While We Were Still Sinners

I was reading James M. Boice’s devotional Come to the Waters this morning. The reading for this day was from Matthew 16:13-20, and the focus is Peter’s response to Jesus’ question, “Who do you say I am?” (v. 15). We are all familiar with Peter’s response: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (v. 16). Dr. Boice comments on why it is vitally important that we recognize that Jesus is the Messiah, and that He is the Son of God. He says:

“…the value of [Jesus’] work, dying for sin, depends on who he is. If he is not God, his death would have no more value than any other person’s death. But because he is God, his death has infinite value and is able to take away sins.”[1]

I suppose this particularly struck me because I have just spent a week reading from about 15 different authors about salvation for an upcoming article series. Again and again the authors talked about the deep love of God that prompted Him to send His “only begotten Son” into the world to die for us. Again and again I read that salvation is by grace, through faith, and definitely not of ourselves. 

I was reminded again of Dr. Lutzer’s statement on our program that many other religions demand sacrifices for their adherents. But only in Christianity does God becomes the sacrifice.

And, once more I was confronted by the awful price Jesus paid to secure our salvation. B. B. Warfield puts it this way:

“[The title redeemer] gives expression not merely to our sense that we have received salvation from Him, but also to our appreciation of what it cost Him to procure this salvation for us. It is the name specifically of the Christ of the cross. Whenever we pronounce it, the cross is placarded before our eyes and our hearts are filled with loving remembrance not only that Christ has given us salvation, but that he paid a mighty price for it.[2]

Why not spend time this next week reminding yourself of what Jesus has done for you. Remind yourself of your inability to please God in your own strength and power. Remind yourself that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). 

And spend time praising God! 

  1. James Montgomery Boice, Come to the Waters: Daily Bible Devotions for Spiritual Refreshment (Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.”
  2. Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield, “Redeemer and Redemption,” in The Person and Work of Christ (Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1970), p. 325

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