Sabbath School Lesson Commentary for Sabbath, 21 January, 2012

Sabbath School Lesson Commentary for Sabbath, 21 January, 2012

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21.01.2012 GOD AS REDEEMER

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honour and glory and blessing!” Revelation 5:12

But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.” Isaiah 43:1

For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is His name; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth. Isaiah 54:5

God our Creator is also our Redeemer. The responsibility to redeem is involved in the work of Creation (Ephesians 3:8-12, Colossians 1:15-27 emphasis verses 25-27, Romans 16:25-27). Redemption was not an afterthought of God, a remedy for the sin first demonstrated in Satan and the rebellious angels and then manifested on earth as man believed Satan rather than God. No, the Bible is very clear that our salvation was prepared from ‘the foundation of the world’ and our eternal life promised by God ‘before time began’.

...He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love. Ephesians 1:4

He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you. 1 Peter 1:20

In hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began. Titus 1:2

Mankind was created to reflect the image of God; to reflect Godlikeness spiritually, mentally, socially and through wise dominion of nature. Sin did not deter God, for before the foundation of the earth, the Godhead had planned redemption. The redemption of man was to be the first step to bringing him back to his first condition, a son/daughter of God, the very workmanship of God, created in Christ Jesus for goods works which God Himself has prepared for him (2 Cor 5:17, Ephesians 2:8-10).

He who refuses to believe in a personal Creator God, may reject Christ, the Saviour and Redeemer of the world, with eternal consequences for his soul

Since God the Creator is also God the Redeemer, who through His redemption has brought forth a new creation in His Son, Christ Jesus, no one who rejects or denies that mankind is created by a personal God (see Psalm 139:13-18) can truly accept that Redemption is also the act of a personal God who calls us by name and redeems us (Isaiah 43:1, 44:24).

Even if a person rejects the Creation story and accepts God as Redeemer, he will not understand the true purpose of Redemption (there are many in Christendom today who refuse to believe in God the Creator, but claim Him as their Redeemer). For the ultimate purpose of both creation and redemption is the glory of God. To one who denies the Creator God, redemption when accepted is purely selfish in motive – the desire to receive forgiveness and escape hell, rather than living for God’s glory.

All God’s work is complete and perfect:

Creation, Redemption and the promised new heaven and new Earth are the perfect gifts of God. Man’s part is only to accept it as a gift and rest in His accomplished work. We live lives of grateful praise and worship of Him so loved us that He gave Himself for us that we may be found perfect in Him.

Who Has God Redeemed? How many has God redeemed?

For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. Matthew 18:11, Luke 19:10

I came not to judge the world but to save the world. John 12:47

This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. 1 Timothy 1:15

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness. Romans 3:23-25

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. 2 Corinthians 5:14, 15

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. 1 Timothy 2:4- 6

The not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:16, 17

Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. Romans 5:18

And He Himself is the propitiation (atoning sacrifice) for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. 1 John 2:2

The offer of salvation is universal; the acceptance of it is particular i.e. it benefits only those who do not reject the gift of redemption.

Why Does God Redeem?

‘Behold, I have loved you with an everlasting love...’ Jeremiah 31:3

In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation (atoning sacrifice) for our sins. 1 John 4:9, 10

The Promises of the Redeemer in the Old Testament:

Genesis 3:8-15 – As soon as man sins, God meets him with the good news of redemption.

Job declares that his Redeemer lives (Job 19:25) and that he would see him one day, though worms consume his body in death.

He was the Redeemer of Israel. Psalm 78:35

He is mighty to save and He is our Redeemer. Isaiah 63:1-3, 16, Isa 41;14, 43:1, 14, 44:6, 24, 47:4, 48:17, 49:26, 54:5, 8, 59:20, 60:16. Jeremiah 50:34

Abraham and Isaac: Genesis 22:1-19

This is one of the most moving stories of the Old Testament. A human father asked to sacrifice his son of promise, the son through whose Seed all nations would be blessed. He immediately obeys the call of God and tells the young men with him that he is going to worship with his son. When asked ‘Where is the lamb?’ he replies, ‘God will provide Himself a lamb...’ Though God provided a ram at Mount Moriah, centuries later, He provided Himself, God the Son, the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world. Because of his faithfulness, Abraham became a channel through whom God could ultimately bless and save the whole world.

Salvation in Isaiah: Isaiah 53

This chapter is the supreme revelation of the gospel in the Old Testament. Isaiah describes in detail the substitutionary and inclusive death of Christ and the blessings it bestow upon all mankind. He describes man’s greatest problem: unbelief. (See Additional Notes for comments on the entire chapter).

Salvation in the Gospels:

Jesus was absolutely clear about His mission. He had come to earth to reveal the love and justice of God to a world that did not understand the goodness of God; to seek and to save that which was lost, to call sinners to repentance, to invite mankind to enter the kingdom of God and to give His life a ransom for all. So He ‘set His face like a flint’ to go up to Jerusalem and to Calvary when His hour had come.

Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified... “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name...Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” This He said, signifying by what death He would die. John 12:27-33

‘My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me...(Matt 27:46)? This is not the cry of unbelief. This is the cry of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. To take away the sin of the world, He must taste of the cup of God’s wrath against sin, and taste death for every man. For the wrath of God is not like man’s wrath. God’s anger is described in Romans 1:20-32; He leaves us alone, He turns His face away. And in His leaving, we lose light and love and life. No wonder the Son of God, one with the Father from before Time began, as He bore the wrath of God and the wages of sin, cried out, ‘My God, My God, why has Thou forsaken Me?’

So it will be when Christ returns as King of kings and Lord of lords to bring judgement upon the world. All who have refused the gift of life and love (grace) and light (truth) in Christ Jesus, will receive the wages of sin, eternal death, when God, who is the Fount of all life, turns His face away.

‘I have come that they might have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10

“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:18

The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” John 3:35, 36

Salvation in Isaiah: Isaiah 53

This chapter is the supreme revelation of the gospel in the Old Testament. Isaiah describes in detail the substitutionary and inclusive death of Christ and the blessings it bestow upon all mankind. He describes man’s greatest problem: unbelief.

The Messiah’s Atonement (The Sin Bearing Servant)

The Introduction: Isaiah 52: 13-15

Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently; He shall be exalted and extolled and be very high. Just as many were astonished at you, So His visage (appearance) was marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men;
So shall He sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths at Him; for what had not been told them they shall see, and what they had not heard they shall consider.

Isaiah 53:

Verse 1 - ‘Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?

John 12:37, 38 – the Jews did not believe, the people did not believe, do we believe the report? It is foolishness to unbelievers (1 Cor 1:18), but it is power (the arm of the Lord) to the believer. The arm of the Lord is power, strength and salvation (Psa 98:1, Exo 15:11, Deut 5:15). It is Christ the gospel, the power of God unto salvation.

Verse 2 - For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.

He has no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him; nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him (NIV). He has none of the earthly trappings that attract men – power, wealth, influence, beauty.

He has set aside the prerogatives of the Godhead – omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience – and made Himself of no reputation ((Phil 2:7) and was set at nought and treated with contempt (Mark 9:12).

Verse 3 - He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief...

He has tasted all our sorrows, griefs, infirmities and temptations – Hebrews 4:15.

And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

Our response to Christ, the Son of God who gave up heaven for us:

We despised, rejected and did not recognise Him (John 1:10).

We hid from His face; the face in which the light of the glory of God is seen (2 Cor 4:6). For the Light shines, but the darkness does not understand it (John 1:5).

And when He came...we thought Him stricken (cursed) of God... (verse 4)

Because He was hung from a tree (Acts 5:30, 10:39, 13:29, 1 Pet 2:24), and those who were hung from a tree were deemed cursed of God (Deut 21:23).

Indeed He was cursed of God, but not for Himself. He was made a curse for us, that we might be redeemed from the curse of the law (Gal 3:10-14).

And thus He became our great Substitute...

Verse 4: He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.

Verse 5: He was sounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities...

...the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.

He bore the punishment that brought us peace (Eph 2:12-16, Rom 5:10). While we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son (2 Cor 5:19-21).

Verse 6: And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

Like sheep that go astray, we are full of iniquity, always crooked and bent, always choosing our own way. Christ has borne the iniquity of us all.

Verse 7: He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.

He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). He opened not His mouth, because He was providing Himself a Lamb (Gen 22:8).

Verse 8: He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of My people He was stricken.

Messiah will be ‘cut off’, but not for Himself (Daniel 9:26), but for the transgression of His people. ‘Yet who of His generation considered that He was cut for the transgression of my people to whom the blow was due? ‘(NIV margin).

God the Father at Calvary:

Verse 10: Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.

It was the Father’s will to make His Son’s life an offering for the sin of the world (Gal 3:13, John 3:16, 2 Cor 5:21).

And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son as the Saviour of the world. 1 John 4:14

The Father had to bruise (crush) His Son. The Father had to put His Son to grief. The Father had to take His beloved Son’s life and make His soul an offering for sin, by putting Him to death, the second death, the death that is the wages of sin.

When Christ cried, ‘Why hast Thou forsaken Me?’, He was experiencing the curse of God; the removal of God’s presence which results in death.

God so loved the world... that He gave His beloved Son to be the atoning sacrifice for sin.

And then, with prophetic vision, Isaiah looks beyond the Cross and sees the risen Christ. He records the triumph of His victory over sin and death and its meaning to humankind.

Verse 11: He shall see the labour of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities.

God will be satisfied with the sacrifice of His Son and raise Him to life (Acts 2:32).

Many will be justified (declared righteous) – Rom 5:18, 19.

The Blessings to Mankind of the Atoning Sacrifice of Christ:

Verse 10: ...He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.

His Seed (His offspring)...we are His offspring

John 12:24 Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.

Romans 8:29 After Calvary, Christ is the firstborn of many brethren.

Col 1:19, Rev 1:5 Christ is now the Firstborn from the dead.

1 John 3:1 We are now the sons of God.

Psalm 22:27 All the ends of the earth will remember and turn unto the LORD.

Rev 5:9, 7:9 The redeemed (His seed) will be from every nation, kindred, tongue and people.

Rom 5:18 The free gift came upon all men.

He shall prolong His days...

Romans 6:9 Death has no dominion

Rev 1:18 He is alive forevermore!

John 14:19 Because He lives, we shall live also.

1 Cor 15:53, 54 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality...

Rev 22:5 They (the redeemed) shall reign forever and ever.

He will cause God’s pleasure (His will, His desire) to prosper...

God’s desire is that all the ends of the earth should be saved (Isaiah 45:22, John 6;39, 40, 2 Peter 3:9), that we should be adopted as sons of God (Eph 1:5), our sanctification (1 Thess 4:3, Heb 7:25, 10:10, 14). All this is achieved through Christ’s death.

Isaiah 52:15 He will sprinkle many nations...

His blood for the cleansing of sin (Eze 36:25, Heb 9:13, 14, 1 John 1:7).

His blood for the cleansing from guilt (Heb 10:22).

The pouring out of His Spirit (Acts 2:33).

..Kings shall shut their mouths at Him; for what had not been told them they shall see, and what they had not heard they shall consider.

Christ is the Saviour of the World. The Gentiles will hear the gospel message. They are also partakers of the blessings of salvation (Rom 15:15-21, Rom 9:25, 26, Eph 3:5, 6).

“My eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.” Luke 2:30-32

But the LORD will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Isaiah 60:2, 3

Christ the Victor:

Isaiah 53:12 Because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors... therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong...

By His sacrifice, Christ has vanquished Satan (Luke 10:18) and regained earth (Luke 11:22, John 12:31).

He will give gifts to men (Psalm 68:18); He is the Mediator of the New Covenant (Heb 9:15, 16).

He brings Health, Happiness and Holiness.

‘Every loaf of bread and every spring of water is stamped with the cross of Calvary’.

He gives us His Spirit, who constantly reminds us of the victory of Calvary and makes real in our lives that victory:

Freedom from sin.

Freedom from eternal death.

New life and righteousness.

Power to resist Satan.

Power to proclaim Christ.

Because Christ, who was:

God..............chose to become Man.

The First...chose to become the Last.

Life itself..........chose to suffer Death.

The Majesty of heaven...chose humiliation.

God has highly exalted Him (Isaiah 52:13, 53:12) and...

Given Him a name above all names (Phil 2:9).

Put all things under His feet (Eph 1:20-22)

Extolled Him. “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honour and glory and blessing!” Revelation 5:12

Herein is the gospel, that God became the Son of Man that we might become the sons of God. He took upon Himself what we deserve for the joy of giving us what He alone deserves.

What shall our response be to all that God has done? Shall we believe the report...?

Centuries after Isaiah, Paul declares:

God is for one can be against us!

God has declared us can accuse us!

God is our High one can condemn us!

‘The greatest enemy we have to face is self...’ Our unbelief keeps us from claiming the gift of salvation full and free. There are many roads to unbelief, but the commonest are fear and pride. God is waiting for a people who trust wholly in His perfect redemption. In that day, our praise and worship will be from our whole heart, for God alone will get all the glory.

May our prayer be: ‘Lord I believe, help Thou my unbelief’. Amen.


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