New Testing Phase

Monday, 11 July 2011

God’s Redemption Of Us, His Slaves

I have recently finished listening to the audiobook of Slave, by John MacArthur, and was extremely challenged by this book. MacArthur’s premise is that the word doulos usually translated servant in most slave_tn_largeEnglish translation of the bible, even back to the 1611 King James Version, is accurately translated slave. Thus, in Matthew 25:21&23, when the master says, “well done, good and faithful servant” it should more accurately read: “well done, good and faithful slave”. MacArther then goes on to show the difference between 1st century Roman type slavery and our picture of the 18th and 19th century slave trade. He further elaborates that the idea of being a slave to Christ is lived out by the lives of early Christian believers who lived and died understanding that they we’re someone’s slave, either sin, or else Christ’s, and that all that they did was relative to this fact. I am not going to elaborate or review this book any further, at this point, but suffice it to say, it was excellent, and he convinced me that his premise is true, that we SHOULD consider ourselves, nothing less than slaves to Christ.

That little review, as a way of introducing the topic, I would like to move to my most immediate thoughts I had after finishing the book: “Several doctrines are clearer and make more sense in light of the fact that we are slaves of Christ.” Immediately the doctrine of redemption sprung to mind and thus I will devote the rest of the post to exploring this doctrine and magnifying it in light of the fact that we are slaves to Christ.

When I think of the word redemption I usually first think of the line from the song In Christ Alone “Bought with the precious blood of Christ” This is a really clear and concise basic definition of the New Testament doctrine of redemption. The Old Testament had a slightly different nuance to it, I think, for example of the story of Ruth, who needed to find a kinsman-redeemer, which she did in the form of Boaz.

Ruth 4:4  (Boaz talking to an unnamed relative) So I thought I would tell you of it and say, 'Buy it in the presence of those sitting here and in the presence of the elders of my people.' If you will redeem it, redeem it. But if you will not, tell me, that I may know, for there is no one besides you to redeem it, and I come after you." And he said, "I will redeem it."

Part of the OT law was that if a man had died, without his wife bearing children to carry on his name, then a relative was required to marry the widow and if possible, have children for the dead man. Also the idea was to keep the land and property within the family. Thus in Ruth we have a situation where all the men in a particular family are dead, and their is only property and a young Moabitess widow left, Boaz, wishing to marry Ruth but cannot until the nearest relative, who has a responsibility to marry Ruth under the Law, had renounced his claim. Ruth 4:4 is where Boaz reminds this unnamed man to redeem the inheritance or else renounce it. The relative is initially keen but when he hears about Ruth, he changes his mind.

Ruth 4:9,10  Then Boaz said to the elders and all the people, "You are witnesses this day that I have bought from the hand of Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech and all that belonged to Chilion and to Mahlon. Also Ruth the Moabite, the widow of Mahlon, I have bought to be my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brothers and from the gate of his native place. You are witnesses this day."

Do you see how, in the text, Boaz rescues Ruth, to be his wife, by paying money to make claim on her. This is a graphic illustration of Redemption in the bible. BUT the New Testament takes this idea a step further. It adds the concept of ransom to the mix. Thus we can say: Christ bought us, with His blood. But now picture this.

You are a slave, you have no rights, but under the protection of your master, all your needs were provided for, and because you are well educated, you occupied a privileged position within society, even as a slave. But, for some reason you neglected your master’s business, leaving him in much and that gave him sufficient cause to have you put to death. You are put in stocks and are forced to wait for the moment of execution to arrive. However, you are suddenly released and informed that a stranger, realising your position, had decided to buy you for your value, as well as cover the full debt as payment for your life. Overwhelmed with joy at being REDEEMED from execution, you serve your new master with all your might.738_22561_-_Shackles_550

This little story is a graphic illustration of New Testament redemption. We are all slaves to sin, and the doom of that situation could come on us at any time, death. BUT Christ, because HE loved us, paid the cost required to rescue us from that doom by shedding His innocent blood, and now, because of this we are free, by which I mean, free from our old master, sin, we are now gratefully obliged to our new Master, our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, and should follow His every command, regardless of our opinion of that command because He is the master now.

Thus we could define the doctrine of redemption thus: Christ ransomed us from sin and its consequences by providing a payment of His own blood, on the cross, thus taking ownership of us to do His will.

To quote another Hymn: “Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe, sin has left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow”

Some further verses to consider:

1 Corinthians 6:19,20  Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

1 Corinthians 7:22, 23  For he who was called in the Lord as a slave is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a slave of Christ. You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.

Galatians 3:13  Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us--for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree"

From the ISBE attachment to e-Sword – REDEMPTION: פּרק, pāraḳ, “to tear loose,” “to rescue,” פּרה, pādhāh, גּאל, gā'al; ἀγοράζω, agorázo, referring to purchase, λυτροῦμαι, lutroúmai, from λύτρον, lútron, “a ransom”

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