Sin, a Bull, and Redemption


29“If, however, an ox was previously in the habit of goring and its owner has been warned, yet he does not confine it and it kills a man or a woman, the ox shall be stoned and its owner also shall be put to death. 30“If a ransom is demanded of him, then he shall give for the redemption of his life whatever is demanded of him.” (Exodus 21:29-30)

What an incredible picture of humanity’s need for redemption! You see, as humans, we have a proclivity to sin. From the day we are born, sin is ingrained in us as a part of our nature.  We all inherit what is often referred to as “original sin” and as such, it is what we naturally resort to. Let me give you an example:

Four-year-old Billy sneaks a piece of chocolate cake from the counter. Mom walks in to find little Billy’s face covered in chocolate and a fist sized chunk missing from the side of the cake. When asked what he is up to, Billy responds with “Nothing.” When mom asks him directly if he ate the cake, he emphatically denies it. Now until this point, Billy’s mom never specifically said he couldn’t eat the cake. There was nothing that explicitly pointed to Billy being in trouble, but somewhere deep down whenever we are presented with a situation that may end badly for us, our fallback is always lying, cheating, stealing, manipulation…in a word, SIN. We can all agree that Billy’s mother probably never taught him how to lie. Chances are she never outlined the scenarios during which one would usually tell a lie. She never told him how to phrase a response so that the lie sounded most truthful. And yet Billy pulls it off just fine. Sin is a part of our nature.  We are all sinners.

As sinful humanity, we have been warned of the consequences of sin. We have been given a conscience and the ability to determine right from wrong. We have been made in the image of God, able to recognize sin. And we have been given the word of God, which explicitly outlines what sin is, but also, what the consequences of sin will be. Despite all of that, we still cannot keep our sin in check. Like the owner of the ox we have been told that our flesh is in the habit of sinning, and like the owner of the ox we have failed to keep our flesh contained. In the end, sin will always result in death.  “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).  At this point we are all effectually dead men, responsible for the death caused by our sin. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, demanded from us a ransom as an alternative to the death we all deserve. There are however two problems with this.

The first problem is that because God is just, the ransom must be proportional when compared to the wrong that has been done.  As Britt Merrick often says, “God is not your grandpa. He won’t just chuckle, shake His head, and sweep your sin under the rug.”  God’s standard is holiness and He is just in his demands when we fall short of that standard.  As verse 30 says, as the guilty party we are required to “give for the redemption of [our] life whatever is demanded of [us].”  Unfortunately the price of a life is a life, and an unblemished one at that. No price is too high for the redemption of our soul, but this price is more than we are able to pay.

The second problem is that in the analogy of the bull and the owner, we play multiple rolls.  We are obviously the owner of the bull.  The bull that is in the habit of goring is analogous to our flesh that is in the habit of sinning.  But who was gored in this story?  We were! We are both the owner of the bull, and the one who is gored by it.  Our sin, although hurtful and destructive to others in the temporal, has no bearing on their eternal soul.  In the end, the eternal death that is caused by our sinful flesh (the goring bull) is our own.  What life then is a dead man able to offer?  Certainly not his own. No matter how good a person we think we are or how righteous we consider ourselves to be, we have already been put to death, separated from God, on account of our sinful flesh.  It was because of this that the Father sent His Son.

As Christians we have been redeemed by the blood of Christ.  Jesus paid the ransom that was demanded of us because of our inability to do so ourselves.  It is on account of this that we fall to our knees and embrace the gruesome cross as wonderful.  However, there is more to our redemption than simply the cross of Christ.  You see, without the perfect life of Christ, the cross of Christ is impotent to save humanity.  Without the life of Christ the cross becomes nothing more than a tool in the brutal murder of an innocent man.  Jesus performed perfectly before the Father so that we could be free from performance.  Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17).  Jesus was “tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).  The perfect, sinless life of Christ is what made our redemption through the cross possible.  He fulfilled the law completely and in doing so silenced it.  Born of a virgin, Jesus was without the original sin of Adam, and because He abstained from sin, Jesus was able to offer up His perfect life as the ransom demanded as payment for our sinful, imperfect lives.  It is only by our acceptance of His offered ransom by faith that we are ever truly able to stand justified before God.  In this we see the nature of the great exchange; “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).  We have been saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, and His resurrection is the final proof of the Father’s approval of Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf.  “God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law” (Galatians 4:4b-5a).  It is only in Christ that we have our redemption, for only He is able to pay our ransom.

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About Brandon Cantello

Husband to Nicole, Lover of God, Dependent on the Spirit, Passion for His Church. My name is Brandon. I love Jesus. For more visit My Blog

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