“We preach Christ crucified” (1 Corinthians 1:23); “I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).
“No one can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for them — the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough — so that they should live on forever and not see decay” (Psalm 49:7-9).
We cannot pay the price of our salvation. We cannot buy for ourselves a place in heaven.
“The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
What we can never do for ourselves, Jesus Christ has done for us. He has given his life as a ransom for many. He has paid the price of our salvation. His death is the costly price. By dying on the cross, Jesus Christ has paid the ransom price. This price is not money. Money cannot buy salvation. Christ has died. This is the payment of the ransom price. We are set free from guilt and judgment. This is what we remember when we gather at the Lord’s Table – “He took my place and died for me.”
“For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles” (1 Timothy 2:5-7).
The event which we remember – the death of Christ – is to be preached. The Lord’s Supper is part of the proclamation of the gospel. It must, however, be accompanied by the teaching of God’s Word. When we remember the fact of Christ’s death for us, we do not simply remember a fact of ancient history. We give our testimony. We declare that the death of Christ is, for us, a life-changing fact, the fact which brings salvation into our lives. This is the message which is preached. The Christ, who died for us, many centuries ago, is the Christ who changes our lives here-and-now. He changes us – for time and eternity.
“You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your bodies” (1 Corinthians 6:19b-20).
“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God” (1 Peter 1:18-21).
“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good” (Titus 2:11-14)).
The way in which Christ changes our lives here-and-now
(a) He creates in us an appreciation of what he has done for us – “You were bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:19).”You were ransomed … not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:18-19).
(b) Out of this appreciation is to come both salvation and consecration.
(i) We are saved from a life of futility, an empty life. Fullness of life does not come from ourselves. It is given to us by Christ (John 10:10).
(ii) We are saved for a life of giving glory to God – “You were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19b-20).
(iii) What is the life that glorifies God? – It is the life of holiness. He “gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify us for himself, a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds” (Titus 2:14).
because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:9-10).
This is the song of the redeemed. In the glory of heaven, there will be one event that is remembered above all other events: “You were slain and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.”