Reading: “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” —Acts 20:28

The counsel that the Apostle Paul gave to the early church was needful because of the peril coming on the church; he said in the following verse, “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.” In light of this peril the apostle anchors their faith in the divinity of Jesus and the blood that he as the God-Man shed for his church.

The divinity of Jesus pervades the whole New Testament and underlines the whole scheme of redemption. He has acquired the church for Himself, made it His own possession. Therefore it is called the “purchased possession,” “the peculiar people” (“peculiar” not meaning singular, but, according to its Latin significance, denoting what is one’s own by a special right).

He has made the church His own, by shedding His own blood for its ransom. What a price! His own blood; nothing less, and nothing else! This implied grace, condescension, incarnation, obedience, suffering, and death.

Jehovah says to the ancient church, “I gave Egypt for thy ransom; Ethiopia and Sheba for thee” (Isaiah 43:3), but the appeal to the church of the New Testament is, “Ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:19).

The church is therefore His by the firmest of all bonds, for He has bought it and with a price beyond all value.

(Adapted from John Eadie (1810–1876), The Words of the Apostle Paul, 334–5)

There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.
Lose all their guilty stains, lose all their guilty stains;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.

William Cowper