This is precisely and alone the purpose of the priesthood and ministry of Christ in the true sanctuary. Is not that priesthood sufficient? Is not His ministry effectual to accomplish its purpose?--Most assuredly. Only by that means can it be possible for this thing ever to be accomplished. No soul can ever himself finish transgression or make an end of sins or make reconciliation for iniquity or bring in everlasting righteousness in his own life. For that ever to be done, it must be done alone by the priesthood and ministry of Him who gave Himself and who was given that He might accomplish this very thing for every soul and present every soul "holy and unblameable and unreproveable" in the sight of God.
Every one whose heart is inclined to truth and right desires that this thing shall be done. Only the priesthood and ministry of Christ can do it. Now is the time of the complete and effectual doing of it for evermore. Then let us believe in Him who is doing this, and trust Him in the doing of it, that He does it completely and forevermore.
This is the time and this is the work of which it is written, that "there should be delay no longer." And why should there be delay any longer? When the priesthood of our great High Priest is efficient, and when His sacrifice and ministry are all sufficient in that which is promised and in that for which every believer hopes, then why should there be delay any longer in the finishing of transgression, the making an end of sin, the making of reconciliation for iniquity and the bringing in of everlasting righteousness to each believing soul? Then let us trust Him to do that which He has given Himself to do and which He alone can possibly do. Let us trust Him in this and receive in its fullness all that belongs to every soul who believes in and implicitly trusts the Apostle and High Priest of our profession--Christ Jesus.
We have seen that the little horn--the man of sin, the mystery of iniquity--has put his own earthly, human, and sinful priesthood, ministry, and sanctuary in the place of the heavenly and holy priesthood, ministry, and sanctuary. In this priesthood and service of the mystery of iniquity, the sinner confesses his sins to the priest and goes on sinning. Indeed, in that priesthood and ministry there is no power to do anything else than to go on sinning, even after they have confessed their sins. But, sad as the question may be, is it not too true that those who are not of the mystery of iniquity but who really believe in Jesus and in His priesthood and ministry--is it not too true that even these also confess their sins and then go on sinning?
But is this fair to our great High Priest, to His sacrifice, and to His blessed ministry? Is it fair that we should thus put Him, His sacrifice, and His ministry practically upon a level with that of the "abomination of desolation" and to say that in Him and in His ministry there is no more power or virtue than there is in that of the "mystery of iniquity"? May the Lord forever save His church and people this day with no more delay from thus bringing down so low our great High Priest, His awful sacrifice, and His glorious ministry.
Let our trust in our great High Priest be true, and let it be truly implicit. By protestants there is often remark made of the blind unwisdom of Catholics in their so fully trusting to the priest. And, with respect to any earthly priesthood, the thought is correct. And yet implicit trust of the priest is eternally right, but it must be trust of the right Priest. Such trust in a false priesthood is most ruinous, but the principle of implicit trust in the Priest is eternally right. And Jesus Christ is the right Priest. Therefore every one who believes in Jesus Christ, in the sacrifice which He has made, in the priesthood and ministry which He exercises in the true sanctuary must not only confess his sins, but he must then forever implicitly trust that true High Priest in His ministry in the sanctuary to finish transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness in his heart and life.
Everlasting righteousness, remember. Not a righteousness for today and sin tomorrow and righteousness again and sin again. That is not everlasting righteousness. Everlasting righteousness is righteousness that is brought in and stays everlastingly in the life of him who has believed and confessed and who still further believes and receives this everlasting righteousness in the place of all sin and all sinning. This alone is everlasting righteousness; this alone is eternal redemption from sin.
And this unspeakable blessing is the gracious gift of God by the heavenly ministry which He has established in our behalf in the priesthood and ministry of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary.
Accordingly, today, just now, "while it is called today," as never before, the word of God to all people is "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come ["that there may come seasons of refreshing," R.V.] from the presence of the Lord; and He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: whom the heaven must receive until the time of restitution of all things." Acts 3:19-21.
The time of the coming of the Lord and the restitution of all things is indeed at the very doors. And when Jesus comes, it is to take His people unto Himself. It is to present to Himself His glorious church, "not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing," but that is "holy and without blemish." It is to see Himself perfectly reflected in all His saints.
And before He comes thus, His people must be in that condition. Before He comes we must have been brought to that state of perfection in the complete image of Jesus. Eph. 4:7, 8, 11-13. And this state of perfection, this developing in each believer the complete image of Jesus--this is the finishing of the mystery of God, which is Christ in you the hope of glory. This consummation is accomplished in the cleansing of the sanctuary, which is the finishing of the mystery of God, which is the final finishing of transgression, the making of a complete end of sins, the making of reconciliation for iniquity, the bringing in of everlasting righteousness, the sealing up of the vision and prophecy and the anointing of the most Holy.
The present time being the time when the coming of Jesus and the restitution of all things is at the very doors and this final perfecting of the saints having necessarily to precede the coming of the Lord and the restitution of all things, we know by every evidence that now we are in the times of refreshing--the time of the latter rain. And as certainly as that is so, we are also in the time of the utter blotting out of all sins that have ever been against us. And the blotting out of sins is exactly this thing of the cleansing of the sanctuary; it is the finishing of all transgression in our lives; it is the making an end of all sins in our character; it is the bringing in of the very righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ, to abide alone everlastingly.
This blotting out of sins must precede the receiving of the refreshing of the latter rain. For it is only upon those who have the blessing of Abraham that the promise of the Spirit comes, and it is only those who are redeemed from sin upon whom the blessing of Abraham comes. Gal. 3:13, 14. Therefore now as never before we are to repent and be converted that our sins may be blotted out, that an utter end shall be made of them forever in our lives and everlasting righteousness brought in. And this, in order that the fullness of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit shall be ours in this time of the refreshing of the latter rain. And all this must be done in order that the harvest-ripening message of the gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world with that power from on high by which the earth shall be lightened with its glory.