Sunday entries are taken from the classic devotional series In Christ by E. Stanley Jones.
A Hindu Sadhu, “a holy man,” pulled out a New Testament from his saffron robe and said, “This is my meat and drink.”
Is humanity more and more pulling from the folds of its heart the New Testament out of sheer necessity? Are our deep-down needs taking us by the hand and leading us to Him? Yes, increasingly so.
Jesus shut within a Book
Is hardly worth a passing look;
Jesus shut within a creed
Is a fruitless Lord indeed.
But Jesus in the hearts of men
Shows His tenderness again.
“Jesus in the hearts of men”? Yes, He is there in need—increasingly there as the fulfillment of a need. What is man’s greatest need? I have one unhesitating answer: redemption! This verse in Romans, the beginning letter of Paul, expresses that need: “they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus” (3:24). “What is redemption?” asked a modern girl wistfully. Literally it means “to buy back”—picture a man, woman, or child about to be sold into slavery; then someone comes along, pays the ransom price, and sets the slave free.
Someone objects that the situation of the slave market is gone, therefore the idea of redemption is gone with it. Is it? Outer slaveries are going, but inner slaveries are increasing. We speak of being “tied up,” “tied in knots,” “all balled up,” “mixed up,” “confused”—revealing a bondage, an inner slavery far worse than the outer slavery ever was or could be. An outer slave could be free inwardly—he could escape within—but one who is in bondage within has no escape. To try to escape into the without only increases his inner tangles. He is caught. He needs redemption. And Jesus is the only open door.
O Jesus, my Lord, wilt Thou redeem me from my bondage? It is my deepest need. Without that central, inner freedom, I’m in bondage to everything—myself, my surroundings, my life. Free me. Amen.
AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY
I am a ransomed sinner—let every moment show my gratitude.