|The Redemption Of Lost Mankind|
|Christ Shed His Blood||107||"I Feel Like My Heart Is Very Black"||112|
|Sin Makes A Slave Of Man||108||Empty-Handed, I Stand Before The Cross!||113|
|Substitutionary Price Of Redemption||109||He Took Our Flogging!||114|
|The Law Is Silenced!||110||The Lovely Died For The Loveless!||115|
|Glorious Freedom!||111||Discussion Questions||116|
Christ Shed His Blood
Christ substituted and sacrificed His life on the cross for us that we might be spared divine wrath and that we might have eternal life. "For God so loved the world, that He gave his only Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
The scriptures make it clear that God's wrath is visited upon sinners or else the Son of God dies for them. Either we die or He dies. The person who accepts Christ's provision for man's plight need not endure the penalty of sin which is eternal death, but instead enjoy the gift of God which is eternal life!
Christ shed His blood on the cross that mankind might live. "Without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness." (Hebrews 9:22 NASB) Merv Rosell relates an interesting story. "The little daughter of a friend of mine, five-year-old Mary, underwent an operation and lost so much blood that it was necessary to resort to blood transfusion. Samples of the blood of all the adults of the family were taken, but none was found to match Mary's. Then a test was made of her older brother's blood. It was found to match. Jimmy is a husky boy, thirteen years old and deeply fond of little Mary. 'Will you give your sister some of your blood?' the doctor asked Jim. Jimmy set his teeth. 'Yes, sir, if she needs it!' The need was very desperate so the boy was at once prepared for the transfusion. In the midst of the drawing of the blood, the doctor observed Jimmy growing paler and paler. There was no apparent reason for this.'Are you ill, Jim?' asked the doctor. 'No, sir, but I'm wondering just when I'll die.' 'Die?' gasped the doctor. 'Do you think people give their lives when they give a little blood?' 'Yes, sir,' replied Jimmy. 'And you were giving your life for Mary's?' 'Yes, sir,' replied the boy simply." (Shoe-Leather Faith by Merv Rosell; No. 448)
The scriptures are very clear that Christ's death was substitutionary in nature. Christ died that we might live!
Said the great preacher, Robert G. Lee: "When God made man, God breathed into him–and he became a living soul. But when God made salvation available for men, God bled for man." Wrote the apostle Peter, "The price was in fact the lifeblood of Christ, the unblemished and unstained lamb of sacrifice." (1 Peter 1:19 Phillips) Jesus is the 'Lamb of God' who takes away the sins of the world!
"Life is in the blood! When Jesus' blood was shed, God's life was poured out for me! No shedding of blood, no saving sacrifice! 'The blood, the blood'–this is my plea, this is my salvation! Thank you! Amen."
AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: Love which bleeds is love which saves!
Sin Makes A Slave Of Man
Jesus came to earth to ransom a lost race of sinners! Wrote Peter, "For you must realize all the time that you have been 'ransomed' from the futile way of living passed on to you by your fathers' traditions, not with some money payment of transient value, but by the costly shedding of blood. The price was in fact the lifeblood of Christ, the unblemished and unstained lamb of sacrifice." (1 Peter 1:18-19 Phillips)
Mark declares Jesus' mission in these words: "The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." (Mark 10:45)
Redemption is the work of Christ. Basic to the idea of 'redemption' is 'deliverance with a cost involved.' A ransom price was given to liberate a slave. Assumed in the definition of redemption is the fact of the bondage of mankind. Sin makes a slave of man.
Man is a slave to sin by reason of his sinful nature. Wrote Paul, "But there is something else deep within me, in my lower nature, that is at war with my mind and wins the fight and makes me a slave to the sin and death that are still within me. In my mind I want to be God's willing servant but instead I find myself still enslaved to sin." (Romans 7:23 Living Bible)
Man is a slave to sin by reason of his own choice. "Don't you realize that you can choose your own master: You can choose sin (with death) or else obedience (with goodness). The one to whom you offer yourself, he will take you and be your master and you will be his slave ." (Phillips, Romans 6:16)
Sin affects the mind, the emotions, the conscience, and the will of man. Sin makes man a slave to passion, pride, self-centeredness, anger, hate, anxiety, and fear. One minister tells of an alcoholic with whom he prayed for salvation. The alcoholic was so bound by his habit that he left the room where the minister had been praying with him. Through alcohol, he sought to drown his thoughts of God. He was trying to run from God and from reality. Finally, on his deathbed the alcoholic cried out to God for forgiveness. His soul was saved in that moment of repentance, but his life, which had been wasted on alcohol, was lost.
In the name of freedom, there are those who deny God's moral law and become a law unto themselves. (2 Peter 2:19) But Jesus said, "Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin." (John 8:34) Inherent in the idea of redemption is the assumption that man is in bondage to sin and to self. Is there any ruler so tyrannical as self?
"Thou liberator of my soul, deliver me from the bondage to sin and to self. Save my soul from eternal loss, and save my life for earthly gain! Amen."
AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: If the Son shall make me free, I shall be really free! (John 8:36)
1 Peter 1:18-21
Substitutionary Price Of Redemption
We have been making note of the fact that God ransomed sinners with the precious lifeblood of Christ, who is the sinless, spotless Lamb of God! The scriptures often speak of the suffering and sacrifice of the Saviour. "For it became Him (Jesus), 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." (Hebrews 2:10)
"Under the system of Jewish laws the high priest brought the blood of the slain animals into the sanctuary as a sacrifice for sin, and then the bodies of the animals were burned outside the city. That is why Jesus suffered and died outside the city, where His blood washed our sins away." (Hebrews 13:11-12)
"We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man." (Hebrews 2:9)
The writer of Hebrews wrote: "Keep your eyes on Jesus, our leader and instructor. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy He knew would be His afterwards; and now He sits in the place of honor by the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:2) The substitutionary death of Jesus became the ransom price for mankind!
"A minister was boarding at a farmhouse, and his host was not a Christian. Early one morning, the farmer beckoned to the minister to follow him out to the chicken house. There, on one of the nests, sat a hen with a brood of chickens peeping out from under her wings. 'Touch her, Parson,' said the farmer. As the minister put his hand on the hen, he found that she was rigid in death! 'Look at that wound in her head,' the farmer continued. 'A weasel has sucked all the blood from her body, and she never once moved for fear the little beast would get her chickens!' 'Oh, Jonas, I said the minister, 'that was just like Christ! He endured all the suffering of crucifixion, though He might have come down and saved His own life. But He didn't, because our redemption depended upon His death. If He had been spared death, we would be lost!' The farmer saw it instantly. Tears of penitence began to course down his cheeks, as with a grateful heart he thanked God for His unspeakable gift!" (Shoe-Leather Faith; Merv Rosell; no. 333)
Greater love than this cannot be found, that God would shed His sinless blood for sinful man!
"I receive the breath of life from God's creative power; I avoid the sentence of death through Christ's cleansing blood! I am doubly Yours–through Creation and through Redemption! Amen."
AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: I shall combine tears of penitence with tears of joy when I look at the Crucified Saviour!
The Law Is Silenced!
What was the motivation for Christ's costly ransom for man? Nothing less than love, the love which gave and suffered, and the love which conquered and achieved!
Christ's death redeemed man from sin. "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." (Romans 3:24) To the Ephesians, Paul wrote: "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace." (Ephesians 1:7) Wrote Paul to Timothy, "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all." (1 Timothy 2:5-6)
Christ's death redeemed man from the law's curse. Man cannot keep the law's demands, but Jesus was able to keep those demands. Thus, Jesus alone is the perfect fulfiller of the law with all its stringent demands–another evidence that Jesus was divine!
Christ not only perfectly fulfilled the law's demands, but Christ paid the full penalty for the law's infraction. Jesus' death was substitutionary in nature. Not only did He come to redeem man from sin, but He came also to redeem or deliver man from the law's curse. "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us–for it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.'" (Galatians 3:13 NASB) "But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order that He might redeem those who were subject to the law, so that we might be adopted as sons." (Galatians 4:4-5 Barclay)
As Spurgeon says: "As many as Christ died for, are for ever free from the curse of the law; for when the law cometh to curse a man who believeth in Christ, he saith, 'What have I to do with thee, O law? Thou sayest, 'I will curse thee,' but I reply, 'Thou hast cursed Christ instead of me. Canst thou curse twice for one offense?'" Behold how the law is silenced! God's law having received all it can demand, is not so unrighteous as to demand anything more. All that God can demand of a believing sinner, Christ has already paid, and there is no voice in earth or heaven that can henceforth accuse a soul that believes in Jesus. You were in debt, but a friend paid your debt; no writ can be served on you. It matters nothing that you did not pay it, it is paid, and you have the receipt. That is sufficient in any court of equity. So with all the penalty that was due to us, Christ has borne it." (The Passion and Death of Christ; Charles Spurgeon; pg. 64)
"Christ, you have paid the penalty of sin, and thus fulfilled the law's demands. God, you have demanded all, and your Son has paid all. Now I can receive all! Glory! Amen."
AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: Because Christ spoke 'loudly' on the Cross, the law has been silenced! Now I have a right to sing confidently of forgiveness, and the law cannot speak back! Amazing!
Common to the idea of redemption is freedom–the result of paying the ransom price. When a ransom was given for a slave, the slave was freed. The Bible defines man as a slave to sin, and it describes Christ's death as a death to ransom man, to free him from the bondage of sin.
Many passages from Paul speak of man's freedom from sin's bondage. "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." (Romans 8:2) Paul wrote to Timothy that Christ "hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." (2 Timothy 1:10) Paul said that "our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." (Romans 6:6) The Christian is serving a new Master.
It is the glorious message of the Bible that man can be freed from his sinful bondage! Christ gives liberty to man. If the Son makes you free, you are free indeed! This liberty, however, is not a selfish liberty, but it is a liberty to serve Christ, instead of self! The paradox of the Christian's redemption is that he is redeemed to become a slave! A slave, not of passion, but of love; a slave, not of self-will, but of Christ; a slave, not of sin, but of righteousness! "But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life." (Romans 6:22)
Liberty is not to be abused. Christian liberty is liberty to serve Christ, and the motivation for this service is love. Christ loved man so much that He bought man with the price of His own blood! "For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit which are God's." (1 Corinthians 6:20)
How can God be glorified? By living a life of love and service to God and to our fellowmen.
Christ gives love for hate, a cool head for a hot temper, understanding for resentment, confidence for fear, relaxation for anxiety, peace for guilt, integration for divided loyalties, direction for confusion. Christ came to give the more 'abundant life.' The greatest freedom of all is the freedom from the tyranny of self. Self in the center of life, makes one's life off-center! Freedom from sin is freedom to serve the Saviour. Bowing low before Christ, you stand tall before everything else! Glorious freedom!
"God, I realize that it is an inescapable fact of life that everyone is the servant of some master–either a servant of sin or a servant of righteousness! Satan gives bondage; Christ gives freedom. I choose Christ as my Master! Amen."
AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: I am free to choose my Master, but I am not free to accept or to reject the consequences of my choice!
"I Feel Like My Heart Is Very Black"
During the last several days, we have been looking at the glory of the cross of Christ. After the showing of a vivid film on the death and resurrection of Jesus, a young grade school child travelled to his home in a car with a children's worker. Before he arrived at his home, the child said to the worker, "I feel like my heart is very black!" That young child was visibly moved as he remembered seeing Jesus portrayed in agony on the cross. The cross had touched his life and convicted him of sin. There in the car, as he was travelling to his house, that children's worker led that precious child to a saving knowledge of Christ. It was the cross and God's love demonstrated on that cross that melted that child's heart.
Listen to the following testimony of a man who saw himself in the light of the cross: "I was deeply convinced of the great goodness of God towards me all of my life, particularly in that he had given his Son to die for me. I also had a far clearer view of my sins; particularly my base ingratitude toward him. These discoveries quite broke my heart, and caused showers of tears to trickle down my cheeks. I was likewise filled with an utter abhorrence of my evil ways, and was much ashamed that ever I had walked in them. And my heart was thus turned from all evil, so that it was powerfully inclined to do all that is good. It is not easy to express what strong desires I had for God and his service; and what resolutions I had to seek and to serve him in the future: in consequence of which, I broke off all my evil practices and forsook all my wicked and foolish companions, without delay, and gave myself up to God and his service with my whole heart." (Quoted in Personal Renewal Through Conversion; C. Curry Mavis; pg. 34)
It is in the cross of Christ that we glory, for the cross of Christ demonstrates the love of the eternal God. Love is costly! Love is bloody! Love is a cross! It is God's love alone that devised the plan of salvation. God was under no obligation whatever to save mankind. God would not have been unjust to have condemned mankind to damnation and eternal loss. It is God's inherent nature to love. There was nothing in mankind to incite or create love in God. Man's salvation is entirely dependent upon God's love which is uncaused and unconditional. This love is a matter totally of God's will and nature, not of man's worthiness.
"Holy God, I realize I am unholy, in need of your holiness. The cross shows the blackness of my nature, but more than this, the brightness of your love!"
AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: I will allow the Cross to do its convicting and convincing work in my life!
Empty-Handed, I Stand Before The Cross!
We are concentrating on the love of God, as demonstrated by the cross of Christ. It is important to emphasize that God's love is in no way a contradiction of God's wrath. At one and the same time, God hates sin and yet loves the sinner. The wrath of God is against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men; and yet, the same God whose wrath is incited by sin is the God whose love for the sinner sent His Son to become man's Saviour and sin's atonement. The God who justly hates sin is the God who intensely loves the sinner. In fact, the greater the love for the sinner, the greater the hatred for the sin which has ruined the sinner!
Think of a human analogy. The greater the love of the mother for the wayward son, the greater the hatred of the mother toward the sin which has debased the son. A mother can love her drunkard son intensely while at the same time she intensely hates the vice of alcoholism. The more she loves her son, the more she will hate his alcoholic bondage.
God's love and God's wrath are compatible. Indeed, God's wrath is a manifestation of God's love. We understand the love of God better, against the backdrop of sin which has God's wrath focused upon it!
God's love planned this glorious salvation for mankind, even before man was created, and even before the foundation of the earth was laid. (Matthew 25:34) Salvation is not an afterthought. In God's foreknowledge, He knew that mankind would fall from God and would need a Saviour. (Revelations 13:8)
God's love was manifested on the cross at a time in human history when every plan of man had been proven as powerless to save and to satisfy mankind. The Jews, for centuries, had sought to justify themselves by the works of the law. Jesus came to earth at a time when the glaring weaknesses of the law were most evident. The great period of Greek philosophy had had its opportunity, and had likewise proven to be powerless in unfolding truth and wisdom to man's questing heart. Jesus came at a time in history when the way of philosophy had left mankind empty and meaningless. Also, Jesus came to earth at a time when the glaring faults of Roman civilization, law, and culture were very evident.
Jewish law, Greek philosophy, and Roman culture all failed to save mankind. When mankind was most powerless to save itself through morality, philosophy, and culture, the Son of God came to die for mankind, in order to save mankind. (Romans 5:6)
"God, I am now seeing that my attempts at self-salvation are powerless and futile. You must save me if I am to be saved! 11
AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: I will not seek to justify myself through law-keeping, or philosophy, or culture.
He Took Our Flogging!
How is God's love best shown? God's love for helpless, hopeless, sinning humanity is shown best–not through Christ's great teachings concerning love, not through Christ's great miracles and healing works of compassion, not even through His sinless, loving actions and relationships among men. No, as great as the teachings, miracles, and life of Jesus were, it is not these that best demonstrate God's love for mankind. It is not these that save mankind.
There is no way that God could have saved sinning humanity–you and me–except through Christ's death! "Christ died for the ungodly." (Romans 5:6) Christ came into the world, not just to give us powerful miracles, profound teachings, and a pure example to follow. Christ came into the world to provide a substitutionary death for every sinner. God's saving love for the sinner demanded that Christ "taste death for every man." (Hebrews 2:9)
The penalty of sin is death. The justice of God demands the death penalty for willful transgressions against the known laws of God. The only way for an unjust sinner to be justly spared sin's penalty, is for the righteous Saviour to unsparingly take the sinner' s death. The justice of God can only be maintained through the exercise of the love of God–love that must suffer a substitutionary death for the sinner. Only through the exercise of such dying love can God remain just in His character and at the same time the sinner become justified in his standing before God. Someone must die for the sinner, and God's love compelled the Son to die for the sinner. Thus, the only way the sinner can be saved is through the cross of Christ. The cross is the meeting ground for the justice of God and the love of God. The cross satisfied God's justice and at the same time demonstrates God's love.
"In a school where student government ruled that any boy stealing should be whipped publicly, a hunchback stole a lunch, and when asked to take off his coat to be flogged, he pitifully begged, 'Oh, no, not that," for he was ashamed of his crooked spine. A big boy, from whom the lunch had been stolen, arose and asked if there was anything in the rules to prevent his taking the punishment, and when told there was none, he came forward and took it on himself. The hunchback, now a preacher, said he was redeemed through that act, for he saw the cross through it." (How To Be a Transformed Person; E. Stanley Jones; pg. 123)
"O Christ, your cross saves me from so much! You have saved me from the humiliation of sinful exposure and from the hell of righteous punishment. The cross is your great redeeming act for all time!"
AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: Because He took my fearful flogging for me, Christ has saved me for a fantastic future in heaven!
The Lovely Died For The Loveless!
God's love is beyond measure and degree! "Even if we were good, we really wouldn't expect anyone to die for us, though, of course, that might be barely possible." (Romans 5:7 Living Bible) Death for good men is unexpected, but death for bad men is unimaginable. "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) Christ not only died for us, but He suffered untold physical pain and indescribable spiritual affliction–all because He loved us! Think of the scourging Jesus endured before crucifixion. Barclay notes that when a man was scourged he was tied to a whipping post in such a way that his back was fully exposed. The lash was a long leather thong, studded at intervals with pellets of lead and sharpened pieces of bone. It literally tore a man's back into strips. Few remained conscious throughout the ordeal; some died; and many went raving mad. Jesus stood that. (Daily Study Bible; John; Vol. 2; pg. 285; William Barclay)
In Romans 5: 6-8, there are three terms that are used to describe bad men for whom Christ died: 'without strength,' ungodly,' and 'sinners.'
"Without strength" means "totally incapable." We are totally incapable of independently understanding spiritual truth, for "the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them." (1 Corinthians 2:14) We are totally incapable of independently pleasing God, for our righteousness is as 'filthy rags' in God's sight. (Isaiah 64:6)
"Ungodly" means "godless deeds" and "godless attitudes." We were made by God and for God, but we have rebelled against the laws and the love of God. We are made to be godlike, but instead we have become godless.
"Sinners" mean "those who practice sin." To sin is to 'miss the mark' or the goal and intention of God for human life. God's intentions for us have been thwarted because of our self-centered wills. What man plans, without God, is against the plan of God for man. The goal of life is to glorify and to serve God. Man seeks instead to glorify himself and to serve his own selfish purposes. Thus, man is a sinner, for man is 'missing the mark' of God's goals for human living.
"O Christ, You saved me when I was incapable of saving myself! The Good One died for the bad one; the Godly died for the godless; the Lovely died for the loveless; the Helpful died for the helpless! I can never repay such love!"
AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: Love divine deserves my life, my soul, my all!
Discussion Questions On 'The Redemption Of Lost Mankind'
Why is the shedding of the blood of Jesus on the cross considered to be of such central importance in the teachings of Christianity? (Note Hebrews 9:22.)
Define the meaning of 'Redemption,' and discuss the following elements that are essential for a full understanding of this concept: (a) the bondage of man, (b) the ransom price of Christ, (c) the freedom of man from sin.
By reason of what is man a 'slave to sin'?
Sin affects man in what areas of his life?
God claims ownership of every person, by right of what two great realities?
What was the motivation for Christ's costly ransom of mankind from sin?
What is the basis of the believer's confidence, in the face of the law's holy accusations against all imperfect men?
Essential to the idea of redemption is freedom. From what is a believer freed? To whom is a believer bound? What kind of life (in terms of attitudes and behavior) can one expect a spiritually-liberated person to live?
Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: "Man's salvation is entirely dependent upon God's love which is uncaused and unconditional. This love is a matter totally of God's will and nature, not of man's worthiness."
Why is God's love in no way a contradiction of God's wrath, and in what ways does God manifest both of these qualities in His treatment of mankind?
Show how each of the greatest contributions of the three main civilizations of Jesus' day (i.e., the Jewish, Greek, and Roman civilizations) failed to save mankind from its sins.
Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: "The only way for an unjust sinner to be justly spared sin's penalty is for the righteous Saviour to unsparingly take the sinner's death. The justice of God can only be maintained through the exercise of the love of God– love that must suffer a substitutionary death for the sinner."
How are those for whom Christ died described in Romans 5:6-8?