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TWO of our Lord's parables are very assistful to a proper understanding of the difference between the Ransom-Price and the Sin-Offering. "The Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a merchantman, seeking goodly pearls, who, when he hath found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it." (Matt. 13:44-46.) The Kingdom of Heaven, the Millennial Kingdom, its glory and honors and its privileges in connection with the world's restitution, constitute the great prize peculiar to this Gospel Age. This prize never before was possible of attainment, and opportunity to attain it will end with this age, when it will be established in power and great glory at the Second Coming of our Lord—at which time "we shall appear with him in glory." This prize was first presented to our Lord Jesus; as we read, "Who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame and is set down on the right hand of the Majesty on High." This is the same prize or high calling which has since been set before us.
The two parables under consideration illustrate the process by which this Kingdom is obtainable. Our Lord left the glory of the Father and humbled himself to become "the man Christ Jesus." But this humbling was no part of the Ransom nor of the Sin-Offering. It was preparatory work. A perfect man had sinned and had involved the entire race in his death condemnation, and only a perfect man could pay the price for one or any number or all of the sinners. When our Lord reached the age of thirty years, the age of manhood according to the Law, he was ready to be put on trial for his own life, that by loyalty under tests he might prove his worthiness of everlasting life on the human plane. Only such a tested, proven, perfect man could be the world's ransom-price.
Our Lord's keeping of the Divine Law was not the ransom-price of the sinners. It merely demonstrated that [R4536 : page 379] our Lord could be an acceptable ransom-price for all. The giving of his life at thirty years in consecration was finished at Calvary. By that consecration, by the things which he suffered, by the laying down of his life, he laid down the world's ransom-price. It mattered not that the testing of his personal loyalty and his consecration of himself unto death were simultaneous. It was just as proper that it should be so as it was that he should have been tried and tested first and should subsequently have surrendered his life willingly as man's ransom-price.
This feature of the work—the laying down of his life—is illustrated in the parables under consideration by the statement, "Sold all that he had." As in the parable the selling of all that the merchant had did not purchase the field or the pearl, but merely secured the price which was sufficient afterward for its purchase, so, our Lord's surrender of his life and all of its rights and interests sacrificially in the world's behalf did not purchase the world—did not pay the price—but merely secured the ransom- price for the sins of the world, to be applied afterward as he may please.
As in the parable the price was afterward used in the purchase of the treasure, so in the reality our Lord's payment of the price to Justice corresponded to the buying of the treasure, the buying of the pearl. In other words, the ransom- price of the world was secured by our Lord by the sacrifice of his human life, but the use of that price for the purchase of the treasure was a later and a totally different transaction. It was after our Lord had risen from the dead and sojourned with his Apostles forty days and had ascended up on high that he "bought us with his own precious blood." "He appeared in the presence of God for us" and there applied on our behalf the merit or ransom- price which previously cost him his life.
Those whose eyes of understanding are open to a discernment of "the mystery of God" will readily see the further application of the parable to us, the Lord's followers and members. By the grace of God our Lord paid the price and bought us for whom he appeared. He did not buy the world, but the "Church." He "loved us and bought us with his own precious blood." "Ye were redeemed (bought) not with corruptible things, but with the precious blood of Christ." (I Pet. 1:18,19.) But this application of the ransom- price to us is provisional, conditional. To be of the class included in this purchase requires that we shall not only flee from sin and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ unto justification, but that additionally we must have our Lord's character-likeness and must, like him, sell all that we have, that we might share with him in his great work and thus pass his merit on for the purchase of the world—for the cancellation of the sins of the whole world, at the close of this age.
Whoever has not the Spirit of Christ in this sacrificing is none of his. And whoever, after thus consecrating his life, draws back does so unto perdition, destruction. (Heb. 10:39.) Whoever seeks to preserve his life—the restitution life imputed to him through the merit of Christ—will lose his eternal life. (Mark 8:35.) (This principle is applicable to the Church only, during this age. The rule will be the reverse for the world during the Millennium. Whereas we receive of Christ restitution rights to sacrifice them as his members and to gain the new nature with him, the world will get restitution rights to keep them everlastingly and never to sacrifice them.)
In the transaction, be it noted, the merit, the value, all proceeded from the one man—the man Christ Jesus. No more was needed. No more was demanded by Justice for the sins of the whole world. So to speak, our Lord Jesus loaned to the "elect" the merit of his righteousness, imputing it to us by faith as a wedding garment. Thereby he qualifies us as his members and in his name to share in his sacrificial work in order that we may be permitted to share with him in his Millennial Kingdom glory and its great uplifting work for the world of mankind.
It is the merit of Jesus which now temporarily is loaned in justification by faith to the Church and which must be sacrificed again by us as his "members"—that is to constitute eventually the ransom- price of the whole world of mankind, who are to be blest during the Millennium.
The condition upon which we may share the Millennial Kingdom with our Lord is that we shall walk in his steps; that we shall suffer with him; that we shall drink of his cup; be partakers of the blood of the New Covenant, which, at the end of this age, will be sealed for Israel and the world. Thus we shall be sharers in the sufferings of Christ, by immersion into his death, in order that, in due time, we may share also in "his resurrection."
Who cannot see the force of these parables? Who cannot note that our dear Redeemer counted well the cost, then laid down his life—sold all that he had? And who does not remember that he calls upon us also to sit down and count the cost of being his disciples? The field will be bought. The precious pearl will be secured by our Lord, in harmony with the Father's arrangement. And more than this, the faithful elect Church will secure a share therein as members of his Glorified Body. How important, then, that we count the cost in advance and that we count not our lives dear unto us, that we may win the prize, the pearl, the treasure!
After the singing of the hymn the Bethel Family listens to the reading of "My Vow unto the Lord," then joins in prayer. At the breakfast table we consider the MANNA text: (1) 34; (2) 312; (3) 230; (4) 75; (5) 22; (6) 278; (7) 94; (8) 16; (9) 313; (10) 262; (11) 49; (12) 3; (13) 72; (14) 191; (15) 258; (16) 8; (17) 193; (18) 176; (19) 293; (20) 4; (21) 130; (22) 26; (23) 95; (24) 316; (25) 12; (26) 32; (27) 87; (28) 105; (29) 333; (30) 93; (31) 60.