3. Redeemed from Judgment.
Redemption is directly taught in God's word, for the first time, in the story of the Passover. God would have the bondsmen of Egypt His freedmen. Rest had been promised them, the tidings of the pleasant land had been brought them, but not one step towards liberty could the bondsmen take until they were redeemed by the blood of the paschal lamb.
Love wafted the gentle tidings of the good land to the fainting slaves, but the stern fact remained unmoved — they were in a land under judgment. Justice had drawn its sword, it exacted its claims against them, and from justice they could not escape.
But the judgment which fell upon Egypt was forestalled for Israel; the blood outside their houses forbad the Destroyer entering within. The crimson stain upon lintel and door-posts uttered its voice, and the angel passed over.
There was no escape save by blood. Mercy retired from the land, chased away by the Destroyer. Wherever the blood was not, there fell the sword. Whatever house bore not the evidence of having already been under the sentence of judgment, which had not appropriated the blood to its own door, lay under the wrath. Honour, titles, personal worth were no shield; the sword clave through them all and smote the firstborn dead. “From the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat upon his throne, unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon,” all perished. The very customs of Egypt augmented the horrors of that night, for at death's entry the living fled from their houses — all hurrying hither and thither, till every street and village in the land echoed with their terror. “There was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where there was not one dead.”
When the great day of His wrath has come, who shall be able to stand? Who? The great, the mighty, the noble of the earth? Who? The well-disposed, the upright, the moral? They, and they only, who are redeemed “with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”
“Show me proof that I am saved. Oh! for evidence that I am amongst God's people!”
“The blood shall be to you for a token.” There is none other granted. Look not for a sign within your breast, see it in the blood of Christ; look not at your feelings, but at His sufferings; not at your joy, but His pain. It would not have been faith but disobedience in Israel to have spent their night in inquiring and looking if the blood marks were upon their house-doors. “None of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning,” God had said. And they sat within and waited for the daybreak. Are they, whose doors are shut, and who assemble in fear and trembling around their paschal lamb, less safe than their neighbours who calmly wait for liberty's coming morn as they keep the feast? Is the first-born of the pale, dejected mother less secure than hers whose strong faith in Jehovah already accepts God's freedom? Nay, it is the blood without the door, not the feelings of them within the house, wherein the safety lies. Faith obeyed God, took the blood and sprinkled it, and in the redeeming blood was the security.
“But give me evidence that God is satisfied respecting my sins.”
Heed His words: “When I see the blood I will pass over you.” His sword of justice has been plunged into the adorable Substitute. His justice asks for no second judgment, no double dying for sin. The very sword which slew the lamb, now shelters those for whom the blood was shed.
We once bent over a poor dying man and said, “Friend, you are leaving this world. You will very soon appear before God. How is it about your soul? Where are your sins?” He was too weak to lift a finger, but looked up calmly and whispered, “My sins are under the blood.”
The poor man had received the truth in the love of it. He had believed what God says respecting the blood of His Son. He rested in this — that God looks upon the sacrifice of His Son, and not upon the sins of those who put their trust in Him.
There is a fine illustration of redeeming love in the 25th chapter of Leviticus.
The case is brought forward of an Israelite, who sinks down lower and lower into poverty, until at length he sells himself to a stranger, and becomes a bondsman; for, according to the ancient law, there was a necessity that debts should be paid, and if the debtor had no means wherewith to pay them, then he himself was sold. The law of God did not allow the principle that because a man is unable to pay his debts therefore he may go free. Neither does the gospel permit excuse upon the ground of inability. There is no bankruptcy court in divine justice where a man's sins can be arranged for God will never receive as an excuse, “I was led astray; I was unfortunate, and so became ruined.” The law of God is firm to the letter, and His justice cannot yield to the petition of human weakness. But while the law was stern, there was room left for the entrance of redeeming love; though the debtor's debts have to be paid to the uttermost farthing, yet grace has provided for his redemption; “After that he is sold he may be redeemed again; one of his brethren may redeem him either his uncle, or his uncle's son, may redeem him, or any that is nigh of kin unto him of his family may redeem him; or if he be able he may redeem himself.” (Lev. 25:48, 49.) The law maintained its rights, while grace asserted hers.
As for our redeeming ourselves, that is utterly out of the question. Every sin must be atoned for, and we are by nature sold under sin and we are the servants of sin. We have no power whatever to reduce the number of our daily sins, much less to lay up a store of good deeds to procure us liberty from past sins,
Our redemption must come from another, and from One who is not like ourselves, the servant of sin. Our Redeemer has need to be rich, and rich in the perfection of His person as well as in the love of His heart — rich in God's sight, and in love towards men. In order to be our Redeemer, the Lord became our kinsman, and having become a man, in the free love of His heart He bought us from our bondage. He paid for us with the price of His own precious blood. We are not our own; we are bought with a price.
The redeeming love of Jesus cannot be other than the constant theme of our hearts. Like the poor slave whom the rich stranger ransomed, and then, to her astonishment, set at liberty, we are constrained to cry, “He redeemed me, he redeemed me.” She became the willing servant of her redeemer. It was not strange to her to devote her life to her compassionate deliverer; and surely, like her, we would treasure our Redeemer's infinite grace and devote ourselves to His service crying, “He redeemed me”