[God]) has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began. 2 Timothy 1:9
In ancient times, an ingenious man created a device allowing him to see through walls. It sounds like science fiction, but this man invented a way to stand in the middle of his room and see through the wall to the outside world. He called his invention—a window.
From earliest times, men and women have been inventing devices to make life easier—windows and doors, buggies and cars, air conditioners, computers, and untold millions of items. History’s patent office has never experienced a slowdown.
Humans are creative because we’re made in the image of the Creator; and if we know how to design objects for a purpose, don’t you suppose the Creator has designed each of us for a purpose? Your specifications were ordained in heaven. Your arrival on earth was preplanned, and God knows the exact number of your days. He has a plan for your life, and He leads you step by step. We aren’t random mutations of primordial sludge, but servants of a God who has established our purpose with grace before time began.
Today’s no random day. It’s a God-planned day for His devoted children.
God has a plan, and it should be our goal to live out that plan to the best of our knowledge and ability. Charles Stanley
Abraham faced one of the greatest tests of obedience recorded in the Bible: God asked him to slay his son as an offering. It’s hard to imagine the confusion and pain this request must have caused. However, Abraham obeyed the Lord willingly and promptly. His response teaches us some important lessons about yielding to the Lord.
Obedience often collides with reason. After telling Abraham he’d have descendants too numerous to count, God asked him to sacrifice Isaac, who was to be the father of the promised line. Despite the strangeness of the command, Abraham trusted God to keep His word and so set out to obey (Heb. 11:18-19).
Obedience means leaving the consequences to God. Abraham had no idea how the promise could be fulfilled if Isaac was dead. But his words and actions indicate he believed in divine sovereignty. When Abraham took the boy to Mount Moriah, he told his servants, “I and the lad will go over there; and we will worship and return to you” (Gen. 22:5). He didn’t say, “I will return” but expressed that both would come back. Abraham went to the holy place as instructed. At the same time, he fully expected that the Lord would somehow restore Isaac in order to keep His pledge. God fulfilled His promise by pro viding a ram in the boy’s place (Gen. 22:13-14).
The Lord already knows how His children will respond to tests of obedience. He challenges people because He wants them to know the truth about how well they submit. A believer’s willingness to obey (or disobey) reveals the state of his or her commitment to God.
“When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” (Isaiah 43:2)
Although this tremendous promise is primarily to be understood in a spiritual sense (deliverance through overflowing sorrows and fiery trials), God has demonstrated His ability to fulfill the spiritual aspects of the promise by its miraculous, literal fulfillment in the physical realm on special occasions. The crossing of the Red Sea by the children of Israel is an obvious example of safe passage through deep waters.
The amazing experience of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace is the most spectacular example of deliverance from burning. As the three emerged unscathed from the “exceeding hot” flames, the king was astounded when he “saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them” (Daniel 3:27).
The entire world once was caused to pass through the Flood and one day must be destroyed by the fire (2 Peter 3:6, 10), but “eight souls were saved by water” (1 Peter 3:20) as the Flood carried them safely away in Noah’s Ark from the violent world of the antediluvians, and all those truly trusting in Christ will be “saved; yet so as by fire” (1 Corinthians 3:15) when He comes again.
These great experiences of the past and promises of the future assure us that God is able to deliver us through the deep waters and burning trials of this present life. “That the trial of your faith, . . . though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7). HMM
This was at once the patriarch’s crowning trial and grandest victory, and it came after he had obtained the choicest blessing of his life. Great privileges involve great trial.
His obedience was speedy, unhesitating, and complete. Think of that early hour, and the task of cleaving the wood for such a sacrifice. Could we thus obey the Lord?
Those days of deliberation must have severely tried him. We can do in a hurry what we should shrink from if we weighed it calmly.
Perhaps he feared lest the servants should interpose to prevent his obedient act.
A touching question, but Abraham would not allow his feelings to master his faith.
These were grandly prophetic words, and have been divinely fulfilled;
Jehovah-jireh or the Lord will provide
Thus was the covenant renewed in full, in connection with this great intended act of sacrifice: it is sweet to see the covenant of grace confirmed in the actual offering up of Jesus, the Only Begotten of the Father. O for grace to be in covenant with God in Christ Jesus.
My God and Father! while I stray
Far from my home, in life’s rough way,
Oh! teach me from my heart to say,
“Thy will be done!” “Thy will be done!”
If thou shouldst call me to resign
What most I prize—it ne’er was mine;
I only yield thee what was thine:
“Thy will be done!”
The word “redeem” used in the verse above is one of the most important words in the entire New Testament, so today I want us to look more deeply into its historical roots. Since Jesus redeemed us, we need to know all the powerful images that are contained in this key New Testament word!
In New Testament times, slaves could be very costly. When a slave purchaser came to the slave market to look for a new slave, he would meander through the aisles of the marketplace, his eyes roaming over all the slaves for sale as he searched for the one he wanted. After pinpointing the slave who seemed to fit his needs, the purchaser was then allowed to inspect the slave’s condition. The purpose of this inspection was similar to that of a test drive when a person is checking out a car before he purchases it. Just as every buyer wants to be sure he’s getting a good product, every slave buyer wanted to check out the merchandise before he put his money on the table.
The inspection included physically beating the slave to see how he responded to abuse, so the purchaser would know how much “wear and tear” the slave could take on the job. The buyer was also allowed to pull open the slave’s mouth and look at his teeth to see if they were rotten or in good shape as he tried to establish the slave’s physical health before making an offer to purchase him.
If the buyer decided to proceed with the purchase after the inspection was complete, it was then time for the next stage of the process—that moment when the slave was put on the auction block. When the auctioneer knew that a buyer really had his eye set on a specific slave, he would take that as a signal to push the price for that slave as high as possible. And if the buyer continued to show interest in that same slave, that would let the auctioneer know he could demand a completely unreasonable price and probably get it!
All of these images are contained in the word “redemption,” which comes from the Greek word lutroo. This is the word used in Titus 2:14, where Paul says, “… That he might redeem us from all iniquity….” This Greek word depicts a person who paid a very high price to obtain the slave of his choice. Once the price was offered and accepted, that slave became his personal property.
However, the word lutroo was used in another very significant way that also has to do with the concept of redemption. At times, a caring and compassionate individual would come to the slave market for the sole purpose of purchasing slaves out of slavery to liberate and set them free! In this case, the payment offered was viewed as a ransom— paid to obtain freedom for slaves.
Because Paul uses the word lutroo to denote the redemptive work of Jesus Christ on our behalf, it tells us several important things:
- Jesus came into the world, Satan’s slave market, because He was looking for us.
- Jesus knew He wanted us and wouldn’t be satisfied until the purchase was complete.
- Jesus was willing to pay any price demanded to purchase us from the slave market.
- Jesus purchased us with His own blood so we would become His own personal property.
- Jesus paid the price with His blood, purchased us for Himself, and gave us a liberating freedom that can only be known because of His work in our lives!
Our freedom from Satan’s power was extremely expensive. The price Jesus paid for us was the highest price ever paid for a slave. What was the ransom that Jesus paid in order to procure our freedom from Satan’s ownership? His own blood!
This means that the word lutroo in Titus 2:14 conveys this idea:
“Who gave Himself for us, that He might purchase us out of the slave market to become His own personal property—yes, He was willing to pay the ransom price to see us liberated and set free….”
It was the shedding of Jesus’ own blood that guaranteed our deliverance and lasting freedom from the demonic powers that had previously held us captive. The word lutroo unmistakably means Jesus paid the ransom that set you and me free! He bought us with His own blood! As Hebrews 9:12 says, “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.”
Jesus gave Himself as the ransom to set you free from sin. Someone had to enter Satan’s slave market, so Jesus chose to go. Someone had to offer a price, so Jesus offered to pay the price for your freedom with His own blood. Someone had to finalize the deal, so Jesus willingly paid the price with His own life on the Cross.
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Lord, I want to thank You for loving me so much that You gave Your precious blood on the Cross for me. I was so lost and so hopeless, but You came for me—and when You came into my life, everything in me changed. Hope, joy, and peace came into my heart, and today I am completely different from the person I used to be. All this happened because of Your shed blood, Jesus, so today I want to take this moment to thank You for doing what no one else could do for me!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I declare that Jesus’ blood purchased my deliverance and lasting freedom from the demonic powers that had previously held me captive. Jesus loves me so much that He was willing to do for me what no one else was willing to do. He went into the slave market, found me, and bought me for Himself. For the rest of my life, I will live to serve and glorify Him.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- How can you repay Jesus for what He has done for you?
- Do you have areas in your life where you have allowed yourself to slip back into some kind of bondage? What are those areas?
- How long has it been since you stopped to really meditate on the price Jesus paid so you could be liberated from Satan’s captivity and the power of sin?
The following was written by a young African pastor and tacked on the wall of his house:
“MY COMMITMENT AS A CHRISTIAN”
“I’m part of the fellowship of the unashamed. I have Holy Spirit power. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I’m a disciple of His. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.
“My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, my future is secure. I’m finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap living, and dwarfed goals.
“I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by power.
“My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way rough, my companions few, my guide reliable, my mission clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, or ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
“I won’t give up, shut up, let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, preached up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus. I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till all know, and work till He stops me. And when He comes for His own, He will have no problems recognizing me – my banner will be clear!”