Scripture Notes.


Hebrews 10:22.

If the reference in the expression, "Our bodies washed with pure water," is to the washing of the priests at their consecration (Ex. 29:4), the teaching of this passage is very simple and significant. Washing with water is a symbol for the application of the word in the power of the Holy Ghost, bringing in death upon the natural man and his thoughts, and producing what is wholly new, according to God. The result is the new birth, or rather to be born of God. This conclusion is sustained by the fact that when our blessed Lord says, in John 13, "He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet," He uses the same word as in this scripture. The heart "sprinkled from an evil conscience" speaks of the efficacy of the precious blood of Christ, which, when known through faith, as based upon God's testimony, gives no more conscience of sins. These two things together - being born of God, and "no more conscience of sins" - form the absolute qualification of a worshipper. No one who is without these has any title to enter into the presence of God. But this scripture speaks of another thing, viz., of a practical condition corresponding with the qualification or title. Hence the apostle says, "Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith." A true heart is one that has been fully exposed in the light of God's presence, one therefore that has no reserves from God, no concealments, and nothing consciously left unjudged; and "full assurance of faith" is the rest of soul which follows upon confidence in God's grace and love. It is indeed only as we are established in grace that we can possess the true heart; for the more we know of grace, the more open-hearted our confession, and the more thorough our self-judgment. The instruction of the whole passage is, that if we would enjoy the liberty and power of worshipping in the Holiest, our moral condition must correspond with our title. We may really be born of God, and may know that God does not impute guilt to the believer, and yet we may not be able to draw near because we lack the true heart and full assurance of faith.


1 John 1:7.

It is continually asked whether "walking in the light" is expressive of our standing, or of our practical condition. Because of the word "walk," it is supposed by many that it must refer to the believer's daily walk. Two or three considerations, drawn from the passage and its context, will elicit its true significance. It is evident then, in the first place, that "walking in darkness" in verse 6 is an absolute contrast with walking in the light in verse 7; and that both expressions flow from the declaration in verse 5, "that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all." Bearing this in mind, it will be at once seen that "walking in the light" covers all who are introduced into the sphere of the revelation of what God is in Christ; that it includes therefore, in other words, all Christians; and hence that "walking in darkness" comprises all who are outside this sphere - all who are unconverted, all who do not possess eternal life. It must ever be remembered that for John there are only two spheres - light and darkness; just as we read in the gospel, - "And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not." It should be remarked, moreover, that it is "walking in the light" "as He (God) is in the light;" not according to the light, which would indicate our practical walk, but "in the light as He is in the light," which cannot mean other than the circle or sphere in which God in His nature, His holiness, is absolutely revealed. All therefore are either in the light or in the darkness. Why, then, it may be enquired, is the word "walk" employed? Because it is never supposed in Scripture that the practical condition of the believer will be otherwise than in accordance with his standing. The greatest possible damage is done to souls in insisting upon standing irrespective of state; and, therefore, if John speaks of our walking in the light as God is the light, he assumes that we shall live, and move, and have our being in this circle. The following words will explain this still further: "It is not  'if we walk according to the light' that is the practical consequence in this world, even when we are not directly enjoying communion, but we walk in the light when we walk with God fully revealed to soul and conscience. It is a real thing in life, we walk, but [it is] more than walking according to light. It is a walking in the presence of a fully-revealed God, the conscience, and spiritual judgment, and apprehension being in the light as He is - what God is, perfectly seen, and everything by it, and all clear as it is in light and for the soul. If we walk thus with God inwardly, all is judged inwardly, and our life is only the expression of the working of God in power in the life which we have of Him, of Christ in us (wisdom and power)."* It is also in this sphere, and only there, that Christian fellowship is enjoyed. This is readily understood, because outside of it is darkness - where God is not. Lastly, we are reminded of the foundation of this blessedness, the abiding efficacy of the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, which cleanseth from all sin, from the defilement of every sin, and which has thus made it possible for us to be in the light, as God is in the light, in peace, confidence, and liberty. It is, therefore, no question here of the application of the blood, but simply one of its perfect and abiding efficacy. To speak of the continuous application of the blood, as is often done, is to miss the teaching of this scripture, and to contradict some of the plainest statements of the Word, as, for example, in Hebrews 10:1-18. But after unfolding to us the wondrous place in the light into which we are brought before God, and the truth that it is only in that circle we can have fellowship one with another, it is very blessed to be reminded of the source of the cleansing, which enables us to occupy our place.

*Notes and Comments, part xix., p. 270.

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Christ was God in this world come to win back the confidence of man's heart to God.