Pastor Bruce Gunkel recently shared a message at the Ark on our value. Shortly afterward while ministering to someone who was thinking about suicide there were two of the many statements that blessed him. The first was even though he was a branch with no fruit; he was still a branch connected to the True Vine Jesus Christ. The other statement was centered in the question, “Did he know how valuable he was?”
1 Cor 6:20 For God has bought you with a great price. So use every part of your body to give glory back to God because he owns it. TLB
1 Cor 7:22 If the Lord calls you, and you are a slave, remember that Christ has set you free from the awful power of sin; and if he has called you and you are free, remember that you are now a slave of Christ. 23 You have been bought and paid for by Christ, so you belong to him-be free now from all these earthly prides and fears. TLB
“For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom…” 1 Timothy 2:5-6
Many people are unaware of their spiritual debt. God made each of us to honor Him by living in obedience to Him. Each time we fail in this obligation through sins of both omission and commission in our words, deeds, and motives, we accrue a spiritual debt to God. This is what Jesus was speaking of when He prayed that God would forgive our debts to Him (Matt. 6:12). Forgiveness of our debts to God requires a mediator, redeemer, and a ransom.
The mediator is the person who is the go-between, or “middleman,” between us and God to mediate our differences and bring about resolution. As an example, Job speaks of an angel as a ransoming mediator (Job 33:23-26). To effectively represent both God and man/humankind, the mediator had to be both God and man. Therefore, God became the man Jesus Christ, who alone is the mediator between people and God (1 Tim. 2:5-6; Heb. 9:15; 12:24).
The redeemer is the person who pays the ransom for the debtor. Throughout Scripture, God is spoken of as our Redeemer (Job 19:25; Ps. 19:14; 78:35; Isa. 41:14; 43:14; Jer. 50:34). Throughout church history it has been continually accepted that Jesus is our Redeemer, though there has been widespread debate as to whom Jesus paid our debt.
Origen (185-254) taught that Satan held humanity captive and so Jesus paid off Satan. Gregory the Great (540-604) further developed this concept by saying that Jesus came disguised as a man to trick Satan like a worm on a hook to capture the devil. Anselm (1033-1109) strongly denounced the teachings that Satan has authority over God, God owes Satan, or that God deals with Satan like a deceptive coward instead of a strong warrior. The Bible never states to whom Jesus, our Redeemer, paid our debt. But, it seems logical that since our debt is to God, our debt was paid to God.
The ransom is the price that must be paid to God for our debt. The problem, however, is that Scripture plainly says that no human being can redeem the life of another person by paying their ransom to God because only God can accomplish such a feat (Ps. 49:7-15). Because Jesus is both God and man, He alone is able to pay the price for our ransom through His sinless life and substitutionary death (1 Peter 1:18-19). Jesus, as well as other New Testament writers declare
Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
1 Tim. 2:5-6 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom…
Heb. 9:15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.
This ransoming work of Jesus our Mediator and Redeemer means that we belong to God because Jesus has purchased us (1 Cor. 6:20; 7:23) with His life. So to realize how valuable you are we first ask how valuable is Jesus Christ? I believe we could only conclude that Jesus is invaluable. There is no amount of riches that could out weigh the value of our Lord & Savior. Therefore, we can conclude that since Jesus gave His life for us; we are also invaluable, fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). God is perfect and everything He does is perfect. So why do we think we are a mistake? Many of us do not feel invaluable but that is when we must choose to believe God our perfect Father.
Now we turn to our lost neighbor. Is he invaluable? Or even the least of these (drunks, drug addicts, thieves, murderers, etc.) are they invaluable? To answer these questions we turn to possibly the most recognized scripture in the Bible. John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. Jesus gave His life for whosoever would believe in Him and while their true value has not been realized they are still invaluable to God. Since as believers we are called to believe God whosoever should be considered invaluable to us. Everyone is invaluable and we are called to love them as we love ourselves (Mark 12:31).
This can only be accomplished in the new life by the empowering grace of Jesus through the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit, so that we can enjoy the great honor of living in obedience to God so that He receives glory and we receive joy as we live in harmony with God and His purposes for us.