Christ Our Kinsman
© 12.29.08 By D. Eric Williams
We have just completed the four weeks of Advent and Christmas eve wherein our focus is on Christ's humanity. Through out our Advent celebration we have been reminded that Christ the eternal son had taken upon himself human form. We have touched on the fact that Jesus Christ is very God of very God and true man. So, today I want to focus on the role of Jesus Christ – true man – as our kinsmen . Let's begin by reading this portion of Scripture from Leviticus 25
And if an alien or a tenant lifts up a hand among you, and your brother who dwells beside him becomes poor and sells himself to the alien or tenant by you, or to the offshoot of the alien's family, after he is sold he may be redeemed again. One of his brothers may redeem him; either his uncle or his uncle's son may redeem him, or any that is near of kin to him of his family may redeem him. Or if he is able, he may redeem himself. And he shall count with his buyer from the year that he was sold to him, until the year of jubilee. And the price of his sale shall be according to the number of years, according to the time of a hired servant it shall be with him. If there are still many years, he shall give again the price of his redemption out of the silver that he was bought for, according to the years. And if there remain but few years to the year of jubilee, then he shall count with him, and according to his years he shall give him again the price of his redemption. As a yearly hired servant he shall be with him; he shall not rule with harshness in your sight. And if he is not redeemed in this way, then he shall go out in the year of jubilee, he and his sons with him. For to Me the sons of Israel are servants. They are My servants whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt. I am Jehovah your God. (Leviticus 25:47-55)
We need to define the Hebrew term that is translated as kinsmen redeemer or redeemer or in some of the older translations ransomer. The Hebrew word is gaal. The primary meaning of this word is to actually do the part of kinsmen. In other words it's a verb form but I suppose we could say that it's treated like a noun. We call the one who is willing to do gaal a kinsman - and that infers action. To be a kinsman is to do something. The duty of the kinsmen is to redeem or ransom his kin from difficulty or danger.
This word and derivatives are used 118 times in the Old Testament. So when you see the word kinsmen or redeemer or revenger, avenger, ransomer; any of these words you are actually looking at the Hebrew word gaal.
Now, what we have read from the book of Leviticus is just a part of the law of the kinsmen redeemer. This was not a law in the sense that the children of Israel were commanded to fulfill the duty of the kinsmen in any particular circumstance; indeed there is no civil penalty mandated for the kinsman who does not want to fulfill his responsibility. For instance in the book of Ruth we read about a kinsmen who is closer to the situation than Boaz but did not want to fulfill the duty of a kinsmen because of the additional burden of the leverite marriage. Leverite marriage refers to the responsibility of the brother or next of kin of a deceased man to marry the dead man's wife and raise a child to take the dead man's place and thereby receive the dead man's inheritance.
You see, kinsmen have certain responsibilities. For instance, the gaal was supposed to be the one who carried out capital punishment when his close relative was murdered. In other words, when the guilty party was discovered and found out it was the next of kin who was given the responsibility of executing the criminal. It was the closest kinsmen who was supposed to ransom his relative out of slavery and the closest kinsmen who was expected to regain the land of his close relative as well. The fourth aspect is the leverite marriage. This was a little bit different because it is never described as a duty of the gaal – or maybe I should say it is never described as a gaal.
So the leverite marriage is something separate and we will not be looking at that today.
Instead we're going to analyze the kinsmen as the revenger, the ransomer, and the redeemer. But before we begin, I want to point out the fact that in the Old Testament the idea of redeemer and ransomer are interchangeable. I have separated them for the sake of emphasis. But the kinsmen who is a redeemer is likewise a ransomer. In other words, the term redeemer is used in most – if not every – translation and ransomer rarely ever appears. On the other hand, in the New Testament there are translations which describe Christ as the ransomer and this is accurate.
The other thing I want to mention before we began is that under each of these headings we will examine God as the kinsmen, man as kinsmen and Christ as kinsmen. In other words we'll look at God as revenger, ransomer and redeemer. We will look at man as revenger, ransomer and redeemer. And finally we will look at Jesus Christ as revenger, ransomer and redeemer.
We may not like to think of God as a revenger. And yet this is something we should always remember; God is our revenger. Indeed, we are told not to seek vengeance because it is God who will exact vengeance. It shouldn't surprise us. From the very beginning of time God is portrayed as the revenger. Indeed, in Genesis 3:14–15 it says:
And Jehovah God said to the serpent, Because you have done this you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every animal of the field. You shall go upon your belly, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He will bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel. (Genesis 3:14-15)
The very first prophecy in Scripture is an address of Almighty God and it is a promise of vengeance. God says that the serpent is cursed and that we should take that to mean a curse upon the literal animal we call a serpent. But he goes on from there and says that part of this curse is a promise of vengeance. This vengeance will not be meted out upon the physical animal we call a serpent but upon that fallen Angel we identify as the serpent meaning Satan. And God says that he will take vengeance. He is a revenger. He will see to it that the seed of the woman (who of course is Jesus Christ), will crush the serpent's head. In doing so he will be bruised in the heel; nonetheless he does exact vengeance.
Thus God is a revenger. God is the one who is in a position to avenge. We had other hand do not have adequate knowledge to take vengeance. Nor do we have the proper attitude to act as a revenger. Yes, we will see in a moment that there are times when mankind has been given the responsibility to act as the revenger; those circumstance are very carefully defined.
And so, we see that God from the beginning of time has assumed the role of revenger. This is a role that God continues to play throughout history. For instance look at Exodus 6:6:
Therefore say to the sons of Israel, I am Jehovah, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rescue you out of their bondage. And I will redeem you with a stretched-out arm, and with great judgments. (Exodus 6:6)
This passage is often viewed as a verse which portrays God as the redeemer. I don't have a problem with that. The term used in this passage is gaal. But, as I've already said, today I want to focus in on the details of these different aspects of the kinsmen. And yes, God is the kinsmen here. He is the one who is nearest to Israel, the next of kin of Israel is his son. Never forget however, that Israel – under the old covenant administration - Israel is a type. This means that Christ is the true Israel. He is a true son of God. He is the anti-type for all of the many types we find in the old covenant administration including Israel. Remember, Matthew tells us this when he says that Hosea's prophecy about Israel being called out of Egypt was actually about the true Israel Jesus Christ (and that means that with the coming of the anti-type Israel can never again be defined apart from Jesus Christ) .
Anyway, here we see that God is the revenger and brings "great judgments" on the nation of Egypt.
What I want to see is that in the older Testament when God is portrayed as a redeemer based upon his strength and authority he is being portrayed as the revenger. He is able to take vengeance because he is the one who has "mighty power" or as it says in the new King James version "an outstretched arm."
So God is the revenger. He is the nearest relative to the party who has been wronged and thus God will bring vengeance. God brings vengeance on Laban because he has wronged Jacob. Granted, his vengeance is relatively mild; he transfers Laban's wealth to Jacob. Nonetheless it is an active vengeance. If you recall Jacob and his wives (the daughters of Laban), are recorded in Scripture as complaining concerning the ill-treatment they have received at the hands of Laban.
Much later in the history of God's people we see vengeance meted out upon the Assyrians for their invasion of Israel and Judah and siege of Jerusalem. Still later we see that God brings vengeance upon the Babylonian empire for their high handed brutality against the people of God.
This is true throughout - not just the Old Testament but in the New Testament as well.
In the New Testament we see that God brings vengeance upon those who rejected the Messiah. Indeed Jesus himself says that at the closure of the old covenant age those Jews which rejected him would experience "the days of vengeance" (Luke 21:22). This vengeance was realized in the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman armies and their auxiliary forces in A.D. 70.
Of course when we discuss God as the revenger we would be remiss to overlook Paul's quotation of Deuteronomy 32:35 when he says:
If it is possible, as far as is in you, being in peace with all men. not avenging yourselves, beloved, but giving place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord" (Romans 12:18-19).
God is a revenger. God is the only one who is in a position of determining when vengeance is called for. We as humans want to exact vengeance over the slightest issue. But Paul tells us to leave vengeance up to God. Nonetheless, God does give man the responsibility to exact vengeance in certain situations.
In Numbers 35:19 we read:
The revenger of blood himself shall kill the murderer. When he meets him, he shall kill him. (Numbers 35:19)
This revenger of a kinsmen's blood had a duty to put to death the murderer when he met him. I don't know about you but I not sure I would want that responsibility. What if the murderer was twice your size and heavily armed. Well, God doesn't make any provision for that. He simply says that the kinsmen – the gaal – is supposed to be the one who carries out capital punishment. This should be done when he meets the murderer soon after the crime or after a trial has taken place if the guilt of the murderer was previously in doubt. So, one of the aspects of gaal, the kinsmen was required to revenge the death of his next of kin.
Interestingly, this is an act of redemption as well. Yes we are looking at the revenger at this point but I don't want to miss the opportunity to point out that there is a redeeming aspect to the work of the revenger as well. What I mean by this is that the land itself is redeemed by the execution of the murderer. Look over here at Number 35:31–34:
And you shall take no ransom for the life of a murderer who is guilty of death. But he shall surely be put to death. And you shall take no ransom for him who has fled to the city of his refuge, to return to live in the land until the death of the high priest. So you shall not defile the land in which you are. For blood defiles the land. And the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of him that shed it. So do not defile the land which you shall inhabit, in which I dwell. For I Jehovah dwell among the sons of Israel. (Numbers 35:31-34)
So the revenger acted as a redeemer. If he did not carry out the vengeance as he was commanded to do then the land would be defiled and no atonement would be made for the land.
So you see, it is only for the purpose of understanding the character of the kinsmen more fully that we separate the role of revenger, ransomer and redeemer. It's something of an artificial separation; they roles are fluid.
Of course, Christ is also a revenger. Our reading in Genesis this morning reminds us that it is Jesus Christ who is the seed of the woman who crushed the serpent's head. I might add that this act of crushing the head of the serpent is in some way performed by the body of Jesus Christ. By that I mean us. Paul, writing to the church in Rome said:
For your obedience reached to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf, But I would have you truly wise as to good, and simple toward evil. And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. (Romans 16:19-20)
So we are an instrument of revenge in the spiritual realm. Even then, it is God who crushes Satan under our feet. And this takes place as we walk in obedience to the Lord's commands. Look at that passage again. That is the context. ‘Your obedience is known to all - be wise - simple toward evil - and as a result god will crush Satan under your feet." That's the context.
But Jesus Christ's as revenger destroys him who has the power of death who is the devil. We'll see in a little bit that Christ as ransomer does not pay any ransom to the devil; his duty as kinsmen as it relates to Satan is that of the revenger.
Now, strangely enough, Christ accomplished this revenge upon Satan at the cross. Paul tells us that had the rulers of this age known the mysteries of God they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. In other words, had Satan and his hordes understood that Christ the revenger would gain victory, gain revenge through the cross they would not have attempted to destroy him. Nonetheless, Jesus Christ exacted vengeance by way of the cross.
This seems odd to us. It seems strange that Christ could be the revenger and fulfill that role by dying. Take a moment to think about that; if it seems odd to you - that Christ as the revenger fulfilled his role as a kinsmen bringing vengeance by way of the cross, then I would submit to you that you need to meditate upon the work of Jesus Christ.
God's ways are not our ways. We think that vengeance requires a display of power and might. It does - but not as we would expect it. What we think is power and might is different than God's definition. We think that God will bring vengeance in Jesus Christ in a physical display of power. Far too many Christians think that Christ will fulfill his duty as revenger by returning sometime in the future with an army to take physical vengeance upon those who reject him. Well, I don't want to press this point too far, but I am of the opinion that God does not do that in this new covenant age. In the old covenant age we see God bringing vengeance through the armies of the world, armies of mankind. He brings vengeance upon Assyria through the Babylonian armies. He brings vengeance upon his own apostate people through the Babylonians as well. He brought vengeance upon the Babylonians in the Medo-Persian army. And he brought vengeance upon apostate Israel at the conclusion of the old covenant age through the Roman army and their auxiliary forces.
But in this new covenant age I'm not sure that God deals with mankind in this fashion. I'm not suggesting that warfare today is never a matter of vengeance on God's part. But it seems to me that in this new covenant age Christ wages war - metes out vengeance - with the sword proceeding from his mouth. In other words, he wages war through his Word – through his gospel. And he destroys the old man, rasing his former enemies to new life as his friends. This is the work of Christ the revenger in this new age of the Son of Man.
Thus, Christ the revenger fulfills his role as kinsmen by meeting out vengeance upon Satan. Even during his earthly ministry Jesus Christ said that he saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning. This of course took place as his disciples went forth preaching the good news of the kingdom. Yet the vengeance of Jesus Christ found completion in the cross. As the apostle Paul says,
And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and has taken it out of the way, nailing it to the cross. Having stripped rulers and authorities, He made a show of them publicly, triumphing over them in [the cross]. (Colossians 2:13-15)
This is how Christ fulfills the duty as kinsmen in the role of revenger. He disarms principalities and powers and triumphs over them in the cross. He takes revenge for the bad turn that Satan had inflicted upon Mankind and drives the adversary from the field, leaving us in freedom willing and able to obey our Lord and Savior.
The kinsmen also acts as the ransomer. In Exodus 6:7 we read the words of God, saying
And I will take you to Me for a people, and I will be to you a God. And you shall know that I am Jehovah your God, who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.
The ransomer is one who pays a price to release another from bondage. It may be difficult to see how God is a ransomer in the old covenant administration. Certainly, we can understand Christ as ransomer in the new covenant; He buys us with his own life. He ransoms us with his own blood.
Yet God is a ransomer in the old covenant administration as well. When he brought the children of Israel out of Egypt he did so at the cost of the firstborn. I'm not talking about the Egyptian firstborn. They died - but that was an active vengeance. I'm referring to the firstborn sons in Israel. They were the ransom paid in order to bring the children of Israel out of Egypt. You might be thinking "How can that be? They didn't die and there is no mention of there being a ransom."
When we take a moment to remember the circumstances surrounding the deliverance of Israel from Egypt we will recall that all of the firstborn in Israel were spared because of the blood of the Lamb placed around the doorway of each Hebrew home. Moreover, the first born in Israel were ransomed in another fashion as well. The Levites were taken
...instead of all the first-born among the sons of Israel, and the cattle of the Levites instead of their cattle. And the Levites shall be Mine. I am Jehovah. And for those that are to be redeemed of the two hundred and seventy-three of the first-born of the sons of Israel, who are more than the Levites, you shall even take five shekels each by the head, according to the shekel of the sanctuary you shall take. (The shekel is twenty gerahs.) And you shall give to Aaron, and to his sons, the silver of the redeemed left over among them. And Moses took the redemption silver from those who were over and above the ones who were redeemed by the Levites. (Numbers 3:45-49)
So there was a ransom paid by the Levites, acceptable to God. However, for our purpose we will focus on the death of the Lamb and the blood placed on the doorway of each household. This is a picture of the ransom which Jesus Christ would pay. Thus, God is a ransomer. He brought Israel out of Egypt by paying the ransom. Actually we can consider this something of a down payment on the ransom to come. In any case God ransomed Israel out of Egypt.
Man is a ransomer as well in the old covenant administration. In Leviticus 25:47 and following we see that a close relative had the responsibility – indeed the right – to ransom his next-of-kin out of slavery. In a way this is the most important aspect of the kinsmen. We see here that the kinsmen is one who delivers his relative from bondage and releases him from an alien power with a claim upon him.
I should mention something here about the laws of servitude in the old covenant administration. There were actually two situations where a person might be sold into servitude. Three actually if we include servitude imposed because of theft. In any case, our focus here is on a form of "voluntary" servitude.
In Deuteronomy 15 we read about the laws concerning charitable loans. In a nut shell God commanded his people to be charitable by offering no-interest loans to their poor countrymen. Part of that law included the release of debt every seven years. Another aspect of this law had to do with those Israelites who were compelled to sell themselves into servitude for six years. This would be a situation where the Israelite would retain title to his property and would sell only his labor to a fellow Israelite. At the end of six years he would be released and return to life as a free man. There was a provision in this law for an Israelite to determine that life was better as a slave and remain in a condition of servitude perpetually if he wanted to; generally speaking however after a six-year period of servitude the Israelite would return to his freeman status.
The difference between this form of servitude and that described in Leviticus chapter 25 is that the loan in Leviticus 25 is not a charitable loan. In other words, it has to do with the Israelite who falls on hard times because of his bad business deals. In fact, it has to do with those Israelites who jeopardize their entire estate. So, the difference between Deuteronomy 15 and Leviticus 25 is that of a charitable loan versus a business loan. Apparently there wasn't a provision for redemption or ransoming in the case of a charitable loan. It is only in the case of the non-charitable loan that God provided for the kinsmen ransom.
Hence we see that man plays the part of a ransomer in the old covenant administration when he acted to release his relative from a contractual bond. Certainly, there is a contract of sorts in a charitable loan; for the purposes of our discussion however, I want to draw a sharp distinction between the charitable loan and the contractual loan.
Therefore the ransomer is one who pays a sum to release his relative from a contract.
This is what Jesus Christ does as the ransomer. There are people who believe that Christ pays a ransom to Satan. That is not the case. As I mentioned earlier Jesus in the role of kinsmen is a revenger upon Satan. He did not pay a ransom to Satan. It is not Satan who requires a payment to release mankind from bondage. The one who holds the contract is God himself.
You see, Adam entered into a contract through an agreement with Almighty God. When he violated that contract he and all his progeny were covenantally placed into a position of enmity toward God. Thereby all of mankind (in the unregenerate state), is under the Adamic contract of enmity. It is by grace that man is freed from the Adamic contract of enmity and brought into the contract of peace under the Last Adam, Jesus Christ. As I said before, from the time of Adam until the time of Christ the elect of God were allowed by grace to enter the contract of peace while making token payments toward the principal. But it was Jesus Christ who retired the debt. It was Jesus Christ who was able to satisfy the demands of the contract – the covenant – and execute the role of ransomer.
Thus it is God who receives the ransom. It is God's contract or covenant that had been violated and it is God who releases Man from bondage.
And it was always God's intention that a man would pay the required ransom. It was always God's intention that a true kinsman would satisfy the terms of the contract. I said before that God could not play the role of kinsman redeemer. And when I said that I meant that he had established the fact that a true man would pay the ransom for Mankind. Jesus acknowledged this fact when he said:
And whoever desires to be chief among you, let him be your servant; even as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. (Matthew 20:27-28)
And again the apostle Paul writing to his protégé Titus says:
[Jesus Christ], who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity and purify to Himself a special people, zealous of good works. (Titus 2:14)
The word that Paul uses here is lutroo and it means ransom. Jesus Christ gave himself for us that he might ransom us from every lawless deed, that he might ransom us and purify for himself his own special people. He ransomed us that he might have a people zealous for good works.
What this means is that the ransom of Jesus Christ was paid to Almighty God that we might be released from the Adamic contract. It was not God who caused us to perform lawless deeds. It is our connection to Adam. Adam as our federal head brought us into enmity with God. But it is Jesus Christ who releases us from that bond. It is Jesus Christ who releases us from the alien power of sin.
Every illustration falls short at some point. And, although I do not hesitate to say that it was God who is satisfied by the ransom of Jesus Christ, to say as much does not fully explain what Jesus did. In other words, the ransom of Jesus Christ also broke the power of sin. Just as the ransom of the next-of-kin would break the power of the master who held an Israelite in bondage; just so Jesus Christ breaks the power of sin. My point is that no single illustration can really give us the whole story. Suffice it to say that Jesus Christ is the one who pays our ransom.
There is one more aspect we need to look at, that of the Redeemer.
The term's Redeemer and ransomer are largely interchangeable in the Bible. However, I am using the term redeemer to describe the one who reclaims the land which has been placed under contract.
God is the Redeemer of the land in the old covenant. For instance, in Exodus 6:8 we read:
And I will bring you in to the land concerning which I lifted up My hand to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. And I will give it to you for a heritage. I am Jehovah! (Exodus 6:8)
God redeemed the land from the hand of the Canaanites. It is He who breaks the hold of the alien power. He had promised Abraham that the land would be given to him. The Bible tells us that the land based promise was actually fulfilled during the old covenant administration. The fulfillment itself was a type.
So, it is God who redeems the land. And this redemption is further exemplified in his blessing of fruitfulness upon the land.
We have noted that the revenger redeemed the land in a sense when he put to death the murderer. In a similar fashion God redeems the land when he forgives his people of their sin and restores their land. For instance in 2 Chronicles 7:14 it says,
If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
And so God redeems the land or heals the land when his people are at peace with him. He cleanses the land and brings fruitfulness and prosperity to his people (as a corporate entity), when they turn to him in humility.
The kinsmen who redeems the land of his relative likewise returns the land to its fruitfulness. This is not to say that the foreigner (or Israelite), who held a contract on the land was not making good use of it. But according to the law no part of the inheritance could leave the possession of a family permanently. When the year of Jubilee arrived the land would return to its proper owner - unless it was redeemed previously. Thus when the land was returned to its rightful owner, order had been restored and the inheritance could be truly fruitful. Truly fruitful because the increase of the land would be in the possession of the true owner.
In any case the redeemer would pay a price in keeping with the number of years until Jubilee and that would release the land allowing it to be returned to the owner. Once again we see that the kinsman acted in order to effect a release from the dominion of an alien force.
Jesus is a redeemer of the land as well. I won't go into the detail concerning Christ as the true land except to say that the blessings and the peace promised to the people in the land find their fulfillment in Jesus Christ. However, I want to focus here on the fact that Jesus Christ redeems the land in that he releases it from the dominion of an alien power.
In Matthew 28:18–20 it says:
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All authority is given to Me in Heaven and in earth. Therefore go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things, whatever I commanded you. And, behold, I am with you all the days until the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:18-20)
We cannot disregard the fact that all authority in heaven and earth had been given to Jesus. We must not ignore the fact that Jesus commanded his disciples (and us through them), to go into all the world – as he says in Mark 16:15 – and make disciples. The Greek word translated as world in this portion of Mark's Gospel is kosmos meeting all of the created realm.
Therefore Christ has redeemed the entire world. The entire world is the realm of the messianic kingdom. Never forget that Jesus Christ confirmed the importance of the physical realm by coming here in physical form himself. No doubt, we are citizens of the heavenly kingdom; and yet that heavenly kingdom has business here on earth. The apostle Paul told the church in Corinth:
Therefore whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)
And again to the church in Colosse:
And everything, whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men. (Colossians 3:17,23)
As is fitting, this brings us back to our theme for this entire year. I'm speaking of our responsibility to cultivate the new creation. I am speaking of our responsibility to bring our entire sphere of influence under the authority of Jesus Christ. That includes, of course, everything in this creation. Obviously it includes things which are "hands-on" concerning the creation such as agriculture; indeed there is nothing in creation that should not be brought under the authority of God in Jesus Christ.
So Jesus is the redeemer of the land. At the end of the service we are going to be singing the Christmas carol Joy To The World. In verse three of that hymn we read:
No more let sins and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground; he comes to make his blessings flow, far as the curse is found, far as the curse is found, far as, far as the curse is found.
Isaac Watts understood that Jesus Christ our kinsmen redeemed the land. He believed that God's promise to Solomon as recorded in 2 Chronicles is true - still today. As we bring our sphere of influence under the authority of Jesus Christ – the kinsman who redeemed the land – we can expect to see the blessings of his Lordship flow as far as the curse is found. I'm not talking about perfection; I'm merely talking about the blessings of submission to our kinsman redeemer.
The funny thing is, we live in a nation that has experienced these blessings of Christ's redemption. You've heard me say before, and I'm sure you have done your own research so that you understand that this is in fact a Christian nation. Or perhaps I should say this nation was founded as a Christian commonwealth. When you look at the original documents such as the constitutions of the original 13 states it is clear that this nation was founded as a Christian enterprise.
Now, when you look at the prosperity and the plenty we have enjoyed in this country as compared to much of the rest of the world it is easy to think that we have received these blessings because of our own ability. That isn't true. The American people are no smarter, are no more righteous, are not somehow superior to human beings located elsewhere on the globe. No, we have received these blessings because of our Christian heritage. Indeed, we continue to receive the blessings that we have today because of the "bank account" of blessings established by our forefathers.
The point is, the United States of America is an excellent example of God's blessings in Christ because of his redemption of the land. And this is part of his activity as the kinsman. He pours out his blessings upon his people. He has released the land from the bondage of sin. He has released the land from the bondage of an alien power and has given us the responsibility to manifest his kingdom in every area of life.
Having said all of this I want to add that Christ has redeemed the land in another way in his promise concerning eternity with him. In Philippians 3:20–21 we read:
For our citizenship is in Heaven, from which also we are looking for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our body of humiliation so that it may be fashioned like His glorious body, according to the working of His power, even to subdue all things to Himself. (Philippians 3:20-21)
Truly our citizenship is in heaven. Truly we are aliens and sojourners in this realm. That is not to say we are supposed to ignore this life and ignore our responsibility to manifest the rule of Jesus Christ in this arena. At the same time we cannot become too enamored with this world. Christ has redeemed the land and redeemed us from this realm to enable us to have an eternal existence in that land we call heaven.
And so, we see how it is that Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah:
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion-- to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified. (Isaiah 61:1-3)
When Jesus read this passage while in Nazareth he said to his audience that "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing" (Luke 4:21). Fulfilled then - at that time - not at a later date but even at the beginning of his earthly ministry. Fulfilled in its entirety. The Jubilee had come and there is no longer a need for a kinsman other than Jesus Christ; it was with the coming of Jesus Christ that the true kinsman came on the scene. It was with the coming of Jesus Christ that all of the responsibilities of the kinsman were fulfilled once and for all.
Christ is our all in all. As our kinsman he plays the role of our revenger our ransomer and our redeemer. And he is a true kinsman. The son of Adam, the son of Abraham, the son of David - the eternal son of God. He is the firstborn among many brethren. Through him we become part of the family of God.
As we conclude this holiday season I encourage you to reflect upon Christ our kinsman. I encourage you to share the good news of our kinsman Jesus Christ with others. One of the best ways we can share that good news is to live it. I know from personal experience this is not always easy. In fact, it often seems impossible. The standard is so high that it seems unattainable. However, there is nothing which stands in our way. Our kinsman Jesus Christ has taken revenge upon the serpent. He has ransomed us with his own blood and released us from the Adamic contract. He has redeemed the land and thus poured out his blessings upon us as we live a life of obedience to him. There is nothing that stands in our way. Christ has taken care of everything. Amen