I have been writing a series on the labels that we Christians use to define our doctrinal beliefs. I said in my post Identification, Please, that there are some titles that are more important than others. The title of Redeemed is one that should be considered as most precious, it is among those basic understandings of what Christ accomplished for his elect when he died on the cross.
To fully understand this post, you may need to start back at the beginning of the series:
What am I saved from?
Justification - Part One
Justification - Part Two
These posts explain (to the best of my ability) why Jesus died on the cross.
The Apostle Paul writes much of redemption, here is one such passage:
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Titus 2:11-14 (KJV)Strong's Bible Dictionary says that the word "redeem" in this context is referring to liberation or release. The idea conveyed in this verse (and throughout the entirety of the Bible) is that God saved us (liberated us) from a multitude of sins that all people born with a sin nature are enslaved to (that is everyone, we are all born sinners).
Think back to a time when slavery was still legal in America (or in your own continent), and imagine with me a slave. I will not go into great length to describe how miserable his life is, because you already know the grotesque way these unfortunate people were treated. His whole life he dreams of freedom, yet cannot imagine how he could ever really be freed. Then, one day an abolitionist shows up at a slave auction and buys the slave, with every intention of giving him his freedom papers. The slave has now been redeemed (liberated). The slave would be likely be confused, yet grateful - thinking, "Why is he doing this for me, a common slave?" Then, as time goes on, and the now-freed slave shows that he is living in an honorable manner in his new life, the abolitionist calls the slave to himself again, saying, "I wish to make you my heir." How would you imagine that slave feels now? Is he doubtful? Overwhelmed? Grateful? I guess it depends very much on whether or not he trusts the character of his redeemer, as to whether or not he will believe and accept such a gift.
We can understand the feeling of the common slave, because that is what/who we are before we come to salvation! We are a slave to every kind of sin! And, God redeems us from that by the death of His Son, Jesus Christ! What's more - He makes us His heirs!
Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Gal 4:1-6 (KJV - emphasis mine)As a result of Jesus death on the cross (and resurrection from the grave) we are made sons and heirs to God! We were in bondage to the system of the Law, which we would never be able to live up to perfectly, but now we are set free from the curse, and the law becomes a delight:
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Gal 3:13-14 (KJV)There is another side of redemption that I want us to examine, by way of another analogy: A coupon in the newspaper is of no value while it stays in the paper. But, if I cut it out, and hand it to the clerk at the grocery store - it becomes very valuable! I have just redeemed a coupon.
This is another aspect of what Christ's work on the cross as done for us, He has not only liberated us to be free men, but He has made us valuable. We are not saved so that we can sit around and be as we were before! Christ has redeemed us to live in a new life and represent His Goodness to the world.
In chapter one of his First Epistle, Peter tells us that we are redeemed by Jesus Christ, and that redemption is incorruptible. He continues for some time telling believers how they ought to act since they have been redeemed. In this context we read these verses:
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. 1 Peter 2:9-10 (KJV - emphasis mine)We were once useless and invaluable, because we were living in darkness. But, one who has been redeemed now has new value and usefulness! We are now called to show forth the praises of our generous God! He has freed us, and we should be eager to tell people all about God's mercy!
I would welcome a discussion of what this looks like! How do we practically proclaim the Mercy of God to the world? I want to hear your ideas!