We are lost! We are not born that way, but become lost when we sin against God. Sin is transgression of God's will and we must face wrath and punishment for our sins. Justice demands it. All us by law and it's demands deserve punishment for our sins. We have rebelled against the Creator in whose image we are made. While we may excuse our sin with excuses and trivialize its effect, God will not and cannot do so. He is holy. That's it. End of story. We are lost and lost forever. Horribly lost. Lost. Lost.
No we're not, but without God's mercy and grace we would be. Justice is not the end of the story, but it is a part of it. Love is also a part of it, and that is wherein our hope lies. Paul, in Titus 2:14, tells us that we had someone who was willing to stand in for us and take our punishment. The Scriptures say of Jesus; “who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.”
The Great Price Paid For Us
“...who gave Himself for us...” How can we hope to even begin to appreciate what it was that the Lord left behind when He came to our world to save us? When one day faith becomes sight, and we behold with new, spiritual eyes that majestic glories and wonders of heaven, then we will better know the light our Redeemer was willing to exchange for this world's darkness. But we will never know what it is like to exchange the form of God for the form of man. The Bible says, “who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:6,7; cf. 2 Corinthians 8:9). From God to infant in a manger, but no less God (Matthew 1:23; John 20:28). And then, in the form of a servant, becoming our sin offering by sacrificing Himself; “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21). The price of redemption was staggering. It had to be, for sin is costly. It had been prophesied that it would be, but that the Messiah would pay the cost (Isaiah 53:3-6).
The Great Extent of Redemption
"...that He might redeem us from every lawless deed...” The depth of our iniquity is great. Though man likes to trifle with these matters, or perhaps ignore them altogether, sin is real and needs to be dealt with. Sin's consequences are not a pretty picture, but one seen all around the world (Romans 3:9-18). Sin erases all hope and fellowship with God (Ephesians 2:12).
But thanks be to God, all sinners who turn in obedient faith unto Him will be redeemed by the Lord. Jesus invited everyone who felt the need to go to Him for rest (Matthew 11:28-29). This is an extremely open invitation regardless of the depth of personal sin. No one is turned away who come to Him by faith "All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” (John 6:37). Paul had been a persecutor and a blasphemer. Peter once denied the Lord three times. Some of the new converts in the very earliest history of the church had been guilty of crucifying Jesus! No sinner is so tainted that he cannot be reached by the Lord's redemption.
The Great Extent Of Our New Relationship With God
“...purify for Himself a people for His own possession...” Make no mistake about it, We are God's special people. We are not special because of our own merit. Our souls are not more valuable than anyone else's It is just that His power and grace have brought us back to a state of purity where we can walk with Him again as His people. We live by a different standard - the one He has given to us in His teaching. “Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, 'I will dwell in them and walk among them; And I will be their God, and they shall be My people.'” (2 Corinthians 6:15,16).
We have a new purpose. It is one He has given to us. We live to proclaim the excellent things about our Lord and God! “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (1 Peter 2:9-10)
This shows a need for Christians to be different. We walk to a different Drummer. There has always been a need for God's people to be separate. Concerning the day when a remnant of God's people returned from captivity to rebuild their land, Ezra records, “And the sons of Israel who returned from exile and all those who had separated themselves from the impurity of the nations of the land to join them, to seek the Lord God of Israel, ate the Passover.” (Ezra 6:21).2. (2 Corinthians 6:17)- What God has called unclean we must not pronounce "clean" even if the whole world does. It is calling many things “clean” today which God has pronounced “unclean.” We are not only to refuse participation in such, but expose it for what it is (Ephesians 5:11).
The Extent of our Service
“...zealous for good deeds.” Our purpose as Christians is to engage in good works. (Ephesians 2:10). God desires that we adorn proper doctrine with good works. Christianity is not just a "sit down" religion. As Christians, the Lord does not mean for us to be mere spectators. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
With reference to our responsibilities in the Lord, we understand that our good will is to be extended toward all (Galatians 6:9,10). We are to be gracious in our giving and doing. The Bible says, “And do not neglect doing good and sharing; for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” (Hebrews 13:16).
Will you love the one who was willing to bear our iniquities? Will you love and serve Him forever? The rejoicing that results will flow from God to angel to human heart. That heart can be yours!
From Expository Files 22.1; January 2015