Redemption From and Redemption To

Last week we talked about this word “redemption.” When we hear that word, we often think of salvation, being free from hell, etc. This part of redemption, being redeemed from, is crucially important to every Christian. If we don’t get that concept – that we are culpable for sin and subject to eternal punishment, and that in Christ’s life, death, and resurrection we have been redeemed from guilt and eternal anguish in hell – then we cannot get every other part of the Gospel.

But if we don’t get the idea that we have not only been redeemed from something, we have been redeemed to something, we don’t really get the Gospel either. If Christianity is simply trusting in Jesus and asking for forgiveness so that I don’t have to go to hell, that’s not the Gospel, that’s Monopoly. Redemption, salvation, the Gospel itself has been reduced to a Get-Out-Of-Hell-Free card.

That type of Christianity is no Christianity at all. Some of you will recall Dave’s sermon a few weeks ago where he showed a clip from Les Miserables. The quote is this:

“Jean Valjean my brother, you no longer belong to evil, with this silver I bought your soul, I ransomed you from fear and hatred and now I give you back to God. Remember you promised to become a new man.”

In a sense, when we come to faith, we promise to become new men. But the astounding beauty of the Gospel is that God promises that he will make us new men.

“I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” ~ Ezekiel 36:25-27

So what are the characteristics of being a new man? What have we been redeemed to?

We’ve been redeemed to a life of service. God’s Word is very clear, those who love him, those who trust in him, their lives are marked by serving others in a self-sacrificial way.

We’ve been redeemed to a life of obedience. The crux of the Gospel is rooted in faith. Having the right type of heart, believing the right things about God, trusting in his goodness and sovereignty. This is the central issue at hand. But obedience flows from faith. This is inescapable. Paul says it like this in Romans 1:5, when speaking of his calling…notice the connection he makes between obedience and faith: “Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith.”

We’ve been redeemed to a life of satisfaction. The Gospel is full of apparent contradictions. When we are self-sacrificing, when we love others first, when we sometimes restrain ourselves from what we want…the Bible tells us that is how we will be satisfied. Those are the things that will make us happy.

We’ve been redeemed to a life of significance. We all want to be significant, we all want to be somebody. In the Gospel we have been called to spread the Good News of Christ. We’ve been called to participate in God’s grand plan of redemption. He has a part for each of us to play. What could be more significant than that?

We’ve been redeemed to a life of hope. Bad things happen in this world. Deaths, lay-offs, miscarriages, diseases. In those moments, the ones that anger us, and confuse us, and make us doubt, the ones that make us ask, “How could God let this happen?” “Why would God let this happen?” In those moments, we as Christians have hope in the midst of them. We don’t have easy or quick answers, but we do have the promise of Romans 8:28 – “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

We’ve been redeemed from a lot. A lot of mistakes. A lot of horrible sins. A life of futility and insignificance. Hell. Guilt. Praise be to God.

But we’ve been redeemed to a lot as well. May we praise God by the way we are progressively living those things out.

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