Lesson Eighteen

The value of the Lord's church is seen in the price paid for the church.  Subsequently, the price paid indicates how precious the church is to God.  To the elders at Ephesus the apostle Paul said, "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood" (Acts 20:28).  Notice that the purchase price was HIS OWN BLOOD.  It is the sacrifice of the blood of Christ that makes it possible for each person to be saved and to be added to the Lord's church.  Therefore, the apostle said, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23).  It is through His death, His blood, and His sacrifice that we have the hope of eternal life.

The word "redeemed" means "to buy or purchase with a ransom price."  It is used of purchasing a slave to free him from bondage.  Concerning redemption, we are redeemed from the bondage of sin through a ransom price—the blood of Jesus.  Jesus taught that "Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin" (John 8:34).  Since all have sinned (Romans 3:23), all are in bondage to sin.  Therefore, Christ gave His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45) in order to free us from bondage.  Further, Paul taught, "Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness" (Romans 6:18).

 This ransom price was not some blunder of God nor was it some happenstance into which God stumbled.  This ransom was a planned sacrifice purposed by God.  Peter wrote, "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you" (1 Peter 1:18-20).

Before God spoke this world into existence, it was already in His mind to send His Son to this world to "give His life a ransom for many."  This purpose and plan of God manifests God's love for His church.

In all the history of the world, there has only been one person who was without sin—Jesus Christ.  This makes Him the perfect purchase price.  The writer of Hebrews in contrasting the Old Testament high priest—Aaron with the New Testament high priest—Jesus said, "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15).  Because Jesus is "the Son of man" (Matthew 16:13), He is "touched with the feeling of our infirmities" being "tempted like as we are."  But because He is "the Son of God" (Mark 1:1), He was "without sin."  Thus, in Hebrews 7:25-27 the writer continued, "Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.  For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself."

 Notice what other writers of the New Testament said.  Peter wrote concerning Jesus, "Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth" (1 Peter 2:22).  John wrote, "And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin" (1 John 3:5).  Paul wrote, "For he (God) hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him" (2 Corinthians 5:21).

 God's care is shown in that He gave the perfect purchase price.  To the evangelist Timothy, Paul wrote that God's will is for every person to be saved.  God's perfect purchase price establishes the only way man can approach the throne of God.  In 1 Timothy 2:3-6 Paul wrote,  "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.  For there is} one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time."

Just as there is one God, there is one mediator between God and man.  A mediator is a "go-between," that is, one who stands between two or more opposing parties with a view of producing peace.  There are two features that make Jesus the perfect "go-between."  First is His divinity.  Because Jesus is the incarnate Son of God (John 1:1-3, 14), He can approach the throne of God on our behalf.  Second is His humanity.  Because Jesus "was made flesh, and dwelt among us" (John 1:14), He can sympathize with man.  These two factors make Him the perfect purchase price.  Therefore, in heaven today, the "man Christ Jesus" mediates for all who will come to Him in faith and obedience.

The purchase price is the outcome of a passionate God.  The apostle John recorded the words of Jesus in John 3:16-17, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."

God's love is not only exhibited in the sending of His Son, it is revealed in the imparting of His word and in the establishment of His church.  However, the imparting of God's word and the establishment of His church would be of little value if God did not redeem sinners by the ransom of His beloved Son.

In consideration of God's passion, in Romans 5:8-9 Paul wrote, "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him."  Thus, while man was in rebellion toward God, Christ died for man.  The passion of this gracious sacrifice is not only seen in the sending of God's Son, but also in that God sent His Son while we were sinners.  The sacrifice is more than Christ gave His life that we might live.  It is that Christ gave His life while we were dead in our trespasses and sin that we might live.

John, the apostle of love, wrote much about the passion or love of God.  God's love is so marvelous John exclaimed, "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not" (1 John 3:1).  Also, he wrote, "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.  Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (1 John 4:9-10).

The application is "We love him, because he first loved us" (1 John 4:19).  We express our love to God in obedience of His will.  John wrote, "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous" (1 John 5:3).  Jesus taught, "If ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15).  A person may say they love God but it is only words until they obey God's commandments.  Again John wrote, "My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth" (1 John 3:18).

The price for our salvation has been paid by the precious blood of Jesus.  The way of salvation has been prepared through the church, which is His body (Ephesians 1:22-23).  Christ is the "saviour of the body" (Ephesians 5:23).  After the establishment of the church in Acts 2, Luke recorded, "Praising God, and having favour with all the people.  And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved" (Acts 2:47).  As it was in the first century, so it is today.  When we obey the gospel, the Lord adds us to His church—planned, precious, and purchased.

 "Behold, now is the accepted time;
 behold, now is the day of salvation."
         —2 Corinthians 6:2
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 Questions for Lesson 18

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