Scripture Notes.


Psalm 40.

It is often the case that the result of the experiences described in a psalm is given at the commencement. This, stated in a verse or two, becomes the theme or subject, and then what follows leads up to, explains, or illustrates it. This is notably so in the psalm before us. The last clause of the last verse is, "Make no tarrying, O my God." The three first verses give the answer: "I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined unto me, and heard my cry," etc. The psalm really begins with verse 5, and then in the next verse, as we learn from Hebrew 10, we are introduced into an eternal scene, a solemn transaction between God and His beloved Son in a past eternity. This is shown by the words, "Mine ears hast Thou opened," interpreted in Hebrews 10 by, "A body hast Thou prepared me." The incarnation of our blessed Lord was thus in prospect in view of His coming into this world to do the will of God. (vv. 7, 8.) In vv. 9, 10 the Lord's life of testimony is set forth; and the reader will delight to remark and ponder upon its fulness and perfection as embodied in the various words employed. It embraced "righteousness," God's "faithfulness" and "salvation," also His "loving-kindness" and His "truth." Its perfection appears in the fact that He says, "I have preached"; "I have not refrained my lips, O Lord, Thou knowest"; "I have not hid Thy righteousness within my heart"; "I have declared"; "I have not concealed," etc. Blessed Lord, Thou didst not withhold a single word; Thou didst always speak where Thy God would have Thee to speak, and Thou wast always silent when He would have Thee silent. Thou wast perfect in speech and perfect in silence! Even as Thou didst Thyself say, "I have not spoken of [from] myself; but the Father … gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak." Verily Thou wast the faithful and true Witness, blessed be Thy name 1 Verse 11 teaches that He lived by what He proclaimed - by God's loving-kindness and truth which He had not concealed from the great congregation. The next verse leads up to the cross, and the Lord is seen as having made the sins of His people His own, so that He can say, "Mine iniquities," even if atonement is not completed. In Psalm 22 we are permitted to behold Him making expiation - passing through death - and in resurrection. Here, while the fact of deliverance is afterwards stated, it scarcely goes beyond His taking His people's place, bearing and confessing their sins. It is the sorrows of this position which evoke the cry for deliverance (v. 13), a cry which, after distinguishing between His enemies and those that seek Jehovah and love His salvation (the remnant), is again repeated in entire confidence in the last verse. This will help us to understand what has been already said, that the first three verses give the full response to Messiah's cry, and His new song wherein He associates with Himself the believing remnant. Verse 4 contains the testimony of the Holy Spirit to the blessedness of the man that maketh the Lord his trust; and the next (the last really) gives a burst of praise from the Spirit of Christ in His redeemed: "Many, O Lord my God, are Thy wonderful works which Thou hast done, and Thy thoughts which are to usward." What tender grace! Commencing with "O Lord my God," the clause ends with to usward. Whatever our blessed Lord secures by His sufferings and death, He shares with His own. So boundless, moreover, are the thoughts and purposes of God's love concerning Christ and His saints, that they cannot be reckoned up or numbered. Truly His grace is infinite!


Hebrews 9:25-27.

"Sin" and "sins" are very clearly distinguished in this scripture; and it is of great importance that the distinction between the two should be clearly apprehended. Let it be noticed however first, that the contrast is drawn between the many sacrifices offered under the law, and the one sacrifice of Christ. The word "once" therefore in vv. 26, 28 is full of significance. Remembrance again of sins was made every year by the annual recurrence of the day of atonement in the old dispensation; but Christ has perfected for ever them that are sanctified by His one offering. His sacrificial work has thus been finished for ever; and it is on the ground of this that the sins of His people (of believers) have been taken away, and that sin will be put away out of the world. It is to this latter truth that the Baptist refers when he says, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away [the Taker-away of] the sin of the world." It is not said "who has taken away," for it is the Person rather who will do it that John indicates. The foundation on which He will do it is His own glorious work on the cross - a work which from its very nature and perfection could not be repeated; but not until after the great white throne, and until the introduction of the new heaven and the new earth, will this blessed result - the putting away of sin - be witnessed. But the sins of believers are so entirely removed that they await with hope and expectation the appearing of Christ the second time, without sin, unto salvation. The Person and the work of Christ thus constitute the pillars of redemption and the foundation of the new creation.