(A Sermon given on November 22, 1927)
My remarks this evening will be drawn from and based upon three separate verses of Scripture, the first of which is found in Hebrews 2:11—"For both he who sanctifies and they who are sanctified are all of one." The reference there is to the Redeemer and His redeemed as you will see by a glance at the first word of the verse linking it up with the tenth. In verse ten, we are told, "For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he who sanctifies [the Lord Jesus] and they who are sanctified [His redeemed] are all of one." The word "sanctified" there refers to setting apart unto God and what I want you to particularly dwell upon this evening are the words "all of one"—a truly wondrous and blessed statement when we bear in mind of whom it is said, when we think of the tremendous disparity of persons—the Sinless One and hell-deserving sinners, the King of Kings and worms of the earth, the Lord of Glory and beggars of the dunghill—all of one. Truly nothing but faith, and a God-given faith, can lay hold of that. Reason is inadequate, feelings cannot rise to such a level, that in any sense the Holy One of God and fallen descendants of Adam—the Beloved of the Father and hell-deserving sinners—should ever have become one—"all of one"—in our standing before God, all of one in our acceptance before Him, all of one in entering into and enjoying the inheritance. Now it is only by comparing other passages, parallel Scriptures, that we can in any measure enter into the understanding of those words, "all of one." It is only as we look at that from two distinct aspects, from two different angles, and see how they have been actualized in two distinct stages, that we can enter into their meaning, "all of one."
There are two other texts that I want to link up with that both amplify and simplify it. The first is found in Isaiah 53 and a sentence from the twelfth verse: "And he was numbered with the transgressors"—Christ becoming one with His sinful people. He was numbered with the transgressors. Then in 1 Corinthians, the sixth chapter and the seventeenth verse: "He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit," the believer being made one with Christ. He who sanctifies and they who are sanctified are all of one. Now in the first place, I want us to dwell upon the Lord Jesus becoming one with His people. "He was numbered with the transgressors." That brings before us the solemn side of the subject. For Him to become one with us meant that the Son of God must leave the glory on high and come down to this world of sin, but it meant more than that. In order for Him to become one with us, in order for Him to be numbered with the transgressors, it necessitated that He should come right down to where His fallen and sinful people were and enter into their terrible circumstances and condition under the condemnation of a holy, sin-hating God. It must not be thought that those words, "numbered with the transgressors," are to be limited to the final act when Christ was crucified between the two thieves on Calvary. As the Holy Spirit tells us in the Gospels, that was the fulfillment, the filling full of that prophecy. But from the very first moment (now hear me closely, brethren), from the very first moment when the Son of God was made in the likeness of sin's flesh, He was numbered with the transgressors. Let me just follow out that thought for a little. Let me begin at the beginning. As the descendants of fallen Adam, robbed of all strength by sin (for that is what sin has done, robbed us, emptied us of strength—that is why we read in Romans 5:6, "When we were yet without strength"), I say that as the descendants of fallen Adam, we enter this world not in our prime, not in the strength of manhood, but as puny little babes, helpless, unable to do a thing for ourselves. And my brethren and sisters, when the great Son of God became incarnate, He entered not this world as the first Adam did, in the prime of manhood, in the strength and vigor of humanity, but He too, "numbered with transgressors," "all of one," came into this world as we and hung upon a woman's breast. But more, who was the woman that was selected to be His mother? Was she a woman of affluence?
Was she taken from the ranks of the wealthy? No. A very touching proof of that is found in the second chapter of Luke where we are told that when she went to the Temple to offer the sacrifice which the law required at the time of her ceremonial purification, she brought not a lamb, but the offering of the poor, two Turtle-doves. Why was it? Did you ever stop to inquire why was it that when the Son of God came to this world, He was born into a family of poverty? Ah, listen! Sin has not only robbed us of our strength, but it has impoverished us. Sin has bankrupted us. And therefore, if He who sanctifies and they who are sanctified should be all of one, if He should be numbered with the transgressors, then He who was rich must become poor that we through His poverty might become rich. But further, not only has sin robbed us of our strength, not only has sin impoverished us, but my brethren and sisters, sin has debased us. In one very real sense, sin has dragged us down to the level of the brute beasts inasmuch as it has alienated us from God, emptied us of spiritual life, dead Godwards, brought us down to the level of the beasts of the field. Hence, when He who sanctifies and they who are sanctified were all of one, hence I say, when He was numbered with the transgressors, you find Him at the beginning with the beasts of the field. Passing now from His infancy, come to the time of His manhood. As you are all aware, He spent years toiling at the carpenter's bench. Did you ever ask why? Did you ever pause to inquire why He who made the worlds should suffer such servile humiliation as that? Wherein was the needs-be for the Lord of Glory to suffer that manual degradation? Ah, listen! To the first human transgressor, a holy God said, "In the sweat of your brow shall you eat bread," and the incarnate Son of God was numbered with transgressors and in the sweat of His brow He obtained His bread. To pass on still further. At the beginning of His public ministry, we find Him for forty days assailed by the arch fiend in the wilderness.
Why did God suffer His Beloved to be attacked by Satan? Why? In all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren, for He who sanctifies and they who are sanctified are all of one, and in becoming one with us, entering into our circumstances, coming down to the place where sin had brought us under the condemnation of a holy God, numbered with transgressors, He enters our circumstances. Review now the whole of His life. Was there any single portion of His life that was smooth and easy? Think for a moment of Him hungering and thirsting. Think of the privations which He suffered, such as none of us ever has or probably ever will, not having where to lay His head. Why was that necessary? Could He not go to the cross and offer Himself there as a sacrifice for sin without entering into such extreme humiliation as that? Why should He be the homeless wanderer here with not where to lay His head? Ah, my friends, have we not read in God's Word, has He not said, the way of the transgressor is hard? The way of the transgressor—Ah, He was numbered with transgressors; and that fact and the realization of it sheds a flood of light upon many details in the life of Christ which are inexplicable but for that. Let me take you one step further to a point that has been a great stumbling block to many devout theologians. There are many who have seen that there was a needs-be for Christ to suffer at the hands of God, but why suffer at the hands of men? They have seen that He must die, for the wages of sin is death and these wages must be paid either to the sinner or to his Substitute.
They have seen that He must lay down His life if we were to live, but why must He be scourged and buffeted and spat upon? Listen! Was it righteous—O God, help me to speak wisely—was it righteous, was it just that a holy God should suffer a sinless, perfect Man to be treated as He was here on earth? And my brethren and sisters, calmly and deliberately weighing my words, I say it was not. It is unrighteous and unjust for a holy God, with the government in His hand, to allow an innocent Being to suffer or to allow a holy Being to receive such treatment. But what is the key? What is the key that solves the problem? It is this. Though in Himself He was sinless and holy, yet legally He was not—He was numbered with transgressors and that which their sins had merited, the punishment which was due them, must be endured by Him. Listen again! The inflexible law of God says, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength, and your neighbor as yourself." And we have done neither. We, as fallen descendants of Adam, have neither loved God with all our hearts nor our neighbors as ourselves; and therefore, because Christ had come here to suffer the due reward of our iniquities, because we have failed to love either God or our neighbor as we should, then He must experience and suffer the wrath both of God and man. Yes, He was numbered with the transgressors from the first moment He drew His breath on this earth. Go yonder to the cross. See Him there crucified between two criminals and ask the question, Why? Why should He be put to death between two malefactors? Oh, you say, that was because they were expressing their hatred; that was to add to His shame. Perfectly true from the human viewpoint, but what about the divine? Has not the Holy Spirit told us through Peter in Acts 4:27 and 28 that whatever Israel did at that time with wicked hands was only what God's foreknowledge and counsel had determined before should be done, to do whatever His hand had decreed?
But why had God decreed? Wherein lay the needs-be for His beloved Son to be put to death between two malefactors? To make it still more manifest, to exhibit the fact publicly that He was numbered with the transgressors, for He that sanctifies and they who are sanctified are all of one. And in order for that to be, He must be numbered with the transgressors. Now, turning to the other part of the subject, it is all summarized in the third text, in 1 Corinthians 6:17, "But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit." Not only did the Lord become one with His people in their iniquities, but His people have become one with Him in His righteousness and holiness—all of one. "He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit." First of all, we were always one with Him in the purposes of God, as we are told in the first chapter of Ephesians and the fourth verse— chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. Even then, the redeemed were one with the Redeemer in the purpose, in the mind, in the counsels of God. Then in the second place, they were one with Him legally at every point. When Christ was crucified, they were crucified, as we are told in Romans 6, verse 8. Let me just run over two or three passages. "Our old man is crucified with him." How could that be? In what sense was that true? "For both he who sanctifies and they who are sanctified are all of one." There was a perfect identification between the Substitute and those for whom He was acting, and also between those for whom He was acting and their Substitute. They were all of one before God. Hence, when He was crucified, our old man was crucified. In other words, our standing in Adam came to an end at the cross. All that we were by nature, the old man, was crucified, made an end of so far as God is concerned—not yet so far as we are concerned in our experience, but so far as God is concerned as the righteous Judge and Administrator of His laws—when Christ was crucified, we were crucified. So in the second of Corinthians, the fifth chapter and the fourteenth verse, we read, "If one died for all, then the all died." (I am quoting there from the Revised Version.)
If one died for all substitutionally, then it logically follows, it is the conclusion that is drawn, not an adverb of time, but a conclusion—then the all for whom He died, they died. So again we are told in Ephesians 2:5 that when He was quickened, we were quickened. You find there the words, "quickened together with Christ." Why? How? In what sense? Because He who sanctifies and they who are sanctified are all of one. God has not dealt with Christ as a private Person, but as the Head of His people who are members of His body—all of one, for "he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit." That is even nearer, if degrees are possible, than "one body"—"one spirit." So again in Colossians 3:1, we are told that when He rose, we arose. "If you then be risen with Christ." "Risen with Christ"—you see, it brings in the thought of oneness, association, fellowship, His oneness with. "If you then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above." Further, because of that inseparable oneness with Him, when He ascended, we ascended; hence we are told in Ephesians 2:6, we have been made to sit together in heavenlies in Christ. Or as you have it in Ephesians 4:8 (I was anticipating a little), "When he ascended up on high" (I am glad I did not overlook that Scripture, for it is mostly misunderstood) "When he ascended up on high, (the margin says) he led on high a host of captives." When He ascended on high, He led on high a host of captives. In other words, when He ascended, we ascended. He led captivity captive, or a host of captives.
So when He sat down, we sat down with Him; and hence, when He comes again in glory, as we are told in Colossians 3:4, "When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall you also appear with him in glory." Now I do not think there is any need for me to make any lengthy application of this subject to the present occasion in connection with the administration of scriptural Christian baptism. Let me sum it up first of all in this way. When the Lord Jesus Christ was baptized, He set forth by that symbolic action His oneness with His people. That was before us on a previous occasion. When His forerunner was there at the Jordan baptizing with the baptism of repentance, when the people came there confessing their sins, the Lord Jesus, as the One who was numbered with transgressors, received baptism at the hands of John, saying, "Thus it becomes us" for "He who sanctifies and they who are sanctified are all of one." "Thus it becomes us to fulfill all righteousness." So that in His baptism, Christ set forth His oneness with His people. In our baptism, we show forth our oneness with Him in His death, in His burial, and in His resurrection. As we read in Romans 6, "buried with him by baptism." How obvious it should be then, beloved, that the mere sprinkling of a few drops of water upon a person could not and cannot set forth, cannot portray a death, a burial, a resurrection and that is what scriptural baptism does. It is a showing forth of the fact that He who sanctifies and they who are sanctified are all of one, one with Christ in His death; an owning of the fact, a symbolical setting forth of the fact that His death was my death, that I was one with Him in death; a setting forth of the fact that His burial was my burial, making an end before God of the old man—put out of sight; a showing forth of the fact that the grave was not the last thing, death did not end all. He who died is now alive for evermore. He rose again.
O beloved, can you not see how fittingly, how strikingly, how touchingly the momentary burial of a person in that watery grave, the same as Christ was buried in the waters of Jordan, and then the raising up of that believer out of the water, expressing the fact that he is risen together with Christ, do you not see how appropriately and how touchingly that sets forth that He who sanctifies and they who are sanctified are all of one? That is our object, dear friends, this evening, to take one who has confessed her faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who has by the grace of God received evidence in her own soul that her sins have been blotted out by the precious blood, that she was among that number purchased unto God at Calvary's cross, the desire having been put in her heart by divine grace in a practical way to show forth her oneness with Christ, following the example He has left. [She] is about to pass through those waters, through a symbolical grave, to show forth the fact—not to put away her sins—they were put away at the cross—not in order to quicken her into newness of life—we believe that she has been quickened by the power of God's Spirit, for he who is joined to the Lord, and that is what takes place at the new birth, if anyone be in Christ, he is a new creation, as you read in Ephesian 2:10. That follows that well-known passage in verses 8 and 9 (usually the tenth verse is left), "By grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus." "He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit," created in Christ Jesus.
Oh, let me just stress that for a moment. I am not joined to the Lord by any act of mine. It is not an act of my will. It is not the surrender of my heart. No, and it is not my faith that unites me to Christ. It is the Spirit of God. We are created in Christ Jesus. It is the faith given from above that enables us to apprehend that and to enjoy it. It is not faith that unites me to Christ, it is faith that enables me to enjoy the fact that the Holy Spirit has united me to Christ. Make no misunderstanding on that point. I say again, our sister is not going to pass through these waters in order to be regenerated or born of the Spirit, but to evidence the fact that she has been by the Holy Spirit and has been joined to the Lord, for he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit. O may she now enjoy the triune blessing of the Triune God. May the heavens be experimentally opened to her as they were over the Jordan when her Lord was baptized. May the voice of the Father be heard speaking in words of assurance, "You are my beloved." May she have the evidence in her own soul of the Spirit of God descending, anointing, and empowering her to walk in newness of life. God grant it for His Name's sake.