"Wherefore the law was our Schoolmaster unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith." The apostle was speaking of the Jews. He does not say the law is a Schoolmaster to the Gentiles; but the law was so to the Jews. In that very ancient school, there were not only the ten commandments, which brought to light the wickedness of man (Rom. 3:19; 5:20; Gal. 3:19), but also there were many very wonderful picture lessons, all of which pointed forwards to Christ.
One very striking lesson demands our most serious attention. There was not a man to be found in all the earth fit to come into the presence of the Holy God, without the blood of a slain victim. No, not one; not even the high priest of Israel. The people of God once a year, stood one nation out of all the nations of the earth, and out of that nation one man; yet even that one man must not come into the presence of God without blood. "The high priest alone, once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the errors of the people." (Heb. 9:7.) "And the man that dare approach the mercy-seat of God, without the blood of the sin-offering; that man must die." (Lev. 16:2.) The bullock was slain, and its blood did the high, priest carry in and sprinkle seven times before the mercy-seat. Again, I repeat this lesson of the ancient schoolmaster, that no man could be allowed to go into the presence of the Holy God, without blood. And we are not left to guess what this picture or type meant; a reality; but pointing forward, as the word says, "The Holy Ghost, this signifying that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest." (Heb. 9:8.)
We may now go a step further, it was so, and it still is so, for "Without shedding of blood is no remission" (ver. 22); and in this very chapter, the present, the only way into the presence of God, is distinctly set before us. "Christ, by his own blood, entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption." Surely the death of this Holy One — made sin — the sin-offering is in itself an everlasting proof that there cannot be mercy and forgiveness to any sinner, but by His blood. "Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved." (Acts 4:12) "To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His name, whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins." (Acts 10:43.) There is not one thing any man can say with more certainty that he has than the certainty with which believers in Christ can say, "In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins." (Col. 1:14.)
Assuredly all men are sinners, "For all have sinned." (Rom. 3:23.) I learn then that there is not one man now in the whole of this world that can either have forgiveness of sins, or be fit for the presence of the Holy God, except by the blood of the Lord Jesus, who was the sacrifice once offered for sins. Oh, what swarms of despisers and rejecters of Christ in this day. Art thou one, my reader? Perhaps thou sayest, "I am not so great a sinner as many; I try to pay all I owe; and do no harm to any one." Hold! do no harm to any one! Hast thou believed in Jesus, to the saving of thy soul? Dost thou say, No? Then art thou the greatest of all sinners; for to reject Christ is the greatest of all possible sins, and this thou wilt find to thy cost for ever. To disbelieve Jesus is to sin against God, who sent him to die for sinners. To sin against that precious Christ, who died for sinners. To sin against thyself; oh, sin of all sins; to plunge thyself into eternal torment. Is this doing no harm? This is that monster sin, of which the Holy Ghost convinceth;"Of sin, because they believe not on me." (John 16:9.) Ah! ponder this well. Thou hast, but a moment to live compared with eternity; and if thou shouldst continue to reject the pardon preached through the blood of Jesus, then, when thou liftest up thine eyes in torment, then wilt thou know what thou hast done in rejecting Christ.
But perhaps thou sayest, "I do believe in Christ, I believe he was a good man, and if I follow, his example and be good as he was, I shall be saved." If this is thy Christ, it is a false Christ, an antichrist; of which there are scores. The true Christ is not only perfectly man, but the mighty God; as it is written, "But unto the Son, he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever." (Heb. 1:8.) This Christ of the Scriptures "hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God; who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree. But now, once in the end of the world, hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." Art thou following this Christ? Then the very first step is to believe in His death and resurrection; and to know, for certain, that He "was delivered for out offence, and was raised again for our justification." Yea, to know assuredly, on the testimony of God, who cannot lie, that being justified by His Blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. Art thou thus justified by faith in the death and resurrection of the only one true Christ, set forth in the Holy Scriptures? then follow on to know Him, and to walk worthy of Him. The God of peace be with thee.
But if thou art trampling under foot the blood of Christ, if thou art still rejecting the peace preached through His precious blood; oh, do not fool thyself to perdition by calling this following the Christ of the Scriptures. Remember what the old schoolmaster teaches in his picture. No man was then fit for the presence of God, without the blood of a victim; and, God declares now, "without shedding of blood is no remission." Oh! the utter vanity and delusion of trusting in anything but the blood of Christ for salvation. No matter how religious thou mayest think thyself, if thy religion is not based on the one sacrifice of Christ, thou art utterly unfit for the presence of God. It is "by the blood of Jesus that we have boldness to enter into the holiest." (Heb. 10:19.) It is not by doing the best we can; and surely it is not by leading a life of sin, that we may ever expect to have boldness in the presence of God. Do the Scripture say that if you follow the example of Christ then you will be saved? And if it did, do you follow that Holy One, who had not where to lay is head? He was without sin — are you without sin? Say, yes or no. If you say, "Yes, I am without sin," then you make God a liar. "If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us." (1 John 1:8-10.) If you say, "No, I have sinned, but I believe God is very merciful and will pass it by." Impossible! For when God gave shadows of these things, no man could approach the mercy-seat without the blood. And now, "without shedding of blood there is no remission." God is rich in mercy, but how has that mercy been shown? Was it not in His wondrous love in giving Jesus to die for our sins? May God, by the Holy Spirit, convince thee, as thou readest this little paper, that thou hast deeply sinned, in not believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, and receiving Him as thy whole salvation.
My reader, if thou hast thus been convinced; if thou hast, by the Holy Ghost, seen that the blood of Jesus doth cleanse thee from all sin; if He is thy very life, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, oh! canst thou not say that no tale is so sweet to thee as the wondrous story of His redeeming love? In one word, if thou dost, in thy heart believe on Jesus the Son of God, who died for thy sins and rose again, then know assuredly that thou art saved. Doubt it not: every doubt dishonours the risen Christ. Thy carnal reason would never have believed thus in Christ's death. The human mind hates the cross. If thou hast true faith in the true Christ, this is God's gift. (Eph. 2:8.) And it is by the Holy Ghost; therefore thou hast the Spirit, and He is the witness and proof that thou art a child of God. See! oh, see now, that thou walkest as a child of God. But remember the walk is not to get to be one.