I heard some debate recently about a proposal to curtail juvenile vandalism. The idea was to hold parents responsible financially for the damage caused by their children. I thought this was a wonderful idea, although it confused me. I thought it was wonderful because it provided an incentive for parents to keep their kids under a tighter rein. It confused me because I thought that was the way it already was! When I was a boy, my parents would have assumed themselves responsible for any of my mischief had there been damage caused.
I never knew anything had changed to the point that it needed to be changed back. However, it did remind me somewhat of the position taken by Heaven in the case of the spiritual damage man has caused to his own soul by the commission of his sins. Unable to redeem himself, God provided for him the price necessary to save his soul from hell by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. However, I recall many years ago that my carelessness resulted in the breaking of a glass in the front door of my parents’ house. As might be expected, my father paid to have the pane replaced, but he didn’t let the matter die there. He commented to me that he felt it fair for me to have to pay him back for the window.
Similarly, though God has seen fit to pay the price for man’s redemption, He has not seen fit to let the matter die there. The redeemed become obliged to the redeemer, and owe Him more than they can pay, though they must offer that of which they are capable. At Titus chapter two, Paul noted at verse fourteen that Jesus Christ did in fact give Himself for us for the purpose of redeeming us from all iniquity, and to purify unto Himself a peculiar people zealous of good works. It’s noteworthy that no iniquity escapes the power of Jesus’ blood to cleanse it.
His power to save is greater than the power of Hell to condemn, and when a person is washed in the blood, he is indeed cleansed from all iniquity, and not a spot is left. However, this is where our obligations as the redeemed unto the redeemer appear. No one is cleansed of all iniquity who does not abandon all iniquity. Having been purified by Divine sacrifice, Paul indicated that God’s intention for us was that we become a peculiar people. The peculiarity of Christians deals not with odd or strange appearance or behavior. Yet, if Christians were the same as everyone they’d certainly not be peculiar.
God’s people are peculiar because they are zealous of good works. We live in a world that presents a wide array of sinfulness and iniquity. Most of this wicked display seems to arouse the baser tendency in man to commit sin. A Christian’s spiritually peculiar tastes find him turning opposite such temptations, preferring to find pleasure in righteousness. Such is his obligation; he owes it to the Father who purchased for him his right to the tree of life.