Therefore brethren stand fast and hold the traditions which ye have been taught whether by word or our epistle. 2 Thessalonians 2.15.
Haynes Strict Baptist Chapel,
July 4, 1979.
“Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.” 2 Thessalonians 2.15.
Paul has been speaking in this chapter of those events which form a prelude to the Lord’s return – events which are to be seen developing through history and particularly, I believe, in the day in which we are living.
I simply emphasize the very serious and solemn background to this exhortation, that is, the development of extreme forms of wickedness in the world and extreme forms of evil and delusion in the religious world.
Notice the absolute sovereignty of God in verse eleven where the Apostle says, “God shall send them strong delusion that they should believe a lie,” not that God is in any way responsible for sin or responsible for the delusion. God is sovereign. God sovereignly determines that these things should develop in the life and history of the church. The Apostle Paul, in writing to the Corinthians explains to us one of the reasons why God allows these things to happen, “that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.” 1 Corinthians 11.19. Those who have not received the truth into their hearts in the love of it are the people who, in this time of delusive danger, are carried away. But he says, “We are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” vs. 13 & 14. Notice also how the verse is surrounded by those precious declarations of doctrine, doctrine known personally and powerfully in the experience of these Thessalonian believers, “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.”
This is a striking verse in that it is one of the few verses in the New Testament which uses this word “tradition” in a way which commends tradition. Almost every other reference in the New Testament to “tradition” presents tradition as something exceedingly dangerous; and we ought to remember that the Lord Jesus Christ when He was teaching amongst the scribes and the Pharisees was repeatedly condemning tradition, the tradition of the elders. “Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying. Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they wash not their hands when they eat bread.”
Matthew 15.1-2. They did not say, “Why do thy disciples transgress the law?’ but “Why do they transgress the tradition of the elders’!” Jesus did not answer their question. He refused to enter into these fruitless and pointless arguments but just said, “Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?” Jesus appeals to the commandment of God; the scribes appeal to the tradition of the elders. Jesus then goes on to shew that their sin was real sin, whereas He and His disciples were, in fact, not guilty of sin at all. One of these elders writing on some of these traditions said that if a man did not wash his hands before he ate food he was as guilty as a man who committed adultery. Now God in His holy Word never said that, and so Jesus shewed the difference, saying in effect, “I appeal to the commandment of God and I tell you that your sin is real sin. What you accuse Me of is not sin at all, but your sin is real sin.” Then He goes on to explain. “For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother:
and he that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say. Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, it is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free.” vs. 4-6. What they were saying was, “Well, yes, we have ways in which we could relieve our elderly parents in their distress, in their time of need, but we are so religious, we are so zealous, we commit everything to the temple and to the priests, so we are free of our responsibilities to our parents. We are so religious, we don’t need to keep God’s law”. This clearly shows that tradition in its worst form will make void the Word of God. It will, as it were, empty the Word of God of its force in people’s lives and they will satisfy themselves that they are very religious because they are imbibing a doctrine though it be but the doctrine of men.
I am as firmly antagonistic to that kind of tradition as anyone could be. I detest that kind of tradition, any tradition that makes void the Word of God, as something which is dangerous and wrong and sinful, and that kind of tradition is no part of the life of a christian believer or a Christian church and community. It should not be perpetuated and I believe we should always be concerned to examine ourselves, to examine what we do, to examine our attitudes, lest this sort of tradition should develop.
Most of the references in the New Testament refer to that kind of tradition but the danger is today that the emphasis I have just made is an emphasis which many will rush to agree with; but we must remember that whenever you find a truth you will find that Satan lays alongside it something which is not truth. It looks the same but it is not truth. Now, in a rightful concern lest tradition should make void the Word of God, some people are deluded by Satan and they say, “Sweep away all the tradition – it is all tradition – it is worthless because it is old. Now, the Apostle says, “Stand fast, and hold the traditions” and then he defines specifically what those traditions were, “which ye have been taught.”
This, then, is the standard by which we are to judge the things we do. All our traditions are to be put to this test, Do they stand the test of the Apostles’ doctrine, this New Testament doctrine? We must examine all that we do by this test, “the things which ye have been taught,” the Apostles’ doctrine. That was one of the striking characteristics of those who were baptized on the day of Pentecost. “They continued stedfastly in the Apostles’ doctrine and fellowship.” Acts 2.42. That was the distinctive characteristic of the church right from its beginning. We depart from the Apostles’ doctrine at the peril of our souls, and consequently at the peril of souls who follow after us, because posterity might hang on to something which is not the Apostles’ doctrine, but which is a perverted doctrine. This, of course, was the contention of the Reformation when people under the blessing of GodÂ’s Spirit became more and more dissatisfied with the condition of the Romish church. They saw the wickedness of it, they compared what they saw with the word of God and they disagreed and they were unashamed to say there was a disagreement. “Hold fast the traditions which ye have been taught,” and that is exactly what the Reformers were doing. God put into their hands these very traditions, the teaching of the Apostles, so they returned to that which they believed to be the teaching of the Apostles. “Hold fast the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.”
The Thessalonian believers were living at a time when the New Testament Scriptures were in process of being written. For instance, this very epistle came first to the Thessalonians. At first, they were the only people who had this Epistle. There is no doubt whatever that this Epistle was then handed on in some way so that other churches knew about it and received the teaching it contained, but the New Testament was in process of being written, of being received by the churches, by believers, and so the Apostle here speaks of “the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.” And you know very well that in the early days of the church’s history there was no written New Testament. God chose to reveal truth to the church, authoritative truth, through the Apostles and New Testament prophets. That was the specific way in which God chose to reveal divine truth to these People, because they had no New Testament to refer to. Now when people today say we have got to go back to the New Testament pattern we must remember that there is a vital distinction to be drawn between the New Testament day and our Own. That distinction is just this, that here we have people who were depending upon the writing and the teaching of the Apostles and the prophets and evangelists of that day who received divine truth, authoritative truth, truth which they would not otherwise have known, and they had nowhere else to look but to God’s own method of revelation. Now, that method of revelation has ceased. Let us be quite clear about that. That method of revealing formative truth to the churches has ceased. The words you find at
the end of the Book of the Revelation are quite decisive about this and give a solemn warning to those who would add to or take away from the Word of God. We now have the Scriptures in their completeness with all divine authority, inspired by the Spirit of the living God, and to this we appeal, and to nothing else, as the final authority in all matters of faith, of practice and of experience.
Well, you may say I am preaching to the converted. I hope I am. I hope I am preaching to people who know this and believe it, and I say this; in the great judgment day that is coming. God will use these Scriptures as the standard of truth. Jesus Christ who is set before us in the Scriptures, He is the Judge. He will honour His own Word. Why! His very Name is this, THE WORD OF GOD, and Joseph Hart is right when he says:Â—
“The written and the Incarnate Word
In all things are the same.”
You can see that there is a difference, one is written and the other is a living Man, but, in regard to truth, they are the same. What Jesus taught is what the Scriptures teach; what the Scriptures teach is what Jesus taught. What the Apostles teach is what Jesus directed them to teach; what the early church received was what Jesus sent them. “Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which ye have been taught.” So, today, the word that we hear must be compared with the written, infallible Scriptures. I do not come to you and say I have a new revelation from God. That I dare not and cannot do. I pray to God that I might be able to preach the truth in a way which is relevant to your particular situation today and preach it in such a way that the Holy Spirit of God will use it in your hearts and minds, but I do not bring new truth – God forbid I ever should. “Stand fast and hold,” and, as never before, the solemn charge that rests upon you is to examine the things you hear according to the Word of God. If God will send in these last terrible days of the world’s history a strong delusion you may be sure that it is a delusion. Now, what is the nature of a delusion to the person deluded? It is perfectly real to the person deluded. It is absolutely right to the person deluded. It is impossible that anything else could be right. That is the evil nature of a delusion. Now, if there is going to be strong delusion, who is going to decide whether it is a delusion or not? Why, those who “stand fast and hold the traditions which they have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.” Those who are willing to compare what they hear with the living Word of God, who go home as the Bereans did and “searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Acts 17.11.
Now I want to leave this aspect of the subject and go on to examine some of those things amongst us which are traditions, which I believe are of exceeding great value because they are Scriptural. There are many practices in our churches which could be changed and which would not affect the truth one iota. For
example, it does not matter whether you meet at 7 o’clock on a Sunday morning or 11 o’clock on a Sunday evening. Things like that do not change the truth. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together” is the point at which truth becomes involved -not the exact time of meeting, but the fact of meeting, and many similar examples could be mentioned.
Let us consider some of these traditions which have been in the hearts of believers, in the hearts of God’s people from the Apostles’ day onward; traditions consistent with the Word of God;
traditions which made our churches distinctive in a past generation. They were traditions which many people suffered much for because they really believed them. We live in a day of compromise and it seems as though many really do not know what they believe, and anyone who knows what he believes is counted to be rather divisive and uncharitable.
Let me begin here. We believe in the absolute sovereignty of God. He is the sovereign Giver and Disposer of all life, of all people’s lives, of all circumstances in all people’s lives. We believe that God has a sovereign purpose – that He orders all things according to the counsel of His own will. Now, what is wrong at the root of much modern religion? A sad, defective sense of the greatness and glory and majesty and power and holiness of God. Consequently, you find an easy, light-hearted, flippant, frivolous religion, because there is no deep impression in the heart of the greatness and majesty of the God with whom we have to do. When our forefathers emphasized God’s sovereign power, His almightiness, they did so because they knew it was true. They knew a God who was as great as this. Let me give an illustration of how great this God is. The Apostle says, “The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels,” v.7. He is mightier than His mighty angels. “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.” vs. 8-10. Why do people not tremble at the mightiness of God Why are there not more hearts broken under a sense of this almighty power of God? Jonathan Edwards in the great revival in America used to read his sermons. People said how terribly shortsighted he was; he had to hold his paper up close to his eyes in order to read his sermons, but when he preached about God, a holy, angry God, condemning sinners to hell, people trembled; people fell down because they were so affected by what hey heard. It was the mighty power of the Spirit of God in divine conviction that brought home to the hearts of sinners this tremendous, unspeakable power of almighty God, and when Edwards told them that they were in the hands of this mighty God who could dispose of them just as He chose to do, without reference to anything outside of Himself, they trembled, and cried
out in anguish of heart. Trace through the way in which Peter preached on the day of Pentecost; what did he do? Did he make pathetic appeals to people to let God do this, that and the other? No! He preached the authority of God, the truth of the Old
Testament Scriptures and the Person and work of Christ, and then he laid home on the consciences of his hearers their sin in crucifying Jesus, and there were people whose hearts were utterly broken under a sense of the majesty of God and their own sinfulness. Now, this is the trouble today. People are preaching the Gospel but where are the sinners to preach to? Few feel their sinfulness, few tremble, few cry, few are burdened.
This leads me to the next point. Our forefathers in preaching and teaching the sovereign mightiness of our God taught the sovereign right of God to choose to save whom He will. Is this the truth? Go back with me to the Epistle to the Ephesians. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world.” Ephesians 1.3 & 4. “Chosen us in Him.” Our forefathers saw the sovereignty of God, not as a dry doctrine, (and no doctrine is dry – it is people’s hearts that are dry) but as an absolute, essential declaration of the nature of God. They saw divine election as an expression of the sovereign mightiness of God and they saw election in relation to Jesus Christ, as part of the kingly glory of Christ. They were chosen in Christ. Deny election and you are shooting at the very Person of Christ. They were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. They were “predestinated unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself.” It could not be more emphatic. The Lord Jesus as God’s eternal Son is personally involved – chosen in Him. They are going to know their adoption as children through this especial work of Jesus Christ. It is because they are in Him that they are part of this family; it is because they were in Him before the foundation of the world that the Scriptures go on and on and on speaking of this family, “according to the good pleasure of His will to the praise of the glory of His grace.”
These truths were preached and taught because our forefathers knew in their hearts how utterly humbled and broken they had been under a sense of their own helplessness. They were deeply taught that salvation was all of grace and so knew it was to the praise of the glory of His grace.
Where are the people who are delighting in the doctrines of grace today? Where are the people whose hearts are full of joy because of this precious truth? There are plenty of people wrangling and arguing about many matters, but where are the people in whose hearts these truths live? “In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of his grace.” Our forefathers found a peculiar joy in preaching Christ and they preached a Christ who was glorious in His Person and in His work. I detest that modern “christ” who is
helpless, weak, pathetic. I once went from the place where I was working in Oxford, to Keble College and I looked at that famous painting of Jesus standing knocking at the door. Yes, it is a beautiful picture, beautifully painted, but it is a poor, weak, helpless Christ waiting upon the fallen will of man. Not so with the
Apostle. When the Apostle spoke of Christ, when he preached Christ and when people heard the Gospel of the grace of God they knew and he knew that there was a power in the Person of Jesus Christ to accomplish exactly what He intended. Do we believe that?
Well, I come to this point. “In whom we have redemption through His blood.” You know one of the distinguishing features of our history is that we are called Particular Baptists. I quite expect that people who see that name on our chapel notice boards will completely misunderstand what it signifies. I quite expect that many people inside the chapels would be outraged if there was any suggestion that that name be removed, but what I want to ask you tonight is, do you know why it is there? Do you know what it means? It has to do with redemption, particular redemption. It has to do with the work of Jesus Christ. It has, in fact, to do with God’s intention first. What was God’s intention, what was His purpose before the world began? This is what we come back to; this is the theme of the Apostle as he speaks to the Ephesians. They were “blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” and that was according to God’s purpose before time began and in this glorious work of redemption we see God’s purpose, the purpose of the Father, the purpose of the Son, the purpose of the blessed Spirit, and in all the unfolding history of the Scriptures I believe we have the story of particular redemption. I know you do not like phraseology, neither do I if it is meaningless and unscriptural, but particular redemption is a specifically Scriptural doctrine. God’s work is consistently particular. How many people were saved at the time of the flood? Noah and his family. And so you might go on. What about Adam’s own children, Cain and Abel? We see the distinguishing nature of God’s work in their lives – one a murderer and the other a martyr. What about “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated?” Romans 9.13. “But” says the world today, the religious world, “Don’t talk about that. God is love.” I am thankful that God is love, but God who is love says, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” The Word I believe in says that God is angry; angry with the wicked; angry with you if you are an impenitent sinner. God is angry with the wicked. It speaks of a righteous indignation in the very being of God by which He must react to sin because it is sin.
Now, the gospel is God’s own answer to the cry of the sinner who feels that God is angry with him. God tells us in His holy Word of the Person and work of Jesus. Have you ever thought about the words which express the work of Jesus? His very Name, shall we start with that? “And thou shall call his name Jesus: for He shall save his people”. His people, not people who will become
His, not people who might be His if they agree with Him, not people who might be His if they let Him into their hearts. “He shall save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1.21. Who were these people? “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world.” Ephesians 1.4. Let me ask you whether your salvation is a real salvation which Jesus accomplished here in His life upon the earth? Is it a real salvation, or did Jesus just come to make salvation a possibility for everybody. That is not salvation. If you look carefully into what the Scripture says about man’s condition, then that cannot be salvation. A wicked, depraved, unbelieving, fallen race of men; that is how the Bible describes man, and when Jesus saves. He comes to save His people from their sins, out of that utterly wretched, helpless, fallen, hopeless condition in which they would never love, never believe, never repent, never pray, if He did not save them, but “He shall save His people from their sins.”
Now consider the precious word, redemption. What is redemption? It has two aspects. There is a work of power in redemption so that people are delivered from a hopeless situation. Secondly, there is the payment of a price to deliver someone who is so bound and so held by a master that there is only Jesus Who can deliver, like a slave being bought out of his slavery, and being brought into a relationship with another master. If you read through the Scriptures regarding the work of redemption you will find consistently that this work of redemption is specific and definite. The Apostle writing in the Acts of the Apostles says this in v. 28 c.20 “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God which He hath purchased with His own blood.” Now, did Jesus pay a price? Yes, I believe He did. That price was His own heart’s blood. Oh! the anguish and sorrow of His holy soul when He was made a sacrifice for sin. Oh! I believe He paid a price, and what a price! Yes, it was a great price. It needed to be for such a sinner as I am. Yes, says the Apostle, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” 1 Timothy 1,15. He knew how great the price was. “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot.” 1 Peter 1.18,19. Yes, it was a great price. I can’t tell you how great the price was. I know this, it was so great as to encompass all the individual sins of all His people. That was the measure of the price He paid. Do you go and pay twice for something you want? No, you do not. Jesus paid a price; He knew the price. He was fully aware of the price which was so great that it burdened His holy soul down in unutterable anguish and, in the paying of the price. He cries out “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Matthew 27.46. That is the measure of the price that Jesus paid. But, when Jesus paid the
redemption price He obtained what He paid for. How utterly derogatory to the glory and honour of Jesus it is to say that there are some for whom Jesus died who suffer an eternity of banishment in hell, and that is what you are saying when you say that the sacrifice on Calvary merely made salvation possible for all men. No, friends, the words of Scripture I appeal to – Jesus saves “His people from their sins”, and Jesus redeems His church with His own most precious blood. “To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” Ephesians 1.6 & 7.
I am not talking now about things that are just theoretical -certainly they are not theoretical in my life. I believe in all sober honesty I can say there was a time in my life when it was a matter of the utmost concern to me to know that Jesus not only died for me but died to atone for all of my sins.
You know probably that there are many different views of the atonement. What does atonement mean? It is a word very closely associated with the word propitiation. What does propitiation mean? “And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins:
and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2.1 & 2. Propitiation is a peace-making sacrifice. When Jesus offered Himself upon the cross of Calvary as a sacrifice for sin to His most Holy Father, He made peace by the sacrifice of Himself and, friends, for all those for whom He made that offering there will be most surely and certainly a living experience of that peace which He has made by the sacrifice of His own person as the Lamb of God. In both words, atonement and propitiation, there is the sense of a separation. Sin has separated between me and God. God in His holiness. God in His righteous indignation against sin, God in His absolute righteousness must be satisfied. He must be satisfied. He cannot, as it were, deny Himself. He cannot deny His own righteousness; if He could deny His righteousness He would not be God. If He could have denied His righteousness Jesus would never have died on Calvary. It is because God is God that Jesus had to die, but when Jesus died, what did He do? He bore away in His own person the sins of His people on the tree. He “blotted out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us.” Colossians 2.14. He makes peace by His cross. “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.” Isaiah 53.11. That is what Jesus was doing on Calvary’s cross. This is the measure of the price, this redemption, this atonement in all its certainty, in all its completeness. He sees – He sees the travail of His holy soul.
But the point I am coming to is this. I was in desperate need. I wanted to be sure in my own heart that all my sins were dealt with in this way. People say, “Well, of course, in the death of Jesus you merely see a kind of representation. Here is a Man, a good Man
dying for a good cause – here is a representation – here is an example before us.” There is no redemption there! Jesus is a blessed example. “He has left us an example that we should follow His steps,” 1 Peter 2.21, but there is far, far more in Calvary’s cross than mere example. Others say Jesus died for sin abstractly -just for sin in the abstract: it was a demonstration of God’s anger against sin as theoretical sin, sin in the abstract. That kind of teaching will never satisfy me. It may satisfy others, but it will not satisfy me. My sin is not abstract. It is my sin, my guilt, my failure, my wretchedness. I want something that will deal with my sins, all of them distinctly, because I don’t want one left out. I was talking to a friend one day about these matters and he did not agree with me. He said, “Well, you know, what makes the work of Christ ineffective is unbelief.” I just said to him, “Is unbelief a sin?” He was silent for a moment or two. Presently he said, “Oh! well, yes.” I said, “What sins did Jesus die for?” He replied, “I suppose He died for the sin of unbelief.” He did not want to admit it, but had to. Yes, when Jesus died. He died to save His people from all their sins, including the sin of impenitence and unbelief; and when the Holy Spirit convinces a sinner of his sin you will more often than not notice that there are specific sins which seem to rise up like mountains. There are some of these in my own life, they seem like mountains sometimes to me, and they go so high, higher than the clouds, and I don’t know how terrible they are because God is so holy. My sins must look to Him far, far worse than they do to me and I can say:
“To see sin smarts but slightly;
To own, with lip confession,
Is easier still; but O to feel
Cuts deep beyond expression.” (Gadsby’s 806)
And even that does not measure the depth, breadth, height and length of my sin.
In my time of need I read from this precious fifty-third chapter in the Prophecy of Isaiah and if ever, (and I am not boasting) I thank God, if ever He taught me the doctrine of particular redemption He did in reading this chapter. I have not inherited it from my father or my grandfather or my great grandfather, though they all believed it. Bless God, they believed it, but I did not inherit it from them. I wanted to know it for myself because it was my sin that had to be dealt with. “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him: and with his stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53.4 & 5. What were those stripes? Were they those literal lashes that came down upon His back? They were but a representation of those stripes. I believe those stripes were the stripes that God’s divine, holy justice brought down upon the Saviour – “with his stripes.” The lashes of divine justice fell upon the Saviour. Some may say,
‘Oh! this is hard, hard doctrine.” It was not hard doctrine to me when I read it. It was precious truth, because I saw my sins being dealt with one by one, all of them, and with His stripes I was healed. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; And the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53.6. “Of us all” – not just ‘all’, but “us all.” “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth:
he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from Judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him: he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed.” Isaiah 53.7-10. Have you noticed that?” When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin.” That is God’s work; that is Jesus in perfect obedience. God received His Son as the Lamb upon the altar. Jesus as the willing Lamb laying down His life – “When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed.” This seed is the family Paul spoke about in Ephesians, “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself.” Ephesians 1.5. Believer, particular redemption means this, that when Jesus died on Calvary’s tree He had you in His heart. He had you in His thoughts. He had your sins laid on Him. It was as personal as that! I do not want to know about a Jesus who died for sin in the abstract, for sinners in general. I want to know about a Jesus who knew what He was doing. “He shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand,Â” Isai