Offerings as a Whole
UNION with Christ is that which essentially constitutes a
Christian. Nor is this union something changeful or visionary:
it is a reality wrought by the Holy Ghost. The Church is "in
Christ a Jesus;" (Rom.12:5; 2 Cor.5:17; Gal.1:22; Eph.1:3; 1
Thes.4:16; 1 John 5:20, etc.etc.) and, as a consequence, "as He
is, so are we in the world;" (I John 4:17) identified with Him in
His shame and in His joys; in His death, His burial, and His
resurrection (Rom.6:4,8; Col.2:12; 3:1).
And truly the figures which are used to describe this union are
such as we should never have dared to appropriate, had they not
been given to us in our Father's Word, and were they not sealed
in our hearts by His Spirit. What is the fellowship of brethren?
What the union of the bridegroom and bride? What is the union of
members with the head, of the branches with the vine, yea, of
Christ with God: such is the union of saints with Christ, such
the bond which binds us to Him. Not only does Christ say of His
people, - " They are not of the world, even as I am not of the
world;" (John 17:14,16) but if He is "the Head," they are "the
members," and both but "one body." "As the many members are one
body, so also is Christ" (1 Cor.12:12). The context and argument
here plainly demand that the sense should be, "so also is the
Church;" but the Church and Christ are not twain, but one:"
(Eph.5:31,32) therefore the Apostle writes, "So also is Christ:"
"For ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular." "And
no man ever yet hated his own body; but nourisheth and cherisheth
it, even as the Lord the Church: for we are members of His body,
of His flesh, and of His bones" (Eph.5"29,30).
This union has its consequences, and they are most important,
having reference to our standing and to our walk in Christ.
For the FIRST of these, our STANDING in Christ, faith apprehends
it: and thus we have peace with God. We see a man, "the man
Christ Jesus," as man in perfectness standing "for us:" by His
perfect sacrifice of Himself meeting God's claim on man, and thus
in His person reconciling man to God. The sight of this, or
rather the faith of it, gives peace. We see man reconciled to God
through the blood of Jesus. His place, therefore, is now by faith
apprehended as ours. Through Him, and in Him, by the Spirit, we
claim and realize it.
But the union of Christ and His Church not only affects our
standing; it must, if it be a reality, affect our WALK. It is
true, indeed, that our walk, as being part of our experience, and
our experience being but the measure of our apprehension, through
our lack of spiritual power, is constantly short of that for
which we are apprehended (Phil.3:12) ... "He that saith he
abideth in Him, ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked"
(1 John 2:6) ... If we are Christ's, it must necessarily take us
further, leading us to know what should be the measure of our
WALK, and teaching us to judge in it, as unbecoming our calling,
all that in us is CONTRARY to the WALK of Christ.
If it be true that we are indeed His members, by the living
Spirit bound to Him, to be His for ever; if it be true that in
Him we are dead and risen, and if through grace we can rejoice in
this; we are only the more called on in the knowledge of this to
SEEK to be CONFORMED to Him, that so the things which are true
for us in Him, may be made true in our soul's experience by the
Now, there are not a few who seem to see one part of this truth,
but who appear incapable of receiving both parts; ... As a
consequence, they lower the standard of their WALK, seeking only
just so much of the Spirit's fruits as will prove them
Christians. Others again, having read of Christ's oneness with
His Church, and as a consequence the believer's acceptance in
Him, seem often by no means equally to understand the necessary
connexion of this with their WALK as Christians.
Such profess to see their union with Christ, that He died for
them, that they died in Him, without seeing that this union, if
indeed it be real, MUST INVOLVE their DAILY dying with Him.
Indeed, the very reverse of this is practically asserted. They
seem to think Christ died in the flesh, that they might live in
it. With such the doctrine really is this, Christ died to sin
that I might live to sin. I ask, is there anything like this to
be found within the whole compass of Scripture? Such a doctrine
exhibited as it is in the lives of hundreds, though practically
denying our union with Christ, because so often stated by those
who profess to know that union, has done more than ought else to
hide it. The humble soul, shrinking from the thought of making
Christ's love to us an indulgence or apology for sin, recoils
instinctively from that which, while it speaks of union with
Christ, in WORKS utterly denies it.
To connect this with THE OFFERINGS. The Offerings set forth
Christ. We see in them how man in Christ has made atonement.
Our standing as believers immediately flows from this: for "as He
is, so are we in this world." We look at the Sin and
Trespass-offerings, and see that the sin of man has been fully
borne. We look at the Burnt and Meat-offerings, and see all God's
requirements satisfied. And this is our confidence, that as
Christ "for us " has been without the camp, as "for us" He has
been laid on the altar; so truly do we, if quickened by His
Spirit, stand in Him, even as He is "for by one offering He hath
perfected for ever them that are sanctified" (Heb.10:14).
But there is also the other aspect of this truth. We are one with
Christ: therefore we should WALK even AS He walked. In this view
His Offering, as our example, sets before us the model and
standard for our self-sacrifice. And just as Christ's sacrifice
for us had varied aspects, as satisfying God, as satisfying man,
as bearing sin; so, though of course in a lower sense, will our
self-sacrifice, just as it is conformed to His, and because we
are one with Him, have these same aspects.
It is in this way that, in a secondary sense, the Typical
offerings have an application to Christians.
Thus we also are offerers and our bodies offerings; as it is
written, "Present your bodies a living sacrifice" (Rom.12:1). Not
as though by our self-sacrifice we could make Christ's Offering
for us more acceptable: - "We are sanctified by the offering of
His body once for all;" (Heb.10:10) - "we are made accepted in
the Beloved:" (Eph.1:6) ... Of course there is in His pure
Offering that which will find no counterpart in us.
Dissimilarities neither few nor small arise from the fact that He
was sinless, we sinners. Yet the saint, as in spirit alive with
Christ, as entering into His willing mind, (1 Cor.2:16) yea, as
already one with Him, as in Him dead and risen, will seek further
"to be made conformable to His death" (Phil.3:10)...
I proceed therefore to trace, in conclusion, how far the various
aspects of the offering of the body of Christ, may be applicable
to those who, being members of His mystical body, are CALLED to
WALK even as HE walked.
1. And first THE BURNT-OFFING.
This was man satisfying God: man in Christ giving himself to God
as His portion. We have seen how for us this was fulfilled in
Christ. We inquire how far in us it may be fulfilled by the
Spirit. And in this light, both in its measure and character, the
Burnt-offering stands a witness how we should "yield ourselves"
First, as to its measure. It was "wholly burnt." No part was
withheld from God. Can we mistake this teaching? Does it not
plainly say that conformity to Christ must cost us something,
yea, that it involves entire self-surrender, even though that
surrender lead us to the cross? "I will not," said David, "offer
unto the Lord a Burnt-offering of that which doth cost me
nothing" (2 Sam.24:24). The Burnt-offering is still costly,
befitting Him who receives it at our hands. The Burnt-offering
was God's claim; that claim was love; as He said, "Thou shalt
love the Lord with all thine heart." The fulfilment of this
required a life from Christ.
It will demand our lives just in measure as we walk with Him.
"For love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave; the
coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement
flame" (Canticles 8:6).
And in these days when pious worldliness is so successfully
misusing the truth of God; - when, in the light of the advanced
wisdom of this our age, self-sacrifice is exploded folly; - when
the mere fact that a path involves loss in this world, is
considered a good reason for our at once avoiding it; - when the
doctrine of the cross, as it bears upon OUR WALK, is not only
omitted, but openly condemned; - when to give up the world is
injudiciousness, and to crucify the flesh a return to law; - in
such days we do well to look at the Burnt-offering, as setting
before us the example we are called to follow.
(And at the beginning of the 21st century, we find even more so,
that "grace" is turned into a licence (Jude 3,4) to reject the
commandments of God. In my youthful days still in my late teens,
in the year 1961, I heard broadcasted loud and clear on Radio,
and saw in the written print of various fundamental groups (in
North America) the teaching and preaching of the "no law" - "law
abolished" - "law done away with." I came to see very quickly the
main reason as to why such ideas were being promulgated. It was
because of the FOURTH commandment, which is clear and plain in
its wording, and some-how, in some way, many wanted to get around
the duty to observe the fourth commandment of the great TEN. They
themselves knew that to observe it would mean a WALK that was so
contrary to popular Christianity, they would loose their
followers, and many of their friends, and/or relatives, hence
their pay-check if full-time minster, and their popularity with
the majority. The FULLY BURNT sacrifice of their lives was not
fully burnt at all. They had never come to see the life sacrifice
they were called to WALK, and what being IN Christ really was all
about - Keith Hunt).
Alas! that it should be so, but it is not denied, by some it is
even gloried in, that Christianity now involves no loss; the
times are altered: the world is changed. The offence of the cross
has ceased, they that live godly need not suffer (see 2
Tim.3:12). A path has been found, a happy path some think it,
wherein the highest profession of Christ costs nothing; nay, in
which such a profession, so far from involving the loss of this
world, is the surest way to gain its praise.
According to this doctrine, Christ suffered for us; apostles,
prophets, martyrs, all suffered. They, in their pilgrimage, lost
this world for another; but we, in happier days, can possess both
It CANNOT be. If God's Word be true, our path after Christ must
be still a sacrifice. We, as they of old, if followers of Christ,
must with Him "present our bodies a living sacrifice" (Rom.12:1).
And indeed it we do but weigh these words, - "Present your bodies
a living sacrifice," - we cannot shut our eyes to what is
involved in them, and that we are called to give up ourselves.
Can we do this without cost, or without feeling that sacrifice is
in deed sacrifice, though it be willing sacrifice?
Impossible. Christ felt His sacrifice: and so surely shall we, if
we offer with Him. Nor shall we grudge this. Just as it was His
joy to give Himself; as He said, "I delight to do Thy will, O
God;" (Ps.11:8) so in us also, as quickened with Him, "the spirit
is willing, though the flesh is weak" (Mat.26:41).
I do not wish to press every detail of the Burnt offering in its
application to our individual walk, yet the general character of
the victim may be a guide to the character, as its entire
surrender was to the measure, of our offering.
We saw, in the application of the type to Christ, how its
varieties of bullock, lamb, and turtledove, each brought out some
distinct particular in the character of our blessed Lord. In each
of these we have an example we can comprehend, however far we may
be from attaining to it. Would to God that in active yet patient
service, in silent unmurmuring submission, in gentleness and
innocency of life, we might be conformed to Him who went before
These emblems of His offering, if they mean anything,
sufficiently shew us, - even as His example shewed it, - that
self-sacrifice is not to make us great in this world: service,
submission, meekness, will gain no crown here. We cannot be
heroes in this world, if we offer ourselves to God in the
character these emblems typify.
But if conformed to them, we shall be more like Christ. May He
give us grace gladly to acquiesce in the likeness! He, as man in
a proud and violent world, yea, and for us, was all that these
emblems typify. He bore the cross such a character involved; He
shrunk not from the reproach it brought Him. He was despised and
rejected of men, as a lamb slain, and none to pity. In a word,
and this is indeed the sum of it, He was content to be nothing,
that God might be all.
May the corresponding reality be more manifested in us, through
subjection to the power of His indwelling Spirit.
TO BE CONTINUED