The story is told of Abraham Lincoln, who went down to the slave block and there noticed a young black girl up for auction. Moved with compassion, he bid and won her. Upon purchasing her, Lincoln told the disbelieving young girl that she was free. In her surprise she said, “What does that mean?”
“It means you are free,” he replied.
“Does that mean,” she said, “I can say whatever I want to say?”
“Yes, my dear, you can say whatever you want to say.”
“Does that mean I can be whatever I want to be?”
“Yes, you can be whatever you want to be.”
“Does that mean I can go wherever I want to go?”
“Yes, you can go wherever you want to go.”
And the girl, with tears streaming down her face, said, “Then I will go with you.”
Admittedly, the account is probably more legendary than legitimate. Yet it does communicate an important spiritual truth. Like the young girl on the slave block, we, too, have been redeemed and set free. The Bible reminds us in 1 Peter 1:18–19 that if we are in Christ, we have been “ransomed from the futile ways inherited from [our] forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ.”
Before Christ, we were sold into slavery to sin. Our hearts, our souls, our bodies were captive to sin. We had no choice but to sin. Yet unlike the slave girl, we loved our captivity and reveled in it. We lived in the foolishness of our minds and bliss of our ignorance. We relished every foolish, ignorant moment. We loved the world and we hated God (Rom. 8:7). We loved the passions of our flesh and deemed God unnecessary and His Word irrelevant for daring to challenge our lives. We were lovers of self rather than lovers of God (1 Tim. 3:2–4). We were on the broad road to hell and happy to be there.
It was into this situation that the Lord came. He came to us while we were His enemies (Rom. 5:10). He came to us while we were in the chains of the Devil and the grip of this world. He came and set us free — free from slavery to sin, free from the chains of the Evil One, free from the grip of this world and the bondage of our fleshly lust and desires. As the Bible says, God ransomed us (1 Peter 1:18). He paid the price to free us, and now we are free. The price was not paid with greenbacks or silver or gold. It was with the most precious currency of them all, the blood of Christ. And like the young slave girl, we should desire nothing more than to live for and live with the One who has redeemed us. In fact, Peter reminds us that our priceless redemption should provide the motivation for our loving, joyful, holy obedience to Christ (1 Peter 1:15–16). We are called to holiness not in order that we might be ransomed but because we have been so graciously ransomed.
In fact, here we see two truths worth remembering as motivations for our pursuit of holiness. First, remember from what you have been ransomed. The Bible says we have been ransomed “from the futile ways inherited from [our] forefathers.” Life apart from a right relationship with God is futile. Vanity of vanities, the Bible calls it, all is vanity. No matter how religious, lavish, or popular, your life before Christ was, it was empty. This is a significant word in Peter’s world because he was writing to people who in most cases were the first Christians in their families. Yet, he said the rituals their parents handed down were empty, leading into bondage and away from God. But God, through the blood of Christ, has delivered us from them all.
Second, remember with what you have been ransomed. The Bible says that we have been ransomed not with perishable things but with the precious blood of Christ. Someone has said that salvation is free. Yes, it is free in that it does not cost silver, gold, dollars, or cents. But that does not mean that it doesn’t cost anything. In fact, it cost Christ everything. Salvation is free to you and me because someone else paid the price.
It’s one thing to ransom someone from slavery in this world, but how do we ransom people from slavery to sin? How much do you pay to ransom them from death and hell? Silver and gold are of no value. There is an economy wherein the only currency is the blood of Christ. It is God’s economy. It is the economy of the kingdom of God. It is the economy of the redeemed. To redeem us, Christ did not reach into the treasure bag; He reached into Himself — the treasure of all treasures — and set us free. I choose to go with Him. How about you?
(Read more about the blessings of the blood of Christ in Blood Work: How the Blood of Christ Accomplishes our Salvation)
“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing” (Zeph. 3:17).
Our Lord God told us that there would be days like this – days of celebration and rejoicing! We experienced it yesterday. Yesterday East Point Church celebrated 5 years of God’s goodness and faithfulness to us as a church. It was a day of unmistakable, unrelenting, and undeserved grace. It was a full day of fellowship, fun, family, and faith in Christ. We looked back, looked around, and looked forward. And everywhere we looked we saw and heard the grace of Jesus Christ!
Part of the celebration was the testimony of our dear sister Brittanee Rolle. She shared with us her passion for Christ, the spoken word and all things East Point Church in this “Ode to EPC.” Thanks BrittanEE! The saints were Encouraged. The church Edified. And Christ Exalted!
I generally like to think of Black history as I think of White history. For me, it is all American History. I am convinced that if we studied history properly there would be no need for a Black History month. But alas, we rarely do things concerning race and ethnicity properly in our country. Thus, we segregate Black history from American history (how ironic). Nevertheless, if you are one of those people who seem to be accutely aware of Black History during the month of February, I say to you: “Better one month than no month.”
And so, as we consider more deeply this month the historical circumstance and contribrutions that has been black people in America, I want to commend to you a moving documentary on life in Mississippi during the mid 20th century. The documentary is called “Booker’s Place: A Mississippi Story.” It retells the life of Booker Wright, a little known field hand who bacame a well-liked waiter and local entreprenuer in Greenwood MS. But, who also became an almost incidental, if not accidental, voice of frustration and freedom for blacks in Mississippi. A powerful story, powerfully told is worth consideration regardless of the month. Being “black” history month only makes it more palatable for some.
Thankful for the gracious brothers who offered endorsements:
“Christians tend to speak of the blood of Christ either flippantly or not at all. However, in Blood Work, Anthony Carter helps us see that neither of these options is appropriate. The blood of Christ is a central biblical theme that deserves to be pondered deeply. Carter forces us to consider Christ’s atoning sacrifice and its many implications. In the end, we are left with a glorious, cross-centered, Christ-centered gospel that gets to the heart of our great need and God’s great provision. We are indeed purchased, redeemed, brought near, cleansed, sanctified, and freed by the blood of Christ. In a day awash with self-help books, it is refreshing to be reminded that we indeed cannot help ourselves, but God, through the blood of Christ, has done more than help us; He has saved us. Thank God for the blood!”
—Dr. Voddie Baucham Jr. (Pastor of preaching, Grace Family Baptist Church, Spring, TX)
“Anthony Carter has brought o our senses what many Christians have taken for granted, the precious blood of Christ. His scholarship and passion are evident. We need this book.
–Lecrae (Founder and President, ReachLife Ministries and Reach Records)
“This book will leave you in awe of the benefits of trusting in the finished work of Jesus on the cross. It is unquestionably thorough, remarkably captivating, and surprisingly clear. You’ll leave this book singing, “Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”
—Bryan Loritts (Lead Pastor, Fellowship Memphis, Memphis, TN)
“Blood Work is both theologically rich and devotional. Anthony Carter presents a refreshing pastoral reminder of what the believer has been given through the finished work of Christ Jesus. This is a must read for the new believer, as well as for those who are well into the spiritual journey.”
—Dr. Robert H. Orner (Dean of Students, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, FL)
“Salvation is possible only because of the shed blood of Christ. Tony Carter helps us to better understand and appreciate the full significance of this great sacrifice. This book will set Christ’s sacrifice before you and allow you to view it from angles you’ve not seen before and others you may have seen but not fully appreciated. This is a great compact book that goes deep on a subject we can’t talk about enough and for which we will never be able to thank God enough.”
—Vermon Pierre (Lead Pastor, Roosevelt Community Church, Phoenix, AZ)
“Blood. It is considered unpleasant to discuss. We are tempted to mark any talk of it from our manuscripts before we approach the pulpit. We purpose ourselves to talk around it when ‘reaching out’ to unbelieving friends. Yet, it is the blood of Christ that cries out ‘Adopted, forgiven, free, empowered, entrusted, and kept’ to our broken souls. With this work, my brother Anthony Carter reminds us, though we may attempt to camouflage its role in every aspect of life in Christ, that the blood will never lose its power. If we try to diminish it, we will certainly lose sight of the power it possesses to fundamentally alter our lives, and the lives of those we wish to reach.”
—Leonce B. Crump II (Pastor, Renovation Church, Atlanta, GA)
(Shout out to WenDeezy Productions for the video!)
Our oldest daughter is Rachel Marie. She is sixteen and quite a beautiful young lady. Since she has confessed faith in Christ, I have been encouraged by her heart to know the Lord and to serve him. I recently came across a book by Brian Cosby entitled Rebels Rescued: A Student’s Guide to Reformed Theology. As I read it, I thought it would be a good book for our teen Sunday School class. However, to be sure, I asked Rachel to read it and give me her honest opinion (she usually does ). Here are her answers to a few of my questions:
1. How did you come to read this book?
I was given this book by my dad. He gave it to me to read so I can give my opinion on whether or not we should go through the book in our Sunday School class.
2. What is the book about?
The book is about Reformed Theology. It’s a book that was written for teenagers. It is written in the view of a teenager and the world we live in. Basically Reformed Theology, as explained in the book, is the study on the character and work of GOD in the Bible. I understand Reformed Theology to be the study of God and how he works in sinners to bring them to salvation.
3. What did you learn that was of particular interest to you?
In the book Brian gave a really good example of his favorite game, Monopoly. He said that during one game he landed on Boardwalk, which is the most expensive property on the board. He usually was never able to land on or buy this property, but this time he was able to. He then went to work and started buying houses and more houses and eventually was able to purchase a hotel. Unfortunately his opponents never landed on the property that he had put so much time and money into. His point was that GOD put everything on the line– his only Son, Jesus Christ– so that we would be saved. I like the way he puts it in the book ”Reformed theology teaches that Christ gave up his life to purchase the Boardwalk of faith for those whom he not only knew would land on it but also those whom he chose to land on it.” The fact that Christ died for me is amazing, and truly gets me thinking every time Why would he die for me? To know that God loves me enough to send his only Son to die in my place, for my sins, is true love that I could never get from anyone else but him.
4. Would you recommend this book to your friends? If so, why? If not, why not?
I would definitely recommend this to my friends, because it’s an easy read. The chapters are brief and easy to understand. I really like the way he uses everyday happenings to relate to what reformed theology teaches. For example he uses a shopping cart with a bad wheel to relate to your heart by saying just as a bad wheel on a cart veers off so does your heart veer off. I also particularly like another example he used about how he loves backpacking and how on a trip he got bad blisters on his feet because he didn’t put on dry socks and refused his friends offer to stop and rest their feet. His pride got in the way and cost him the whole trip. His point was that God is resisted until God chooses to overcome the sinner by grace. There are many other examples and are great and easy for a teenager to understand.
I was looking in the back of the book at Brian Cosby’s recommended books and found one by Guy Waters called “A Christian’s Pocket Guide to Justification”. I think this would be a good read for me. I know what justification means, but I want to understand it better. Reading this would hopefully help me understand more about justification and why it is so important.
What a rich, encouraging, and informative time we had at the Adoption Seminar this past weekend!
For the first time East Point Church had the joy and privilege of hosting Covenant Care Services as they explained, taught, and encouraged the joy of adoption to all in attendance. By all accounts it was an encouraging success.
From the very beginning East Point Church has desired to be a place, indeed a sanctuary of life in the Spirit and the world. Last Saturday was a visible demonstration of that vision and I believe we can all rejoice in it.
To pull off a seminar like that it takes many hands, hearts, and feet working together to make much of Christ in serving others. To this end, East Point Church once again demonstrated that it is place where love for God and his children is being cultivated. God used many people volunteering to make the seminar the enriching success it was. I can’t help but to point out a few and give honor to whom honor is due. Many thanks:
Thank you to Covenant Care Services. Covenant Care Services is an Adoption Agency that believes physical adoption ought to look like what God has done for us in the gospel (Eph: 1:3-4; Gal. 4:5). This was clearly evident as they taught and encouraged us. Hats off to Stephen Story and Jill Thomley for teaching us that adoption is not only viable but also rewarding and Christ honoring.
Thank you to our Hospitality and Food Serving Volunteers. East Point Church was responsible for the lunch, and those who set up and served lunch were awesome, especially Melanie. Thanks for picking up the food, setting it up and replenishing it when needed. Your service was greatly appreciated.
Thank you to our Child Care Volunteers. In order to make the seminar available to as many as possible, we knew we would need to provide child care. What we didn’t know is how many would respond and offer to serve in caring for the children of those attending the seminar. Wow! We are so thankful for everyone who gave of their time, energy, resources (big thanks to Angelle for the snacks ) in the nursery and classroom watching, entertaining, and teaching the children of those who attended the seminar. It is evidence of love and life in the church.
Thank you to our Audio/Video Team. Serving on the audio and video team is often a thankless job. And yet we are so thankful for those who served us on this past Saturday. Making sure the microphones, audio, and video equipment functioned properly made for a more enjoyable and teachable time. The guys once again were great in the balcony and on the floor when needed. You guys mean a lot to us and we thank you!
Thanks to Joy and Ruth. A seminar like this could never be a success without one or two people heading it up and making sure everyone and everything is in place. Joy and Ruth worked tirelessly in communicating with Covenant Care and East Point Church to make sure all bases were covered and we could have as smooth a seminar as possible . God honored their labors and blessed us with a wonderful time together. Thank you ladies! East Point Church is grateful for your gifts and your willingness to share them in service to Christ and his church.
EPC, the seminar was a success ultimately because God, our Heavenly Father, delighted to answer our prayers. So let us all thank him for his gracious presence and ordaining that our time together be a rich and Christ-directed one. May He be pleased to bear life-giving and sustaining fruit through us now and for all eternity. In fact, I have a great idea. Let’s get together and let Him know how much we love Him. How about this coming Sunday? We can meet at His place.
Join us this coming Saturday for an important seminar on The Ministry of Adoption with Covenant Care Services. As Christians, we are more than just against abortion, we are for life, pro-life. Pro-life is being pro-adoption, pro-foster care, pro-interim care, and thus pro-Christ. Jesus defined his mission as coming so that we might have life and have it abundantly (Jn. 10:10). Therefore, those of us who have tasted this life in Christ don’t just want to bring an end to abortions, but we also want to share life with the children that are saved.
So come and hear how we might participate in this life mission of Christ. The seminar is open to all, but seating is limited. Lunch will be provided so please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 678-763-7302. Hope to see you there!