Redemption in Christ!
James Smith, 1860
How wonderfully God has blessed his people. Without a revelation from himself, we could never have known the gospel; could never have conceived it. And now we need a simple, childlike faith, to receive the intelligence, and credit the good news. What a privilege, to be chosen in Christ, to be predestined to be the sons of God, and to be blessed with all spiritual blessings in him, before the foundation of the world! And now, even now, in the midst of our sins and sorrows, toils and troubles, to be able to say as we speak of the Incarnate God, "in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace." Ephesians 1:7.
We are in union with Christ, Members of the church, of which he is the head, and which is his body. United to his own glorious person, so united, as to be identified with him. This flows from his Father's decree, by which we were separated from others, and set apart for this honor. This results from his assumption of our nature, by which he became one with us, that we might become one with him. This union is brought about by the Spirit's operation, who . . .
quickens us when dead in sin,
enlightens us to see our need of Christ,
leads us to the cross and person of Christ,
produces faith and fixes it on Christ,
sheds abroad Christ's love in our hearts,
draws out our love to Christ,
leads us to make a full surrender to Christ,
and so he takes us into union with himself forever.
We have redemption in Christ. That is, deliverance, or freedom from the curse, bondage, and condemnation of the law. Jesus took our sins on himself, was made a curse instead of us, and by virtue of this we are set free. Our debts are paid, our transgressions are atoned for, and our obligation to punishment is done away. There is no need for us to suffer, since Jesus has suffered for us; nor shall we eternally die, because Jesus has died for us. And now, being married to him, or made one with him, a perfect restoration to holiness and happiness, both in body and soul, is secured to us. We have redemption, our release is signed, and the title deeds to a glorious inheritance are made out to us. We have redemption, not through our own obedience, or our own sufferings--but we have redemption through his blood. His blood, or his life, was the price paid for our release--the ransom-price for our redemption. He came on purpose to give his life a ransom for many--and he did all, and suffered all, that was necessary to accomplish that glorious end. All that Jesus did and suffered, is included in 'his blood', the shedding of which was the crowning act of his obedience, and all was necessary in order to our legal, honorable, and everlasting deliverance.
We have redemption, the forgiveness of sins, which is the proof, the pledge, the first fruits. Mark, as believers, as in Christ, we are now pardoned. Our sins are blotted out, are covered, are done away. God for Christ's sake has forgiven us, and being pardoned, we shall not be punished; and being in Christ, we are accepted by God, approved by God, and are constituted heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ. Our pardon is present, we have the forgiveness of sins, as John said, "I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name's sake." Our pardon is full, it comprehends all our transgressions, and all our iniquities, and all our sins. Sins of omission, and sins of commission--are all forgiven. Our pardon is perpetual, it is everlasting forgiveness, expressed thus, "Their sins and their iniquities, I will remember no more!"
Every charge is answered, every ground of condemnation is removed--from all that are in Christ; as it is written, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
The SOURCE of all this is grace, rich grace. "In whom we have redemption through his blood, according to the riches of his grace." Not according to our works, or our faith, or our love--but according to his rich grace. Favor, free favor, is the root from which springs all our privileges, distinctions, and honors. This free favor of God acts towards us, as if it could never do too much for us, or confer too much upon us. It began to act early. It has always acted freely. It will act eternally. Its current is so strong, that its course cannot be impeded, or its direction turned. Like the sun it arose, scattered every cloud, and unhindered, goes on its way.
How important to be one with Christ! This . . .
secures us from wrath,
entitles us to pardon, and
provides for our eternal freedom.
How blessed to be one with Christ! For then the riches of God's grace, and the riches of God's glory, will be ours. How safe if we are one with Christ! What can harm us in this ark, who can lay hands on us in this city of refuge, what evil can befall us while in union with the Son of God? But how humbling to be thus made happy, and holy, and safe. Works, all works, excluded--and grace, only grace, appearing.
By grace we were chosen to be one with Christ;
by grace we were predestined to the adoption of sons, by Christ;
by grace we have redemption through the blood of Christ;
and by grace we shall be at last glorified, with Christ.
By grace, and by grace alone, we are saved from first to last!
Under what obligation then are we laid, and how ought we every moment, in every place, and under all the circumstances of life, to seek to glorify that grace; and in everything as the supreme end of life, seek to please the God of all grace, who has called us to his kingdom and glory by Jesus Christ--to whom be glory forever! Amen.
O the power of love divine
Who its heights and depths can tell?
Tell, Jehovah's grand design,
To redeem our souls from Hell!
Mystery of redemption this--
All my sins on Christ were laid;
My offence was reckoned his;
He the great atonement made.
Fully I am justified
Free from sin, and more than free;
Guiltless since for me he died;
Righteous since he lived for me!