I want you to turn with me now to Hebrews chapter 7. I still have about 249 sermons (more or less) left on Hebrews but I won't preach but one of them tonight. The thing we want to think about this evening beginning there from Hebrews chapter 7, verse 11 is this: Perfection In Christ or Completeness In Christ. Completion in or ChristPerfection in Christ.
Now you've already heard me say several times before that generally speaking, the word perfect in the Bible generally means completeness or complete, rather than our modern meaning of the word uh, perfect, sinless perfection. But, of course, one way of looking at it when we speak of perfection in Christ, we can say that it does mean sinless perfection if we're talking about Him. But if we're talking about us then it means completeness in Christ, doesn't it? Completeness in Christ.
Let's read there verse 11, chapter 7. And we'll begin from that point. "If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?"
Paul, as most of you already know from your previous study in the book of Hebrews, spent most of the book in showing the superiority of Christianity in every way to Judaism. To these Hebrew Christians who were, some of them, being bothered by people trying to pull them back into Judaic practice.
But as we begin to think about this completion or completeness in Christ or perfection in Christ, let's first define a word. The definition of the word perfection as used in Hebrews means "the bringing of a thing to that completeness of condition designed for it." Now that's generally the meaning, a pretty good definition of what it means most of the time in the Bible, not just in Hebrews. That is the word perfect, or perfection. And that's certainly what it means exactly here in Hebrews, bringing a thing to that completeness of condition designed for it.
It is not possible for a man without Christ to be complete. There's something missing in any man or woman until he or she gets Christ. There's a thing missing in a man until he finds Jesus as his Savior and his Lord. Theologically, or doctrinally, we could say that this word perfection refers to the producing of a satisfactory and final relationship between God and men. That's what it takes to make a man really complete, isn't it? To produce a satisfactory and final, permanent relationship between God and men, that's perfection. Not sinless perfection in the sense of never making a mistake here on earth, but theologically and doctrinally that's what it means. Bringing us into a situation of completeness in relation to God.
It refers, we could say in another way, or in expanding our meaning, perfection or completeness refers to that unchangeable standing in the favor and blessings of God which Christ has already secured for His people. Now that is completeness in Christ, isn't it? Referring to our unchangeable position and standing in the favor of God in eternity.
Now where do we get that unchangeable standing in the favor of God? How did we get it? We get it only in Christ! So we have this completeness, or this perfection, only in Christ. Since the Levitical priesthood, as we just read to you here in verse 11, chapter 7 of Hebrews, could not bring about this perfection or completeness of man, you might say, "Well, how could it not do so?" Well, when a man brought his offering, when the offering was made he conceived of that only as covering his sins of the past year. So what happens when he goes outside and he loses his temper or becomes sinful in some other way just after he's made his offering? He doesn't have this feeling of conscience, a peaceful conscience toward God because of the Levitical system, you see.
Of course, the only way that he's truly saved is because of the fact that this is a demonstration or confession of his faith in the coming Messiah. But yet at the same time, he doesn't understand Christ in all of His mediatorial work of constant cleansing of the sinner as we do today. So this Levitical priesthood could not bring about this perfection in his mind. And so this new priesthood of Christ, which did bring about this perfection, must therefore be much superior to the old.
If we read Hebrews 10:4, we find another good reference here. "For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me."
Then he goes ahead with more and more of the same general tenor of thought there in chapter 10. But Jesus became the permanent reality of that for which the Levitical sacrifices were only types and shadows. They were only the picture of that which Jesus was and is. Jesus became the permanent reality. And these pictures that the Levitical sacrifice showed were only looking forward to or showing a picture of that future coming of the final perfect sacrifice which was Christ.
Now let us ask this question and then we'll answer it. What was the perfection or that completeness which Christ brought? What was it? What was the perfection or completeness which Christ had brought? Well, we have it in several different things listed here for you tonight in seven different points that we want to give you. Every time I think of seven points in a sermon outline I always think of how we used to tease any one about that in the Bible college. It was rather peculiar that we nearly always had seven points in our outlines, and so we started teasing about it every time we had one. Even in Bible college we often had seven points in our outlines.
These seven points are, first, righteousness. Remember we're answering this basic question, "What was the perfection or completeness which Christ had brought?" First, He brought righteousness. As imperfection was introduced by what? How or in what manner was imperfection produced or introduced? It was introduced by sin! Or you could have answered, of course, Adam. But still you'd have to go back to the idea that it was Adam's sin which introduced imperfection.
Lack of perfection and lack of completeness was introduced by sin, and so perfection or restoration to completeness must be brought about by righteousness. They are opposites, in other words. Perfect righteousness is the only way to overcome sin. Imperfection was brought about by sin, therefore perfection itself must be brought about only by perfect righteousness.
If we want to read more about imperfection, we can read it in Romans chapter 8, verse 3, about the imperfection of man. Romans 8, verse 3. The imperfection of man could not be "fixed" by the law. The law was never really designed to perfect man, it was designed to show man how far short of perfection he was, wasn't it? "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
Then if we go back a little further in Romans to chapter 5, and read verses 7 and 8 there, we find a further comment along this line about imperfection. "For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." The old Mosaic system just didn't have what it took to bring about this perfection that we have in Christ, and that all the saved have in Christ.
Now let's read about righteousness together in Isaiah chapter 60. We've been reading about imperfection and sin, let's read in Isaiah about righteousness. Here Isaiah is talking about the time when the Lord comes. The end times, in other words, when the Lord has come. "Thy people also shall be all righteous: They shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified."
This perfection or completeness is only brought about in the righteousness of Christ. Again in Psalms, if we look there in Psalm 72, verse 7, we read: "In his days," still talking about a vision of the Messianic kingdom here in Psalms chapter 72, "In his days," meaning in the days of Christ, of course. "In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth." Now that's how long it's going to be. That's a long time, isn't it? So long as the moon endureth, the righteous shall flourish. And it goes on to speak of the fact that He'll have dominion also from sea to sea and from the river unto the ends of the earth. And everyone is going to bow before Him.
If we go on quickly to Jeremiah chapter 23, there's another good reference that fits well here in verse 6. "In his days Judah shall be saved," still referring, of course, to the Messianic kingdom, or Millennial Kingdom. "In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS." The only source of this perfection, the only source of this completeness which requires righteousness is in Jesus Christ.
Now let us look at another reference in Daniel chapter 9, verse 24. This is, of course, referring to the famous seventy weeks of Daniel, which is a system of determining periods of prophetic history in the Bible which we don't have time to go into now. In Daniel 9:24, "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy." Referring, of course, to the setting up of the Millennial Kingdom. That time of perfection and completeness when men on the earth will dwell in completeness under the reign and rule of Jesus Christ, the Righteous.
If we look now in the New Testament, in II Corinthians, I want to read another reference there in chapter 5. Second Corinthians 5:21 says: "For he hath made him," we're still dealing with this idea that as imperfection was introduced by sin, so must perfection be brought about by righteousness. And here we see, "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." Again, another example of the fact in Scripture that righteousness can only be found or brought about by Jesus Christ, in Jesus Christ, and only by Him.
Now, going to the second step in this answer to the question, "What was the perfection or completeness which Jesus had brought?" First we said righteousness, second, the thing that He brought is peace. Peace. Jesus made peace between believers and God. And without Jesus there could never be any peace between man and God. Without Jesus there could never be any peace between man, at any time, and God.
Again in Romans, let us look at Romans 5, verse 10. Peace. Jesus made peace between the believer and God. Verse 10 says, "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life." The only source of reconciliation for man, the only approach to peace between God and man is Jesus Christ, as it shows us here in Romans 5:10.
Over in Isaiah we have a very good reference that we often refer to in chapter 9, verse 6. That's the one, you may remember, where it says: "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given." Let's read it exactly and entirely. It says: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulders: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." So peace is found only in the reconciliation that Jesus made between the believer and God.
Now look in Colossians in the New Testament, if we look at chapter 1, there's a couple of good verses to read. Verses 20-22 of Colossians, chapter 1 (still thinking about the fact that Jesus made peace and that's part of this completeness that we find only in Jesus, this perfection or completeness of man found only in Jesus): "And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:"
We need to dwell more on this remembering the fact that He has reconciled us to God. If we think more about this, it'll make a difference in the way we act, the way we live, the way we think. It will make a difference in the way we spend our time. And time, remember, is our most valuable commodity. We get so involved in the things of the world. And I know we all do; it's easy to do, I do it myself sometimes. And I know that each of you have this problem as well, though we need to remember that because of what He did for us, we need to concentrate on the important things and not concentrate so much on the temporary or material things.
Back to Romans chapter 5 again, reading verse 1. In Romans chapter 5, there's a lot of wonderful material. It reads: "Therefore being justified by faith," what do we have? "We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." That's part of this completeness or perfection that we have, and can only have in Christ because He's the only one that brings righteousness and the only one that brings peace.
Paul again refers to this over in Ephesians chapter 6, verse 15, where he says --- and remember this is the place where he tells about the Christian's armor. He tells about many things, how the Christian should put on the whole armor of God and so forth, and then down here in verse 15 he says, "And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace." Now what does he mean by the gospel of peace? He means this --- a reference again to this business that he's already been teaching in some of the other epistles that we've read from tonight, that peace only comes through the gospel working in our heart. It only comes from Christ and through Christ.
It does not come any other way. He does not mean that the gospel is not resisted. He does not mean that when he says, "the gospel of peace." It is clear that the gospel is resisted. The devil fights it every day. The devil puts out false gospels every day. The devil fights the true gospel every day. So he doesn't mean the gospel is something that brings about peace in the world. But it does bring about peace in the heart of the man, between the man and God, doesn't it, if the man receives the gospel, and obeys it as we said this morning?
Now another perfection or completeness which Christ has brought to believers is, in addition to righteousness and peace, He has brought light. Light! He's brought greater spiritual light and knowledge. This is something that's amazing and wonderful to think about. Marvelous, I should say, not really amazing, but marvelous to think about. God reserved for His Son, not for angels, not even for Gabriel or Michael, but He reserved for His Son, the honor of making known the fullness of His counsels to man. He didn't send Michael the archangel to tell me, "Now this and so, and thus and so." But He chose His own Son, the matchless one, to make known the fullness of His counsel to man.
If we read in the gospel of John chapter 1, verse 18, we find these words, "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him." So it's only in Jesus that we can know God. Only in Jesus that the counsel of God is revealed. Again, if we look at Hebrews chapter 1, verses 1 and 2, Remember, we're thinking about the light --- the great spiritual light that has come to man, that's been revealed to man in and through Christ. It says there: "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by," whom? "Spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds." And I can make a little joke there and say that's heir with an "H" Tom, as Ann got you the other day on that joke. That's heir with an "H".
Under the Levitical priesthood there was only the shadow of good things to come, as it tells us in Hebrews 10:1. But the full mystery of them remained hid in God. That is, the full mystery of the good things to come. But if we look at Ephesians chapter 3, verse 8, we find a reference that fits perfectly here. "Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him."
So there again we have a further discussion of the idea that the fullness of God's counsel is only revealed in Christ. Even the prophets themselves did not see the full depth of their own prophesies in many cases. If we read over in I Peter chapter 1, there's an interesting reference there. Referring to this question of the prophets, First Peter chapter 1, verse 10, "Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently." They knew that Messiah was coming. They knew the Savior was coming. They believed in Him.
They were saved that way, by grace through faith in the coming Savior. But they didn't know all the details. Let's read that verse 10 now again, "Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into."
Even the angels desire to look into this. This will be the marvel of all the ages in eternity, even the angels will stand back in awe and glory and wonder and marvel at the wonderful plan of redemption God made. This plan of perfection that He made in Jesus Christ. Even the prophets who prophesied about it didn't fully understand it. They understood that a Savior was coming, that a substitute was coming, that the Messiah was coming. And they believed in that and were saved by it, just as we've believed that He did come. And we're saved in that way. But yet, they didn't fully understand it and even the angels, it says, desire to look into this wonderful, marvelous plan of God to bring about perfection through His Son. And when we say perfection, remember, in Biblical terms, we are generally referring to completeness in Him. A man is incomplete without Christ.
Thus, the Old Testament saints as we've shown were looking forward to a more complete revelation. If we read over in the Old Testament in Song of Solomon, there are a couple of good references. Song of Solomon chapter 2, verse 17, and there's a similar one in chapter 4, verse 6 that we'll also read. 2:17 says: "Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved, and be thou like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of Bether." Then in verse 6 of chapter 4, "Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense."
Now there are a lot of wonderful things that could be said on those two, but the point we want to make from those references is just this: even when Solomon wrote this he didn't fully understand the coming of the Savior, but he knew that the day was going to break sometime. He didn't know exactly when or exactly how but he knew that the Savior was coming and he referred to it here even in this love poem which is a picture of Christ and His bride, the Church.
If we look in the New Testament again in I John 2:8, we read: "Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth." This light, the daybreak is coming as "until the day break," as it said in chapter 2, verse 17 of Song of Solomon. "Until the day break," and then again in 4:6. Here in I John 2:8, it tells us that the light has now come, meaning Jesus, of course. Both referring to the same thing. "Which thing is true in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth," Jesus, the Savior, the perfect One, the One who makes man complete when he comes to Him in faith.
If we look again at II Peter chapter 1, verse 19, it makes another reference to the light of Christ. "We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts." A very similar reference to that of Song of Solomon that we gave you a moment ago.
Now as we go on a little further, another thing that Jesus brought in this perfection that He gives to men, this completeness that men only have in Him is He brought about a means of access to God. In Christ alone we have access to God. We're not cut off from God by the wall of sin. And we are not cut off from God by the ceremonials of the Levitical priesthood. You remember that under the Levitical priesthood, no one could come into the place where God dwelt, into the Holy of Holies, except the high priest. And he could only do it once a year, on the special occasion when he made the offering for the sins of the people.
We can contrast our present access to God not only with the Levitical priesthood, but we could go all the way back to Sinai. Think about Sinai. What did God say to the children of Israel, His own chosen people? He said, "Don't come on the mountain. Don't even approach to the mountain, because if you do, you'll die." They couldn't even go up on the mountain where God was going to meet Moses on the top of the mountain to give him the Law. They couldn't approach to God at all. They had no access to God except through Moses. And it was the same way in the tabernacle and the temple, which we've already talked about. The Holy of Holies could not be approached except by the high priest himself!
But now we have free access to God. In Ephesians 2:18, we see a little bit about this free access that we now have. And then we'll see further about it in uh, some references in Hebrews. But Ephesians 2:18 to begin, says this, "For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father." We've got free access to God, haven't we? And there in verse 17 above, he even refers to the peace that Christ made between us and God. He says, "And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh." That is, to the Gentiles and to the Jews. "For through him we both [Jew and Gentile] have access by one Spirit unto the Father."
If we go on over to Hebrews again now, looking at 4:16, where it says this: "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." Now how and why can we do this? Because of this perfection wrought by Christ. Not that we ourselves are perfect, but we are complete in Him and He is the perfect one, in the modern meaning of the word, meaning sinless perfection. Because of His intercession, because of His redemption that He's made for us, we can come boldly to the throne of grace and obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Now looking at Hebrews 10:22, there's another good reference in connection with this. "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus." That's what brings about this free access to God, isn't it? (verse 20): "The blood of Jesus, By a new and living way." Who is that new and living way? Jesus, the Savior. "Which he hath consecrated for us, through the vail, that is to say, his flesh." Jesus Himself is this new and living way. "And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water." So we have access to God through this perfection of Jesus which He has brought and completed, made man complete with His own perfection.
If we go a little step further now, not only does this perfection in Christ give us access to God but it also gives us a revelation of the future state. Yes a revelation of the future state. In the Old Testament, their understanding of the future state of the believer was not as complete as Christ has revealed to us in the New Testament. Now I don't mean by that to imply that they did not realize that they would be with God or that they would be with their Redeemer; they certainly did know that, but they didn't have anything near the details that Christ has revealed to us about the future state of believers.
If we read in Hebrews 2:15, there's a good statement about the future state of believers. We'll be delivered from fear of death as it tells us here in Hebrews 2:15. "And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." Jesus has delivered us from this fear of death.
If we go on to II Timothy 1:10, We see: "But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." He's talking again about the fact that there'll be no more death, that we're delivered from the fear of death. There'll be no more possibility of death for the believer.
Christ has defeated death and has become our forerunner as it tells us in Hebrews 6:20 and John 17:24. Look at Hebrews 6:20: "Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec." Let's read verse 19 with it, it's much better that way. He's speaking there in verse 18 about the hope set before us. "Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the vail; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus," and so forth.
Now look at John 17:24. This is a little more revelation about the future state of believers. Before we read this together, let me give you a little bit of background. Here Jesus has been telling the disciples about His death and resurrection and His Second Coming in quite a long passage before this, in chapters 16 and 17. And now here in chapter 17, He's praying as it's near to His time of crucifixion, He's praying here to the Father, and He says this, "Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world."
Now there's a considerable revelation here of the future state of the blessed! He prayed just before His death that we should be with Him and that we should see His glory that He had with the Father before the foundation of the world. And that prayer is certainly going to be answered, isn't it? There's no way that prayer of Jesus is not going to be answered. Those whom the Father has given Him, which means all believers, all who believe, have been given to Him by the Father. And they are certainly going to fulfill this prayer of Jesus by being with Him and beholding His glory where He is with the Father!
Another thing that comes about because of this completeness or perfection in Jesus is joy. Joy! We don't find much real joy, I believe, in unsaved people. In fact, I doubt that we find any real joy in the fullest meaning of the word, in the Biblical meaning of the word. That absolute satisfaction and resting in God that can only be found in the saved heart, can't be found anywhere else. Joy! It's true that some of the Old Testament saints rejoiced greatly in the Lord. But not by virtue of the Levitical priesthood. That didn't bring them the great joy and great everlasting peace that we have. The ground of their joy was that death would be swallowed up in victory.
If you read in Isaiah 25:8, you find that promise, even way back there. And, of course, the way this promise is fulfilled was in the redemption made for man by Jesus Christ. Isaiah 25:8, "He will swallow up death in victory," talking about Jesus Himself, "and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it." Joy! Joy in knowing the great future that is coming for all believers.
Again in John 8:56, we find these words, referring to an Old Testament character. And we find that his joy was not in the Levitical priesthood. The Levitical priesthood had not even been instituted at the time of Abraham, had it? His joy was not in that at all, but listen to what it says, "Your father Abraham," this is Jesus Himself here speaking, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad." So that just proves that joy comes by this perfection or completeness which comes only in knowing Jesus. Real joy! "He rejoiced," it says, even Abraham way back about 2000 years before Christ. Even then, Abraham rejoiced in seeing the future coming of the Messiah through the prophets.
Then if we read in I Peter again, we see another wonderful passage and we'll follow with Romans 5. First Peter 1:8: "Whom having not seen," talking about Jesus Christ here, "Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls." So this joy only comes from this completeness which man finds in the perfection of Jesus.
Turning to Romans 5:1, we've already referred to this several times this evening. "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."
Notice we have much of this material this evening summed up right here in these first six verses of Romans 5. We've already talked of these first two verses --- we've already talked about peace, we've talked about rejoicing and we've talked about access already in the first two verses. Now going on to verse 3, "And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly." These verses we've just been reading show the great joy, the inexpressible joy that we can have! And we can have it only in Jesus Christ!
Now as we come to the last point, let's look at this thought, this perfection in Christ or this completeness in Christ brings about a glorying in the Lord. Yes, it brings about a glorying in the Lord! You know, what we glory in is our main thought, isn't it? You might say this child, he glories in his new bicycle. That would mean that his thoughts are just concentrated on that new bicycle all the time! And what we want to think about now is glorying in the Lord. Our thoughts should be concentrated on the Lord!
This is the first fruit of joy. If we really have this joy in our heart, then we do glory in the Lord. The gospel design excludes glorying in ourselves and makes us wish to glory only in God. It keeps us from glorying in ourselves --- It prevents it or forbids it.
If we look at Romans 3:27, it says this: "Where is boasting then?" He's been talking about salvation by grace through the blood of Christ. Then he says, "Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? Nay: but by the law of faith." So this faith that we have in Christ which brings about this joy, peace and access to God and all the other things we've been talking about, also excludes any boasting in ourselves and makes us want to glory only in the Lord, which is what we should want to do anyway.
Then even Ephesians 2:9 brings us down to that when it says, "Not of works, lest any man should boast," doesn't it? "Not of works, lest any man should boast." That's Ephesians 2:9.
He that glorieth now, since the coming of Christ, he that glorieth now must do so in the Lord as we learn further in I Corinthians 1:29. We should glory in the Lord, not in ourselves, not in our own success, not in our own greatness, but we should glory in the Lord. It says there in verse 29, "That no flesh should glory in his presence." Our glorying should be in the Lord.
If we skip down to verse 31, we see: "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord." This is an enlargement here in I Corinthians 1:29 through 31. It's an enlargement of a reference in Isaiah 45:25, which we won't read tonight.
If we want further details on this, we should look in II Corinthians chapter 3. And we won't read that tonight, either. But if you read the whole chapter, you'll see that it gives all the glory to God and His Spirit working in and through us. And he emphasizes this thought in most of chapter 3 of II Corinthians. He compares this with Moses' glory under the Law. And then shows how much more glory there is under grace.
So, summarizing, one could say that as Paul has been teaching in his lessons all the way through Hebrews to the Hebrew Christians, one could say that the superiority of Christianity over Judaism is spiritual and cannot be seen by the carnal eye. The ways in which it excels are pointed out in these seven points that we've been giving to you already. But it consists of a clearer knowledge of God, a freer approach to Him and a more complete enjoyment of Him. What could be greater than that?
Ritualists today are still trying to follow after the old Levitical system. That's what it amounts to. The ritualists of today, and we have many of them all around us, who follow a religious ritual and they're depending on this ritual to get them to heaven. But ritualists today are showing their rejection of Christ and His priesthood and showing their preference for a man-made or Levitical system, as we might properly call it. This is, of course, the outstanding sin of all ritualists, men who do not wish to come to God by faith in Jesus Christ.