"Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." -Matthew 20:28
Christ’s death was an atonement for sin.
What saith the Scripture? ‘[T]he Son of man came ... to give his life a ransom for many’.
This is the mightiest truth in the Bible. Let us take care that we grasp it firmly, and never let it go. Our Lord Jesus Christ did not die merely as a martyr, or as a splendid example of self-sacrifice and self- denial: those who can see no more than that in His death, fall infinitely short of the truth; they lose sight of the very foundation-stone of Christianity, and miss the whole comfort of the gospel. Christ died as a sacrifice for man’s sin; He died to make reconciliation for man’s iniquity; He died to purge our sins by the offering of Himself; He died to redeem us from the curse which we all deserved, and to make satisfaction to the justice of God, which must otherwise have condemned us. Never let us forget this!
We are all by nature debtors. We owe to our holy Maker ten thousand talents, and are not able to pay. We cannot atone for our own transgressions, for we are weak and frail, and only adding to our debts every day. But, blessed be God, what we could not do, Christ came into the world to do for us; what we could not pay, He undertook to pay for us: to pay it, He died for us upon the cross. He ‘offered Himself ... to God’ (Heb. 9:14).
He ‘suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God’ (1 Pet. 3:18). Once more, never let us forget this! Let us leave these verses without asking ourselves, where is our humility? what is our idea of true greatness? what is our example? what is our hope? Life, eternal life, depends on the answer we give to these questions. Happy is that man who is truly humble, strives to do good in his day, walks in the steps of Jesus and rests all his hopes on the ransom paid for him by Christ’s blood. Such a man is a true Christian!
*Excerpted from Day By Day With J.C. Ryle: A New Daily Devotional of Ryle’s Writings by J.C. Ryle (Christian Heritage, 2011).
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