INTRO: In the book of Revelation there is a passage in which there is a great host singing a new song ... and the new song was a song which only the redeemed from among men could learn (Rev 14:1-5). In a song I have sung with saints of the Lord for years there is the line which says, Sing the sweet story redemptions sweet song. There are, of course, all sorts of thoughts and ideas about Gods redemption which circulate among religious people. As one hears them and looks at them, he becomes painfully aware that there is the sound of disagreement and diversity on a subject about which all should be able to agree. So, once again, we are challenged to go to the scriptures to settle, in our minds, the issue of the sweet story of redemption.
I. GODS PLAN FOR REDEEMING RESTS UPON/IN HIS GRACE
A. When something must be redeemed, it is understood to be lost
1. redemption means there has been a separation take place
2. redemption means that the things which must be redeemed is out of the control, possession of one who is the redeemer
B. Because of sin, humanity, generally speaking, is lost
1. sin means that humanity has spurned the law of God in rebellion
2. sin means that humanity has chosen to turn its back on God
3. sin means that there is a separation of man from God
C. But God did not want that lostness to be the end of the story for humanity!
1. 1 Pet 1:18-21 - foreordained before the foundation of the world
2. Gods plan is older than the material creation! If mankind was to be given the freedom of choice, God knew that sin would ultimately be a problem
3. so, before there was a man on earth, there was a plan in heaven!
D. Now, what word can describe the God who planned so well?
1. the word must be gracious - Ex 34:6,7a
2. Acts 20:24 - ...to testify the gospel of the grace of God
3. now, we need to comprehend why grace is truly amazing ... and its put so beautifully in Rom 5:8
II. GODS PLAN FOR REDEEMING REQUIRED AN ATONING SACRIFICE
A. The fact of this need involves law and justice
1. sin is violation of Gods law; broken law requires penalty; death is penalty
2. Rom 6:23a - For the wages of sin is death...
3. if there is to be redemption, somehow that penalty must, must be paid in order to satisfy the perfect justness of God
B. 2 Cor 5:21 - Here is one of the most amazing verses in scripture
1. Jesus became the sin offering, paid the penalty for our sin, our guilt
2. Jno 3:16 - all of this gets more amazing as we realize that Jesus is not just anyone ... He is the very Son of the gracious Father through Whose grace the Son was permitted to be executed to become the atoning sacrifice
3. 2 Tim 1:9 - and Jesus knew of the plan before the world began
III. GODS PLAN FOR REDEEMING REQUIRES A HUMAN RESPONSE
A. It is often at this point that people find themselves in conflict, contradiction
1. perhaps its just a matter of desiring a sort of universal salvation
2. or perhaps its a matter of deep rooted tradition
3. or perhaps its a failure to read, to study, to think through the subject
B. Salvation by grace alone would mean:
1. that not even human belief could be required
2. that fairness would, therefore, insist that God save everyone
3. that His saving everyone would mean that people are saved in their sins
C. Please notice Titus 2:14
1. Jesus gave Himself to redeem us from iniquity
2. and He gave Himself to purify us
3. that explains, then, Rev 1:4 and the washing, purifying in/by His blood
D. But that takes us a bit further
1. Mk 16:16 and Acts 2:38 salvation, remission of sins (that is, after all, what redemption is about) require a persons belief in Christ, his repentance, his being baptized
2. but what about that purifying? Acts 22:16 & Eph 5:25 - now, we begin to get a better look at the whole picture ... Gods part in His plan and mans part in His plan
3. but we still must consider the atoning sacrifice ... and make it ours - so, Rom 6:3 ... we are baptized into His death, into the atoning sacrifice ... without ones being baptized, he cannot receive the benefits of Jesus death!
CLOSE: Has anything in this human response made a man deserving of the grace of God? Has anything about this human response put God in our debt? Hardly. The human response is set out in scripture as the means by which one receives, finally, the gift of Gods redemption. I would never for a moment minimize the awesome grace of God; nor would I for a moment minimize the logic and necessity of a human response to Gods explicit requirements.
Cecil A. Hutson
01 June 2003
You Must Hear the Gospel
You Must Believe
You Must Repent
You Must Confess
You Must Be Baptized
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death