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ther his saints home to himself, that where he is, there they all may be in soul and body with him for ever.
6. His sanctifying himself for us plainly speaks the vicarious nature of his death : that it was in our room or stead. When the priest consecrated the sacrifice, it was set apart for the people. So it is said of the scapegoat, " And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness.” Lev. 16 : 21. Thus, Isa. 53:6, 7, he stood in our room, to bear our burden. And as Aaron laid the iniquities of the people upon the goat, so were ours laid on Christ. His death was in our stead, as well as for our good. So much his sanctifying himself " for us” imports.
7. His sanctifying himself imports the extraordinariness of his person ; for it speaks him to be both Priest, Sacrifice, and Altar, all in one: a thing unheard of in the world before. So that his name might well be called "Wonderful.” I sanctify myself: I sanctify, according to both natures; myself, that is, my human nature, which was the sacrifice, upon the altar of my
Divine nature; for it is the altar that sanctifies the gift. As the three offices never met in one person before, so these three things never met in one priest before. The priests, indeed, consecrated the bodies of beasts for sacrifices, but never offered up their own souls and bodies as a whole burnt-offering, as Christ did.
II. I shall show you briefly the relation that all this has to us: for unto us the Scriptures every where reser it. So in 1 Cor.5:7," Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.” Eph.5 : 25, "He loved the church, and gave himself for it.” See Tit. 2:14.
1. Let it be considered, that he was not offered up to God for his own sins; for he was most holy. No iniquity was found in him. Isa. 53:9. Indeed the priests under the law offered for themselves, as well as the people; but Christ did not so, "He needed not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's,” Heb. 7:27. And indeed had he been a sinner, what value or efficacy could have been in his sacrifice? He could not have been the sacrifice, but would have needed one. Now, if Christ were most holy, and yet put to death and cruel sufferings, either his death and sufferings must be an act of injustice and cruelty, or must respect others, whose persons and cause he sustained in that suffering capacity. He could never have suffered or died by the Father's hand, had not our sins been imputed to him. As the prophet Isaiah speaks, all our sins were made to meet upon him; and as the Apostle, "He was made sin for us, who knew no sin.” 2 Cor. 5:21.
2. It is not to be forgotten here, that the Scriptures frequently call the death of Christ a price, 1 Cor. 6 : 20, and a ransom, Matt. 20 : 28, or counter-price. To whom then does it relate, but to them that were and are in bondage and captivity? If it was to redeem any, it must be captives: but Christ himself was never in captivity; he was always in his Father's bosom; but we were in cruel bondage and thraldom, under the tyranny of sin and Satan; and it is we only that have the benefit of this ransom.
3. Either the death of Christ must relate to believers, or else he must die in vain. As for the angels, those that stood in their integrity needed no sacrifice, and those that fell are totally excluded from any benefit by it: he is not a Mediator for them. And among men that have need of it, unbelievers have no share in it, they reject it; such have no part in it. If, then, he neither died for himself, nor for angels nor unbelievers; either
his blood must be shed with respect to believers, or, which is most absurd, and never to be imagined, shed as water upon the ground, and totally cast away: so that you see by all this, it was for our sakes, as the text speaks, that he sanctified himself. And now we may say, "Lord, the condemnation was thine, that the justification might be mine; the agony thine, that the victory might be mine; the pain was thine, and the ease is mine; the stripes thine, and the healing balm issuing from them mine; the vinegar and gall were thine, that the honey and sweet might be mine; the curse was thine, that the blessing might be mine; the crown of thorns was thine, that the crown of glory might be mine; the death was thine, the life purchased by it mine; thou paidst the price that I might enjoy the inheritance."
INFERENCE 1. If Jesus Christ wholly set himself apart for believers, how reasonable is it that believers should consecrate and set themselves apart wholly for Christ! Is he all for us, and shall we be nothing for him? What he was, he was for you. Whatever he did, was done for you; and all that he suffered, was suffered for you. Oh then, "I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, present your bodies," that is, your whole selves, "a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” Rom. 12 : 1. As your good was Christ's end, so let his glory be your end. Let Christ be the "end of your conversation.” Heb. 13: 7. Oh, that all who profess faith in Christ, could subscribe cordially to that profession, "None of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself; but whether we live, we live to the Lord; and whether we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's.” Rom. 14:8. This is to be a christian indeed. What is a christian, but a holy dedicated thing to the Lord? And what greater evidence can there be, that Christ set
himself apart for you, than your setting yourself apart for him?
This is the marriage covenant, "Thou shalt be for me, and not for another; so will I be for thee.” Hos. 3:3. Ah, what a life is the life of a christian; Christ all for you, and you all for him. Blessed exchange! "Soul,” saith Christ, "all I have is thine." "Lord," saith the soul, "and all I have is thine." "Soul,” saith Christ,"my person is wonderful, but what I am, I am for thee: my life was spent in labor and travail, but it was for thee." "And, Lord,” saith the believer, "my person is vile, and not worth thy accepting; but such as it is, it is thine; my soul, with all and every faculty; my body, and every member of it; my gifts, time, and all my talents, are thine."
And see that as Christ bequeathed and made over himself to you, so ye, in like manner, bestow and make over yourself to him. He lived not, neither died for himself, but you. Oh that you, in like manner, would down with self, and exalt Christ in the room of it. "Wo, wo is me," saith one, "that the holy profession of Christ is made a showy garment by many to bring home a vain fame; and Christ is made to serve men's ends. This is to heat an oven with a king's robes. Ex. cept men martyr and slay the body of sin, in holy selfdenial, they shall never be Christ's martyrs and faithful witnesses. Oh if I could be master of that house-idol, myself, mine own, mine own wit, will, credit, and ease, how blessed were I! We have need to be redeemed from ourselves, as much as from the devil and the world. Learn to put out yourselves, and to put in Christ for yourselves. I should make a good bargain, and give old for new, if I could turn out self, and substitute Christ my Lord in place of myself; to say, 'Not I, but Christ; not my will, but Christ's; not my ease, not my lusts, not my credit, but Christ, Christ.:-O wretched idol, myself, when shall I see thee wholly expelled, and Christ wholly put in thy room?"
He set himself apart for you, believers, and no others; no, not for angels, but for you. Will ye also set yourselves aparc reculiarly for Christ? be his and no other's ? Let not Christ and the world share and divide your hearts between them: let not the world come in and say,
Half mine. You will never fulfil your obligations to Christ, nor answer this grace, till you can say, as Psa. 73:25, " whom have I in heaven but thee? and on earth there is none that I desire in comparison of thee." "None but Christ, none but Christ,” is a proper motto for a christian.
He left the highest and best enjoyments, even those in his Father's bosom, to set himself apart for death and suffering for you. Are you ready to leave the bosom of the best and sweetest enjoyments you have in this world, to serve him? If you stand not habitually ready to leave father, mother, wife, children, lands, yea, and life too, to serve him, you are not worthy of him. Matt. 10:37. He was so wholly given up to your service, that he refused not the worst and hardest part of it, even bleeding, groaning, dying work; his love to you sweetened all this to him. Can you say so too? do you "account the reproaches of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt,” as Moses did ? Heb. 11:26. He so entirely devoted himself to your work, that he could not be at rest till it was finished: he was so intent upon it, that he "forgot to eat bread.” John, 4:31, 32. So it should be with you; his service should be meat and drink to you. He was so wholly given up to your work and service, that he would not suffer himself to be in the least diverted, or taken off from it; and if Peter himself counsel him to favor himself, he shall hear, "Get thee behind
.” Oh happy were it if our hearts were but so engaged for Christ! In Galen's time it was a proverb,