Purpose, Vanity, Ransom

INTRODUCTION: In November 1994 I prepared a word study for use at a prayer meeting, and I have now reviewed and revised it for use in this edition of the MPN. The Online bible was used to develop the word study through the program's search facilities, and I was delighted at the strong correlation of the words as they were used in the interwoven context of scripture over the centuries. The thought for this word study first came to me from a verse in Job, and that led me to the other two words which I used to examine some principles of God's grace and love for his chosen vessels. The word study remains close to the original form, and the KJV is the text, which provided the selection of English words to meet the criteria of the search.

God designed purpose for His creation and established statutes for man, but Adam (the first man) sinned, bringing vanity (or loss of purpose) into man's realm. God's program for the ransom of all people was channeled through His nation Israel, but by the time period of Hezekiah, Israel had become so vane by following the nations all around and among them, that God had to remove Israel from the promised land for the sake of his righteousness. The Latin word vanus, from which we get vain, means empty, and if we choose vanity over God's purpose, we become empty of His blessings. God is keeping his plan on course and on schedule, despite the continued demonstration of man's vanity, and he has provided an eternal ransom, once for all, in our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus. God is the beginning and the end, and man is in the center of his love.

The verses in this study contain at least one of the three key words for the study. It is interesting to note that a progression of thought can be followed through these verses without any rearrangement of the order in which they appear in scripture. The overall theme is somewhat constant throughout the centuries, but the New Testament establishes that our restored purpose is fully centered in Christ. The selected verses follow below, with a heading and some abbreviated remarks about verse linkage, preceding the verses.


A - Purpose in God's established statutes and covenants

Israel rejected God's purpose for them by rejecting the statutes and covenant he had established for them, and became empty of purpose through worthless pursuits.

2 Kings 17:15 And they rejected his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their fathers, and his testimonies which he testified against them; and they followed vanity, and became vain, and went after the heathen that [were] round about them, [concerning] whom the LORD had charged them, that they should not do like them.


B - God finds the ransom Himself

God's grace spares us from the pit of death, because he finds the ransom himself to redeem us from our own vanity.

Job 33:24 Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom.


C - God's holy wrath

If we reject his ransom, and die in our sin, we will be forever lost without hope, because His Holy wrath is unchangeable.

Job 36:18 Because [there is] wrath, [beware] lest he take thee away with [his] stroke: then a great ransom cannot deliver thee.


D - No sinner can pay the ransom for another sinner

Psalms 49:7 None [of them] can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him:


E - We cannot restore purpose with our sacrifices

Isaiah 1:11 To what purpose [is] the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats.


F - We choose vanity

Why do we reject the one in whom no one can find sin, especially when our rejection results in emptiness?

Jeremiah 2:5 Thus saith the LORD, What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain?


G - God's great love ransoms us from the power of the grave

Hosea 13:14 I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.


H - Those who follow vane idols need a shepherd

Zechariah 10:2 For the idols have spoken vanity, and the diviners have seen a lie, and have told false dreams; they comfort in vain: therefore they went their way as a flock, they were troubled, because [there was] no shepherd.


I - His purpose in coming

Matthew 20:28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.


J - Paul was given a purpose

God's purpose for the converted Paul, was for him to be a minister and a witness. Is this not the restored purpose for each of us who has been saved by the ransom of Christ?

Acts 26:16 But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;


K - Vanity replaced with hope

We were made subject to vanity in our flesh because of sin, yet we have the hope in Christ of deliverance with redemption of our body for eternity as children of God.

Romans 8:20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected [the same] in hope, 21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.


L - Called according to his purpose

If we are called according to His purpose, we can be confident that "all things" will work to bring about our deliverance from our own vanity and the bondage to sin and death. There fore, we should strive to live out his purpose each day of our redeemed lives. It is the counsel of God's own will, not ours, which has predestinated our inheritance according to His purpose.

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.

Ephesians 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:


M - Saints saved, the devil destroyed

2 Timothy 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called [us] with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

1 John 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.


--- Reflections in prayer ---

Lord, I have rejected your statutes and covenants, which you had made with my forefathers in the faith, and I have rejected the testimony of your word, which declares my sin. I have chosen many times to join the unbelievers around me, in their empty practices contrary to your word, rather than to be separated unto you. But you were gracious to me, And you found the ransom, which would save me from going down to the pit of death. I praise you Lord, because I now understand the great value of the ransom, which you paid for my soul. My death could come suddenly, like the stroke of a pen, and without the ransom prepaid, I would be going to an eternity where the ransom can no longer be offered because of your holy wrath.

Not one of us has the power to redeem our brother, or pay the ransom for any other. Any good that we think we have within ourselves or in our deeds, and all religious practice without saving faith, has no purpose before you. Within the church community, which has the knowledge of the way of salvation, as in Israel your chosen nation, there are many that reject the one who can never be found with sin. This turning away from you is a turning toward vanity, which causes those who do so, to become completely vane. But you remain faithful, even though we are not faithful, and you remain ready to ransom from the power of the grave and redeem from death. You see those who become disillusioned with the emptiness of the world, and with the lies in what the world offers, wandering aimlessly with need of a shepherd. And Lord, I was one like that!

But then Lord Jesus, you came to serve, and to give your life as a ransom for many, and to call us to be servants of others. Your grace extended that salvation and call, to me, and with very meager faith, I accepted. When you met Paul on the Damascus road, you told him he was to become a minister (to serve others) and a witness of Christ. When you restored me, you called me to serve and to be a witness. For I had been made subject to my own vanity, and yet had hope in Christ for deliverance from the bondage of sin. And I know that all things work together for my good, because I love you my Jehovah, for I am one of the called according to your purpose. O Lord, strengthen me to live out your purpose each day of my redeemed life, for this is truly good news which I need to share more freely with others. You predetermined me through your own counsel to obtain an inheritance in Christ. According to your own purpose and grace, given to me in Christ Jesus before the world began, and not because of my works; you saved and called me with a holy calling. You came to destroy the works of the devil that has sinned from the beginning. This is an incredible thought that you have destroyed a created angel who was much more than I am, and you have elevated me to reign with the Son of God. Secure these thoughts in my mind, O Lord, so my life will be a constant flow of praise to your honor and glory. Amen.

Published 29 May 2004, first issued 15 November 1999