Wednesday, June 30, 2010


The second stanza of the song I posted about last time begins with "Where streams of living water flow, my ransomed soul He leadeth."  My ransomed soul...what kind of soul?  Ransomed!  Oh the sweet mercies of God that abound toward me as He leads my ransomed soul where streams of living water flow!

Guess what?  Last night I crawled into bed with this stanza going through my head and I picked up the book Radical (by David Platt, which I am reading for the second time because I read it too quickly the first round and I want to digest it slowly, thoughtfully, prayerfully).  This book is a fantastic companion read while we are studying the book of Acts and I hope to write a few posts sharing thoughts from both. Gregg Matte, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Houston wrote this blurb about the book: "Radical will cause you to bounce on a spectrum between two words: ouch and amen. Tough truths do that. They challenge us to examine our lives and then choose to lasting over the temporary.  Read Radical if you're ready to live differently."  I ditto his remarks...ouch and amen!  But I divert with all this...what I really want to share today is what I read last night because it was SO ransom related.  Think on this:

(from pages 34-36) "Picture Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane.  As he kneels before his Father, drops of sweat and blood fall together from his head.  Why is he in such agony and pain?  The answer is not because he is afraid of crucifixion.  He is not trembling because of what the Roman soldiers are about to do to him.
     Since that day countless men and women in the history of Christianity have died for their faith.  Some of them were not just hung on crosses; they were burned there.  Many of them went to their crosses singing.
    One Christian in India, while being skinned alive, looked at his persecutors and said, 'I thank you for this. Tear off my old garment, for I will soon put on Christ's garment of righteousness.'
     As he prepared to head to his execution, Christopher Love wrote a note to his wife, saying, 'Today they will sever me from my physical head, but they cannot sever me from my spiritual head, Christ.'  As he walked to his death, his wife applauded while he sang of glory.
     Did these men and women in Christian history have more courage than Christ himself?  Why was he trembling in that garden, weeping and full of anguish?  We can rest assured that he was not a coward about to face Roman soldiers. Instead he was a Savior about to endure divine wrath.
     Listen to his words: 'My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.' The 'cup' is not a reference to a wooden cross; it is a reference to divine judgment.  It is the cup of God's wrath.
     This is what Jesus was recoiling from in the garden.  All God's holy wrath and hatred toward sin and sinners, stored up since the beginning of the world, is about to be poured out on him, and he is sweating blood at the thought of it.
     What happened at the Cross was not primarily about nails being thrust into Jesus' hands and feet but about the wrath due your sin and my sin being thrust upon his soul.  In that holy moment, all the righteous wrath and justice of God due us came rushing down like a torrent on Christ himself.  Some say, 'God looked down and could not bear to see the suffering that the soldiers were inflicting on Jesus, so he turned away.'  But this is not true.  God turned away because he could not bear to see your sin and my sin on his Son.
     ....At the Cross, Christ drank the full cup of the wrath of God, and when he had downed the last drop, he turned the cup over and cried out, 'It is finished."

My RANSOMED soul He leadeth!  Oh what a Savior!

No wonder Peter and John responded to the threats launched against them by saying (in Acts 4:20): "for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard."

No wonder Paul could say with all sincerity and a life that proved it (Phil 3:8-11): "Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead."

He "leadeth," and this ransomed soul wants to join all the others He drank the cup of wrath for in following Him with a life that proclaims His glory.  Radical is subtitled "Taking back your faith from the American dream" and I'm thankful for how the Lord is using it, and other books I've read lately like The One Factor, Same Kind of Different as Me, Crazy Love and most importantly Scripture to wake me up from the stupor I've let the American dream lull me into and awaken me to hunger for Him with a healthy appetite.  Ransomed and free...can't wait to see where God leads! He is so worthy to be followed!

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