During the American Civil War, President Lincoln and the U.S. Congress had a desperate need for military manpower, so they instituted a military draft in 1863. It was hated, of course, and hated even more because well-to-do families could either bear the cost of sending a substitute or paying the expensive commutation fee to redeem a son or grandson from going into what they feared would be the infantry meat grinder.
Does it surprise you to know that God allows personal redemptions? His Son, Jesus, volunteered to do battle with Satan on behalf of a sinful human race, bear the world’s condemnation, suffer the punishment, go to hell for us, and then die. Through faith in him and his extraordinary work, he allows you to claim his righteousness as your own! You’ve been redeemed! “You know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:18,19).
In 1863 plenty of people were able to afford the redemption fee to stay out of combat. You and I could never afford the cost of going it alone in God’s holy and severe court—his nonnegotiable demand is a sinless life, completely pure in thought, word, and deed. You have one chance—put all your hopes, faith, and trust in your Redeemer, Jesus Christ, and live.