November 15, 2022

Why did our Savior come to earth?  Jesus said, “…the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28 NAS95) Jesus came to offer His life as a ransom.  This was the heart of His mission.  What does it mean?

A ransom is the price paid to emancipate a slave.  When this price was paid, a slave was said to be “redeemed.”  You and I were enslaved to sin.  As Jesus said, “…Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.” (John 8:34 NAS95) In order for us to be set free from this bondage, a price had to be paid.  Because God is holy and just, He cannot and will not simply ignore sin.  Sin must be punished.  For us to escape the punishment due and to be set free, Jesus Christ had to pay our ransom.

And Jesus paid an awful price to purchase our freedom. He paid with His own life.  God in the flesh, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One, lovingly gave His life to redeem us from sin.  As Peter writes, “If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.” (1 Peter 1:17-19 NAS95) Jesus, the precious, spotless lamb of God paid for our souls with His own blood.  He gave His life a ransom for many.

We were ransomed at unfathomable cost.  That Jesus, God in the flesh, would suffer and bleed and die for us is breathtaking.   What is your reaction to all of this? What does it stir up in you?  Thankfulness?  Yes.  Joy?  Certainly.  But according to the verse above, the ransom that was paid should stir up fear in us.  It should elicit great awe for God and for Christ.  That fear should cause us to stay away from sin, realizing the price paid.  It should cause us to carefully consider the words we say, the things we pursue, and the way we treat one another. 

Jesus paid it all!  And we owe our all to Him!  Let us thank God today for the precious blood of Jesus.   

—Scott Colvin

Fear and Trembling:  A Response to the Work of God

March 14, 2022

The work of God in this world is so wonderful, so stunning, that it causes many emotions to well up inside of us—thankfulness, delight, and love to name a few.  There is another powerful human emotion that we see throughout scripture in response to the mighty power of God:  fear and trembling.

In Luke chapter 7, Jesus went to a city called Nain.  As He approached the city, he saw a young man, the only son of his widowed mother, being carried out in a coffin.  His mother followed along weeping.  When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her. Jesus touched the coffin and commanded the young man to arise.  The dead man sat up and began to speak, and the Lord gave him back to His mother.  What was the reaction of the people in the crowd that were gathered around?  “Fear gripped them all, and they began glorifying God…” (Luke 7:16, NASB)

In Luke chapter 5, we read of the paralyzed man who was lowered down through the roof so that Jesus could heal him.  Jesus forgave the man’s sins and then commanded the paralytic to get up, pick up his stretcher, and go home.  Immediately the man got up and walked.  What was the reaction of the people who witnessed this miracle? “They were all struck with astonishment and began glorifying God; and they were filled with fear…” (Luke 5:26, NASB)

We see this response of fear and trembling in the disciples when Jesus stilled the sea.  As the wind blew fiercely and the waves were breaking over the boat, the disciples woke Jesus and cried out to Him for help.  Jesus got up, rebuked the wind, and commanded the sea to be still.  Upon seeing this, the disciples “…became very much afraid and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?’” (Mark 4:41, NASB)

The mighty works of God are not just things that happened long ago in Bible times.  The Lord has done—and is doing—mighty works in you and me today!  He has caused us to die to our old selves, raised us up to newness of life, caused His Spirit to dwell in us, and is presently working to transform us in our inner being.  These are stunning realities that people who lived before the cross of Christ couldn’t fathom.  If we could grasp more deeply the mighty work that God has accomplished, we too would be full of fear and trembling.  May we approach the throne of grace today with reverence and awe for our Mighty God.

—Scott Colvin