The Old Old Story

We sang this song on Sunday during Communion, the words are full of truth summed up finally in this stanza.

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Isaiah has been working towards this same truth in the recent chapters I’ve been reading – the truth that is central to the Good News we believe, to the Gospel we stand on. No matter how long or how short a time we have been Christians this Good News, this truth should thrill us and fill us with a hope and a joy that changes us.

The truth Isaiah shares in chapter 53 is that God paid the price for our sin and shame. There was nothing, there is nothing, we can do to be put right, to be justified with God but in His grace and mercy, He made it possible by paying the price.

The phrases paying the price, paying the ransom are bloodless ways of describing what Jesus did for us. Isaiah is more graphic. In verse 3 he says the suffering servant – who we see to be Jesus – was despised and rejected, the brutality of what was done to Him made us turn our faces away, Isaiah continues:

But he was hurt because of us; he suffered so.
    Our wrongdoing wounded and crushed him.
He endured the breaking that made us whole.
    The injuries he suffered became our healing.

We all have wandered off, like shepherdless sheep,
    scattered by our aimless striving and endless pursuits;
The Eternal One laid on him, this silent sufferer,
    the sins of us all.

Isaiah 53:  5-6 The Voice

This is that old old story that some of us heard and accepted many years ago but it ought to be as fresh and vital and important to us today, as life-changingly wonderful as it was on the day when we first began to understand just how loved we are by this God who held nothing back in His pursuit of us.

Our relationship with God is topsy-turvy from our relationships in the world. In life we have to earn what we have – through work, through our effort so that we feel like we have received what we deserve. With God what we have is unearned, undeserved and unattainable by any effort of ours. He gives it as a free gift to any who will receive it. John 1:12

Take some time to reflect on this gift, even if you already did today, some things should be at the forefront of our hearts and minds. That’s how we live as Paul exhorts us in Ephesians 5

1 Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children.

 2 Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God..

Ephesians 5:1-2

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