23rd April 2011

The Great Transfer

“But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.”
Galatians 4:4-5 (NIV UK)

Back in 1891, Robert Louis Stevenson, author of such literary classics as Kidnapped, Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, gave a rather unusual gift to the daughter of one of his friends.

This particular friend, Henry Ide, once joked that Christmas was not the happiest day of the year in his household. This was because his fourteen-year-old daughter, Annie, had been born on Christmas day, and she always complained that she got cheated out of a separate birthday party.

So Stevenson came up with the idea of giving away his birthday. He drew up a legal document transferring all the ‘rights and privileges’ of his birthday, which fell on November 13, to Miss Annie H. Ide. From that day forward Annie celebrated her birthday on November 13th.

I imagine that Robert Louis Stevenson was inspired by things he read in the Bible, where we find a variation on the same plot, such as Paul wrote above.

The Son of God became human in order to transfer us to the very real status of his own brothers and sisters. He took our unrighteousness on himself and clothed us with his righteousness. But unlike author Stevenson’s gift to Annie Ide, this was not a spur of the moment idea. As we read in Ephesians, it was God’s plan from before the creation of the world: “For he [God the Father] chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—…” (Ephesians 1:4-5).

Robert Louis Stevenson’s notion of transferring his birthday rights and privileges to another is precisely what Jesus has done for us. In Jesus Christ, our sins are forgiven, our hearts are made new, and we are included in the life he shares with the Father and the Spirit.

God’s almighty word of love and inclusion for you is as certain as tomorrow’s sunrise. It’s his precious gift to you, and nothing can ever take it away.

Heavenly Father, how gracious to devise a plan where you transfer to us the righteousness of your son, Jesus Christ, and take in exchange our sinfulness. No wonder the awesome nature of what you have done is dismissed by so many; it’s scarce credible at times to your own children, we Christians. In Jesus’ name we pray.

Study by Joseph Tkach 

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