CHAPTER 6

Christ came to Liquidate the Debt

To liquidate our debt He came,
To free mankind of guilt and blame.
To pay in full the ransom due,
And all the joys of life renew.
No plumes of pomp or gaudy crown
Are needed to secure renown,
He loved the church, let this suffice,
He gave Himself to pay the price.

"For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God." (1 Cor. 3:18)

Never before in the history of man had an accumulated account reached such gigantic dimensions to face a race that was already ruined. The damage, dishonor and debt had piled up over the centuries to an enormous degree. The whole earth which had been formerly delegated to man for possession and rule was hopelessly encumbered. Debt and death reigned while insolvency and bankruptcy characterized mankind. No one in this world could meet the issue; the deliverer must needs come from another realm. Eventually a case for the Crown was called, and in a court of absolute justice a purchaser was sought who was ready and resourceful enough to redeem the race and ransom the earth from its heavy burden. Christ, alone, pressed His claim against the domineering usurper . the god of this world . who held the entire populace under the bondage of death. Emmanuel, the immortal Lover, responded to the appeal for a deliverer when there was no other eye to pity and no other arm to save. He met every claim that stood against the inheritance, discharged all obligations on man's behalf, defeated the devil, delivered the debtors, disgorged the strong man's palace of its booty and divided the spoils. He backed the bill for humanity by going surety, and when the date came due for payment, "It was exacted and He became answerable.” (Isa. 53:7, Bishop Lowth's rendering) This wonderful enactment was celebrated in Heaven with the greatest outburst of adoring acclaim that has ever echoed through the corridors of the centuries, or the celestial courts above. (Rev. 5)

On the memorable occasion when Boaz, the mighty man of wealth, acted in the interests of Ruth, the widowed Moabite, he called ten witnesses to the gate of Bethlehem. Standing in the presence of the chief men of the city he notified the assembled representatives that he had liquidated the debt on the forfeited estate of Elimelech's household and had cleared the inheritance of all encumbrances. He also declared that he had achieved more than this by undertaking the greater matter of resolving to redeem Ruth to be his companion. Having substantiated his close relationship as a kinsman, the claims of the law regarding the right to redeem were now established. In view of the debt hanging over the property, considerable resource was necessary to discharge the obligations, but as a man of wealth Boaz was in a position to meet these adequately. However, neither his close relationship, certified right, nor consciousness of resource were in themselves sufficient to meet the need . the main requirements for relieving the situation were a chivalrous spirit and compassionate resolve. So he decided to take this woman of sorrow and solitude to his heart and home and heritage, honor her with his society and enrich her with his substance.

Not only do the Scriptures narrate such instances of adversity involving the loss of property held under private ownership, but the same is also true nationally. Old Testament history records the loss of Solomon's temple, of the actual throne of Israel itself and of the entire territory of the Holy Land. Later on, the restoration from bondage, the rebuilding of the temple and recovery of the nation, were evidences of a plan in which a far wider design was reflected. After the nation had been carried captive to Babylon where seventy years of bondage were determined, the Lord restored the people to their homeland in order that they should rebuild the city and temple. He promised to guard the environs with a wall of fire until His glory should come to them in the person of Messiah the Prince. He undertook this guardianship until the 490 years of the promised protection had expired. The whole captivity was designed for their good, likewise their restoration. (See Jer. ch. 24.) Jeremiah supplies a striking illustration of Rom. 8:28, "For we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose." A wonderful illustration of the divine intent regarding recovery was given at the commencement of the Babylonian captivity. Jeremiah the prophet was sitting ruminating on the things God had revealed to him concerning coming events, when his nephew arrived and requested that he buy his brother's field from Anathoth. Why invest in an inheritance that was already occupied by a foreign enemy? Jeremiah immediately perceived the matter to be of the Lord's directing, and a real test of his faith in the promises of God concerning restoration and repossession. By virtue of his undaunted faith, he bought the field, sealed the evidences of the purchase and placed them for safe keeping in an earthen vessel. When we lift these records out of their local and national setting and focus them through the centuries until they assume universal proportions, our minds are in some measure prepared to consider the mission of the Son of man and the purpose of His great redemptive manifestation. When Christ entered this groaning creation, the entire earth was encumbered and under the power of a relentless enemy who held humanity enslaved. Every life was gripped with the awful spell of forfeiture which accounted for David declaring, “ None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: (For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:)” Psalm 49:7, 8.

The man Christ Jesus stood in contrast to all other men. As the Good Shepherd He said in words vibrant with victory, John 10:18 “No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.” His was the only unforfeited life in the universe, therefore His right and title to live were unimpaired. On the other hand, man, to whom all things had been entrusted, had failed in fidelity and forfeited the entire inheritance together with his own life. If a ransom was to be paid and redemption purchased, it could only be done by one who was in possession of a perfect, unforfeited life. He purchased the entire field which He interpreted as the whole world, discharged the indebtedness and this He did for the sake of the treasure in it, so that the treasure and the world could never be divorced from each other.

“Come then, and added to Thy many crowns,
Receive yet one, the crown of all the Earth,
Thou Who alone art worthy, it was Thine
By ancient covenant, ere Nature's birth,
And Thou hast made it Thine by purchase since
And overpaid its value with Thy blood.”

The Son of Man was such an one, “for there is none else", no, “there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” “He came to seek and to save that which was lost.” “He came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” The Spirit of God by the lips of the apostle confirms the words of David in Psa. 49:7, 9, for Peter writes the counterpart of the King's declaration when he says, "Unto you there-fore which believe he is precious." The spotless, sinless, Son of man is the altogether lovely one, precious to memory, to faith and to hope. The preciousness of immortal graces, imperishable beauties and incorruptible virtues reside in His peerless character. "In him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily."

"No mortal can with Him compare
Among the sons of men;
Fairer is He than all the fair,
That fill the heavenly train."

Because of His immaculate character of preciousness He alone is qualified to unveil the Father's counsels and fulfil His purpose. The evidences which are exhibited in Christ's earthly ministry express the very essence of His being. This is demonstrated in His own faithful constancy, His fragrant courtesy, His friendly considerateness, His fervent comradeship, His fearless courage, His forgiving compassion and His famous conquest.

Yea, when we pause to consider the excellencies of our Lord, we are reminded of Samuel Rutherford's description of the Beloved, “Put the beauty of ten thousand worlds of Paradise in one, put all trees, all flowers, all fragrances, all colors, all tastes, all joys, all sweetness, all loveliness in one, what an excellent thing that would be, and withal it would be less to that fair and dearest well.beloved Christ than one drop of rain to the whole of the seas, rivers, lakes and fountains of ten thousand earths."

Equally appropriate are the words of Jean Paul Richer in which he declared, "The life of Christ concerns Him Who, being the holiest among the mighty, and the mightiest among the holy, lifted with His pierced hands empires off their hinges, turned the stream of centuries out of its channel and still governs the ages." The various things about us that charm and captivate our capacities are all outvied by the perfect balance and beauty of His wonderfully blended virtues. These are so comely and complete that they far exceed the combined enjoyments which are derived from the melodies of music, the symphonies of song, the pleasures of peace, the happiness of hope, the blessings of bounty, the triumphs of truth, the characteristics of constancy, the raiment of righteousness, the vestments of virtue, the glint of gems, the sparkling of sapphires, the gleams of gold and the kindliness of kinship.

What fullness He has furnished to enrich those He has emancipated from bondage and bankruptcy! He not only cancels the debt that was piled against humanity, but confers the abounding wealth of His celestial heritage. The Son of God Himself has lifted man from the depths of debt and defeat to the preeminent pinnacle of prosperity and to the highest height of honor. Within this realm of righteousness He lavishes the beauties of His own immortal nature most bountifully on His beloved people. He pours forth the sweet solicitations of His holy love, charms the renewed spiritual capacities with the treasures of His truth, proves the preciousness of His imperishable promise in having prepared a place for each person comprising His redeemed hosts, and perfects a Heaven of delights by His own personal presence.

“Oh, Christ, He is the fountain,
The deep, sweet well of love!
The streams on earth I've tasted,
More deep I'll drink above.
There, to an ocean fullness,
His mercy doth expand,
And glory, glory dwelleth
In Immanuel's land.”

His love is as radiant as the full.orbed sun which never develops nor diminishes; His pity is as replete as the wide, wide ocean which never swells nor shrinks; His power is as resolute as the whirring wind which neither tires nor terminates; His voice is as resonant as the song of the spheres which never sinks into silence nor ceases to control. How replete and how resplendent are the riches of His resources which ever abide at the high level of floodtide! Surely it behooves us to admire and adore His great goodness with consummate zeal and consuming gratitude. He has not imparted handfuls of purpose as Boaz ordered for Ruth, but Heavenfuls of priceless provision and perennial blessing in perfecting forever them that are sanctified. "Of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace," and this privilege entitles us to share “the fullness of Him that filleth all in all.” (Eph. 1:23)

The year of Jubilee which figured the redemption of the whole land of Israel so that the Lord became sole proprietor of the inheritance, was a vivid national reminder every 50 years, of the universal claim Christ will ultimately make to possess the entire earth when He takes to Himself the kingdoms of this world and reigns.

“Thus saith the Lord, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth to cause to inherit the desolate heritages.” (Isa. 49:8)

Our Blessed Lord lifted His eyes to the radiant light of a coming kingdom where the liberty of life immortal, the society of love eternal, the stability of peace perennial, the ecstasy of joys supernal would abide undisturbed and undisputed under His own permanent authority. No one else in the entire universe possessed the credentials nor held the qualifications to establish such an order of newness. “And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold I make all things new." (Rev. 21:5) "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; and the first heaven and the first earth passed away." (Rev. 21:1.5)

Christ was the only One Who ever lived a complete life unforfeited and unmortgaged, and also exercised creative ability. Yet He came "to seek and to save that which was lost." "He came, not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." "He came that we might have life and have it more abundantly." During His manifestation He fulfilled the highest ministry, rendered the fullest obedience, defeated the strongest foe, finished the greatest work, ejected the grimmest usurper, paid the biggest debt, redeemed the largest estate, secured the noblest victory and won the costliest crown.

"Unto you, therefore, which believe He is precious," said the apostle Peter. So we may truthfully affirm that His moral attributes are always majestic, His regal administration is always righteous, His judicial authority is always just, His redemptive ministries are always reconciling, His superior love is always steadfast, His spiritual associates are always sanctified, His holy aspirations are always heavenly, His generous awards are always gracious and His gorgeous attributes are always glorious.

“To whom will ye liken Me, and to whom shall I be equal? saith the Lord.” “I am the first, I also am the last.” (Isa. 48:12) “Fear not: I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; Thou art mine.” (Isa. 43:1)

He Who reigns in the supremacy of glory despises none. When making His choice He ignores pedigree and ancestry, together with the dignity of nobility and stately majesty. He disallows every feature in which human nature boasts for the purpose that Paul states, "that no flesh should glory in His presence." When He entrusted patterns of celestial vessels and vestments of divine service for ministry in a comely tabernacle, He commanded that they be sheltered under a covering of common badger skins. He charged the early leaders of His people to select unhewn stones for material to build His altars to exclude the clever craftsmanship of men. He chose a desert thornbush on the slopes of Sinai to unveil a glimpse of His blazing glory when manifesting His name to Moses. He selected a shepherd lad to be sovereign leader of His people Israel when He designed to demonstrate the grace and generosity of His own heart. He chose to refuse the request of Herod, the king of Galilee, but responded to the appeal of a poor blind beggar at Jericho. He turned aside from prancing steeds and Roman chariots and chose an ass on which to ride in triumph to Zion city. During His ministry He did not despise the nuisance of a bruised reed nor quench the nausea of smoldering flax. His kindly words to the hopeless and helpless are engravened in eternal records which can never be erased or defaced, for "the word of the Lord abideth forever."

His liberality is as limitless as the stars in volume.

His blessings are as boundless as the sky in their beneficence and bounty.

His mercies are as measureless as space in their magnitude and munificence.

He Who is the timeless, tireless and triumphant suitor, Whose unvarying virtues and unwearying energies are as changeless as His character, could not have rendered the needed help to the heirs of the estate nor to the heritage itself by remaining in Heaven. A century ago one of the Moravian missionaries found that he could not help the slaves of the West Indies by remaining free without their camp, so he became one of them. One of the great factors in divine manifestation lies in the fact that Christ came into the midst of the ruined estate of humanity to live and die and from within this mortgaged heritage. He paid off the great indemnity to free the world from the power of the usurper and emancipate mankind.

His ability to do this is ageless and He never alters. His faultless faithfulness never proves false or fickle in any emergency. The tearless heritage He secures never terminates, for it fadeth not away. The deathless kingdom He establishes never decays nor disintegrates.

In the Person of this kindly Kinsman, all the symbols and shadows of the law in the sphere of ransom are surpassed by His one purchase payment.

In the Person of this "Heir of all things," all the types and teachings of Scripture concerning estates are wholly exceeded by His claiming sole ownership of the entire world.

In the Person of this Kingly Redeemer, all the featured figures in the Word of God relative to securing a possession permanently, are finally fulfilled and forever realized.

In the Person of this Princely Bridegroom, all the pictures and parables of virtuous marriages in the whole treasury of truth are completely transcended at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

"To Him give all the prophets witness." In Him all revelation is made replete.

By virtue of the righteousness and regality of this renowned Redeemer, man's title to the entire estate has been entered in the amaranthine records of the age.abiding administration of our adorable Lord. Names of ownership are indelibly inscribed in that heavenly peerage where recognition by the angelic hosts ratifies the contract forever and ever.

THE LOVE OF THE LORD

Heights are dwarfed and depths seem shallow!
Can time's brief span bespeak His worth?
Earth's widest space is far too narrow,
To celebrate the Savior's birth!

He came to earth to pay our debt
And seek for man a full discharge,
The world's account He fully met
And set the whole estate at large.

His skillful wisdom soars above
The highest peaks and starry skies,
For who can measure perfect love
That frees the race from tears and sighs?

He loved the lowly, lost and lone,
He sought from earth His queenly bride
To share His own immortal throne
And dwell forever by His side.

He lavished freely jewels and gold
With pearls of stainless purity;
He gave rich robes and wealth untold
Which reassure security.

Eternity Thy spouse shall spend
Within Thy courts forever rest,
Redeemer, Kinsman, Bridegroom, Friend,
Thy love hath chosen, called and blest.

                                           C.J.R.