Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded
up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from
the top to the bottom—Matthew 27:50-51.
Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by
the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which be hath consecrated
for us, through the, veil, that is to say, his flesh—Hebrews 10:19-20.
THE DEATH of our Lord Jesus Christ was fitly surrounded by miracles;
yet it is itself so much greater a wonder than all besides, that it as
far exceeds them as the sun outshines the planets which surround it. It
seems natural enough that the earth should quake, that tombs should be
opened, and that the veil of the temple should be rent, when He who only
hath immortality gives up the ghost. The more you think of the death of
the Son of God, the more will you be amazed at it. As much as a miracle
excels a common fact, so doth this wonders of wonders rise above all miracles
of power. That the divine Lord, even though veiled in mortal flesh, should
condescend to be subject to the power of death, so as to bow His head on
the cross, and submit to be laid in the tomb, is among mysteries the greatest.
The death of Jesus is the marvel of time and eternity, which, as Aaron's
rod swallowed up all the rest, takes up into itself all lesser marvels.
Yet the rending of the veil of the temple is not a miracle to be lightly
passed over. It was made of "fine twined linen, with Cherubims of cunning
work." This gives the idea of a substantial fabric, a piece of lasting
tapestry, which would have endured the severest strain. No human hands
could have torn that sacred covering; and it could not have been divided
in the midst by any accidental cause; yet, strange to say, on the instant
when the holy person of Jesus was rent by death, the great veil which concealed
the holiest of all was "rent in twain from the top to the bottom." What
did it mean? It meant much more than I can tell you now.
It is not fanciful to regard it as a solemn act of mourning on the part
of the house of the Lord. In the East men express their sorrow by rending
their garments; and the temple, when it beheld its Master die, seemed struck
with horror, and rent its veil. Shocked at the sin of man, indignant at
the murder of its Lord, in its sympathy with Him who is the true temple
of God, the outward symbol tore its holy vestment from the top to the bottom.
Did not the miracle also mean that from that hour the whole system of types,
and shadows, and ceremonies had come to an end? The ordinances of an earthly
priesthood were rent with that veil. In token of the death of the ceremonial
law, the soul of it quitted its sacred shrine, and left its bodily tabernacle
as a dead thing. The legal dispensation is over. The rent of the veil seemed
to say—"Henceforth God dwells no longer in the thick darkness of the Holy
of Holies, and shines forth no longer from between the cherubim. The special
enclosure is broken up, and there is no inner sanctuary for the earthly
high priest to enter: typical atonements and sacrifices are at an end."
According to the explanation given in our second text, the rending of
the veil chiefly meant that the way into the holiest, which was not before
made manifest, was now laid open to all believers. Once in the year the
high priest solemnly lifted a corner of this veil with fear and trembling,
and with blood and holy incense he passed into the immediate presence of
Jehovah; but the tearing of the veil laid open the secret place. The rent
front top to bottom gives ample space for all to enter who are called of
God's grace, to approach the throne, and to commune with the Eternal One.
Upon that subject I shall try to speak this morning, praying in my inmost
soul that you and 1, with all other believers, may have boldness actually
to enter into that which is within the veil at this time of our assembling
for worship. Oh, that the Spirit of God would lead us into the nearest
fellowship which mortal men can have with the Infinite Jehovah!
First, this morning, I shall ask you to consider what has been done.
The veil has been rent. Secondly, we will remember what we therefore have:
we have "boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood Jesus." Then,
thirdly, we will consider how we exercise this grace: we "enter by the
blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for
us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh."
I. First, think of WHAT HAS BEEN DONE. In actual historical fact the
glorious veil of the temple has been rent in twain from the top to the
bottom: as a matter of spiritual fact, which is far more important to us,
the separating legal ordinance is abolished. There was under the law this
ordinance—that no man should ever go into the holiest of all, with the
one exception of the high priest, and he but once in the year, and not
without blood. If any man had attempted to enter there he must have died,
as guilty of great presumption and of profane intrusion into the secret
place of the Most High. Who could stand in the presence of Him who is a
consuming fire? This ordinance of distance runs all through the law; for
even the holy place, which was the vestibule of the Holy of Holies, was
for the priests alone. The place of the people was one of distance. At
the very first institution of the law when God descended upon Sinai, the
ordinance was, "Thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about," There
was no invitation to draw near. Not chat they desired to do so, for the
mountain was together on a smoke, and "even Moses said, I exceedingly fear
and quake." "The Lord said unto Moses, Go down, charge the people, lest
they break through unto the Lord to gaze, and many of them perish." If
so much as a beast touch the mountain it must be stoned, or thrust through
with a dart. The spirit of the old law was reverent distance. Moses and
here and there a man chosen by God, might come near to Jehovah; but as
for the bulk of people, the command was, "Draw not nigh hither." When the
Lord revealed His glory at the giving of the law, we read—"When the people
saw it, they removed, and stood afar off." All this is ended. The precept
to keep back is abrogated, and the invitation is, "Come unto me, all ye
that labor and are heavy laden." "Let its draw near" is now the filial
spirit of the gospel. How thankful I am for this! What a joy it is to my
soul! Some of God's people have not yet realized this gracious fact, for
still they worship afar off. Very much of prayer is to be highly commended
for its reverence; but it has in it a lack of childlike confidence. I can
admire the solemn and stately language of worship which recognizes the
greatness of God; but it will not warm my heart nor express my soul until
it has also blended therewith the joyful nearness of that perfect love
which casteth out fear, and ventures to speak with our Father in heaven
as a child speaketh with its father on earth. My brother, no veil remains.
Why dost thou stand afar off, and tremble like a slave? Draw near with
full assurance of faith. The veil is rent: access is free. Come boldly
to the throne of grace. Jesus has made thee nigh, as nigh to God as even
He Himself is. Though we speak of the holiest of all, even the secret place
of the Most High, yet it is of this place of awe, even of this sanctuary
of Jehovah, that the veil is rent; therefore, let nothing hinder thine
entrance. Assuredly no law forbids thee; but infinite love invites thee
to draw nigh to God.
This rending of the veil signified, also, the removal of the separating
sin. Sin is, after all, the great divider between God and man. That veil
of blue and purple and fine twined linen could not really separate man
from God: for He is, as to His omnipresence, not far from any one of us.
Sin is a far more effectual wall of separation: it opens in abyss between
the sinner and his Judge. Sin shuts out prayer, and praise, and every form
of religious exercise. Sin makes God walk contrary to us, because we walk
contrary to Him. Sin, by separating the soul from God, causes spiritual
death, which is both the effect and the penalty of transgression. How can
two walk together except they be agreed? How can a holy God have fellowship
with unholy creatures? Shall justice dwell with injustice? Shall perfect
purity abide with the abominations of evil? No, it cannot be. Our Lord
Jesus Christ put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. He taketh away the
sin of the world, and so the veil is rent. By the shedding of His most
precious blood we are cleansed from all sin, and that most gracious promise
of the new covenant is fulfilled—"Their sins and their iniquities will
I remember no more." When sin is gone, the barrier is broken down, the
unfathomable gulf is filled. Pardon, which removes sin, and justification,
which brings righteousness, make up a deed of clearance so real and so
complete that nothing now divides the sinner from his reconciled God. 'The
Judge is now the Father: He, who once must necessarily have condemned,
is found justly absolving and accepting. In this double sense the veil
is rent: the separating ordinance is abrogated, and the separating sin
Next, be it remembered that the separating sinfulness is also taken
away through our Lord Jesus. It is not only what we have done, but what
we are that keeps us apart from God. We have sin engrained in us: even
those who have grace dwelling them have to complain, "When I would do good,
evil is present with me." How can we commune with God with our eyes blinded,
our ears stopped, our hearts hardened, and our senses deadened by sin?
Our whole nature is tainted, poisoned, perverted by evil; how can we know
the Lord? Beloved, through the death of our Lord Jesus the covenant of
grace is established with us, and its gracious provisions are on this wise:
"This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith
the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts."
When this is the case, when the will of God is inscribed on the heart,
and the nature is entirely changed, then is the dividing veil which hides
us from God taken away: "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall
see God." Blessed are all they that love righteousness and follow after
it, for they are in a way in which the Righteous One can walk in fellowship
with them. Spirits that are like God are not divided from God. Difference
of nature hangs up a veil; but the new birth, and the sanctification which
follows upon it, through the precious death of Jesus, remove that veil.
He that hates sin, strives after holiness, and labors to perfect it in
the fear of God, is in fellowship with God. It is a blessed thing when
we love what God loves, when we seek what God seeks, when we are in sympathy
with divine aims, and are obedient to divine commands: for with such persons
will the Lord dwell. When grace makes us partakers of the divine nature;
then are we at one with the Lord, and the veil is taken away.
"Yes," saith one, "I see now how the veil is taken away in three different
fashions; but still God is God, and we are but poor puny men: between God
and man there must of necessity be a separating veil, caused by the great
disparity between the Creator and the creature. How can the finite and
the infinite commune? God is all in all, and more than all; we are nothing,
and less than nothing; how can we meet?" When the Lord does come near to
I His favored ones, they own how incapable they are of enduring the excessive
glory. Even the beloved John said, "When I saw him, I fell at his feet
as dead." When we have been especially conscious of the presence and working
of our Lord, we have felt our flesh creep, and our blood chill; and then
we have understood what Jacob meant when he said, "How dreadful is this
place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of
heaven." All this is true; for the Lord saith, "Thou canst not see my face
and live." Although this is a much thinner veil than those I have already
mentioned, yet it is a veil; and it is hard for man to be at home with
God. But the Lord Jesus bridges the separating distance. Behold the blessed
Son of God has come into the world, and taken upon Himself our nature!
"Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of the flesh and blood, he
also himself likewise took part of the same." Though He is God as God is
God, yet is He as surely man as man is man. Mark well how in the, person
of the Lord Jesus we see God and man in the closest conceivable alliance;
for they are united in one person forever. The gulf is completely filled
by the fact that Jesus has gone through with us even to the bitter end,
to death, even to the death of the cross. He has followed out the career
of manhood even to the tomb; and thus we see that the veil, which hung
between the nature of God and the nature of man, is rent in the person
of our Lord Jesus Christ. We enter into the holiest of all through His
flesh, which links manhood to Godhead.
Now, you see what it is to have the veil taken away. Solemnly note that
this avails only for believers: those who refuse Jesus refuse the only
way of access to God. God is not approachable, except through the rending
of the veil by the death of Jesus. There was one typical way to the mercy-seat
of old, and that was through the turning aside of the veil; there was no
other. And there is now no other way for any of you to come into fellowship
with God, except through the rent veil, even the death of Jesus Christ,
whom God has set forth to be the propitiation for sin. Come this way, and
you may come freely. Refuse to come this way, and there hangs between you
and God an impassable veil. Without Christ you are without God, and without
hope. Jesus Himself assures you, "If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall
die in your sins." God grant that this may not happen to any of you!
For believers the veil is not rolled up, but rent. The veil was not
unhooked, and carefully folded up, and put away, so that it might be put
in its place at some future time. Oh, no! But the divine hand took it and
rent it front top to bottom. It can never be hung up again; that is impossible.
Between those who are in Christ Jesus and the great God, there will never
be another separation. "Who shall separate us from the love of God?" Only
one veil was made, and as that is rent, the one and only separator is destroyed.
I delight to think of this. The devil himself can never divide me from
God now. He may and will attempt to shut me out from God; but the worst
he could do would be to hang up a rent veil. What would that avail but
to exhibit his impotence? God has rent the veil, and the devil cannot mend
it. There is access between a believer and his God; and there must be such
free access forever, since the veil is not rolled up, and put on one side
to be hung up again in days to come; but it is rent, and rendered useless.
The rent is not in one corner, but in the midst, as Luke tells us. It
is not a slight rent through which we may see a little; but it is rent
from the top to the bottom. There is an entrance made for the greatest
sinners. If there had only been a small hole cut through it, the lesser
offenders might have crept through; but what an act of abounding mercy
is this, that the veil is rent in the midst, and rent from top to bottom,
so that the chief of sinners may find ample passage! This also shows that
for believers there is no hindrance to the fullest and freest access to
God. Oh, for much boldness, this morning, to come where God has not only
set open the door, but has lifted the door from its hinges; yea, removed
it, post, and bar, and all!
I want you to notice that this veil, when it was rent, was rent by God,
not by man. It was not the act of an irreverent mob; it was not the midnight
outrage of a set of profane priests: it was the act of God alone. Nobody
stood within the veil; and on the outer side of it stood the priests only
fulfilling their ordinary vocation of offering sacrifice. It must have
astounded them when they saw that holy place laid bare in a moment. How
they fled, as they saw that massive veil divided without human hand in
a second of time! Who rent it? Who but God Himself? If another had done
it, there might have been a mistake about it, and the mistake might need
to be remedied by replacing the curtain; but if the Lord has done it, it
is done rightly, it is done finally, it is done irreversibly. It is God
Himself who has laid sin on Christ, and in Christ has put that sin away.
God Himself has opened the gate of heaven to believers, and cast up a highway
along which the souls of men may travel to Himself. God Himself has set
the ladder between earth and heaven. Come to Him now, ye humble ones. Behold,
He sets before you an open door!
II. And now I ask you to follow me, dear friends, in the second place,
to an experimental realization of my subject. We now notice WHAT WE HAVE:
"Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest," Observe
the threefold "having" in the paragraph now before us, and be not content
without the whole three. We have "boldness to enter in." There are degrees
in boldness; but this is one of the highest. When the veil was rent it
required some boldness to look within. I wonder whether the priests at
the altar did have the courage to gaze upon the mercy-seat. I suspect that
they were so struck with amazement that they fled from the altar, fearing
sudden death. It requires a measure of boldness steadily to look upon the
mystery of God: "Which things the angels desire to look into." It is well
not to look with a merely curious eye into the deep things of God. I question
whether any man is able to pry into the mystery of the Trinity without
great risk. Some, thinking to look there with the eyes of their natural
intellect, have been blinded by the light of that sun, and have henceforth
wandered in darkness. It needs boldness to look into the splendors of redeeming
and electing love. If any did look into the holiest when the veil was rent,
they were among the boldest of men; for others must have feared lest the
fate of the men of Bethshemesh would be theirs. Beloved, the Holy Spirit
invites you to took into the holy place, and view it all with reverent
eye for it is full of teaching to you. Understand the mystery of the mercy-seat,
and of the ark of the covenant overlaid with gold, and of the pot of manna,
and of the tables of stone, and of Aaron's rod that budded. Look, look
boldly through Jesus Christ: but do not content yourself with looking!
Hear what the text says: "Having boldness to enter in." Blessed be God
if He has taught us this sweet way of no longer looking from afar, but
of entering into the inmost shrine with confidence! "Boldness to enter
in" is what we ought to have.
Let us follow the example of the high priest, and, having entered, let
us perform the functions of one who enters in. "Boldness to enter in" suggests
that we act as men who are in their proper places. To stand within the
veil filled the servant of God with an overpowering sense of the divine
presence. If ever in his life he was near to God, he was certainly near
to God then, when quite alone, shut in, and excluded from all the world,
he had no one with him, except the glorious Jehovah. O my beloved, may
we this morning enter into the holiest in this sense! Shut out front the
world, both wicked and Christian, let us know that the Lord is here, most
near and manifest. Oh that we may now cry out with Hagar, "Have I also
here looked after him that seeth me?" Oh, how sweet to realize by personal
enjoyment the presence of Jehovah! How cheering to feel that the Lord of
hosts is with us! We know our God to be a very present help in trouble.
It is one of the greatest joys out of heaven to be able to sing—Jehovah
Shammah—the Lord is here. At first we tremble in the divine presence; but
as we feel more of the spirit of adoption we draw near with sacred delight,
and feel so fully at home with our God that we sing with Moses, "Lord,
thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations." Do not live as if
God were as far off from you as the east is from the west. Live not far
below on the earth; but live on high, as if you were in heaven. In heaven
You Will be with God; but on earth He will be with you: is there much difference?
He hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places
in Christ Jesus. Jesus hath made us nigh by His precious blood. Try day
by day to live in as great nearness to God, as the high priest felt when
he stood for awhile within the secret of Jehovah's tabernacle.
The high priest had a sense of communion with God; he was not only near,
but he spoke with God. I cannot tell what he said, but I should think that
on the special day the high priest unburdened himself of the load of Israel's
sin and sorrow, and made known his requests unto the Lord. Aaron, standing
there alone, must have been filled with memories of his own faultiness,
and of the idolatries and backslidings of the people. God shone upon him,
and he bowed before God. He may have heard things which it was not lawful
for him to utter, and other things which he could not have uttered if they
had been lawful. Beloved, do you know what it is to commune with God? Words
are poor vehicles for this fellowship; but what a blessed thing it is!
Proofs of the existence of God are altogether her superfluous to those
of us who are in the habit of conversing with the Eternal One. If anybody
were to write an essay to prove the existence of my wife, or my son, I
certainly should not read it, except for the amusement of the thing; and
proofs of the existence of God to the man who communes with God are much
the same. Many of you walk with God: what bliss! Fellowship with the Most
High is elevating, purifying, strengthening. Enter into it boldly. Enter
into His revealed thoughts, even as He graciously enters into yours: rise
to His plans, as He condescends to yours; ask to be uplifted to Him, even
as He deigns to dwell with you.
This is what the rent of the veil brings us when we have boldness to
enter in; but, mark you, the rent veil brings us nothing until we have
boldness to enter in. Why stand we without? Jesus brings us near, and truly
our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. Let us
not be slow to take up our freedom, and come boldly to the throne. The
high priest entered within the veil of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and
fine twined linen, with blood, and with incense, that he might pray for
Israel; and there he stood before the Most High, pleading with Him to bless
the people. O beloved, prayer is ai divine institution, and it belongs
to us. But there are many sorts of prayers. There is the prayer of one
who seems shut out from God's holy temple; there is the prayer of another
who stands in the court of the Gentiles afar off, looking towards the temple;
there is the prayer of one who gets where Israel stands and pleads with
the God of the chosen; there is the prayer in the court of the priests,
when the sanctified man of God makes intercession; but the best prayer
of all is offered in the holiest of all. There is no fear about prayer
being heard when it is offered in the holiest. The very position of the
man proves that he is accepted with God. He is standing on the surest ground
of acceptance, and he is so near to God that his every desire is heard.
There the man is seen through and through; for he is very near to God.
His thoughts are read, his tears are seen, his sighs are heard; for he
has boldness to enter in. He may ask what he will, and it shall be done
unto him. As the altar sanctifieth the gift, so the most holy place, entered
by the blood of Jesus, secures a certain answer to the prayer that is offered
therein. God give us such power in prayer! It is a wonderful thing that
the Lord should hearken to the voice of a man; yet are there such men.
Luther came out of his closet, and cried, Vici—"I have conquered." He had
not yet met his adversaries; but as he had prevailed with God for men,
he felt that he should prevail with men for God.
But the high priest, if you recollect, after he had communed and prayed
with God, came out and blessed the people. He put on his garments of glory
and beauty, which he had laid aside when be went into the holy place, for
there he stood in simple white, and nothing else; and now he came out wearing
the breast-plate and all his precious ornaments, and he blessed the people.
That is what you will do if you have the boldness to enter into the holiest
by the blood of Jesus: you will bless the people that surround you. The
Lord has blessed you, and He will make you a blessing. Your ordinary conduct
and conversation will be a blessed example; the words you speak for Jesus
will be like a dew from the Lord: the sick will be comforted by your words;
the despondent will he encouraged by your faith; the lukewarm will be recovered
by your love. You will be, practically, saying to each one who knows you,
"The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: the Lord make his face shine upon
thee, and give thee peace." You will become a channel of blessing: "Out
of your belly shall flow rivers of living water." May we each one have
boldness to enter in, that we may come forth laden with benedictions!
If you will kindly look at the text, you will notice, what I shall
merely hint at, that this boldness is well grounded. I always like to see
the apostle using a "therefore": "Having therefore boldness." Paul is often
a true poet, but he is always a correct logician; he is as logical as if
he were dealing with mathematics rather than theology. Here he writes one
of his therefores.
Why is it that we have boldness? Is it not because of our relationship
to Christ which makes us "brethren?" "Having therefore, brethren, boldness."
The feeblest believer has as much right to enter into the holy places as
Paul had; because he is one of the brotherhood. I remember a rhyme by John
Ryland, in which he says of heaven—
"They shall all be there, the great and the small;
Poor I shall shake hands with the blessed St. Paul."
I have no doubt we shall have such a position, and such fellowship.
Meanwhile, we do shake hands with I Him this morning as he calls us brethren.
We are brethren to one another, because we are brethren to Jesus. Where
we see the apostle go, we will go; yea, rather, where we see the Great
Apostle and High Priest of our profession enter, we will follow. "Having
Beloved, we have now no fear of death in the most holy place. The high
priest, whoever he might be, must always have dreaded that solemn day of
atonement, when he had to pass into the silent and secluded place. I cannot
tell whether it is true, but I have read that there is at tradition among
the Jews, that a rope was fastened to the high priest's foot that they
might draw out his corpse in case he died before the Lord. I should not
wonder if their superstition devised such a thing, for it is an awful position
for a man to enter into the secret dwelling of Jehovah. But we cannot die
in the holy place now, since Jesus has died for us. The death of Jesus
is the guarantee of the eternal life of all for whom He died. We have boldness
to enter, for we shall not perish.
Our boldness arises from the perfection of His sacrifice. Read the fourteenth
verse: "He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified." We rely upon
the sacrifice of Christ, believing that He was such a perfect Substitute
for us, that it is not possible for us to die after our Substitute has
died; and we must be accepted, because He is accepted. We believe that
the precious blood has so effectually and eternally put away sin from us,
that we are no longer obnoxious to the wrath of God. We may safely stand
where sin must be smitten, if there be any sin upon us; for we are so washed,
so cleaned, and so fully justified that we are accepted in the Beloved.
Sin is so completely lifted from us by the vicarious sacrifice of Christ,
that we have boldness to enter where Jehovah Himself dwells.
Moreover, we have his for certain, that as a priest had a right to dwell
near to God, we have that privilege; for Jesus hath made us kings and priests
unto God, and all the privileges of the office come to us with the office
itself We have a mission within the holy place; we are called to enter
there upon holy business, and so we have no fear of being intruders. A
burglar may enter a house, but he does not enter with boldness; he is always
afraid lest he should be surprised. You might enter a stranger's house,
without an invitation, but You Would feel no boldness there. We do not
enter the holiest as housebreakers, nor as strangers; we come in obedience
to a call, to fulfill our office. When once we accept the sacrifice of
Christ, we are at home with God. Where should a child be bold but in his
father's house? Where should a priest stand but in the temple of his God,
for whose service he is set apart? Where should a blood-washed sinner live
but with his God, to whom he is reconciled?
It is a heavenly joy to feel this boldness! We have now such a love
for God, and such a delight in Him, that it never crosses our minds that
we are trespassers when we draw near to Him. We never say, "God, my dread,"
but "God, my exceeding joy." His name is the music to which our lives are
set: though God be a consuming fire we love Him as such, for He will only
consume our dross, and that we desire to lose. Under no aspect is God now
distasteful to its. We delight in Him, be He what He may. So you see, beloved,
we have good grounds for boldness when we enter into the holiest by the
blood of Jesus.
I cannot leave this point until I have reminded you that we may have
this boldness of entering in at all times, because the veil is always rent,
and is never restored to its old place. "The Lord said until Moses, Speak
unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy Place
within the veil before the mercy-seat, which is upon the ark; that he die
not"; but the Lord saith not so to us. Dear child of God, you may at all
times have "boldness to enter in." The veil is rent both day and night.
Yea, let me say it, even when thine eye of faith is dim, still enter in;
when evidences are dark, still have "boldness to enter in"; and even if
thou hast unhappily sinned, remember that access is open to thy penitent
prayer. Come still through the rent veil, sinner as thou art. What though
thou hast backslidden, what though thou art grieved with the sense of thy
wanderings, come even now! "Today, if ye will hear his voice, harden not
your heart," but enter at once; for the veil is not there to exclude thee,
though doubt and unbelief may make you think it is so. The veil cannot
be there, for it was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.
III. My time has fled, and I shall not have space to speak as I meant
to do upon the last point—HOW WE EXERCISE THIS GRACE. Let me give you the
notes of what I would have said.
Let us at this hour enter into the holiest. Behold the way! We come
by the way of atonement: "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter
into the holiest by the blood of Jesus." I have been made to feel really
ill through the fierce and blasphemous words that have been used of late
by gentlemen of the modern school concerning the precious blood. I will
not defile my lips by a repetition of the thrice-accursed things which
they have dared to utter while trampling on the blood of Jesus. Everywhere
throughout this divine Book you meet with the precious blood. How can he
call himself a Christian who speaks in flippant and profane language of
the blood of atonement? My brothers, there is no way into the holiest,
even though the veil be rent, without blood. You might suppose that the
high priest of old brought the blood because the veil was there; but you
have to bring it with you though the veil is gone. The way is open, and
you have boldness to enter; but not without the blood of Jesus. It would
be an unholy boldness which would think of drawing near to God without
the blood of the great Sacrifice. We have always to plead the atonement.
As without shedding of blood there is no remission of sin, so without that
blood there is no access to God.
Next, the way by which we come is an unfailing way. Please notice that
word—"by a new way"; this means by a way which is always fresh. The original
Greek suggests the idea of "newly slain." Jesus died long ago, but His
death is the same now as at the moment of its occurrence. We come to God,
dear friends, by a way which is always effectual with God. It never, never
loses one whit of its power freshness.
Dear dying lamb, thy precious blood
Shall never lose its power.
The way is not worn away by long traffic: it is always new. If Jesus
Christ had died yesterday, would you not feel that you could plead His
merit today? Very well, you can plead that merit after these 19' centuries
with as much confidence as at the first hour. The way to God is always
newly laid. In effect, the wounds of Jesus incessantly bleed our expiation.
The cross is as glorious as though He were still upon it. So far as the
freshness, vigor, and force of the atoning death is concerned, we come
by a new way. Let it be always new to our hearts. Let the doctrine of atonement
never grow stale, but let it have dew upon your souls.
Then the apostle adds, it is a "living way." A wonderful word! The way
by which the high priest went into the holy place was of course a material
way, and so a dead way. We come by a spiritual way, suitable to our spirits.
The way could not help the high priest, but our way helps us abundantly.
Jesus says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." When we come to God
by this way, the way itself leads, guides, bears, brings us near. This
way gives its life with which to come.
It is a dedicated way. "which he hath consecrated for us." When a new
road is opened, it is set apart and dedicated for the public use. Sometimes
a public building is opened by a king or a prince, and so is dedicated
to its purpose. Beloved, the way to God through Jesus Christ is dedicated
by Christ, and ordained by Christ for the use of poor believing sinners,
such as we are. He has consecrated the way towards God, and dedicated it
for us, that we may freely use it. Surely, if there is a road set apart
for me, I may use it without fear; and the way to God and heaven through
Jesus Christ is dedicated by the Saviour for sinners; it is the King's
highway for wayfaring men, who are bound for the City of God; therefore,
let us use it. "Consecrated for us!" Blessed word!
Lastly, it is a Christly way; for when we come to God, we still come
through His flesh. There is no coming to Jehovah, except by the incarnate
God. God in human flesh is our way to God; the substitutionary death of
the Word made flesh is also the way to the Father. There is no coming to
God, except by representation. Jesus represents us before God, and we come
to God through Him who is our covenant head, our representative and forerunner
before the throne of the Most High. Let us never try to pray without Christ;
never try to sing without Christ; never try to preach without Christ. Let
us perform no holy function, nor attempt to have fellowship with God in
any shape or way, except through that rent which He has made in the veil
by His flesh, sanctified for us, and offered upon the cross on our behalf.
Beloved, I have done when I have just remarked upon the next two verses,
which are necessary to complete the sense, but which I was obliged to omit
this morning, since there would be no time to handle them. We are called
to take holy freedoms with God. "Let us draw near," at once, "with a true
heart in full assurance of faith." Let us do so boldly, for we have a great
high priest. The twenty-first verse reminds us of this. Jesus is the great
Priest, and we are the sub-priests under Him, and since He bids us come
near to God, and Himself leads the way, let follow Him into the inner sanctuary.
Because He lives, we shall live also. We shall nor die in the holy place,
unless He dies. God will not smite us unless He smites Him. So, "having
a high priest over the house of God, let its draw near with a true heart
in full assurance of faith."
And then the apostle tells its that we may not only come with boldness,
because our high priest leads the way, but because we ourselves are prepared
for entrance. Two things the high priest had to do before he might enter:
one was, to be sprinkled with blood, and this we have; for "our hearts
are sprinkled from an evil conscience."
The other requisite for the priests was to have their "bodies washed
with pure water." This we have received in symbol in our baptism, and in
reality in the spiritual cleansing of regeneration. To us has been fulfilled
"Let the water and the blood,
From thy riven side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
Cleanse me from its guilt and power.
We have known the washing of water by the Word, and we have been sanctified
by the Spirit of His grace; therefore let us enter into the holiest. Why
should we stay away? Hearts sprinkled with blood, bodies washed with pure
water—these are the ordained preparations for acceptable entrance. Come
near, beloved! May the Holy Spirit be the spirit of access to you now.
Come to your God, and then abide with Him! He is your Father, your all
in all. Sit down and rejoice in Him; take your fill of love; and let not
your communion be broken between here and heaven. Why should it be? Why
not begin today that sweet enjoyment of perfect reconciliation and delight
in God which shall go on increasing in intensity until you behold the Lord
in open vision, and go no more out? Heaven will bring a great change in
condition, but not in our standing, if even now we stand within the veil.
It will be only such a change as there is between the perfect day and the
daybreak; for we have the same sun, and the same light from the sun, and
the same privilege of walking in the light. "Until the day break, and the
shadows flee away, turn, my beloved, and be thou like a roe or a young
hart upon the mountains of Division." Amen, and Amen.