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by Paul where he says: “Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why didst thou make me thus ? Or hath not the potter a right over the clay?” Romans 9:20-21. It is thus apparent that man in his original state of innocency belonged to God, as the creature of his hands, and was subject absolutely to his holy will.
Change in ownership.-But something happened in the Garden of Eden which marked a complete change of ownership. The man who was created in a state of innocency, being carried away by selfwill, broke the divine law. In thus taking matters into his own hands he became not his own master, but the servant of sin. Paul puts it on this wise: “I am carnal, sold under sin"; and he proves this by saying, “For that which I do, I know not; for not what I would, that do I practise; but what I hate, that I do. ... I see a law in my members . .. bringing me into captivity under the law of sin. Wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me out of the body of this death ?"
And this is a universal fact. “There is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We are all under the domination of this “law in our members”; bound by the chains of habitual sin, as really as are the convicts of Louisiana who serve with ball and chain, breaking stone on the highways. “Every one that committeth sin is the bondservant of sin."
A second change.-But here enters Christ; and with him comes another change of ownership. He tells us the reason of his coming into the world: "The Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." In other words, he came to "redeem” us, that is, to buy us back from sin. He paid the ransom on Calvary. It was blood, his own precious blood. As sinners we were under the law which says, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die." He came to assume our place at the bar of the offended law, to meet our obligation, to cancel our debt by paying it, and so to redeem us from the power of sin.
But with that redemption came ownership. "Ye are bought with a price,” says Paul. This is, as it were, the Bill of Sale. It sets forth a transfer of ownership from sin to Christ: and to this transfer there are two witnesses. One of them is Paul the philosopher, who says, "Ye are not your own; ye are bought with a price”; and the other witness is Peter the fisherman, who not only agrees with Paul, but goes farther and designates the purchase price, “not silver and gold, but the precious blood of Christ." And both of these witnesses arrive at the same conclusion, to wit, that our life service must, by the rule of common honesty, be given to the only-begotten Son of God.
A commercial view?--The one objection made to this transaction is that it is a "commercial view.”
Granted; but what of it? The objection is intended to cast a slur upon the Cross; but, in fact, it pays the highest possible tribute to it.
For the very heart of commerce is honesty. It is founded on “the square deal.” If men were to lose their sense of honesty, the bottom would drop out of Wall Street, merchants would close their places of business and ships would lie rotting at their docks. It is commerce that makes the world go 'round; and commerce would be impossible but for the rules of fair dealing which prevail among men. To say that the vicarious view of the Atonement is commercial” is only another way of saying that it is founded on the principles of even-handed justice. You say this savors of the marketplace? So be it. We want a God whose character shall
the least—not be less respectable than that of an honest man.
The Cross is the highest tribute ever paid to what men call “the square deal.” It stood for satisfaction to the broken and offended law. To say that God could pardon a sinner without satisfying the law is to magnify his love at the expense of his justice and clothe him with an unscrupulous and sentimental weakness which we deplore in any of our fellow-men. Not so is the God of our salvation. As we stand at Calvary and note the great transaction by which we are delivered from the bondage of sin, we find a logical and conclusive
nswer to the question, “How can God be just and yet the justifier of the ungodly?” By the paying of
the ransom the Law is fully satisfied; as it is written, “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other."
Under bonds to serve. The conclusion is unavoidable, “Ye were bought with a price: glorify God therefore in your body."
A Christian, who has entered into the benefits of the Atonement by accepting the ransom is under bonds to devote his whole life to the service of Christ. He is obviously not his own. The Karens were accustomed to speak of their missionary, Adoniram Judson, as "Jesus Christ's man.' So is every one who professes to follow Christ. It is not enough that he should pay a "tithe” of his substance. A tithe will do for a beginning; but Christ who has ransomed us owns not one-tenth but tentenths of us and ours. All my time, all my talents, all my possessions, every drop of my blood, every fibre of my body, every power of my soul, every atom of energy that is in me, belongs absolutely, by a fee simple right, to him.
In 1478 Louis XI, in consideration of a benefit received, as he thought, from the Virgin Mary, made a deed giving her the city of Boulogne; but he was careful to stipulate that the revenues of the city should be reserved for his own personal use. To make a vow of consecration to Christ after that manner is to fall infinitely short of the requirements of the Christian life.
" When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
“ Were the whole realm of nature mine
That were a present far too small;
Demands my soul, my life, my all.”
Is it universal?–The matter, however, does not end here. All will agree that Christians are bound by the terms of the ransom. But how about nonChristians? Are they under similar bonds? Here is where the question of common honesty must be brought home to many who are not seriously disposed to consider it. Christ is said to have "tasted death for every man.” If so, then non-Christians as well as the professed followers of Christ were ransomed by his death. What then? Does it follow that all are saved ? By no means. The benefits of redemption are not thrust upon unwilling
God respects the freedom of our sovereign wills. For all who accept him by faith, the ransom is made efficient unto life; while those who reject him are still, of their own volition, in bondage under sin. The sole condition of life is faith; and faith is simply an acceptance of the free gift.
The statement of Scripture is perfectly clear as to this matter: for example “He came unto his own, and they that were his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he the