Redemption in ChristJan 31st, 2012 | By admin | Category: Special Features (click on Article name)
Golden Text–“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”– Rom. 3:24.
The theme of this lesson is the foundation doctrine of Christianity, which in these days of worldly wisdom is rapidly falling into disrepute. In innumerable ways the enemies of the cross of Christ are twisting and whittling the Scriptures and resorting to every form of subtle sophistry in order to show men how to climb up into the fold of God in some other than His appointed way. All such are thieves and robbers (John 10:1) seeking to steal away the faith and hope of God’s people.
The Apostle is here showing the immense importance and value of the death of Christ, to both Jews and Gentiles, both of whom are alike under the dominion of sin and condemned to death: the Jews in that they were unable to keep the Law of Moses, the Gentiles in that they were unable to live up to the law of their own conscience; so that every mouth is stopped from self-justification, and all the world stands guilty before God. The Jews had vainly hoped to justify themselves before God by keeping His Law; but this the Apostle shows they did not, and could not, do; for the Law uttered only condemnation to all that were under it, its only office to them being to convince them of sin, and to show them how far short they had come.–Verses 19,20.
But though salvation could never come by the Law, Paul shows that God had a way provided, apart from the Law, whereby men could be saved–not merely Jews, but all men who would come unto Him in His appointed way–by faith in Christ Jesus, “whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation [place of satisfaction], through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.” The one condition of this salvation is a grateful acceptance of it, by faith, as the free unmerited gift of God through Jesus Christ, which also implies an acknowledgment that we all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, that we are under just condemnation to death, and that we need a redeemer. (Verses 20,22-25.) Thus this Bible plan of salvation requires on our part (1) the acknowledgment of the Bible account of the fall of man, and of his just condemnation to death; (2) our dependence upon the grace of God to rescue us from that condemnation, and (3) faith in His appointed means of doing it, with a grateful, humble acceptance of the favor. But this Bible plan of salvation is antagonistic at every point to the evolution theory, now prevailing, which denies the fall of man; claims salvation as a natural consequence of an evolution of the human race from low to higher conditions, by the destruction of the carnal or sinful propensities in each sinner by himself; repudiates all necessity for a ransom; and thus rejects the favor of God through the atoning blood of Christ.
VERSES 21,22,26 declare that in the plan of God set forth in the Law and the Prophets, and fulfilled in Christ, the righteousness of God is clearly manifested: that He is shown to be just, and yet the justifier of those whom He formerly condemned. If this fact is witnessed to by the Law and the Prophets, the suggestion is that we look to the Law and the Prophets and see how they thus vindicate God’s character.
The simple account, as foretold by the prophets, and as historically related by the apostles, is (1) that the only begotten Son of God, who was with God from the beginning of creation, gave up his former glory and took our human nature; (2) that the object of this was that he might become a substitute, a ransom, for the man Adam (and all his posterity) whose life was forfeited by sin; (3) that he might be raised again by the Father and highly exalted to the divine nature, with all power in heaven and in earth to accomplish the complete deliverance of all those whom he purchased by the sacrifice of his humanity.–John 1:1; Col. 1:15-17; 1 Tim. 2:6; Rom. 11:32; Isa. 53:3-5; Phil. 2:9; Isa. 11:10.
VERSE 26. God, having justly condemned Adam and all his race as unworthy of everlasting life, could not justly reverse his own sentence, without a cause. By His own arrangement, however, Christ was that cause, for the removal of that original sentence of death–in that Christ died for our sins. Thus seen, the preaching, through faith in Christ, of divine favor to sinners, once under divine sentence, is not preaching a violation of justice on God’s part, but quite the reverse. The very fact that God provided so expensive a ransom-sacrifice for sinners proves that His justice is inviolable and unbending. It was because divine justice could not deviate, that divine love and mercy were brought into action; thus revealing to us that side of the divine character. Those who thus see the divine plan of mercy and forgiveness through a sin- offering, a corresponding price, and none others can see God to be just in justifying sinners whom He had once justly sentenced to death.
The doctrine of the ransom is thus shown by the Apostle to be fundamental to a proper conception and appreciation of God’s character.