Thursday, February 25, 2016

Redeem: Part 1

The word God gave me for 2016 is REDEEM. A dear friend of mine (yep—the same friend) gave me a necklace with this word on it, so I can wear it every day as a reminder.

As I’ve mediated on this word, I feel like the Lord continues to show me a new facet of meaning.

Redeem is literally an exchange—and usually money is involved.

We redeem something in exchange for something else. If I have a coupon for 30% off at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, I will redeem my coupon for the discount on my total purchase.

I receive the purchase. I’ve redeemed the coupon.

As believers, we are redeemed. We know that He is our Redeemer.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. My church did a sermon series a while ago called The Exchange—and it’s the exchanges that took place at the cross.

This morning, as I was reading through Romans 5, what we received in that exchange really stood out:

Because of the cross, we have
  • Peace with God
  • Grace
  • Hope of the glory of God
  • God’s love in our heart
  • The Holy Spirit
We are now
  • Saved from God’s wrath
  • Reconciled
  • Saved (Greek word: sozo – literally, to save, to heal, to deliver) 
  • Righteous

Through Jesus, we receive grace and righteousness. Receive. It’s a gift.

Our only job to receive this gift is to believe—believe in Jesus, in the finished work of the cross.

So often, we present the gospel like this: You’re a terrible sinner, you’re worthless, you’re nothing without Jesus—you need to confess your sins, right now! (Or go to Hell.)

I’m not denying the truth of those statements. We are sinners. We do fall short of God’s glory apart from Jesus, etc.

But Scripture says to confess that Jesus is Lord.

What we confess is our belief in Jesus—in what He accomplished for us on the cross. What we repent from is the law of sin and death, from works righteousness.

We don’t focus enough on the exchange, on what was redeemed—that our new nature is righteous, literally, made right. It is as it should be between God and me.

Never again will I be separated. By faith, I believe this.

If we make salvation only about confessing sin and needing a savior, we miss the power of the cross. Because the next day, we are still powerless to sin.

When we make salvation an exchange—an unmerited exchange, a free gift received by faith alone—now it’s more than forgiven sins. It’s a new nature. I am a new person: righteous and full of grace.

Salvation is easy. Getting saved is actually easy. Our part is very light: Believe. That’s all His word says—confess and believe that Jesus is Lord, and you will be saved.

What is hard about following Jesus? Well...

  • Walking through life. (“In this world, you will face troubles…”)
  • Believing all that He says He is and all that He says you are in Him. (Sometimes that's hard.)
  • Submitting my will to His. (Yeah, that’s also hard.)

Being a disciple—a follower of Jesus—is the challenging part. Receiving His promise is not.

When we present the gospel, we should be clear on these two points:

  • We don’t work to be saved.
  • We don’t work after salvation.

But we do choose to believe. We do choose to submit. We choose to be a follower.

Next week, I want to look more closely at this word, REDEEM, for our everyday life: it’s in His nature to redeem; what can He redeem for us in this season?

But this week, let’s be grateful as we remember the greatest redemption story—how he redeemed us from our sin and in exchange made us righteous and free. (Click to Tweet.)

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