Friday, March 8, 2013

Safety, Certainty and Enjoyment for the Christian (Part 2)

Safety: The Way Of Salvation 
In the Old Testament, God told the Israelites, “Every firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb; and if you will not redeem it, then you shall break its neck. And all the firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem” (Ex.13:13). 

Travel back in time with me about 3000 years. A priest is talking to a poor Israelite about the little donkey standing beside them. The poor man says, “Can’t you make a merciful exception for me just this once? This is my firstborn donkey, and although I know what God’s law says, can’t its life be spared? I can’t afford to lose this little animal.” 

The priest says, “God’s law is very plain. Unless the donkey is redeemed by the death of a lamb, its neck must be broken.” 

“But I don’t have a lamb.” 

“Then go buy one. The lamb or the donkey must die.” 

The Israelite sadly replies, “Then it’s hopeless because I can’t afford a lamb.” 

Another man who overhears the discussion approaches the poor Israelite and says, “Cheer up! I have a little lamb which is without spot or blemish. Although it means much to me, I will give it to you.” Away he goes, and soon both donkey and lamb are standing side-by-side. Then the lamb is placed on the altar, its blood is shed and it is consumed by the fire. 

The priest turns to the poor man and says, “You can take your donkey home. Its neck will not be broken because the lamb has died in its place. Your donkey can live and righteously go free, thanks to your friend.” 

This little story gives us a picture of a sinner’s salvation. God’s claim against sin demands a “broken neck” – a righteous judgment on you. The only alternative is the death of a Substitute approved by God. No matter how hard you try, you cannot meet God’s requirement. However, God Himself provided the Lamb in the person of His beloved Son, Jesus Christ. John the Baptist referred to Him as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn. 1:29). 

Jesus went to Calvary’s cross “as a Lamb to the slaughter” (Isa. 53:7). There He “suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (1 Pet. 3:18). He “was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification” (Rom. 4:25). God does not reduce His judgment against sin when He forgives the sinner (Rom. 3:25-26). Jesus had to pay the penalty in full. 

How do you answer this question: “Do you believe on the Son of God?” If you reply, “I have found Him to be the One I can safely trust as my Lord and Savior,” then God credits you with the full value of Jesus’ sacrifice. 

God’s love, the glory of His precious Son and the salvation of the sinner are all bound together. What a bundle of grace and glory! God’s own Son does all the work, and you and I – poor, guilty sinners who believe in Him – get all the blessing. “Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together” (Ps. 34:3). 

But you may ask, “Why don’t I have assurance of my salvation? One day I feel saved, but the next day I don’t. I am like a storm-tossed ship that has no place to drop anchor.” 

That’s your mistake. Did you ever hear of a captain trying to anchor his ship by dropping his anchor inside the ship? The anchor must be hooked to something solid outside the ship. You may understand that Christ’s death alone gives you safety, but you think that it is what you feel that makes you certain. 

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