DISCIPLINE 2008—Part 3
By Ed Corley
There is no light for our heart, nor understanding for our mind, that will give any greater energy to our faith than the light and understanding that comes in our heart when we know the value the Lord has placed on those He has redeemed.
Read the above long sentence again. See if what it says might become a little clearer—at least to your heart. Let your mind follow as it can. Then get firmly placed in your heart what Peter said in his first Epistle.
A simple reading for this comes from the New International reader’s Version of the Scriptures. In part of its passage we find: You know that you were not bought with things that can pass away, like silver or gold. Instead, you were bought by the priceless blood of Christ.
Sacrifices of bullocks, sheep and goats pointed in ancient days to the Lamb of God Who would come in the fullness of time. However, the continuance of those sacrifices had become empty rituals by the time Isaiahthe Prophet came on the scene. He said to Israel,
Many rituals point to the work of the divine Redeemer, but lack reality. They may help the faith of some, but to many they are simply a religious procedure that must be endured to please the Lord.
There came a day when John the Baptist stood on the bank of Jordan and said, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world—John 1:29. Redemption was at hand, with all its reality. There was no symbolism there. What hearts had longed for was standing in the water to be baptized by John and make public His identification with all the sinners in the world.
Faith, understanding and goodness had departed from Israel. Their rituals had become empty and meaningless. But, the only hope that remained for them—or for any other person in the world—was there in the Person of the Redeemer, sent from God. His blood, and that alone, could obtain redemption for whoever would come to God through Him.
Our heavenly Father has placed so great an estimate on our worth to Him, and to His Kingdom, that our minds reach their limit before we can grasp just how much He does indeed value us. That’s the reason His loving offer comes first to our heart. When our mind seeks to fathom the depth of His grace, it is left still reaching without ever knowing the grace for which it reaches. The grace of God, offered to us in Christ Jesus, is too deep a matter for our understanding. That’s the reason the offer from God comes first to our heart. Paul knew this. It is what he was laying out in Romans when he said, ...With the heart man believeth...Romans 10:10
So, we leave our minds in the dust while our hearts pursue knowing how much He values us. We begin knowing this when we perceive that the price for our redemption, proffered by God’s grace, was the blood of His Son. Herein is the value God has placed on us. Knowing how much He esteems us, we can rest assured He will not forsake us. What a boon this is to our faith as we move on through this age toward what God called the time of the end. He spoke of this when he told Daniel to seal the vision.
But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book,
even to the time of the end.—Daniel 12:4.
As we move on to consider the value God has placed on our souls, we find ourselves entering Romans Truth, which, of course, leads us on into Ephesians Truth. In Romans we come upon four powerful words that are almost lost in the language of believers today. They are words that point to the value that cannot be measured, that the Lord God has placed on our souls. We should say the value of our souls cannot be measured by any standard that mankind might ever set. These words point us to a value that could only have been determined in the Kingdom of Heaven.
These words come upon us like neon lights in Romans 3:24,25, just after Paul described how utterly sinful and lost mankind was. This passage, running from Romans 3:9 through 18, gives the sentence handed down by Heaven’s Judge upon every person in all the world. If we were to sum them all up with one word, that word would be “hopeless.”See here the list from Romans 9-18:
Now, we will see the four words that came from Heaven upon this hopeless mixture of mankind. We emphasize each word in the following Romans passage. The mercy of God allows us to see them. Mercy then draws our hearts on to receive all they point to. It is from within our hearts that something arises as a gift to us from God. He has placed in us as the marvelous ability to believe. Oh, this must come to us from the very Kingdom of Heaven itself! Let us discover these words as we see them in Romans 3:23-25. They will point us toward the value Heaven has placed on us sinners.
These wonderful Words from Heaven define that grace extended toward us. The most we can know about them, as our heart beats its pace toward them, is that they are extensions of God’s love. His love asks simply that we believe.
But wait! Our minds do have a part in this also. Paul, when he met with the Elders from Ephesus, reminded them that he had:
Find the word repentance above. Then find the word faith. Repentance is an act of the mind. It means quite simply and clearly “change your way of thinking.” God will give us the ability to do this. In the context of this statement from Paul, we are called upon to change the way we think about God. But most of all, we are called upon to give up our idea that we can become good enough to have a place in His Kingdom.
I remember Dr. Charles E. Fuller to whom I listened every Sunday afternoon on the radio as he broadcast the “Old Fashion Revival Hour” from Long Beach, California. I didn’t like that program until one night Jesus entered my heart by faith. Immediately, that hour on Sunday afternoon was the delight of my week. What a wonderful change when Jesus came into my heart!
I remember a story Dr. Fuller told of a child who asked a preacher if a person were really good, couldn’t they go to heaven? He answered, Yes. But heaven wasn’t made for good people. It was made for bad people. There weren’t any good people to go there. So, God made it for bad people who would place their faith in His Son Who died for their sins.
That simple story made an impression on me that has lasted over half a century. I kept thinking that if I could be good enough, I could make it to heaven. I tried to be good, but I wasn’t very good at being good.
I knew I was a bad person. Nobody had to tell me. I had joined the church, and had been baptized, but I knew I wasn’t good enough to go to heaven.
One day I heard a simple Gospel message that reached, not for my mind, but for my heart. I don’t remember the text of the preacher’s sermon, nor do I remember much that he said, except that he got it across to me that Jesus died for Ed Corley.
I have known John 3:16 since I was a little boy. It says, God so loved the world… but I had never heard that God so loved “Ed Corley” that He gave His only begotten Son. I went home that night, got down by my bed and believed with my heart.
My mind played a part. It repented. It gave up the idea that I could save myself. But it was my heart that believed. That’s what clenched my salvation. It was years later—quite a few years later—before I could see into the depth of the four words Paul listed in Romans 3:23,24. And, to tell the truth, I am still peering over into their depth, or maybe it’s that I’m looking up into their height. You see, my mind still can’t fathom them. They remain words for my heart—and for yours, too.
So, as we go on, we’ll just let our hearts follow—and believe. Someone explained it to me one time that justified means ‘God has received me into His Kingdom just-as-if-I’d never sinned.’ My mind can’t lay hold on that! But my heart can.
It’s rather strange that the printing industry has borrowed the word justified to describe the right margin of a page of print when it is made straight, just as straight as the left margin.
The strangest thing of all—at least to our mind—is that the Lord God would choose the likes of you and me to make up the children of His Kingdom whom He justified to make us right for the sake of His heavenly Kingdom.
Justification is a favorite word for Romans. We can see it there three times—Romans 4:25; Romans 5:16 and Romans 5:18. For now, we will just take the powerful statement in 4:25. Earlier in chapter 4 Paul discussed Abraham ...who against hope believed in hope that he might become the father of many nations—4:18.Paul laid hold on that word believed and applied it to us who ...believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead—4:24. Then he made this statement about Jesus that only our hearts can reach: He ...was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification—4:25.
We are all sinners! The tide is against us. There is no human hope of justification, of being made right for His Kingdom. But God is calling us to go against human hope and believe.
You see, He values us so much that He sent His Son to make the way for us to enter heaven. How did He do that? He sent Jesus to the cross, with our sin upon Him. He went there to die because of our offenses. Jesus took upon Himself everything in that list that Paul laid out. The fact is,
...the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
Indeed, our hearts, not our minds, reach for this, and we are justified. God did all this to make the way for sinners. Oh, what a value this places upon us! For Him! For His Kingdom!
Now here is another wonderful thing for us with regard to our justification. It’s not just an assigned righteousness that brings no present reality with it. It becomes actual in us, real, worked into the very fiber of our beings. It makes us so we can actually function in His Kingdom—even now.
Now, the next wonderful word reveals to us the value God has placed on us. We keep the word justified and see its connection with our redemption. Romans 3:24 gives these words to us together:
Being justified freely by His grace through the
The New Testament Greek word from which redemption comes is apolutrósis. It is basically a word from the slave market. It means, “a deliverance procured by the payment of a ransom.”
It also speaks of the payment of a ransom for the release of prisoners of war. The war that is waged against us by the prince of the power of the air, under whom the rulers of the darkness of this world operate, has taken many captives.
In fact, many are held in bondage to seducing spirit that seek to rule them and hold them in some perversion, or darkness, or illness. However, the blood that procured our ransom prevails for our deliverance in these dimensions also.
Thus, when we find ourselves among those held captive, we plead the blood of the lamb against the spirits opposing us. They cannot withstand that plea. Even in the dark world of Satan’s henchmen, there is knowledge of what has been procured by the blood of God’s Son. They know about our redemption. They flee at the mention of Christ’s blood. Hell shutters at the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
How do we see our freedom brought to pass? Can it not be by the Word that we would speak to our captor? When we recognize that it is a spirit holding the key, locking us in our spiritual prison, or when we discern the spirit that holds the key to the chain of our slavery—whether to alcohol, or tobacco, or sexual addiction, or some other destructive behavior—then we can announce to that spirit that we have been redeemed by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ! Then we can tell him to depart.
How powerful is the command that we can make against these spirit captors?
Spending time with the Word of our deliverance, which is the Word of our value to the Lord, we discover the energy of the Word working its way into our beings. It works its way into our heart which is the part in us that believes. When it’s working there, it’s not difficult for us to let our belief take over. Then we can know our value in Christ’s Kingdom.
There are two more words toward which our hearts reach with belief. They are remission and propitiation. Remission, as some of you already know, is a word from the courts of law. It means being set free from the guilt of wrongdoing. Let us just simply say, the Lord values those of us who have been redeemed so much that He will not have us bound by the guilt of the offense from which we have already received justification. Remission becomes ours when the penalty for our sin has been satisfied in the court of God’s justice.
Someone has already born that penalty. God’s wrath is satisfied. No accusation can be brought against us from Heaven. We have obtained our propitiation through faith in the shed blood of Christ Jesus. What does propitiation mean? It means that the payment of the penalty held against us by God has been satisfied in the death of His Son. Even prisoners in prison can be free on the inside.
God loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation
As a follow up to this study make sure to get the book:
Six Degrees of Lostness, One Degree of Grace
a study of Ephesians 2:1-3
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Unless otherwise indicated, Bible quotations are from The King James Version
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