The Joy of Redemption

Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

1 Peter 1:18-21

 

Discovering Truth:

We left Adam and Eve, and consequently the whole human race, in what seemed to be a hopeless state. Were there consequences for their sin? Absolutely, yes. Their sin brought death and spiritual separation from God, not only for themselves, but for every human being that would ever be born. We are all born separated from God, under His wrath, and with a keen awareness of our self and our flesh. That flesh rules everything that we do.  We can’t see or understand our lost condition until God opens our eyes to see that we are actually enemies of God.

But the wonderful news of redemption is that God does not leave mankind in that state. Bible scholars believe that the first promise of a Redeemer occurred right there in Genesis 3:15 when God cursed the serpent and promised that One would come that would bruise his head! And in verse 21 we find that the Lord God made coverings of skin and clothed Adam and Eve, an action that required the killing of an animal. An animal, very likely a lamb, was slain to provide that covering for them. And though God put them out of the garden so that they would not live forever in their sinful state, He still loved His creation, and through His great love and mercy, made provision for them.

As a Christian, we understand that these were actions that God took to symbolize what the Promised Messiah would do for His people.  Indeed, Jesus Christ was the true Lamb of God, who came and lived, died, and rose again that we might be redeemed to God. We, who were separated from God, have been redeemed (bought back to God) by the precious blood of Christ. To be bought means that the price for our sin was paid by the completed work of Jesus Christ!

What happens to us when we are redeemed (bought back)?

First, we have a new birth – a spiritual birth. We become a child of God. He is now our Heavenly Father! We can trust Him with every moment and every situation of our lives. We are no longer our own. We are His! And the joy of redemption is that we can now live with Him – now and forever!

Secondly, He begins to change us from our old ways to be like Him. He gives us a new heart and gives us His Own Spirit to live inside us to teach, guide, direct, convict, and comfort us! We can now truly live in the presence of God!

Thirdly, He restores us, not only to Himself and those things for which He created us, but He also restores our relationships with others, as He always intended for them to be.

And finally, for the duration of our time on Earth, He is committed to conforming us more and more to the image of Christ! How blessed to be like Him!

Take time to read Colossians 3. You will find the qualities of our fallen nature that God tells us to put off. And then, you learn of God’s intention for the believer in verse 10: and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.

Do you recall in Genesis when God said: Let us make man in our own image? For the Christian, God is now renewing that image – His own image – in us! What an amazing truth!

Now, listen to the new heart of the believer: Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do Colossians 3:12-13.

Isn’t it amazing how much those heart qualities sound like God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Spirit? And that is what He also does in the heart of the believer.

But let’s keep reading in Colossians 3.  We find that God also restores relationships. Very specifically, He addresses wives, husbands, and children, as well as working relationships.

Take your mind back to God’s design for the man and the woman in the Creation account in Genesis. Something was lost in that relationship when sin entered. But give careful thought to Colossians 3:18-19:

Wives, submit to your own husbands as is fitting in the Lord.

Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.

Now let’s think together.

How would a wife’s submission to her own husband relate to being created to be a help and companion to him?

How would a husband’s love (and not bitterness) for his wife relate to being created for working (providing) and guarding (protecting) her?

Can you see that when the Lord redeems us, He redeems us to Himself first, but then redeems us in the relationships surrounding us. It is interesting that the first relationship He specifically addresses is the husband and wife, then parents and children, and finally those outside the home.

Just as an encouragement, remember that we must first be brought back into a relationship with God Himself. He will then work in your heart.  Look again at the old ways of the flesh addressed in Colossians 3, those that we are to put off and the new heart that God gives us to put on.  But here is the encouragement. Don’t make the mistake of only applying those truths outside of your home. The Lord wants us to put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do to our own husband and to our own children, and then to those outside of our homes.

So much truth for the wise woman to consider! What does it really mean to be redeemed by God?

 

Personal Reflection:

Today, I would like to share with you the story of my personal salvation (redemption).

I came to know the Lord about 34 years ago. I was raised in a home where my mom taught us the truth of the Word of God regarding right and wrong. Because of that upbringing, I knew things that were right and wrong. Even though I had heard about Jesus all my life, I really didn’t see the need for Him as my Savior. Basically, I lived my life trying to “be good”.  I tried to be a “good” child, a “good” student at school, and generally a “good” person. I actually thought that was possible.

When we graduated from college, David and I got married, and I set about to be a “good” wife.  Four years into the marriage, we received a true blessing in our life.  Our baby boy arrived.  I had a difficult pregnancy, spent four months on total bed rest, and delivered a month early.

After ten days in the NICU, we were allowed to bring this little bundle of love and joy home. There are no words to describe how much I loved this little guy and delighted in being his mother. Perhaps all those emotions were magnified because of the difficult pregnancy and the constant possibility of losing him.  But I can honestly say, he was my delight. Therefore, above all else, I wanted to be a “good” mother.

However, as he grew older and developed “a mind of his own”, I began to struggle with motherhood. I often found myself angry with him and was struggling within myself because I could see that I was not the “good” mother that I had thought I would be.

Amid my struggles with being a mother (and a wife), I heard a preacher say that either Jesus Christ is Who He says He is, or He was a liar and an impostor. I cannot describe how that statement hit my heart.

I was going to church regularly and bringing my son to church, as well, but I absolutely had to find the answer to those questions: Who did Jesus say He is?  Was this true, or was He, indeed, a liar and impostor? I was in a precarious place. Within my heart, I had to know the truth! I also had a determined resolve that if I found Him to be a liar and impostor, I would eliminate church from my life, and I certainly would not bring up my child in church.

So, there the search began. I had always seen my mom read her Bible with a red and blue pencil in her hand as she marked passages she read. So, I got a red pencil, a Bible, and started in the gospels. Every place that the Scriptures revealed Who Jesus was, I marked, and every place prophecy was revealed saying: It is written, I also marked.

You must remember that I was struggling with day to day life at this time, but all that I can say is that Jesus gave me a glimpse of His righteousness and my total sin! Until that time, I never really saw myself as a sinner. I always thought I was pretty “good” because I always compared myself with others. But getting that view of His righteousness, so clearly showed me just how full of sin I was! And for the first time, it was as a light came on in my heart. Jesus didn’t just “die for the sins of the world” as I had always heard. It was for me! He died for me! God had forgiven me, and it was that day when I became His child and a new creation!

Step by step, He began to change me.  He brought me into His Word and used that means to begin transforming my life. He had brought me into a relationship with Himself. He began to change my heart and my thoughts, and He began to restore relationships around me.

The first place the Lord worked was in my marriage and in being a mom. After all, what I learned was that God had created me to be a wife and a mother, and He was going to redeem those areas of my life.  God showed me His purpose for me was to be a wife to one man (David) and a mother to his son (I had always thought of Jim as MY son). Deep within my heart, I knew that at the end of my life there were two things I was certain to give an account for:

What kind of a wife had I been to David?

And what kind of a mother had I been to Jim?

Did these questions exclude others around me? Certainly not, but what God showed me very shortly after He redeemed me was that those relationships were priority. Yes, He had brought me back to Himself, but it was here, as a wife and mother, that I was to serve Him!

Many years have passed since that blessed day of salvation. I have made mistakes as I have attempted to walk in this calling. But I can say without hesitation that being brought into a relationship with the Lord Himself is the greatest joy that I have ever known.

And as I live my daily life, when I walk by His grace and by His Spirit, in the calling of wife and mother, He gives great joy on the journey. The Word of God also teaches that joy lies ahead when we are forever in His Presence. Oh, that we could know all the joys that He has for us!

 

So, Until Next Time:

Joy in the Lord.

Spend time meditating on His great redemption.

Spend time worshipping Jesus, thanking Him for all that He has done.

Let us embrace the new heart that He has given us.

Let us put off the old ways of the flesh.

And put on the new ways of the Spirit.

Thank Him that He is renewing us in His image.

May we surrender our lives to be all that He created us to be, serving Him where He has called us to serve.

Every wise woman rejoices in redemption.

 

In closing, I will leave you with these words from a beautiful hymn by Fanny Crosby:

Redeemed – how I live to proclaim it!

Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;

Redeemed through His infinite mercy,

His child and forever I am.

Redeemed, redeemed,

Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;

Redeemed, redeemed,

His child and forever I am.

 

 

 

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