Friday, August 10, 2012

God-centered congregation celebrates Redemption - P2

Ephesians 1:7 "In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sin"

It is in Numbers 3:40-51 that we see God revisiting that decree He had made over a year prior in Exodus 13. As God sets the foundations for His God-centered congregation, He places at the center of His instructions the celebration of redemption.

What is there to celebrate about redemption?
Our particular text on redemption is Numbers 3:40-51. In this text, we find four details about redemption that make cause for celebration. There are four traits about redemption that we find in Numbers 3:40-51. Yesterday we looked at the first two traits of redemption that make cause for celebration: namely redemption’s specific focus and redemption being about a substitute on behalf of sinners.  Today we will consider the final two traits, noting how they are fulfilled and completely worked out by Jesus Christ in the New Testament:

Redemption is about Sufficient Payment. Number 3:44-47
God had originally told the Israelites back in Exodus 13 that the firstborn of every Israelites belonged to the Lord. Here in Numbers 3, that episode is recalled - only in this instance it is given more detail. For every firstborn Jewish male, God would have a corresponding Levite firstborn serve God - full-time - in their place. According to Number 3:39 - there were 22,000 Levite firstborn. However in Number 3:43 - there were 22,273 first born in the remainer of the camp of Israel - which meant that there was not enough to cover the requirement. God already had it covered by instituting the payment of silver as "redemption money" to cover the 273 who did not have the necessary substitute. If it had not been for that provision, those Jewish males would had to been included in the service of themple, seperated from their families, and thus violating the word of God which said only the Levites could serve.

Redemption's setting is in blood. Numbers 3:48-51
In Number 3:48 we find out where the redemption money was to be paid - "to Aaron and his sons". Who were these people? The High Priest and his priestly sons - the ones who offered the blood sacrifices on behalf of the people. God reminds us here that redemption is never seperated from the shedding of blood. Ephesians 1:7 tells us that without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins."

Why redemption accomplished in the New Testament is so superior
This text in Numbers points us to what would be accomplished by Christ in the New Testament.  Thankfully when He accomplished salvation, it was once for all, never to be repeated. (John 19:30; Hebrews 9:28).  Just as the redemption mentioned here in Numbers pictured substitution and the payment for one group of people by others, Christ fulfilled both by being both the sinner's substitute and paying in full the salvation of all who by grace through faith would believe on Him. (1 Peter 1:17-18; 2:22).  Unlike here in Numbers, Eternal redemption is not based upon silver and gold, but rather the precious blood of Christ, the spotless lamb of God. (1 Peter 1:17-18). Finally, unlike the redemption mentioned here in the Old Testament, what Christ did enabled the cleansing of the conscience. (Hebrews 9:14)

With the scriptures being the strength of a God centered congregation, redemption is cause for celebration.