Last week I wrote about a trip the Briggs family made to the Chestnut Grove Cemetery in Ashtabula, Ohio, to visit the grave site of those who died in the Ashtabula Train Disaster of 1876. Among those buried there in the common grave are noted hymn writer, Philip P. Bliss and his wife Lucy. Interestingly, the trunk containing the belongings of Mr. Bliss survived the crash and safely reached Chicago. When it was opened, many unpublished, and in some cases, unfinished hymn-poems were found. Among them were the words to My Redeemer, which was later set to music and was one of the first recordings made on the phonograph, invented by Thomas Alva Edison
I will sing of my Redeemer,
And His wondrous love to me;
On the cruel cross He suffered,
From the curse to set me free.
Sing, oh, sing, of my Redeemer,
With His blood, He purchased me;
On the cross, He sealed my pardon,
Paid the debt, and made me free.
I will tell the wondrous story,
How my lost estate to save,
In His boundless love and mercy,
He the ransom freely gave.
I will praise my dear Redeemer,
His triumphant pow’r I’ll tell,
How the victory He giveth
Over sin, and death, and hell.
I will sing of my Redeemer,
And His heav’nly love to me;
He from death to life hath brought me,
Son of God with Him to be.
The gospel message challenges the redeemed (the sinner bought out of slavery to sin by the mercy and grace of God), to understand the immensity of the privilege of being reconciled to the Creator/Owner by the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ. This understanding leads to intentional positioning to be able to proclaim the message of reconciliation to any and all that need to hear it. The hymn “My Redeemer” points the hearer toward reflection and rejoicing on these Scriptural realities:
1. Jesus Christ set the believing sinner free from the punishment which was rightfully theirs by taking their punishment upon Himself.
"Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree." Galatians 3:13
2. With his own blood, Jesus Christ satisfactorily paid the sin debt of anyone who would by faith believe in him.
"For there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith." Romans 3:22-25
3. Having been saved from eternal separation from the Creator God, the penalty for violating his perfect standard, the believer gratefully and intentionally seeks to position himself for service to his Savior and Master.
"And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12
4. Having been set free from that which previously enslaved him, the believer, with a humble and grateful heart, desires to make known the power of the Redeemer to those who don’t yet know him.
"Therefore he [Jesus] had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted." Hebrews 2:17-18
5. Because of the love of God demonstrated in Jesus Christ on behalf of sinful people, anyone who calls on the name of the Jesus Christ will be saved from their sin.
And he [Jesus] commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” Acts 10:42-43
As a church family, Kossuth is well-positioned to welcome and befriend those from other nations who will be arriving in our community in the coming weeks. What a wonderful way to make known the mercy and grace we have received from our Redeemer!
(1) Pray that the Lord will orchestrate divine encounters among these newcomers to our community where the Gospel message can be clearly proclaimed.
(2) Be used of the Lord through the resources He has entrusted to you (your experiences, your education, your home, your gifts) to tangibly and tactfully connect with those who don’t yet know Jesus Christ the Redeemer.
(3) Specifically be involved in the International Friendship Program…not a home stay, just a friend. We are seeking to connect as many Kossuth families to this program as possible. Please contact Paul Briggs or Dana Gottfried to get connected.