The Gift of Christ!
William Nicholson, 1862
"He gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father!" Galatians 1:4
Redeeming love is an interesting theme to saints on earth, and to saints in glory. It should be the favorite topic of the Christian's constant meditation. Nothing could so interest him, nothing could so cheer him. Christ is his best friend — wonderful beyond all parallel has been his love, and splendid are all his gifts to him. Rich beyond conception, are all his purposes of grace which he is executing; and magnificent is the reward which Christ is preparing for the believer. Therefore, ought not Christ to be remembered? Ought he not to be loved? In this passage, Paul declares what Christ has done for the Church.
I. Consider the Gift."He gave himself."
In verse 3, he is styled, "Our Lord Jesus Christ," names implying Divinity, and consecration to the office of saving the world — the Divinely anointed Almighty Savior.
1. Regard Christ as the object of every prophecy, from the time of the first promise to the end of the old dispensation. Patriarchs and prophets spoke to him.
2. Regard Christ as the substance of every type and shadow. All the sacrifices pointed to him. The splendid service of the temple pointed to him.
the ark of the covenant,
the rock smitten in Horeb,
the serpent of brass,
the cities of refuge,
the bleeding lamb,
the altar's fire, etc.
— all pointed to him.
Like stars in the hemisphere, they declared the rising of the Sun of Righteousness.
3. Regard Christ as the subject of every promise. Luke 1:72; Romans 1:2, 3; Acts 3:18. "For no matter how many promises God has made, they are 'Yes' in Christ." 2 Corinthians 1:20
4. He was qualified for the work of human redemption. He was:
He had Divine-Human spotlessness.
He was possessed of infinite love.
He was willing to suffer and die.
II. Consider His Marvelous Act."Gave himself for our sins."
1. "He gave himself!"
He gave himself to all the privations and sorrows of human life.
"He came into the world" which abhorred him, disowned him, and murdered him!
He gave himself to obscurity and indigence — born in a stable — had no where to lay his head.
He gave himself to scorn and infamy. He was denounced as . . .
as a glutton,
as a drunkard,
as a demoniac,
as a traitor!
Judas betrayed him.
Peter denied him.
The disciples fled.
"Scorn has broken my heart and has left me helpless; I looked for sympathy, but there was none, for comforters, but I found none!" Psalm 69:20
He gave himself to pain and anguish. "He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering!" Isaiah 53:3. Behold his agony at Gabbatha, Gethsemane, and Golgotha!
He gave himself to an ignominious and painful death. "He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed!" Isaiah 53:5
He died the just for the unjust.
2. The purpose for which he gave himself: "Who gave himself for our sins!"
Man is a sinner. He has transgressed the Divine law, and rendered himself accursed. Christ died to save helpless, ruined man.
He gave himself:
(1.) To deliver us from sin's curse. Galatians 3:13.
(2.) To deliver us from sin's defilement, Ephesians 5:25-27; Titus 2:11-14; 1 John 1:9.
(3.) To deliver us from sin's dominion, Romans 6:14. Renovated in heart and life, sin is now hateful; and the power communicated by Christ enables the Christian to resist it.
(4.) To deliver us from the effects of sin in this world and in eternity. From . . .
the fear of death,
the fear of endless perdition.
The believer now has peace, joy, hope, triumph.
III. Consider the Design of Christ's Offering:"That he might deliver us from this present evil world."
The word translated "evil" means in the original, laborious and oppressive; and therefore the phrase, "present evil world," has been referred by some to freedom from the Jewish ceremonial yoke, which was a burden neither they nor their fathers were able to bear. The Apostle informs the Galatians that circumcision and all the other ritual parts of the Mosaic economy should cease. The law had declared the evil and guilt of sin, in its various ordinances, washings, and sacrifices; but the common sense, even of its own votaries, declared "it was impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sin." A higher atonement was necessary, and when God provided that, all its shadows and representations necessarily ceased.
But the sacrifice of Christ, and the union and fellowship with him, was to deliver us from the present evil world. Not totally to remove us out of the world, but to deliver us from its evil practices — from its maxims and philosophies.
To deliver us from the condemnation to which the world will be subjected.
To deliver us from attachment to it — "For this is not your resting place, because it is defiled, it is ruined, beyond all remedy!" Micah 2:10.
To influence us to look higher, accounting ourselves as "strangers and pilgrims" on earth; declaring plainly that we are "seeking a better country, that is a heavenly one!"
To deliver us when we die, from . . .
its sinful beings —
and to introduce us to a purer, brighter, happier world than this, where we shall reside forever!
IV. Christ's Offering Was According to the Will of God."According to the will of God," etc.
1. It was the will of God that we would be saved.
2. Christ was the appointed agent. He, as Mediator, was the Father's servant, and whatever he did in the work of mediation for us, was by the appointment and special approbation of the Father. The Son's sacrifice — was the Father's pleasure.
3. The sacrifice of Christ was voluntary. "He gave himself," John 10:17, 18. It must therefore have been prompted by infinite love.
In conclusion, behold the amazing condescension of Jehovah. He has through the atonement of Jesus, become the Father of all believers. "According to the will of God our Father."
What encouragement the Sacrifice of Christ gives to all the contrite!
Believers should breathe the spirit of Paul, "To Him be the glory forevermore. Amen. Galatians 1:5