"I Know that my Redeemer Liveth."
Those few words spoken by Job thousands of years ago have brought untold blessings to countless souls down through the centuries. They are relevant in many situations, but our simple purpose, just now, is to show how they also constitute the very essence of true Christian testimony, and, at the same time, point the way to personal experience of God's saving mercy. We shall do this by considering the FOUR KEY WORDS in the statement -each of them very significant and helpful when it comes to knowing Christ as personal Lord and Savior.
The first of these is that word "Redeemer": - "I know that my Redeemer liveth". To "redeem", we know, is "to restore to original ownership by payment of a stipulated price", and our Bibles have much to say about this. We can even say that, in matters of the soul, the idea of "Redemption" is peculiar to the Christian message. Paul said, "...we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins" (Eph. 1: 7; Col.1: 14). And there is the parallel word of Peter, "...ye were not redeemed with ...silver and gold, ...But with the precious blood of Christ" (1 Pet. 1: 18, 19).
The Old Testament word for "Redeemer" is particularly interesting and informative. The Hebrew word is "GAAL", and that same word is also frequently translated "kinsman", that is, "relative". The reason for this is that, under the Levitical law, the right to "redeem" belonged to the "kinsman" and the two words became interchangeable. It meant that the one who was the "close relative" was authorized to buy back into the family heritage any property that had to be forfeited for any reason. The whole Book of Ruth, in our Old Testaments, is a classical example of this.
This surely explains why Christ had to become a MAN, and enter into this world as man. He was becoming our "relation", so that He could lawfully "redeem" us. We are also told that He was "made ...sin for us" (2 Cor.5: 21), and this was a still closer identification with us (See also Matt.3: 15). In these two respects, then, He was fully related to us, and eminently qualified to be our "Redeemer". Here is one of the marvels of the Gospel; God has provided us with this perfect "Relative-Redeemer" so that we may be fully restored to Himself (1 Pet.3: 18)! All praise to His Name!
The next key -word is "LIVETH"; -"I know that my Redeemer liveth". Here, of course, we are at the very heart of all true Christian "testimony"; we have a LIVING Savior! Christianity itself is firmly based on this GREAT HISTORICAL EVENT; Christ ROSE FROM THE DEAD on the third day; -and "He is ALIVE FOR EVERMORE"(John 20:1-18; Rev.1: 18)
It is interesting to note that, when Paul was outlining "the gospel which he preached", most of what he had to say was about the resurrection of our Lord. Whilst just a few words sufficed to cover the glorious fact of Christ's atoning death (1Cor.15: 3), the main emphasis was that, after that death, CHRIST ROSE AGAIN, and was "seen" by a whole succession of reliable and fully accredited witnesses (See 1 Cor.15: 1-8), so that the resurrection, too, was a fully -proven historical event!
A Christian, then, has good reason to testify, "I know that my Redeemer LIVETH". He knows it from simple history, and, better still, he knows it in his own inward experience. He can say with Paul, "Christ liveth IN ME".
And that, indeed, is the "witness" of Christ's living Church. The resurrection of Christ is something positively embodied into that Church. Our Lord said, "...Because I live, ye shall live also"(John14: 19). And there is the "Testimony". We must ask ourselves, "Are we giving out that testimony today"?
Next comes that all-important word "MY": "my Redeemer liveth". Here, the matter becomes a very, very, personal one; my own conscious ownership. The question that faces us all is, "Have we made that Redeemer ours; have I made Him mine"? We all have to face it; have we actually taken that essential "step of faith"? The Bible plainly says, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him" (John 3:36).
It is our conviction that, if we really see our need, that "step of faith" will not be difficult. But we are so proud, and a willingness to repent comes but very slowly! We would suggest, however, that just one honest look at the TEN COMMANDMENTS would greatly help us here, for we are all guilty on all points; -in one way or another (See Matt.5:21 ,22 etc.)! Very obviously, we need that Redeemer!
The greatest aid to faith, however, is just a sight of the Redeemer Himself. He "draws" us irresistibly by His incomparable mercy and compassion, and we can only "run after" Him (Song of Solomon 1: 4). And, once we have come, we shall be singing like that happy Bride in the Song of Solomon, "I am my Beloved's and my Beloved is MINE"(2:16; 6:3). There will be no doubt, then, that our own Redeemer lives.
Finally; in our text, is that wonderful word "I KNOW". Job knew that his Redeemer was alive; - and he knew it thousands of years before Christ actually appeared! The Bible makes it very clear that God not only wants us to HAVE salvation, but He wants us to KNOW we have it! We read, "These things have I written unto you...THAT YE MAY KNOW that ye have eternal life" (1John 5:13). Blessed assurance, indeed!
We would say that this assurance comes to the believer in two distinct ways. First, it comes from God's unfailing WORD, -the Bible. That Book says, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, AND THOU SHALT BE SAVED" (Acts 16:31). My response is, "1 have believed, and I have done so from my heart, and so I AM SAVED"! On the basis of what is written in the Book, I KNOW! Then comes the second way. Once we have taken our stand on God's Word, we find we have a further assurance; -one that is deep within ourselves. God's Holy Spirit enters into us and forthwith "beareth witness with our spirit, that we ARE the children of God" (Rom.8: 16). Thus we are able to say with full assurance, -" 1 know". And we shall be part of that Great Living Church which bears the same testimony.
We ask you now, in closing, "Can you now say with Job of old, "1 know that my Redeemer liveth"? Settle it without delay, and add your voice, and your life to the same glad testimony, -"I know that my Redeemer liveth".
EVERLASTING LOVE - 3
God's love cannot be fully comprehended by ourselves alone. It is something we can comprehend only with all saints, as Paul says, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge---! (Eph.3: 18).
That is why believers should come together as a church, and take part in the Lord's Table by faith, knowing that believers in other parts of the world are doing the same. If by faith we take part worthily and rightly, the result will be a greater love for fellow-believers, a greater longing to see the Lord face to face, and a greater desire to be like Him and with Him in all His fullness. Your standard will be Himself, you will want to be like Him only, and not like any preacher or prophet. He is our standard, and the stature of God's standard for us, that we may overcome all limitations. Do we realize that God is doing a work in each one of us and that work will go on, till this body of clay is laid aside? When men build a building with cement, in the beginning there is only the mold, and into this they pour the concrete and cement. Outsiders see only the mold, but inside the cement builds up into a wall. When the work is complete, the mold is removed, and the building can be seen by all. That is how God is working in us. Outside is the body of clay, full of frailty; bones and muscles and flesh that are full of pain and weakness. But within us God is building His own life. In our spirit, that work will go on till we become like the Lord Jesus Christ. This body of clay will one day be cast aside, and we shall have a new body, in which we will overcome present limitations, for that body will contain the fullness of God. In preparation of that, the Lord is now working in us that we may receive His Divine life in fullness. Sin, failure, and disobedience, hinder the flow of that life. Before you partake of the Lord's Table you should examine yourself, and you will see all kinds of faults and failures which prevent the life of God from flowing freely in and through you. When those failures are confessed and washed away, there will be a great and constant flow with the result that life will be fuller, and there will be a greater longing to see the Lord face to face.
That is why we need to examine ourselves before we go to worship. If we have any bitterness in our hearts, or jealousy, or hatred, communion with our Lord and His saints will be clouded, and there will be no joy nor true appreciation of His love. If there is anyone with whom we are not on talking terms we should first be reconciled. "Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there remember that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift" (Matt.5: 23-24). Otherwise the Lord's Supper is a mere ceremony or ritual, without true meaning. If however we come with joy, having our sins confessed and jour hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience (Heb. 10:22), we shall surely come to know "... with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And ...the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge", that we might be filled with all the fullness of God (Eph.3:18-19). Therefore "let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup"
(1 Cor.11 : 28).