Altar Culture – Redemption part 1

kristie Culture, Love, Redemption

Redemption.  What does it really mean?  If you look it up in the dictionary you get the following:  The action of saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil.  To many Christians this is where our understanding of redemption stops. Our debt for sin has been paid and one day we will get to go to heaven.  However, if you continue to read in the dictionary there is a second meaning. This is the definition of redemption I want to discuss because I believe it was for much more than for us to one day see heaven that Christ made His sacrifice on the cross. I love the following definition:  The action of regaining or gaining possession of something in exchange for payment, or clearing a debt. This definition of redemption does not leave us as sinners saved by grace who will one day see heaven. This definition means that we have been restored to right standing with God.  In other words we have the right to be who God intended and created us to be. Victorious saints, children of the King of kings, with all the rights and privileges as well as the responsibilities that come with that calling. Let me share a story with you.

 

This story takes place many years ago. Mara had been sold by her parents into slavery.  She worked hard, and most of the time she was clothed and fed. One day while at the market a young man bumped into her.  She dropped the piece of fruit she had just purchased. The young man bent to pick it up and returned it to her. He spoke to her with a kindness she had not heard in her life, a voice that did not demand anything in return for the kindness he had just shown her. She would think of him on occasion when she was being abused or mistreated.  Over time her master became poor. She found herself on the auction block, payment for his debt. She was dressed in rags, dirty hair, broken nails, sores on her skin standing in front of a crowd of people who would bid to purchase her. Her shame at who she was, and terror of what might become of her kept her from even looking at the crowd.  She finally heard the word “sold”. She dared to look up at her new master. It was the kind man from the market. She followed him home, head hung low, wondering why he would have purchased her, and thinking about what tasks she would be required to do in this new house. When they arrived at his home he led her to a beautiful room. A room filled with fine clothing.  Laying on the sleeping mat was a set of beautiful jewels, of which she could not even imaging the value of. She spoke so quietly he could hardly hear her asking if she would be serving the lady of the house and what her first task was. He smiled and gently touched her hair. He said “ I did not purchase you to be a servant, but to be my wife. All you see here in this room and in my home are yours.  I have drawn a bath for you and there are oils to help heal your sores. Please come meet me when you are ready.” She stayed in her room for several days looking at the gifts he had given her, not fully understanding how or why he had chosen her. Finally she came out of her room but refused to wear any of the fine clothing or jewels he said belonged to her, instead she remained in her dirty torn garments. She did not feel worthy to wear the clothing usually set aside for royalty.  He did not get angry with her, but continued to tell her daily that he loved her, and she was precious to him. One day he came to her room and helped her to wash her hair and body, he put oil on her sores, and helped her dress in the beautiful clothing. Standing in her room he looked at her with love in his eyes. All she could do was cry, and finally in a small voice asked one question, “ Why?” He told her in his gentle voice that he was a prince and had been searching for a bride.   From the moment he had seen her in the market he loved her. When he had seen her on the auction block he did not see her dirty hair, filthy clothing, or sores on her skin, he saw his beloved bride. He told her that day on the auction block he had traded a priceless family jewel for her purchase price. He saw her worth when she did not. He had redeemed her, not to be a servant but to be his bride.

 

This a beautiful love story, but is more than that.  It tells the story of one who was redeemed for a great price.  However, she could not see herself as worthy of being a bride to the redeemer,  so for a long time continued to live in the palace feeling worthy of only her old filthy rags.

 

This is a picture of what Christ did for us on the cross.  He did not just pick us up out of the filth of sin and spray us with spiritual perfume so we wouldn’t stink any more.  This was the old covenant. That covenant required the blood of animals to cover the sins of men, but could not make man righteous or restore him to right relationship with God.  Jesus redeemed us! The price was paid in full not just to cover sin, but to restore us to relationship with God. A relationship that was intended from the time that God created Adam.

 

We cannot earn it.  To be justified in God’s site you would have to be perfect.  As good as we may try to be works cannot justify us, or reconcile us to God.  It is only through Christ that we are redeemed.

 

Galatians 2:16  know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.

 

We were stuck in sin. We were separated from a God who wanted to be in relationship with us so much that He was willing to send His Son to pay the redemption price. This price was His blood. You see, as much as God desired a relationship with us He is Holy.  He cannot have the relationship He desires with us until sin has been removed. The payment for sin is death

( Romans 6:23)  As much as God loves us, He cannot deny His Word.  His love for us was so great that He sent His Son to shed his blood as the full payment for our sin.  Sin was no longer just covered, but removed completely. The price of our freedom was the blood of Jesus.

 

1 Peter 1:18-19 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors,  but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

 

One sacrifice for all time, by the blood of Jesus sin has been defeated!!  That should make you want to shout! This however, is not the end of the story.  Christ died for so much more.

 

To be continued…