Redemption

LENT ADVENTURE 2016

Read Ephesians 1:3-14

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfilment – to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of his glory.

Redemption is how God rescues human beings, and ultimately all things, from the state of sin, decay, and death to which they have been enslaved. When Paul writes about redemption, what he would have had in mind was the slave-market analogy whereby someone buys a slave their freedom but also how God rescued Israel from slavery in Egypt. (For a very detailed exposition on redemption from NT Wright visit here, if you dare!)

Redemption comes through the cross of Jesus. The cross was a symbol of Roman Power. Romans spoke of crucifixion with horror, seeing it as the cruelest and most disgusting of penalties. One writer, Cicero, wrote, “Let the very name of the cross be far away not only from the body of a Roman citizen, but even from his thoughts, his eyes, his ears” (Cicero Pro Rabirio 5). Paul saw the cross differently:

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God 1 Corinthians 1:18

John Stott wrote that, “There is then… no Christianity without the cross. If the cross is not central to our religion, ours is not the religion of Jesus”. 

The Cross was the final victory over the powers of sin, oppression and death. On the cross Jesus identifies with us in our suffering, in our pain, and in our death. On the cross Jesus bought your freedom with his blood.

“Our task as image-bearing, God-loving, Christ-shaped, Spirit-filled Christians, following Christ and shaping our world, is to announce redemption to a world that has discovered its fallenness, to announce healing to a world that has discovered its brokenness, to proclaim love and trust to a world that knows only exploitation, fear and suspicion…

The gospel of Jesus points us and indeed urges us to be at the leading edge of the whole culture, articulating in story and music and art and philosophy and education and poetry and politics and theology and even–heaven help us–Biblical studies, a worldview that will mount the historically-rooted Christian challenge to both modernity and postmodernity, leading the way…with joy and humor and gentleness and good judgment and true wisdom. I believe if we face the question, “if not now, then when?” if we are grasped by this vision we may also hear the question, “if not us, then who?” And if the gospel of Jesus is not the key to this task, then what is?”
N.T. Wright, The Challenge of Jesus: Rediscovering Who Jesus Was and Is

Where do you want to see redemption?

Today, How will you announce redemption to the world around you?

 

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