One of the Sabbath school lessons a few weeks ago was entitled “Growing in Christ”. Growth is vital to our relationship with Christ and that was the main topic but what struck me most about this lesson was the part about redemption.
I like thefreedictionary.com’s definitions of redemption as salvation from sin through Jesus’ sacrifice or deliverance upon payment of ransom; rescue. I believe the second definition is the best (deliverance upon payment of ransom; rescue) because it is clearer for people who do not believe as I do or understand the concepts of redemption/salvation as it relates to Christianity. I think most people know that a ransom is offered as payment to reclaim what someone else has taken. Jesus gave his life for me as a ransom so he could reclaim what was his (me) and also save me from eternal death.
So it is like this (Warning. Excessive creative liberties ahead):
Satan said, “Hey world, I got something you might like. It’s called sin, one hit and you’ll be hooked. You’ll get addicted to it but you won’t even notice because it’ll allow you to do whatever you want, whenever you want and you’ll be too busy having fun to even care.”
Everyone gets hooked on sin. Some try hard not to indulge (but they still dabble) while others go big and sin like their life depends on it. However Jesus saw the turmoil and strife sin caused.
J: Satan, your product is ruining my creation. It is killing my children.
S: Yeah, I get that but my customers are satisfied and business is booming. Regardless of your rehab programs and interventions, your people will always return to me. Besides, the FDA is cool with it.
J: How about this, I will give my life for them. I will take on the sum of their pain and suffering and die a physical death and they will no longer be subject to spiritual death as a result of sin.
S: No deal. I abhor your very existence. Shutting down my operation just to see you die a physical death after which you’ll return to your cushy kingdom and continue existing for eternity? Meh, there is nothing in it for me.
J: They will have a choice. I will die for them but I will not force them to accept my help. I will offer my hand to
S: Ok fine, but you will be cutting into my profit. However, my product is the best and your little salvation program will never be enough to shut me down. I will win this war; after all, your children are born with a taste for my sin in their mouths. MWAHAHA (evil laughter). I’ll get my marketing team to make my product even more attractive and I’ll try my best to wrench every single soul from the light of your glory not that I have to since they will continue to come to me in droves of their own free will.
J: What a pitiful being you are. Misery certainly loves company but not only will I release those willing to come from your grasp, I will destroy you in the end. You may win some battles but you will not win the war.
S: Whatever. Allow me to show you the door. As always, it has been an absolute displeasure doing business with you.
At one point I did not even know I needed saving but I realized that I could not save myself. Not only can Jesus redeem me from sin, he wants to. It is that personal. My Creator offered his life, his blood to reclaim me from the power of sin so that I will be able to spend eternity with him in his glorious kingdom and all I had to do was accept him as my Savior. Of course that does not mean I have a reserved spot in heaven, as an Adventist I do not believe in the concept of “once saved, always saved”. Part of being saved and growing in Christ is maintaining my salvation and not by scrupulous application of piety but by loving Jesus. Because I love him, my behaviors change naturally (sometimes abruptly, sometimes gradually).
The reality of it all is that living is hard. Sure things like money and power make it easier but neither of those things will do anything for the state of my soul so instead I have found relief in redemption. The beauty of redemption is that no matter how deep I sink into sin, Jesus’ hand is always extended for me to grab when am drowning.