shall never lose its power,
till all the ransomed church of God
be saved to sin no more.
The French Philospher Jean Jacque Rousseu said, “Man is born free but everywhere is in chains”. Rousseu was only partially correct. It is true we are not born in physical handcuffs, but we are born locked in the spiritual handcuffs of our sin! It has been like this since we rebelled against God our Creator in the garden of Eden. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
The apostle Peter writing to churches in Asia Minor in the first century reminded them of our common condition: “you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot”. He is saying their lives, and that of all followers of Jesus, before we turned to Jesus was a life of permanent and helpless imprisonment by sin.
This is true condition of all human beings in our natural fallen state. The Bible says sin has done to all human beings two things to all of us. First, it has inflicted a huge penalty of death against us before God. Sin has left us in physically, eternally and spiritually death. Sin has done this by totally cutting us off from God who alone is the source of all life!
The second thing sin has done done to us is that it has placed us under its power. Sin is not just something we do, it is our slave master. The popstar Lady Gaga says in one of her songs says: I just want to be free / I just want to be me /I don't want to change /I don't want to be ashamed. The world sees engaging in sin as freedom. But it is not freedom. Sin is like the great anaconda snake that has wrapped itself around us and slowly entangles and strangles us every day.
Sin is an enslaving power. All of us know and experience know the power of sin around us. We see its power in how it has trapped people in the darkness of sexual perversion and addictions. We see it’s power on the blind unbelief PF those who reject Jesus Christ. We see it in our own lives, in how we rationalise sins, our failure to love and forgive others, our uncontrolled anger, lust and gossip. The power of sin is most demonstrated by its capacity to kill people physically and send them to Hell forever! Sin recruits people to Hell!
We desperately need to be rescued or ransomed from the slavery and power of sin. We cannot ransom ourselves from sin.. We need help from outside! The good news of the Bible is that Christ by His death redeems us back to God. This is the wonderful truth Cowper communicates in this verse. The “dear dying Lamb” is the Lord Jesus. The first line of Cowper’s third verse is from that verse we quoted earlier 1 Peter 1:18-19, which describes the payment that purchases our freedom from sin, as the “precious blood of Christ… a lamb without blemish and without spot”.
The good news of the Bible is that God sent His Son, the Lord Jesus to come to free us from this slavery of sin by paying a ransom for our freedom to God. Christ has come to the slave block of sin, like the Prophet Hosea did with his prostitute wife Gomer, Christ has seen us in our helpless and hopeless state and bought us. Christ has bought us not with an earthly currency like gold or British Pound but with the only currency traded in heaven – the precious blood of Christ.
Blood must be shed to forgive our sins and only the blood of Jesus has infinite value to take care of our penalty for sin! It has infinite value because Jesus as fully God and fully Man has given all of himself, voluntarily for us. He has paid the ransom price to God to set us from our slavery!
By human standards Christ died a disgraceful brutal death. But to God and all who trust in Christ his death is our precious ransom to God! And what is wonderful about this blood of Christ. William Cowper says this precious blood, “shall never lose its power, Till all the ransomed church of God be saved to sin no more. He is saying that the precious blood of Jesus will never lose its purchasing power of sinners until Jesus comes in glory!
The same blood that set the dying thief on the cross from his sin is the same blood flowing for you now from our Redeemer’s veins. The blood of Christ buys the young and the old, the drug addict and the teetotal, the cannibal and the vegetarian, the British and the Russian! There is nothing like the blood that drips from our Dear dying Lamb.
There is no religion or idea that offers anything like Jesus! Where are you going to find the God of the Bible who loves and seeks out sinners in their ugliness ands His own blood to free them from sin, judgement and disaster? You would never pay poor money for a banger. We are worse before God than a banger. And yet Christ offers to redeem us by His very life! Here is a Redeemer who saw us lying in the empty hole of sin, under the anaconda grip of sin, and he reached out to us by his nailed hands to completely set us free and enable us to live forever with Him!
William Cowper is drawing our attention to just how precious our life with Jesus is by showing us the high cost God incurred to secure our life with him. And there is more to the in the words of Cowper than powerfully brings this home. He says the precious blood of Jesus shall never lose its power, until all the ransomed church of God “be saved to sin no more”. What does he mean by this?
Ir is both temporal and eschatological. He is first drawing our attention to the truth that God saving us from sin and from sinning! When we surrender our lives to Jesus through the redeeming work of Jesus, we are brought into a new family of God. The very life of Jesus our brother now flows through our spiritual veins. Becoming a Christian is not a tick box exercise. It is an invitation into an exciting new life with God.
Those who have this new life are no longer controlled by the power of sin. Living in sin is no longer our default. This is not to say children of God now live perfect. We will only live perfectly when Jesus comes. What it means is that you cannot live in Jesus and continue a lifestyle of loving and living in sin because you are now born as a child of God. Your fundamental nature has changed. You are no longer a slave to sin!
The second thing thing he wants us see to is that the precious blood of Jesus does not just purchase freedom, it secures a future when we are finally “saved to sin no more”. Cowper has a three fold salvation in mind - we have been saved now (or ransomed), we are being saved now as that blood keeps us free from sin, and we will be saved in the future as we come face to face with God and finally no longer have to sin at all because we shall be like Jesus! A time is indeed coming when all whom Christ died for, the “ransomed church of God” will one day sin no more!
A story is told about the American novelist Mark Twain. One day Mark Twain boards a train on long distant journey. The porters are quite pleased to have such a famous man aboard. But when they come to his car to punch his ticket, Mark Twain he can't find his ticket. Mark Twain starts looking furiously, but still can't find it. The porter says to him, "Sir, it’s fine. I know who you are. You don’t have to find your ticket. Relax and enjoy your trip.”
Several hours later, the porter comes back through the car only to find Twain still looking for his ticket. Again, he tries to reassure him. “Sir, you really don’t have to do that. I know who you are. There is no need for you to find that ticket.” So Mark Twain stands up and says firmly to him "Listen, young man, I know who I am too. That’s not the problem. The problem is I don’t know where I’m going.
Mark Twain is right - it is important to not only know who you are, but also where you are going in life! What is your ultimate destiny? The good news of the Bible is that if you are a child of God there is no doubt about your destination. Your ultimate destiny is that you will be like Jesus when he appears in glory. You are headed for a life when you will live with total perfection without sin!
Are you not tired of sinning every day? One day sinning and repenting next day? Are you not tired of upsetting people in your life? Are you not tired of looking in the mirror and not liking what you see? It does not matter how much make you put on, how many wonderful clothes we buy, we all long for better bodies and better character! The good news of Jesus is that we know that one day we will be perfect as our our Lord Jesus is perfect! As someone has said, “Out of prison we come to reign”! This is your heritage as a child of God forever. You will be saved from sinning!
Let this truth first remind you of how glorious grace and kind our God is to all of us in Christ. Sometimes you forget that you do not deserve Christ. You are prone to forget that you deserve the slavery of sin. All of us do! We deserve to remain in our slavery and under the full wrath of God. But thank God that Christ our Redeemer has changed all of that. The wrath of God has been satisfied. The penalty of sin met, the power of sin broken. The grace of God now flows richly to you in Christ!
Are you struggling with illness or loneliness? Is there a feeling of God being distant? Is your mind clouded with worry about the future? If you are trust in Christ, be encouraged! You are now home with Christ our Redeemer who has purchased you with His own blood! He has not left you on the counter. He has taken you home. He now owns all of you. And that means He owns all your problems.
Your Redeemer is with you. Like Boaz with Ruth, he has spread his clock over you. So, in whatever situation do not despair. Go to Him with your worries, your concerns. Don’t let your struggle with
sin keep you from Him. Chirst is not the Redeemer of the perfect. He has come to redeem sinners and make them His very own. You are His!
You need to remember this truth because the devil uses our sin to make us feel we cannot go to God and find precious help we need! The wonderful Robert Murray McCheyne said: “When I have sinned, I feel, an immediate reluctance to go to Christ. I am ashamed to go. I feel as if it would do no good to go—as if I am making Christ a minister of sin, to go straight from the swine-trough to the best robe—and a thousand other excuses; but I am persuaded they are all lies, direct from hell.”
He is right. If you are in Christ our Dear Dying Lamb, the Ransom of the Elect, you are now his precious possession. So go To him, broken and weary as you! Don’t let sin keep you away! God will help you overcome your sin and by his grace you will find relief in all areas you need in accordance with His sovereign will and purpose. When life looks unbearable, remember what you are carrying. It is the precious blood our Redeemer!
Are you currently facing temptations to make Christ second to other priorities in life? Is Christ becoming more of an hobby than a passion? William Cowper is saying to us today: stop looking elsewhere! Where are you going to find a hope against the penalty and power of sin? Where are you going to find safety against the Satan and death? Where are you going to find a currency that Heaven accepts when you die?
Stick with Christ our Ransom. Rest your faith and hope in Him! Christ holds the world and holds you too in Him. So hold on Christ! When life turns against us. When world offers seem tempting, do not forget that you are a blood bought saint! Bought by the precious blood of Christ! If you have truly surrendered to Christ. He has purchased, ransomed and freed you by His blood. You are not just anyone, you are His precious possession.