The Basic Purpose of the Bible
September 11th, 1974 @ 7:30 PM
THE BASIC PURPOSE OF THE BIBLE
Dr. W. A. Criswell
Genesis 48:15, 16
9-11-74 7:30 p.m.
The title of the course of study is "The Bible, God’s Book of Redemption." It is a theme that I preached on one time, beginning at 7:30 o’clock in the evening and preaching until past midnight. And the title of that sermon was The Scarlet Thread Through the Bible. As you know, all through the Scriptures there is a theme that ties it together, and that is the title of the first lecture, The Basic Purpose of the Bible. It is briefly, summarily, succinctly this; the purpose of the Bible is to unfold God’s plan for our deliverance, our salvation, our redemption.
I hold in my hand this Holy Book. It is not a book of history, though you will find page after page after page of history in the Bible. But it is not a book of history as such, nor does it purport to tell the story of the human race as such. The Bible will pass over millions of years with a verse, with a reference, and spend chapters and chapters discussing one man.
The Bible has no interest as such in cosmogony, or anthropology, or astronomy, or physics, or chemistry, or sociology, or psychology, or any other scientific study. The only references that are ever made to any of the subjects of our learning and scientific inquiry are incidental and only are mentioned then in subservience to some great moral revelation.
So, when I hold the Book in my hand I may read references to astronomy, references to cosmogony, references to anthropology, once in a while a reference to a scientific discovery that’s known to us just now, but God spoke of it thousands of years ago, but all of that is incidental.
I hold in my hand a Book telling us how we can be saved, how we can be delivered from our sins, how we can face God someday and live. That is the great basic purpose of the Bible. Now, the purport and the summation of this lecture is to present that to us tonight.
The idea of redemption is inwoven into all of the Scripture, all of it, just like you’d find a pattern woven in the background of a damascene cloth. Whatever the thread on top of it or whatever the cut or the use of it, that configuration is woven into the cloth itself. That is exactly what it is in the Bible. Inwoven in it, throughout the Bible, is the idea and the very word of redemption. Whatever the turn of history, whether it be tragedy, whether it be judgment, whether there’s sorrow or gladness, whether they’re singing or weeping, whether they’re crying or rejoicing, no matter what, that idea of redemption is found throughout the Word of the Lord.
Now I have taken time to write out some of these passages, and the reason I wrote them out is for us to have time to present the message tonight. I have gone through the Bible and have picked out from the beginning of it to the end of it this redemptive message, and these are just typical, to show how from the beginning to the ending that idea and that word of redemption is presented in the Holy Scriptures.
In the first book, the forty-eighth chapter, the fifteenth and sixteenth verses, "And Israel blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day, the Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless thee and thy children" [Genesis 48:15-16].
In Exodus 6:5-7, the Lord says to Moses on the backside of the desert,
I have heard the groaning of the children of Israel,.
Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the bondage of the Egyptians, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm. . .
And I will take you to Me for a people, and I will be to you the Lord your God.
Going on, in Leviticus, the next book, Leviticus 27:30-31, "The tithe of the land. . . is holy unto the Lord, and if a man will at all redeem aught of his tithes," he’s going to buy some of it back. Here is a tithe of a flock, and he wants to keep it, say, for breeding purposes. "If he will redeem it, if he will buy it to himself, if he will redeem aught of his tithes, he shall add thereunto the fifth part thereof" [Leviticus 27:30-31]. If what he wanted for breeding stock costs, say, one hundred dollars, he was to add a fifth part to it, be one hundred twenty dollars that he’d bring to the Lord, if he would redeem the tithe.
In Deuteronomy 7:8, "Because the Lord," this is one of the great orations of Moses to his people, "Because the Lord loved you, and because He would keep the oath which He had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage,Thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the Lord thy God redeemed thee," said Moses in Deuteronomy 15:15.
In Ruth 4:6 the whole turn of the story is how Boaz redeemed the lost inheritance of Elimelech. In Ruth 4:6, "And the kinsman said, I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine inheritance: redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it.’"
Now, in 2 Samuel 7:20-23,
And what can David say more unto Thee. . .
Thou art great, O Lord God: for there is none like Thee. . .
And what one nation in the earth is like Thy people, even like Israel, whom God went to redeem for a people to Himself. . .which Thou redeemest to Thee from Egypt, from the nations and their gods?
In Nehemiah 5:8, "And I said unto them," said Nehemiah, "’We after our ability have redeemed our brethren the Jews, which were sold unto the heathen; and will ye even sell your brethren?’" In Job 19:25-26, "For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though worms through my skin destroy my body, yet in my flesh shall I see God."
Psalm 19:14, now, we are just going through the Bible, Psalm 19:14, "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditations of my heart; be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my Redeemer." Psalm 25:22, "Redeem Israel, O God, out of all of its troubles." Psalm 44:26, "Arise for our help, and redeem us for Thy mercies’ sake." Psalm :6, 7, 9, 15:
They that trust in their wealth;
None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him:
That he should still live forever, and not see corruption.
But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for He shall receive me.
Psalm 74:2, "Remember Thy congregation, which Thou hast purchased of old; The rod of Thine inheritance, which Thou hast redeemed." Psalm 103:1-4:
Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name. . .
Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;
Who redeemeth thy life from destruction.
Psalm 107:1-2, "O give thanks unto the Lord for He is good, for His mercy endureth forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy."
And a highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness. . .
The redeemed of the Lord shall walk there:
And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
Isaiah 44:22-23, "I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto Me; for I have redeemed thee, sing, O ye heavens; for the Lord hath done it; for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob and glorified Himself in Israel." Isaiah 50:2, "Is My hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? Or have I no power to deliver? Behold, at My rebuke I dry up the sea." Jeremiah 31:11, "For the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he." Hosea 13:14, "I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death; O Death, where is thy sting? O Grave, where is thy victory?" [1 Corinthians 15:55]. Micah 4:10, "And thou shalt go even to Babylon; there thou shalt be delivered; there the Lord shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies."
Luke 1, now we’re coming into the New Testament, Luke 1:67, 68, and 69, "And Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying, ‘Behold, blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for He hath visited and redeemed His people, and hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of David.’" Luke 2:36-38, "And there was one Anna, a prophetess. . .and she gave thanks unto the Lord, and spake of Him to all that looked for redemption in Israel." Luke 21:28, "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh." One of those glorious songs our choir sings is that refrain.
Romans 3:23-24, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; but being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that we have in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:23, "Even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body." First Corinthians 1:30, "But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption." Galatians 3:13-14, "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us,That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ." Galatians 4:4-5, "But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons."
Ephesians 1:3 and 7, "Blessed be our Lord Jesus Christ,in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace." Ephesians 1:13-14, "Ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory." It is the purpose of God to redeem everything in us and about us. When I am saved, I am redeemed in my spirit and in my soul, but my body is still carnal facing death and corruption and decay and disintegration. But it is the purpose of God to redeem the whole purchased possession. It is the purpose of God to redeem my body as well as my spirit. And the earnest of that future redemption of my body, which is the great consummation of the age, which is the resurrection of the dead, is the Holy Spirit He has given us in our hearts.
Colossians 1:14, "We have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins." Titus 2:13-14, "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ: Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all our iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people." Hebrews 9:12, "Not by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in once into the Holy Place, having obtained eternal redemption for us." First Peter 1:18-19, "Forasmuch as you know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold. . .but by the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot."
Revelation 5:9-10, "And they sang a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation: And hast made us unto our God kings and priests; and we shall reign upon the earth.’" Revelation 14:3-4, "And they sang as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four cherubim, and the twenty-four elders: and no one could learn the song but them which had been redeemed from the earth. . .These follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. These are the redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and unto the Lamb."
Now, I did all of that, just taking your time, because you can read it in the Bible for yourself, but I did all of that just to put before us this thing that the lecture concerns tonight, that redemption is inwoven into the very heart, and pattern, and substance, and language, and nomenclature, and semantics of the Holy Word of God. It is a Book of redemption.
Now, that leads me to make an avowal, an observation, concerning the miracle of the redemptive unity of the Bible. Now I recognize that for all of us, practically, these documentary hypotheses that you study in higher criticism have no pertinency at all. And the only reason that I mention it here is this, that the entire liberal theological world looks upon the documentary hypothesis as being the very basis of an understanding of the Word of God. The documentary hypothesis is this: concerning the Pentateuch, Moses never wrote it, but a man with scissors sat down and he pasted it together. He took a little hunk of this and a little piece of that and a little pericope over here and little quotation yonder and stuck it together in the Bible.
The great pieces of the part they call J, E, D, and P; there’s a piece that used "Jehovah" for God, that used "Elohim" for God, that used the Deuteronomic legislation to tell the story, and the priestly code. J, E, D, and P: the part that refers to God as Jehovah, the part that refers to God as Elohim, the part that tells the story in Deuteronomy, and the priestly code, all of those things concerning the ritual of the temple. So, they say that those are the great basic things that this man with scissors took out and put into the Bible and glued it together. And then as they keep on studying it, why, they have redactors and editors. So there’ll be a J-1, and then somebody else will be a J-2, and somebody else will be a J-3, and then another redactor is J-4, and another one is a J-5, J-6, J-7, 18, 19. Then you’ve got so many redactors and J’s.
Then you go with Elohim, Elohim 1, Elohim 2, a redactor 3, a redactor 4, an editor 5, an editor 6. And then you go to the Deuteronomist and the priestly code, and there will be a redactor there, and a redactor there, and an editor there, and an editor there, until you’ve got, Lord only knows how many hands cutting up and pasting it together in the Bible. Now that is the great basic assumption of all of the liberal theologians of the world, and practically all of the theologians of the world are liberal. You go to a seminary professor, and he’ll take that for granted. It will be an exceptional seminary professor that doesn’t take that for granted.
Now, I have a little question to ask. If the Bible was put together by a fellow using scissors, and another one using scissors, and another one using scissors, and another one using scissors, redacting and redacting and editing and editing, what I’d like to know is, how did the redemptive story get in it? Who put it there? For from the beginning to the end, it never varies in the revelation of that redemptive purpose of God. And if all the Bible is just a collection of what editors and redactors and re-redactors and all of those people who are supposed to have glued the thing together, how is it that that thing of redemption unswervingly, unerringly, unfailingly got into it?
You see that also in the Bible as a whole. It was written over a thousand five hundred years. And it was written by forty authors. And this author had no idea that this one is yet to come, and this one had no idea that one is yet to come. They were separated by centuries and some of them by one thousand five hundred years. And yet, they tell the same story.
In the progressive purpose of God, it never varies. It never wavers. It never hesitates. It never halts. The Bible has in it, inwoven in it like a pattern; the Bible has in it that divine redemptive purpose of God. How did the story of redemption get into it from the beginning and to the end? God put it there. God did it. No man in the earth could have done it. The whole is a story of God’s redemptive grace, despite and through the colossal weaknesses of men.
When you go through the Bible, look at the weaknesses of Jacob, called "the deceiver, the supplanter." Look at the weaknesses of David. Look at the weaknesses of Saul. Look at the weaknesses of Solomon. Look at the tragedies of the kings of Israel. Look at the course of the history of the chosen people themselves; it finally ended, inevitably in tragedy, and sorrow, and captivity, and judgment, and death, but the purpose of God never failed. However the turn of the life, however the tragedy of the chosen family, however the sorrow and judgment from heaven, the grace and the redemptive purpose of God never faltered, it never varied; it went on! That is God, the great sovereign hand of the Lord overruling the weaknesses of men and the tragedies of human history.
Now, I have come here to a discussion of the word "redeemed," what it means. First, I wanted us to see that the Bible is a Book of redemption, inwoven into the very heart of it. Now, let us look at the word redeemed and see what God means by it. Our word redeem is not from one of the languages of the Bible. Our word redeem is from a Latin word, redimere, which means to buy back. A redeemer, then, is one who buys back. He’s a savior. Redemption is a recovery of something mortgaged and sold. Redemption is the deliverance upon payment of a ransom. It is a rescue, as you would redeem a slave. You’d pay for his ransom. Or someone was captured and you paid for their delivery, you rescued them. Now that’s the word redeem.
I want us to look at it in the Hebrew and the Greek. Let’s look at the word as it is used in the Bible. The words translated redeem in the Hebrew and in the Greek, both of them, are marketplace words. They are words used out there where men buy and sell. And they mean, they refer, they delineate a recovery of ownership by paying a specified sum to set free, to rescue, to ransom by paying somebody for it.
The Hebrew word translated redeem with all of its cognates is go’el, go’el, which means to free by repaying. You see a good illustration of that in Ruth, when Boaz wanted to redeem the inheritance of Elimelech, and he paid a price to buy it back, to redeem it, because when Elimelech and Naomi went over there into Moab to live, they left their inheritance behind, and somebody possessed it. So to redeem it, to buy it back, they did thus and so, which is the story in Ruth [Ruth 4:7-10].
Now when you come to the Greek, you will be amazed at how that word translated "redeem" is built. There’s nobody who’s ever looked around and studied around but is familiar with the word agora, the agora. When you stand on Mars’ Hill in Athens, right down there below you is the agora. And that’s where Paul mingled with the people and talked to them about the Lord, and then they brought him up to the Areopagus on top of Mars’ Hill, the Areopagus, where he addressed the Areopagus, the great Athenian tribunal, their Supreme Court [Acts 17:16-34].
Now the agora was the marketplace. Every town had an agora. Every town had a marketplace. When you go to Africa, you won’t visit a town, I don’t care how big or how little it is, but that it has an agora. It has a marketplace. Our stores here in Dallas have pretty much preempted the idea of an agora. But we have a farmers’ market here, and you can go down there and buy vegetables and watermelons and things like that as the farmers bring them in. Now the whole world is familiar with an agora, agora, the marketplace where they have commodities for sale. On that word agora is built the word that is translated "redeemed." Agorazō means to buy in the marketplace. God has bought us!
The word, for example, agorazō, agora, agorazō, is used in Revelation 5:9, and I quoted it:
And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open it and to loose the seals thereof, for Thou hast agorazō us by Thy blood out of every nation and tribe and kingdom, and family under the sun:
And made us kings and priests to God; and we shall reign forever and ever.
Agorazō, it’s a marketplace word. God bought us in the marketplace. Another Greek word is exagorazō, ex, "out of," agorazō, to buy out of the marketplace, to recover from the power of another as the purchase of a slave for freedom, to buy him out of the marketplace. Exagorazō is the word used, for example, in Galatians 3:13, "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law." He bought us! We were there sold under sin. Or Galatians 4: 5, exagorazō, "In the fullness of time God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, to exagorazō" [Galatians 4:4-5]. It’s a common marketplace merchandising word.
Another word in the Greek is lutroō, which means "to loose, to release on receipt of ransom, to liberate by the payment of a ransom." This is the word used in Titus 2:14, "Looking for that blessed hope, and the appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ; who gave Himself for us, that He might lutroō, redeem us from our sins and from all iniquity" [Titus 2:13-14]. Now lutrōsis, a substantive form built upon that verbal form, lutrōsis is a ransoming, a redemption, a deliverance, a loosening. So this is the word used in Luke 1:68, "Blessed be the Lord God: for He hath looked upon His people and has brought redemption to Jerusalem." Or Hebrews 9:12, "Not by the blood of goats and of calves, but by His own blood hath He brought for us eternal lutrōsis, redemption."
Now, apolutrōsis, apo of preceding, what do you call the thing, a preceding word, a prefix, it’s a prefix. Apolutrōsis is a loosing, as a person from bondage, a releasing affected by the payment of a ransom. This is the word used in Romans 3:24, "All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; but we are justified freely by His grace, through the redemption, apolutrōsis, through the redemption that we have in Christ Jesus" [Romans 3:23-24]. And it’s the word used in Ephesians 1:7, "In whom we have redemption through His blood."
Now, let’s sum that up. Those words translated "redeem, redemption," whether in Greek or in Hebrew, the words are from the marketplace, and they refer, all of them, to buying back something that has been sold or that has been lost. To redeem something is to buy it back. I suppose it would not be amiss to say today that if a man needed money and he had a golden watch and he pawned it, the watch-man would give you a ticket. And if you would take a certain sum of money, maybe what he loans you with interest, you could buy it back. You could redeem it.
Now that is the word that is used in the Bible, the marketplace word meaning to buy back, to ransom, to free something that has fallen into the possession of somebody else. Now the idea in the word is twofold. It refers to a deliverance, and it refers to the price paid for that deliverance, or the ransom. The word "redeem" means our deliverance or it refers to the price paid, the ransom paid for our deliverance.
The meaning of the word is dual then. It’s a redemption from, and it is a redemption to. Now, let me apply it as the Bible will use it. Redemption from the penalty of sin, and the capture of Satan, and the slavery of evil, a redemption from that and a redemption to a new freedom from sin, a new relationship to God and a new life in Christ Jesus. That is the meaning of the word "redemption."
Now, we’re going to look at the fundamental, basic assumption of the Bible, namely, which is that we are lost, all of us, that we are slaves to sin, under the judgment of death, and that we must be saved, we must be redeemed, we must be delivered, or else we are forever lost, forever enslaved, forever in bondage, forever undone.
I listened to a man, he was talking on the radio, he lived in New York City, a great man. And he was talking about the difference between his religion and the Christian faith. And he said, "The great basic difference between us and you who are Christians is this: we do not believe that we are lost and need to be saved. We are the children of thus-and-so, and therefore, by nature and by inheritance and by race we are saved. We belong to the family of God. And the idea of our being lost and needing to be saved is alien to our faith and alien to our religion."
Now what that learned man was saying in New York City over a national radio is exactly the truth. The great basic assumption of the Christian faith, and I think of the Holy Scriptures, is this, that we are lost, that we are slaves to sin, that we are under the judgment of death, and somebody must save us, redeem us, deliver us, ransom us or we are lost forever! We are a fallen race. We are under the judgment and penalty of death. We are slaves.
Now, I want you to look just for a minute, whether you believe in the seven dispensations or not makes no difference at all. The seven dispensations is just a way of understanding the Bible. But I want you to look at the seven dispensations if you do have any inclination to follow dispensational truth. Now I want you to look at how all of them end. Look at how all of them end. Now I’m talking about the great fundamental basic assumption of the Bible is this, that we are lost, that we are fallen, and that we’re under the judgment of our sins. All right, now, let’s look at all seven of those dispensations.
The first dispensation is that of innocence, and it ends in Genesis 3 in the Fall. The second dispensation is conscience, and it ends in Genesis 6 in the destruction of the world by the Flood. The third dispensation is that of human government; and in the eleventh chapter of Genesis it ends in the tragedy of the dispersion of the people of the earth at the tower of Babel. The fourth dispensation is patriarchal, or the one of promise. It ends in Exodus 1 in the Egyptian bondage. They sold Joseph down into Egypt, and the patriarchal age ends with God’s people slaves in Egypt.
The next dispensation, number five, is the law. And that dispensation ends in captivity and judgment: in 722 the Assyrian captivity of Israel, in 587 the Babylonian captivity of Judah, and in 30 AD the tragedy of all tragedies when Israel delivered her own Son unto death, and He cried in [John 19:30], "It is finished." What is finished? The great ransom paid to the penalty of our sins under the law! What the law demanded, Christ fulfilled. Because the law demanded death [Hebrews 10:28], and Israel died, and Judah died, and God’s Son died.
The sixth dispensation is grace. This is the one in which we live. This is the church age. How does the church age end? It ends in the great tribulation, the mightiest judgment of God in the history of human story [Revelation 20:7-10]. And the seventh dispensation is the messianic age. How does the millennium end? How does the messianic age end? It ends in the rebellion of the earth’s people against God, and the war of Gog and Magog [Revelation 20:7-10], and the judgment at the great white throne [Revelation 20:11-15].
No matter how the story is, no matter how it is put together, whether it is in the garden of Eden, it ends in a fall. Whether it’s a great proliferation of the human race with its science and achievement, it ends in a Flood [Genesis 7:17-24]. Whether it is the chosen people, it ends in slavery and bondage and captivity [Exodus 12:40-41]. Whether it is the church, it ends in the tribulation [2 Thessalonians 2:3]. And whether it is the millennium, it ends in a rebellion against God [Revelation 20:7-9]. We are sold under sin. The penalty of death is universal. We are slaves, judged to die. John 8:34, "Whosoever commiteth sin is the servant," or the Greek is, "the slave of sin." And Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death."
Now, I want to parenthesize here. I want to parenthesize here to say, and this is a judgment of your pastor. Somebody else can believe some other thing, and I don’t want you to think that because your pastor is persuaded of a certain thing that therefore I must believe it, no. I have talked to some of the finest, most brilliant, intellectual, scientific Christians that teach in our universities, and they don’t believe a word of what I’m about to say. But I do, and I want to tell you why.
I want to show you from my point of view why evolution is so offensive to the truth, the revealed truth of the Bible. Just incidentally, evolution is a denial of all scientific fact. "If that’s true, pastor, then why do many of these scientists believe in evolution?" Because the alternative is to believe in creation, divine creation, and they refuse to accept it. So they’ll do anything in the world to escape the alternative of believing in fiat, divine creation [Genesis 1:1-31]; so they believe in evolution.
Now I’m saying to you parenthetically that evolution is the denial of all scientific fact. The universe is running down, not up. The whole story we know of, life has a tendency to go down, never up. If any of you men breed fine cattle, leave them alone; they’ll go down to scrubs. If any of you breed horses, leave them alone, and they’ll go down to broom tails. If any of you breed rosebushes, leave them alone, and they’ll go down to thistles. And if any of you breed orange trees, leave them alone, and they will grow down to shrubs.
Now, the law of entropy is a universal law. When anything has in it something that’s wrong, it has a tendency to get more wrong, and more wrong, and more wrong. You take the type of a beautiful poem like Tennyson’s "Crossing the Bar." Throw it up in the air, and it’ll disarrange itself. And if you keep on throwing it up in the air, it’ll be more disorganized and more disarranged all of the time. It won’t be more arranged.
Now, evolution says it’s the opposite. You keep throwing it up and if you’ll throw it up long enough, it’ll come out, that beautiful Tennyson "Crossing the Bar." And the whole universe, just keep at it and give it time, it will finally arrange itself in beautiful order. Just leave it alone and give it time, and it’ll finally evolve up into a marvelous, marvelous achievement.
That’s a denial of all scientific fact. Another thing; it is a denial of human experience. The moral character of man is actually never better, never! In a Stone Age, they killed one another with a stone axe; today the Palestinian guerilla will exult if a plane goes down, saying, "We did it with a bomb." A long time ago, they killed one another with an axe and with a club; today they’ll do it with a plane and with a bomb. You don’t improve human nature. Evolution is a denial of human experience! And I’m telling you in my judgment, it is a denial of the Holy Scriptures. The Holy Scriptures say that we are lost and that we need saving and deliverance [John 3:16-18]. But evolution says that sin is nothing but the drag of our animal ancestry; give us time and we’ll evolve into angels. We’ll evolve into angels and maybe some of us will evolve into archangels.
Evolution gives no basis for the redemptive purpose of God. God says by nature we are lost. By nature we are fallen. By nature we are sinners. Whether that is in the days of Abraham, or in the days of David, or in the days of Judah, or in the days of John and Paul, or in the days of Luther and Melanchthon, or in the days of Wesley and Whitefield, or in the days of Truett and Scarborough, or in the days of you and me, it’s all alike.
The Scriptures say we are lost, and we need saving, we need deliverance. The Scriptures say we are fallen. Just like you see in all of God’s world, God made it glorious. He wound it up, and it’s been going down and down and down. And the Scriptures say that of us, that we are lost, and that we are fallen, and that we need redeeming [Galatians 3:22]. And that is the story of the whole program of God.
Now give me just a few more minutes; this brings us then to the redemptive purpose of God. God’s people are always a redeemed people, always. Always we are a delivered people, we are a ransomed people, we are a died-for people, we are a bought people, always [Acts 20:28]. His people were slaves in Egypt, and He redeemed them from their slavery [Deuteronomy 5:6]. God’s people in the church were lost and slaves under sin, and God redeemed us by His grace and by His love [Romans 6:18]. That is the unfailing, unchanging, great basic presentation of the Holy Bible.
And all of the Bible – and this is our study of course this fall – all of the Bible, the Old Testament, the New Testament; all of it looks toward the great redemptive atonement in Christ. His atoning sacrifice is the ransom paid for our deliverance. Matthew 20:28: "The Lord said, for the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life, a ransom." The payment of a debt; we were slaves and Christ bought us to Himself. "You are not your own, you are bought with a price" [1 Corinthians 6:19-20].
Redemption rests in Christ’s satisfaction for the requirements for ransom. He took our sinful nature upon Himself in order that He might satisfy the demands of the law by assuming our guilt. He achieved the ransom in Himself in order that He might deliver us from the bondage of sin. "Christ hath suffered for sins, our sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God," 1 Peter 3:18. And His sacrifice is regarded as the substitute for man’s bondage, 2 Corinthians 5:21: "God made Him to be sin for us, Him who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." I must conclude.
Our Lord’s redemptive work for us is first, closely associated with forgiveness, since we receive forgiveness through the redemptive price of Christ’s death. Ephesians 1:7, "In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our sins." Second: it involves justification. It involves justification [Romans 4:25] since the deliverance establishes us in a restored position of favor with God. He is the Mediator of the New Covenant, the New Testament [Hebrews 9:15, 12:24]. Third: not only forgiveness is in the redemptive work of our Lord, and not only justification that we might stand before God justified [Romans 4:25], received as righteous, received in His favor, but redemption promises final deliverance from the power of sin at the coming of our Lord. Romans 8:23 says that we "groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, namely, the redemption of our bodies."
Some of our people, one of the men came to see me tonight, said one of your dearest friends – and named him – he lives in another city, a great, wonderful man of God, a glorious deacon and layman, he said, "One of your friends is out here in Baylor Hospital. He has leukemia. He wants you to come and see him." Isn’t that sad? That’s a glorious man. Leukemia is a sentence of death. There has never been anyone delivered from it thus far.
Well, shall it be leukemia? Shall it be hardening of the arteries? Last Sunday morning, down there came the wife of one of our dearest, finest, sweetest deacons and just cried and said, "Pastor, would you pray for me? They’ve taken my husband who now doesn’t even know me. He doesn’t even know me, he doesn’t recognize me. They’ve taken him and put him in a home in another city." That is what redemption is about. It is the purpose of God to redeem His people, to buy us to Himself from the power of sin, and the power of death, and all that is involved in the tears and sorrows and tragedies that overwhelm us.
So when I read the Bible and when we come to study it, we’re not going to study astronomy – that would be interesting, beautiful – or any of the other sciences; what we’re going to study is how God did it, and how the Lord did it for me, and what it means to us now and in the world that is to come. And when you study that, no wonder the psalmist says, "Sing unto the Lord; for He hath redeemed us from all our iniquities" [Psalm 103:3]. And no wonder they sing in heaven a new song, "For Thou, O Christ our Lord, hath redeemed us to Thyself by Thy blood" [Revelation 5:9].
Sweet people, if it does for you what it is doing for me, it’ll be revival in your soul. It’ll be just thanksgiving, and glory, and praise to God every step of the way.