The Peace-Offering.

Leviticus 3

Taken from The Bible Treasury Number 312 - May 1882


This portion is different in character from what we had before, and closes this particular class of offerings.

The burnt-offering was not for particular sins, but it was atonement—Christ made sin for us (the difference may be clearly seen in Hebrews ix. Compare John i.), but offering Himself entirely to God, so that, in the fact of being made sin, the highest perfection of love and obedience were found: all the perfectness of Christ Himself towards God, and surely of love to us; but more—all that God is—perfectly glorified.

Chapter ii. takes up Christ as a man upon the earth, the character of Christ as thus come; burned in the fire, that 'is, tested by the perfectness of divine judgment, and nothing but a sweet savour: all the frankincense went up to God. It is a wonderful description in detail of what Christ was in all His path, no leaven, no honey, no earthly affection, or comfort in His sacrifice (He was a man of sorrows, acid acquainted with grief), but salt and a sweet savour to the Lord. In one case the cake was broken to bits, and every piece was anointed, to show that everything He did or word He spoke was by the power of the Spirit.

Chapter iii. gives us not only the offering, but the fellowship of the saints in the offering. While in the previous ones Christ Himself was presented, He is here presented along with our partaking of it; they ate it: the blood and the fat were offered to the Lord, and then the offerer partaking in what was offered. Other elements were connected with it; but in all this there was nothing to say to sin—an immensely important principle as to what is properly worship.

In the burnt-offering there was nothing of positive acts of sin, but rather the notion of sin being in the world, and approach to God referring to its presence there, and Christ glorifying God as a victim for it, doing such a service that He could say, " therefore doth my Father love me;" but the work in itself was a perfect glorifying of God, as He could not have been glorified otherwise: " That the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father bath given me commandment, even so I do." There was perfect love to the Father, besides the question of our sins, and perfect obedience; perfect love when He was forsaken, and the obedience was perfected when it cost Him that forsaking. His motives too were perfect—love to us surely, but love to His Father, obedient when God was forsaking Him. The more terrible the suffering, the more dreadful the cup, the greater the sacrifice. It is such a comfort for us that the question of sin before God has been perfectly gone into and settled. That solemn question Christ takes up and puts Himself forward in grace to glorify God in it and by it, where man was against Him, the devil against Him, all the world against Him, the disciples ran away, comfort He had none, and in death God Himself forsook Him. When everything outward, human and devilish, was against Him, and He cried to God, then He was forsaken of God: it was the righteous judgment of God against Him, because He was made sin for us. Then He goes up as man to sit down on the right hand of God. Thus is all settled, and I can look at Christ as the sweet savour, in the absolute perfectness in which He offered Himself to God and was tested in His obedience.

Then in chapter ii. all the blessed perfectness of Christ in His life (tested, tried, broken to pieces) comes out.

In chapter iii. we get worship: they fed upon what God fed on. In our association with God, our intercourse with God (in worship), there is nothing about sin—it is treated as all gone, through Christ's offering Himself for us; and then I come to God with Christ in my hand, so to speak, and present Him to God and feed upon Him. I come with that which is perfectly acceptable to God. It is not that there are not faults and failings in us; but here I dwell on the offering itself; it was a perfect burnt-offering made by fire unto the Lord. All that was in the inwards, everything that is in Christ, was absolutely offered to God. There is the blood which was the life, the fat, the sign of the energy of nature, all given to God-no thought nor act with Christ, no object, but His Father: it was for us, thank God 1 but still absolutely to God. There was no infirmity, no listlessness of heart; but all given to God entirely, all the inward fat burned to God. Mark, it was not bearing our sins—that is never called a sweet savour except in one particular case. He was made sin, and this was not a sweet savour, though He was never so holy and perfect as then.

When we come worshipping, it is not even about Christ as the One who put away our sins; I can approach to worship because of that, my conscience being purged; but worship is in the sense that the thing I am feeding upon is a sweet savour to God, what my soul feeds on and nourishes itself by. The worshipper is connected with the sacrifice, and the question of sin is not touched in it, though blood always supposes it to have been there; it is the food of God become my food. It is a blessed thing to see Christ's perfectness;—that every thought, feeling, motive, everything He was, every movement of His heart was absolutely to God. "In that he liveth, he liveth unto God" (I take the principle merely). In everything in which there was energy, there was no energy of self-will; it was a perfect giving of Himself to God—the only One in whom it ever was in that perfectness. "Hereby know we love, because be laid down his life for us. " (1 John iii. 16.) We ought to walk like Him, to love the brethren, to lay down our lives for them; but then it should be to God.

I bless God, that in His sovereign grace His blessed Son took my sins and bore them upon the cross; but when I go to God to worship, it is as occupied with that One who is perfectly acceptable to God. Abel came with the fat of his lambs, and God gave testimony to his gifts. Here the worshipper comes and feeds upon it, and the Lord had His food of the offering; it was what characterised it. And see how close it brings us to God. Why, so to speak, I am sitting at the same table with God, feeding on the same thing He is feeding on (only all was offered to Him, and so I eat it)—the Lord's food of the offering! I sit down and eat: there is no question of my sins, but of the sweetness of Christ. I am talking to God about it: our true intercourse with God is that. "He that eateth me," &c. Here I find that the very thing my soul is feeding on and delighting in is the food and the delight of God; we have this nearness to God, the soul enjoying what God Himself is delighting in; the offerer comes to God by it, and has intercourse with God about it. It is not prayer; the peace-offering was never prayer. When I pray, I go to God about my wants, and prayer will occur even in the highest place; for when I think of the blessedness of Christ, I say, Would to God I were like Him! and it turns to prayer. But still this is a different thing from worship, though it may and will accompany it. I pray as regards my need; I worship in the sense of what I have got. God delights in what Christ 'is—inexpressibly of course; my soul draws near with Him in my hand, and I find I am going on with God. It was put upon the burnt-offering to show that I was identified with it. Now there is communion; and I eat.

But all this worship of God supposes no more conscience of sins: "Their sins and iniquities will I remember no more." It is no question whether I can be accepted or not; but coming with Christ in my hand I come by Him, as having offered Himself, in the consciousness that my soul is occupied with that which is God's highest delight. A wonderful thought! It shows{ what we ought to be and what our worship ought to be; and what we eat turns to be part of ourselves.

The character of the peace-offering was participation in Christ presented to the Lord. It is not as bearing our sins; for all true worship of God supposes the question of sin to be totally settled for ever. Chastening we may get in passing through the wilderness; but the question of imputation, of having sins on us before God, is done with for ever. Sin is a dreadful thing; but it was all settled between God and Christ, when He was made sin for us.

But the heart is apt to stay there in thinking of sin-bearing. Now without it we could not get into heaven; but the proper worship of heaven consists in delighting in what God is, what Christ is, when He offered Himself a sweet savour to God. We cannot come at all except by that sacrifice; we turn to God and we find Christ bore our sins. But what I press now is, that as regards our sins the whole question is settled: " Where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin." "When He had by Himself purged our sins, He sat down." We are not like the poor Jews, we enter into the holiest; but is there not more than that? Have Ι nothing to bring? has my heart no offering to bring to God? Yes, in Christ there is that in which God delights, and I come to God presenting Him.

In chapter vii. 13, we see that, besides the unleavened cakes, leavened bread was offered; here we have ourselves. I come with the offering that has been slain, with Christ in my hand, and I find too all the blessed perfectness of the meat-offering, His perfection as man, the fine flour, no leaven at all: God delighted in Him as a living Men. I get it anointed with oil, mingled with oil, the perfectness of His manhood; and, besides, there is now leavened bread, there am I, the worshipper. If I come to God, I own the sin, the leaven, in me; but ibis cannot be burned as a sweet savour. I come with the leaven, I cannot say I am sinless as Christ; I cannot be "that Holy thing," but I come with Christ in my hand. I come with the knowledge of my imperfection, but with that in which I am most perfectly accepted. God takes knowledge of that by which I come; all my sins are blotted out and forgiven. But I cannot say I have no sin—that is all a mistake; it is leavened bread, the leaven within, and we cannot escape or deny its being there, though not allowing it to act. The point is, I go with the sense in my soul that I have leaven; if I say I have no sin (as a present thing), I deceive myself, and the truth is not in me.

There is no forgiveness for sin—for sins there is; but "what the law could not do," &c., God condemned sin in the flesh. I get deliverance from any thought of this leaven hindering me, for Ι find God condemned it when Christ died. I do not talk of His forgiving it; it was all gone when Christ died. Ι cannot say I have none in me, but I can say I died with Christ, and I am not in it.

"Ι write mite you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake." (1 John ii. 12.) There is no such thing as an unforgiven Christian. It is very interesting to see the work of God in a soul on the road towards peace; all has its place. But that is before I have got the knowledge of the blood which cleanses it all, of the blessed truth that the blow, which rent the veil and opened the holiness of God upon me, presented me there without a veil, but fit to stand in it. A Christian is a forgiven person, but I cannot say sin is not there. When I see the sin, I say, why God must condemn me for it 1 and in one sense it is quite true: He must; but why condemn you, when He has condemned it in Christ already?

I do not come denying that 1 am leavened; I own it. But what I present to God is not myself—it could not be burnt for a sweet savour; and I have a title, in that sense, to forget it, because God has dealt with it in Christ, and then I come with unleavened bread to keep the feast.

When the offering was a vow, they could eat it for two days; when a thanksgiving, for one day only. If my heart is fall of Christ in the power of the Spirit of God, it connects all my worship with the value of Christ's offering to God, it is associated with that before God, I have fellowship with God as to it. But supposing I go on, and sing (say) a hymn, and, instead of thinking of the blessedness of Christ and of the Father's love, I get enjoying the singing; I disconnect the worship from Christ. Take our common worship: is it connected with Christ's acceptableness to God? If not, it has lost its savour; apart from that sacrifice, what is it worth? There may be enjoyment of the ideas, it may go as far as that; but it has lost its savour; and this is a thing that creeps in very easily. I cannot be with God to know the blessedness of what I have, unless it is connected with the sacrifice to God. And what a thought, beloved friends! that when I do go, it is with the acceptableness of Christ, with what God finds Hid delight in! If I go to pray—all perfectly right—I am a poor needy creature, who wants everything from God. But worship is another thing; I go with that in my hand which I know to be God's delight. I go, Christ having died for me, my soul having the consciousness of God's positive delight in the sacrifice of Christ; and if my worship in any part gets separated from that, it has lost its sweet savour.

One other thing. The priest who offered it ate part of it. It was a joy to all, but Christ takes His part, His joy is in it too. God has His food in it, I have my food; but the priest has his part too. It is the fullest association of God with Christ and the worshipper. It was for all who were invited too, love to all saints; the heart takes in love to all. It shows what true worship is, when I get there; it is not merely my sine are borne, but I have my delight in what I know is God's delight, and must be. it is what the whole community of the saints must delight in; and He says, "In the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee."

It connects all with the glory in blessedness. Being such in ourselves, we anticipate (in the weakness we are in now) the worship of the saints in eternal ages.

I desire that the two great principles and substance of the blessing may rest upon oar hearts—that I am there with God, the heart giving itself up to God in thanksgiving. I go to God with this offering of Christ, and I know He does not impute any thing to me; when I look up to God, I know He cannot.

Here God has found in Christ what His soul feeds on—what He delights in—we may say it reverently. I delight in it, a poor weak creature, and I know God delights in it. He receives me in worship according to His judgment of Christ.

How far do our souls so enter into God's thoughts that, when we come to God in worship (all our lives ought to be in the spirit of worship), it is in the spirit of oar minds, as connected with God's value for the offering of Christ? In our every-day walk, never to lose sight of what the sweet savour of that offering was to God?

The Lord only give us that it may be thus associated in our hearts with what Christ was towards His Father!