Are You Bought and Paid For?
One of my favourite scriptures is 2 Corinthians 5: 21
For he (God) hath made him (Christ) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
We find ourselves caught in the thralls of sin and pre-occupation with self. The Bible makes it absolutely clear that God is all holy and cannot condone or ignore the sin or draw near to it. How is there to be a reconciliation? How might we approach Him? Become members of His family?
The wonderful Good News is that the penalty for the offence of sin has been more than settled by the obedient life, death and resurrection of Jesus. As the old hymn says, "Jesus paid it all. All to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain. He washed it white as snow." (Elvina M. Hall)
The cure is available . It need only be appropriated as one believes and prays a prayer something like the following:
"God, I know that I have sinned and deserve your righteous judgment. I believe that your Son, Jesus volunteered to pay the death penalty for the sins of men, women and children who would trust in Him. He died and was buried in a tomb. But according to the prophecies of scripture, He was raised from the dead, glorified and lives now in Heaven. His blood made redemption for sin. I ask to be saved through this, your only way of salvation. Saved from continuing in wrongful thoughts and behaviour. Saved from the ultimate judgment which you will impose on those who reject this gift. Thank you for eternal life. Thank you for blessing my inner being with the Holy Ghost and His wisdom, comfort and guidance. Thank you for establishing your Son as my priest and shepherd. Take control of my life, God. Use me in your glorious plans, and ultimately bring me into your presence. This I ask in Jesus' name."
Now, these words have no magic. Without the right preparation of heart one prays in vain. One must first be drawn by the convicting influence of the Spirit. Given eyes to see the worth of Jesus' blood at Calvary. Made ready to repent. One enters in, prays, confesses and gives thanks. The transaction is accomplished. The Good Shepherd, Jesus, rejoices to see another lamb safely brought into the fold.
Perhaps this moment has been your opportunity. Consider again the prayer.
Hear what is so ably paraphrased by Eugene Peterson in "The Message" at Isaiah 53:10-12
"10Still, it's what God had in mind all along,
to crush him with pain.
The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin
so that he'd see life come from it—life, life, and more life.
And God's plan will deeply prosper through him.
11-12Out of that terrible travail of soul,
he'll see that it's worth it and be glad he did it.
Through what he experienced, my righteous one, my servant,
will make many "righteous ones,"
as he himself carries the burden of their sins.
Therefore I'll reward him extravagantly—
the best of everything, the highest honors—
Because he looked death in the face and didn't flinch,
because he embraced the company of the lowest.
He took on his own shoulders the sin of the many,
he took up the cause of all the black sheep."