What is Redemption, and why does it matter? One of the best pictures of biblical Redemption is the video embedded below, it gives a beautiful and powerful picture of this Drama of Redemption.
What is Redemption?
To “redeem” something simply means “to buy back.” Think about bringing back a can or a bottle: you bring the can and get five cents for it because they’re buying the can back from you. When Jesus died on the cross as our substitute, he took our sin and our punishment upon himself in order to “buy” our freedom. It’s not like God “lost” us to Satan and He needed to buy us from Satan, He desired to purchase our freedom from His own wrath again sin.
Think about the video again:
- The girl was created by God, enjoying intimacy with Him
- She sinned and gave into temptation: Sex, Money, Alcohol/Partying, Image/Eating Disorder, Despair/suicide.
- When she wants to return to God, her sins step in and hold her back.
- All throughout, God is there, watching… waiting… pulling her to Himself until He eventually steps in and does for her what she isn’t able to do – overcome her sin.
- God defeats her sin, lifts her up, and puts his white coat on her – symbolizing that He has clothed her in his righteousness and she is no longer guilty, but innocent (Justified).
“Justification” is when God declares that your sin has been forgiven and that you are righteous in his eyes. Two verses in particular stand out:
- “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
- “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10)
Based off these verses (and many many many others), we see that Redemption and Justification are only through Christ Jesus and they focus on ETERNAL LIFE and BEING SAVED (saved from judgment). Through Christ, I am declared to be something I know I’m not… innocent! Jesus paid my debt and suffered my punishment on the cross so that would receive the righteousness of Christ the same way the girl in the video was given God’s clean white jacket after being rescued from her sin. Redemption is only through Christ,
Why does Redemption Matter?
Redemption matters for many reasons, but a few of the most important are:
- We don’t need to worry about earning God’s love and forgiveness. It’s a gift that we receive by faith, not a paycheck we need to earn (because we never could!). Since we don’t need to worry about earning God’s love and forgiveness, we are set free to worship Christ and enjoy God by serving others.
- We have confidence when facing death. We know what’s coming, because Jesus has gone there and back. While we shouldn’t desire death, we also trust in God’s amazingly good promises that will be ours eternally. While we all obviously fear what we don’t know, we don’t face death with dreaded fear, but with faith.
- We have security because we have God’s approval. We don’t need to live for the approval of others, because we already have the approval of the One who matters most. This doesn’t mean we don’t care about the approval of others (1 Timothy 3:7 even goes so far as to say that an Elder/Pastor must have a good reputation with “outsiders/nonbelievers” in order to be qualified to be an Elder/Pastor!), but we do not live for the sake of gaining approval from those outside the faith.
- God transforms what He redeems! He doesn’t save you from sin and then leave you in it! He gives you the Holy Spirit and begins to sanctify you and make you holy. When we’re justified, God declares that we are holy and righteous; that’s when the ongoing process of sanctification begins, where God starts to actually make you what He says you are. If we have been Redeemed from sin through faith in Christ, we cannot be content to fall into sin whenever temptation comes our way. God transforms what He redeems.