10 Years in Print: Special Edition
INTERSECT: Lessons From the Redemption of the Firstborn, Part 2
Life Belongs to the Lord
By Matthew McAffee
In the February-March issue, we learned that redemption is costly. Life is at stake, and life is required for it to occur, that sacrifice must be made for redemption to take place. This “redemption of the firstborn” is the bedrock of our faith. Because we have violated God’s standard
of holiness, mankind has been condemned to death and must be purchased (redeemed) from the bondage of sin and shame.
In this article, in light of the Easter Season, we will examine several New Testament passages that make it clear that Jesus is, indeed, our Passover lamb, the One whose life was given to buy the pardon for our lives of sin.
Luke 22:15-22 — The Lord’s Supper
And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes.”
And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. But behold, the hand of the one betraying me is with me on the table. For indeed, the Son of Man is going as it has been determined; but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed.”
1 Corinthians 5:6-8 — Christ, Our Passover
In this passage, Paul rebuked the Corinthians regarding their blatant sexual immorality, and in doing so he appeals to Christ, the Passover lamb sacrificed for us:
Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? Clean out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”
Colossians 1:13-20 — Christ, Firstborn of Creation, Firstborn From the Dead
For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. And He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
He is also head of body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in Heaven.
Because our lives have been redeemed in Christ, we are called to lives that offer signs of our redemption, then passed to future generations, as Paul says, “so that he himself might come to have first place in everything.” Two important principles flow out of the redemption of the firstborn for us to put into practice daily.
First, we sacrifice what is most precious/valuable to us in order to show our trust in and devotion to the One who redeemed us. We give Him the first of our time and things. We practice tithing and giving offerings sacrificially as a means of demonstrating our dependence upon our Redeemer. We owe Him everything, and we must rely upon him for everything.
Second, we make our own lives “living sacrifices” to God, subduing our lusts and desires to show the transforming work of his redemption in us (Romans 12:1-2). Living sacrifices do not conform to this world (of materialism and degradation) but are transformed by the renewing of our minds. This is how we demonstrate the will of God, and it is good, acceptable, and perfect.
This is how we apply the principle of Christ our Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7), putting away the leaven of malice and sin and celebrating with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
The practices of our lives must demonstrate the reality of our redemption. By living holy lives, we make it clear to those around us that life belongs to the Lord…even our own.
About the Writer: Matthew McAffee is coordinator of Theological Studies at Welch College. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at Welch College, Master’s degrees from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and University of Chicago, and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. from University of Chicago.