All of One
“For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.” — Hebrews ii. 11— 13.
AT the commencement of our discourse, it will be most fit and proper for us to enquire whether we have any interest in the truths mentioned in the text. The apostle here speaks of those who are sanctified and of the great Sanctifier. Come, my hearer, dost thou belong to the sanctified? Hast thou any part or lot in this matter? What does it concern thee that the Sanctifier and the sanctified are “all of one” if thou art not one of them? The more glorious the privileges of the gospel, the more doleful is thy state if they are not thine. If thou hast no share in this wondrous union between Christ and his people, what we have to say will affect thee but little. Indeed, it will not even interest thee; and why should it?
What is meant by the expression, being sanctified? The essential part of sanctification means being set apart for holy uses. That which was meant to be used for God alone was sanctified, set apart, regarded as holy. The vessels of the sanctuary were sanctified when they were used only by the priests in the service of God. Of course; there arose out of this fact, which is the essence of sanctification, the further quality of purity, for that which is dedicated to God must be pure, that which is reserved for his service must not be defiled, it must be clean. We cannot imagine the holy God using unholy vessels in his sanctuary; so that sanctification comes to mean purification, the making of that to be holy which was first of all set apart for holy uses. Holiness of character follows upon holiness of design. First are we set apart for God’s use, and then afterwards we are made pure that we may be fit for God’s use.
Well, then, dear friends, are you sanctified? I have heard some make a jest of that word, and jeer at certain persons as “saints.” They might as well call them kings and princes, and then mock at them, for there is nothing mean or despicable in the name “saint.” It is one of the most glorious titles that a man can ever wear. “He was a sanctified sort of person,” says one, meaning thereby, I suppose, sanctimonious, hypocritical, pretentious. Yes, but that is not the true meaning of the word; and I fear lest the jest at the word “sanctified” only proves that there are many who, so far from claiming to be sanctified, do not even wish to be. It is the last thing that they would desire, to be made holy, and set apart for divine purposes.
But, beloved, all those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ do aspire to be dedicated and consecrated to God. “Ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” You hear a voice which says to you, “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” You understand that the Lord's children are expected to be a peculiar people, zealous for good works, —
“Only reserved for Christ that died,
Surrender’d to the Crucified.”
Are you, then, a member of that blessed society? Do you desire to live to God? Are you anxious to be so pure in character that God can accept your service, and use you for his work? Well, then, it is for you that the words of our text are written. May you drink the encouragement out of them, and be thereby refreshed!
No man is truly sanctified unless he is sanctified by Christ. The Holy Spirit is made the Agent of our purification, but it is in Christ that we are first of all set apart unto God, and it is by his most precious blood, applied to us by the Spirit of God, that we are made clean and pure so as to be used in the divine service. Believers are the sanctified, and Jesus Christ is the Sanctifier. I am not going to say more about that glorious truth at this time; but I am going to dwell upon the very important statement here made, “He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one.” This is a truly wonderful expression, they are “all of one.” Note, therefore, first, the remarkable unity of Christ and his people; and then notice, the Lord Jesus Christ’s expressions which prove this wonderful unity.
I. First, then, consider THE REMARKABLE UNITY BETWEEN CHRIST AND HIS PEOPLE. They are “all of one.”
They are, first, “all of one” in the divine design, In the great mind of God, it is not Christ alone, and his people alone, but Christ and his Church who are regarded as “all of one.” They are fitted, constituted, designed for each other; they are the complement of each other. In the divine mind, it was not the Christ, the Anointed, as the Head apart from the whole body adown which the holy anointing oil should flow; but it was the Head with all the members of his mystical body that the great Father saw. When the divine mind— and we have to speak here after the manner of men, for God is not known to us so that we can speak of him otherwise than after the fashion of our poor ideas, — when the divine mind conceived the plan of man’s redemption, purification, and setting apart for his service, God had this one thought. We make it two, but it was only one to him; Christ the First-born, and the many brethren as succeeding him in their heavenly birth, being brothers unto him, and being made like to him. The Eternal Father thought not of Christ without the Church, nor of the Church without Christ.
When we speak of Christ now, we are not speaking of him only as the second Person of the blessed Trinity, “very God of very God,” but we are thinking of him in his complex character as being both God and man, the one Mediator between God and men. Now, the very idea of a Mediator implies that there shall be men for whom he shall mediate with God. The very thought of a Saviour implies that there shall be persons whom he shall save; and the idea of men needing to be saved also, somehow, implies Christ who alone could save them. To the divine mind, it was so. God made man in his own image, after his likeness, and his thoughts were even then fixed upon the Christ; and when he new-makes men, it is with the intention that they shall be conformed again unto his image. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as ho is.” In the mind of God it was settled that there should be a race of boings who should serve him, of whom his own Son should be one,— very God, but yet, at the same time, truly man; — and ho did not think of his Son in that complex relationship otherwise than as being the Head of a vast community, the perfect Image to which multitudes of others should be conformed.
I cannot fully bring out the thought that I see in the text, for here we are in the great deeps; but the more you shall turn this truth over, the more you will discover that from of old God ordained Christ and his people as parts of one wondrous plan. It was not, as some have tried to represent it, that Jehovah made a mistake by creating men who fell into sin, and that then he adopted an expedient by which he restored them; but the whole scheme of redemption is all part of the great eternal system and plan matured in the divine mind, that by redeeming love, manifested in the person of his well-beloved Son, the Lord might create unto himself a people who should for ever be one, akin unto himself, and like unto the Well-beloved. It was to find fit comrades for that mysterious Person whom he of old ordained, and it was to find for those comrades a fit Leader and Head, that he constituted Christ the man, and yet God, to be the Mediator between God and men. They are one, they are, as our text says, “all of one,” in the divine design; and the divine design cannot be accomplished without the glorification of Christ, nor yet without the glorification of his people. They are one in the divine purpose; and if either the one or the other could fail, the purpose of God would break down, but that cannot be.
Then, next, they who are sanctified and the Sanctifier himself are “all of one” in the eternal covenant. When the Lord Jesus Christ became the Surety of the covenant, the Head and Representative of his people, he struck hands with his great Father in a solemn league and covenant, and he did that, not for himself alone, but for us also. That covenant was made for us in Christ with Christ, as he is one with us; and now to-day, beloved, the provisions of the covenant are as much for me as for Christ, and as much for Christ as for the very least of his people. They are regarded in the wondrous covenant being indissolubly one. That first covenant with Adam was not with Adam alone, but with all the innumerable hosts of men that were to be descended from him; and, therefore, in Adam, when he transgressed, all fell and died; and that second covenant, made with the second Adam, is not made with him alone, but with all the countless hosts of God’s elect who were represented in him, and towards whom God entered into a league of solemn amity and of everlasting love with his only-begotten Son. Thus, they are “all of one” in the divine design, and in the covenant of grace.
But there is something better than this, if there can be anything better, for they are “all of one” as to nature. Do not let us ever permit our hearts to lose the sweetness of the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ is really and truly one with us as to nature. In him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, and yet, notwithstanding that, he is man of the substance of his mother. “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same.” It is easy to say, but it is hard to realize that Jesus Christ is as truly man as any of us can be. I mean, now that he sits at the right hand of God exalted, he is as truly man as when he sat on the well, and said to the Samaritan woman, “Give me to drink.” Do not let us exalt him into only a God-man; for if we do, we shall degrade him into a man-God. He is neither the one nor the other. He is God; diminish not his splendour. He is man, — man such as we are; forget not his tenderness. In this very chapter, when we read that God has set man over the works of his hands, and has put all things in subjection under his feet, does not Paul say, “Now we see not yet all things put under him”? And then he adds, “But we see Jesus,” that is to say, Jesus Christ is Lord, he is set on high, head over all things. Well, then, says the apostle, “This Jesus is man, this is the man that rules, this is the man that is over all the works of God’s hands, because Jesus Christ is man, the Representative of the human race, even in his majesty as King of kings and Lord of lords, man in that relationship as well as in every other.” Do not let us forget that believers and their Lord are “all of one” — one indivisible race.
Yet further than that, I want you to notice that they who are sanctified and their Sanctifier are “all of one” because of his representative character. Whatever Jesus did in the past, he did for us, for we are “all of one.” He was circumcised; and we are circumcised in him with the true circumcision not made by hands. When he kept the law, we kept the law in him, for he stood as our Representative. If he died, we reckon that we died in him; and henceforth, we recognize that we live because he lives; now that he has gone into the heavenlies, it is as our Forerunner, and he has raised us up together with him, and made us sit together with him in the heavenlies, and in all the glory that is yet to come we shall be partakers.
Hence follows this further oneness; so are we “all of one” that, henceforth, we are united in our interests. His concerns and our concerns are one. We have not to speak of what is Christ’s and what is his people’s; hut all that is Christ’s belongs to his people, and all that belongs to his people belongs to him. You are Christ’s, beloved, and Christ is yours. I am sure you cheerfully would own that you belong to him; just as joyfully acknowledge that he belongs to you. We have fellowship with Christ, which fellowship means a community of interests. His cause is our cause, his honour is our honour; if he loses, we lose; if he gains, we gain: we triumph when he triumphs, we feel disgraced when his cause is dishonoured. Is it not so? “Yes,” you say, “on our part we readily recognize that it is so.” But it is far more so on Christ’s part. He has so espoused you to himself, O believer, that henceforth you are his, and all your interests are his! He who marries a wife takes her to himself, and all her concerns are henceforth merged in his; but when Jesus Christ took his Church to be his bride, he took over all her debts and liabilities, all her burdens, and all her necessities. She had not anything else to bring to her Husband; but he took all that there was, — the mighty deficit of her lost estate, — he took it over, and more than compensated for it by the wondrous fulness of his own riches in glory. And now there is no line of distinction between the two: “Both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one.”
I do not know how to speak adequately upon my glorious theme. I have talked about it as it strikes me; but how to bring out its fulness to you, I do not know. I wish that you could sit still and enjoy it. Turn it over, and see the many shades of colour there are in this piece of the divine handiwork. It is like a diamond with many facets, which will flash with light whichever way you turn it. Christ and you “all of one” — all of you who are in Christ made one with each other by being one with him, not so blended and united as to become two in union, but one, — having one nature, one body, one spirit.
“But we cannot receive the divine nature,” says one. No, we cannot be divine; but yet we can be partakers of the divine nature in all its moral and spiritual qualities. We are to become holy, and we aspire to be perfect even as our Father which is in heaven is perfect; and, then, when we shall have reached that blessed point, we shall more fully have proved the truth that we are “all of one.” But long before we attain that height, it is still true, and always will be true, amidst all our infirmities and imperfections, that we are still one with Christ in nature, and one with him in all our interests. What he has done, he has done for us, and it is reckoned as what we have done in him; and henceforth it is ours to work out the life of Christ in our own souls, and to feel how truly all that is in him is also in his people, as all the griefs and woes of his people have been reproduced in him. “All of one!” I love the very words; even without any exposition, they are musical to the believing heart: “Both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one.”
II. Now, in the second place, I have to notice OUR SAVIOUR’S EXPRESSIONS WHICH PROVE THIS WONDERFUL UNITY.
The apostle says, “for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren.” He is glorious, and they are often in shame and poverty; but he is not ashamed to call them brethren. There is an immeasurable disparity between the Lord Christ and his poor erring disciples; but there is no disparity which his love dwells upon, for he calls them brethren. Our hymn, just now, spoke of it as a wonder—
“That worms of earth should ever be
One with Incarnate Deity!”
And truly it is a wonder, yet such a wonder as Christ takes a delight in. “He is not ashamed to call them brethren.” They are poor, they are despised, they are persecuted; what is worse, they are imperfect and faulty, often sorrowful, cast down, condemning themselves, groaning at the mercy-seat; yet “he is not ashamed to call them brethren.” There is such a unity between the believer, be he in what sorrow he may, and the Christ, be he in what glory he may, that he is never ashamed to own the close relationship between them: “He is not ashamed to call them brethren.”
Now, as this seemed to be a great thing to say, the apostle felt obliged to quote three Old Testament Scriptures to show the brotherliness of Christ, and his being “all of one” with us. The first passage that he quotes is in Psalm xxii., verse 22. Here you have it: “I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.” The words in these quotations in our English version may not seem to be exactly the same as in the passages referred to; but we must remember, of course, that we are dealing with translations, and not with the original writings. This is a part of that marvellous Psalm which was unquestionably the soliloquy of Christ upon the cross.
Observe, dear friends, this text is quoted to show us how we are “all of one”, and it shows we are “all of one” because Jesus shares our worship. He says, “I will declare thy name unto my brethren.” When he was here on earth, he told his brethren much concerning the Father. It was his mission to reveal the Father so that he could say, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father;” and when they worshipped the Father in spirit and in truth, it was because he had taught them so to do. His sermons inspired them with that devotion; he spoke to them as a man speaking to men, and so he revealed God to them. This passage also shows that Jesus was one with his disciples, for he revealed God not as to strangers, but as to “brethren.” He declared the will of God to them, not as to outsiders, but as to “brethren.” He had one way of preaching to the crowd, and he had quite another way of privately talking to his disciples. He declared the name of God unto his brethren in familiar, loving, tender tones, always putting himself side by side with them, sometimes speaking of “My Father and your Father, my God and your God,” and always setting forth the great God as belonging as much to them as to himself, and always speaking of that God, not as some renowned teacher might speak to beings far beneath him, but as a Brother, who has met with the Father, and tells of that Father to his brothers who as yet do not fully understand him: “I will declare thy name unto my brethren.” I say, therefore, that the life of Christ in his teaching, and in his joining with his disciples in their worship of God, proved that he was one with them.
Specially is this evident when we come to the last part of the quotation: “In the midst of the church will I sing- praise unto thee.” Did Jesus sing? Yes, literally. After supper, they sang a hymn. It must have been most thrilling to hear Christ’s voice, quivering with emotion the Psalms which constituted the Great Hallel. Those Psalms were usually sung after the paschal supper was ended; and the Saviour went through them, praising and magnifying Jehovah, joining the little band, I should think, himself the leader of the psalmody, that it might be seen that he was “all of one” with them. I am the preacher to this congregation, and when I speak to you of God, I am sure that I am “all of one” with you. If I speak aright, you might think that we wore in a parlour rather than in the Tabernacle. I am not speaking as some great orator might, but as a brother declaring the Father’s name as best I know it; and when the time comes for singing, then we feel that we are all at one with those who sing with us from the heart, following the same tune, and uttering the same praiseful words. Behold, then, in your midst, O Church of God, in the days of his flesh there stood this glorious One whom angels worship, who is the brightness of his Father’s glory in the very heaven of heavens; yet when he stood here, it was to join in the worship of his people, declaring the Father’s name unto his brethren, and with them singing praises unto the Most High. Does not this bring him very near to you? Does it not seem as if he might come at any moment, and sit in that pew with you; I feel as if already he stood on this platform side by side with me; why should he not? Oh, happy hour, if we could but see him in very flesh and blood among us! Yet we know that he is here, even if we cannot see him, for he has said, “Lo, I am with you alway even unto the end of the world.”
The second passage which is quoted by the apostle is not very easy to find: “And again, I will put my trust in him.” I suppose the apostle quoted from the Septuagint translation, and there we get, in the eighteenth Psalm, at the second verse, these words, “I will hope in him.” It is so rendered in that version; but Paul read it, “I will put my trust in him.” We believe that is the passage he intended to quote. Now we are told by inspiration in this place that this verse is the language of Christ, and if so, it brings him very near to us. The Psalm itself, you will see, if you will read it through at home, looks as if it was David speaking, and we are here told that it was Christ. Well, it is no matter. Frequently in the Psalms you are unable to tell whether it is David or David’s greater Son who is speaking, which very ambiguity is the source of instruction, because it shows how they are “all of one,” so that David, who is the sanctified one, speaks in such terms as might be used by the Sanctifier himself. The Book of Psalms is indeed throughout one of the most wonderful proofs of how near the believer is to him in whom he believes, so that the very same words and phrases which were appropriate in the mouth of David for himself are equally appropriate if he speaks by way of prophecy concerning the Messiah.
Still, let me ask you to notice that the pith of the quotation is that Jesus Christ put his trust in God. That is to say, he was a partaker of our faith. It is by faith that we are justified; it is by faith that we overcome the world; it is by faith that we do everything. Had Jesus such a faith as that? Yes, he had; it was by his faith that he vanquished the adversary in that triple duel in the wilderness; it was by faith that he prevailed in prayer on the lone mountain-side; it was by faith that he went up to the cross alone, by himself, for his people. I will go further, and say that Jesus Christ is still to us the greatest Exemplar of faith. “What!” you exclaim, “in heaven, is he still our greatest Exemplar of faith?” Yes: “from henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.” And what is expectation based upon but upon faith?
Moreover, our blessed Lord is always engaged in intercessory prayer. Remember this text: “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance.” He is asking, and he is asking in faith. And the life of Christ now, concerning his coming, and his kingdom, and the ultimate triumph of his righteous cause, is still an exhibition of faith; and this makes him very near of kin to us. Dost thou believe, my Master? “Ay,” saith he; then as I also believe, we are both believers, and we are “all of one.”
Now, brethren and sisters in Christ, does not this bring your Lord very near to you? Why, as if to show you that he came very near to you, there is one point that some believers omit, but which Jesus did not omit. It is described in that familiar passage, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” Surely, his was a case where baptism might fitly have been omitted; but, no; he comes to Jordan, and he asks John to baptize him; and when the good man says, “I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?” yet the condescending Saviour, that he might be “all of one” with us, said, “Suffer it to be so now, for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.” Blessed are ye who follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. Happy are ye who in all things desire to be like unto your Head, even as he in all things has been made like unto you. Are you tried in your faith? So was he. Are you tempted? So was he. Temptations of the worst kind assailed the purity of his nature, as they assail you. But he stood, and you shall stand. He overcame by the use of “It is written,” and that same Sword of the Spirit is ready to your hand. Use it by faith, and so overcome the wicked one.
The last passage which the apostle quotes is taken from Isaiah, the eighth chapter and the eighteenth verse: “Behold I and the children which God hath given me.” This is yet to be fulfilled. I have shown you Christ as he was one with us, and Christ as he is one with us; now you shall see Christ as he is to be one with us. There shall be a day when he shall be manifested. At this hour, he is the hidden Christ, and our life is hid with him; but he is one day to appear. Then will he say, “Behold, here am I,” and all shall see him; even they who crucified him shall behold him when he cometh in his glory.
Observe that, in that day, he is to appear with his children, with those who have received life out of his life, those to whom he is the Adam, the true Father, the everlasting Father. He shall not appear alone; he would not care to do so. He shall be manifested with his saints. When he shall appear, we shall appear with him. “Behold,” saith he, “I and the children.” You see, he glories in them. He uses a phrase such as you would use of your children, a comely group, perhaps, of little ones, or perhaps, of grown-up sons and daughters. It is some high anniversary; suppose it is your golden wedding, and the glory of the day is not yourself alone, but the children. When you kneel together at the family altar, you say, “Lord, behold, here am I and the children thou hast given me.” You would not be half so happy if you could not mention their names, they are so dear to you. Well, that is how Jesus puts it: “Behold I and the children.”
And then he uses such a sweet phrase about them. He says, “the children which God hath given me.” You know that, in the seventeenth of John, in that wonderful prayer of our Lord to his Father, he always calls his disciples, “those whom thou hast given me.” He likes to dwell on that fact. They are precious to him in themselves, but far more precious as the Father’s gift to him. Some things are valued by you as keepsakes given by one you love; and so are we dear to Christ because his Father gave us to him. “The children which God hath given me.” Sweet, sweet words! But do they not show you what oneness there is between Christ and his people? The father and the mother are marvellously one with their own children when those children have not grieved them, but have made them happy, so that they can speak of them as the children that God has given them. Then you see how they are knit together as one. That is a wonderful expression that is used concerning David, where Abigail said that his soul should be bound in the bundle of life with the Lord his God So is it truly with all the Lord’s redeemed, they are bound in the bundle of life with Christ, and he says, “Behold I and the children which God hath given me.”
It seems to imply that he would feel himself bereaven if they were not there. If he could not say, “I and the children which God hath given me,” he would be like Naomi when she came back from Moab, and said, “Call me not Naomi, call me Mara,” for she had lost her children. Shall Jesus, the great Father of the age, lose any of his redeemed? Shall he fail to see of the travail of his soul? Shall the children, born of his agony and passion, after all expire, or be taken from him? Never. Glorious Christ, at the last, thou shalt say, “Here am I and the children which God hath given me.”
Our Lord appears by these words to call the world’s attention to his people together with himself. “Behold,” says he, — not, “Behold me,” but, “Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs and for wonders.” Jesus will be nothing except his people are there with him, even in the great day of his appearing. Oh, I feel as if I could stop and ask you to sing those lines of which dear old Lowland Hill was so fond, —
“But this I do find, we two are so joined,
He’ll not live in glory and leave me behind.”
Jesus will not have heaven without us, he will not have his crown without us, he will not have his throne without us, he will not have the Father’s house without us, he will not go unto his rest without us, for he has made us to be part of himself, we are “all of one.” Just think of Christ without his people. A head without members of the body— what a ghastly sight! A shepherd without sheep— what an unhappy person! A father without children— what a desolated heart! No, no; it shall not be so, Christ is one with his people, and “who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” Well may I answer with the apostle, “I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
O people of God, be as happy as ever you can! Rejoice in the Lord “with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” If you should be so full of joy as not to be able to contain yourselves, you would not be more happy than you are warranted in being by the blessed truth which I have set before you, that Christ and you are “all of one.”
As for you who have no part nor lot in this matter, God have mercy upon you, and bring you by faith to look to Christ, and to be joined for ever to him, for his dear sake! Amen.