, we may
say, "Whatsoever toucheth it shall be holy" (Exo
29:37). Or, as the Apostle Peter puts it, "To you who
believe this preciousness belongs" (1 Peter 2:7, i.e.,
all the preciousness of the "precious stone").
Men may ask, May we not be allowed to differ in
opinion from God about this preciousness? Why should
our estimate of the altar, or the blood, or the veil,
if not according to God's, be so fatal to us as to
shut us out of the kingdom? And why should our
acceptance of God's estimate make us heirs of
salvation? I answer, such is the mind of God, and such
is the divine statute concerning admission and
You may try the experiment of differing from Him
as to other things, but beware of differing from Him
as to this. Remember that He has said, "This is my
beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Say what you
like, He is a jealous God, and will avenge all
disparagement of His sanctuary, or dishonour of His
Son. Contend with Him, if you will try the strife,
about other things. It may not cost you your soul.
Dispute His estimate of the works of His hand in
heaven and earth; say that they are not altogether
"good," and that you could have improved them, had you
been consulted. It may not forfeit your crown. Tell
Him that His light is not so glorious as He thinks it
is, nor His stars so brilliant as He declares they
are. He may bear with this thy underrating of His
material handiwork, and treat thee as a foolish child
that speaks of what he knows not.
But touch His great work, His work of works,--
the person and propitiation of His only-begotten Son,
and He will bear with thee no more. Differ from Him in
His estimate of the great bloodshedding, and he will
withstand thee to the face. Tell Him that the blood of
Golgotha could no more expiate sin than the blood of
bulls and of goats, and He will resent it to the
uttermost. Depreciate anything, everything that He has
made; He may smile at thy presumption. But depreciate
not the cross. Underrate not the sacrifice of the
great altar. It will cost thee thy soul. It will shut
thee out of the kingdom. It will darken thy eternity.