If He Be Able

by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam

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“Either his uncle… or any that is nigh of kin unto him of his family may redeem him, or, if he be able, he may redeem himself” (Lev. 25:49).

Under Old Testament law one who had failed in business could sell himself, or be sold, into slavery, his master paying off his debts in lieu of salary. The slave could be redeemed, however, by his uncle or any near relative who could afford to pay off his debts, or, says our passage: “if he be able, he may redeem himself.”

“If he be able”! Significant qualification, for what bankrupt slave was ever able to redeem himself!

In this way God would teach us an important lesson about salvation from sin. All of us have failed in business, as it were. We have amassed a huge debt of sin against God and our fellowmen, and have become morally and spiritually bankrupt.

We have many who are “nigh of kin” to us, but they are unable to redeem us because they themselves are bankrupt sinners. There is One, however, who has an infinite store of righteousness with which to pay our debt and redeem us. Indeed, He did pay the penalty for all our sins when He, the Holy One, died in shame and disgrace as a sinner on Calvary’s cross.

He, the Lord Jesus Christ, is our blessed Kinsman Redeemer, for as Adam’s children “are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same” (Heb. 2:14) that He might redeem Jew and Gentile; “made [for] a little [while] lower than the angels for the suffering of death …that He by the grace of God, should taste death for every man” (Heb. 2:9).

There are many, alas, who will not face up to their condition. They somehow think that they can still redeem themselves. To them God says: “Do it, if you are able!” To the rich young ruler who asked, “What must I do to inherit eternal life,” the Lord said “You know the law… this do, and you will live.”

But who of us has perfectly kept the law of God? Who of us is not a repeated law-breaker in the sight of God? Who is able to redeem himself? Why not then turn from self to Christ, our rich Kinsman Redeemer, “In whom we have redemption, through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7).

To the Reader:

Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:

"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."

To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.

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