REDEMPTION, Part 2

Christ the Redeemer

Christ, Our Redeemer

Revival and renewal. These are two words Christians love. They are two things Christians love to experience and long to experience. And the fact is, all believers need spiritual renewal throughout their lives. Sometimes difficult circumstances, trials, or times of temptation can cause us to need a personal revival. Negative circumstances, especially when they are sustained over a long period of time, can cause our faith to weaken and wane and we know we need “something” to kick-start our faith. The truth is, we all need spiritual renewal regardless of our circumstances to that our relationship with God may stay fresh and vibrant.

Spiritual renewal began the moment we became born again. We became revived creatures when Christ redeemed our lives. Before the Holy Spirit took up residence in us, we were spiritually dead. Now we are spiritually alive in Christ! Revival and renewal are really key ingredients of our redemption, so in order to understand revival and renewal, we need to better understand the facets of our redemption.

1. It’s cost

The Suffering Servant, Isaiah 53:1—12

Who has believed our message …

To the people of Isaiah’s day, the thoughts of a “suffering Messiah” were inconceivable. It is just not humanly possible to reconcile greatness with suffering. But that’s the point of this chapter: the greatness of the Messiah came by way of His suffering.

As Christians, we understand that what Jesus went through on the Cross was what set us free. He literally experienced our punishment so that our condemnation could be lifted. Literally, our salvation cost Jesus everything and that fact alone causes us to rejoice and exalt Him. Out of sheer appreciation for all He did for us—all He went through to procure our forgiveness—we love Christ even more. Not so the Jews:

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (verse 3)

This was their estimation of the Messiah. It’s prophetic and was fulfilled when Jesus hung on the Cross. Why was He despised?

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” (Galatians 3:13)

Not all the people hated Jesus, some like the apostles simply hid their faces from Him. They were ashamed. Jesus-as-Messiah didn’t fit their preconceived notions as what the Messiah should be like.

But Christ’s suffering was not to make Him great, it was for a distinct purpose:

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. (verse 5)

All of Christ’s suffering was for our “peace.” The Hebrew word means more than just the absence of strife, though; it means things like soundness, well-being, prosperity, and completeness. And He was wounded for our healing. Christ’s suffering was not only redemptive but curative as well! Yes, divine healing was provided for in our great Atonement!

Our High Priest, Hebrews 9:11—14

In the Old Testament, the high priest was the mediator between God and His people. The many priests involved in the elaborate worship and sacrificial ceremonies all functioned under the authority of the high priest. Regardless of the number of priests, there was only one high priest and he was the ultimate spiritual authority in the land.

But no matter how much authority he carried and no matter how many services he presided over, the high priest’s work never done; it was only temporary. He had to repeat his work year after year, generation after generation. Only Christ, the great High Priest, did His work once, for all people. Christ’s work of mediation was carried out one time because it never needs to be repeated. Christ’s sacrifice was the powerful and that effective.

2. Its value

The value of justification, Romans 3:21—26

…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (verses 23, 24)

Man’s condition without Christ is dark and depressing; utterly hopeless. In the midst of the gloomy darkness, God’s light broke through from the Cross of Christ.

For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” (Romans 1:17)

Paul quoted from Habakkuk in Romans 1. Of course, the Old Testament prophet knew nothing of Jesus Christ, but Paul did, so in Romans 3 he adds the object of faith: Christ Jesus.

The word “justified” or “justification” comes from the Greek dikaios, which refers to a pronouncement of righteousness or a declaration that one is just. In this context, justification refers to a legal declaration that a guilty person is now innocent because his debt has been paid by someone else.

The really stunning point of this verse is that our justification was “freely” provided. This doesn’t mean it was free or of no value, it means that Jesus Christ willingly, of His own accord, provided it.

God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. (Romans 3:25a)

Our Lord became a “sacrifice of atonement,” or a “propitiation,” an acceptable sacrifice for our sins. His blood was of sufficient value to give in exchange for our sins. That’s the true value of our justification.

The value of our redemption, 1 Peter 1:18—20

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 forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

Notice that not only were we justified by grace, we were redeemed by that same grace. “Free grace” might well be the most misunderstood phrase in the English language. God’s grace is anything but free; it cost Him the life of His one and only Son. It’s free in the sense that we didn’t pay for it even though we possess it.

The word “redeemed” comes from the Greek lytroo and hearkens back to the institution of slavery in Rome. Most first-century churches would have been made up three groups of people: slaves, freemen, and freed men. Individuals became slaves in different ways: the results of war, selling themselves to cover debts, or they could even have been sold by their parents. In this sense, “slavery” was term limited. Eventually a slave would serve their term and become free or they could exchange their money for their freedom. The price was their lytron.

We had no way to pay our “sin debt,” so Christ stepped in and paid it for us. That’s what free grace is! It is free from our perspective, but it’s value was the blood of Christ, shed for us.

3. Its results

The coming of the Holy Spirit, Galatians 3:13, 14

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

We were redeemed—bought back—from the treadmill leading nowhere by Christ becoming a curse for us. A lot of people wonder exactly when Jesus became a curse. It couldn’t have been at His Incarnation because Luke 1:35 refers to Him as “holy.” He couldn’t have become cursed as a child because, again, Luke says Jesus grew and God the Father looked on Him with favor, Luke 2:52. Nor was Jesus cursed during His ministry because God was well-pleased with Him, Matthew 3:17. He became a curse while He hung on His Cross—the tree. A lot happened while Jesus hung, dying on that tree. Among them, His death secured for us the precious gift of the Holy Spirit. That’s how badly we need the Holy Spirit! Jesus had to endure the shame of the Cross, becoming a curse for us, so He could in turn give us His Holy Spirit.

The promise of eternal blessings, Ephesians 1:3—10

Because we have been redeemed, we have become the recipients of blessings beyond our imaginations. In Ephesians, Paul refers to these blessings as “they mystery of His will.” We can know God’s will because we have been redeemed by Him! The thing is, though, many of these blessings are in “heavenly places.” In other words, some of the blessings Paul refers to aren’t ours just yet. We have to wait for heaven, then, all will be revealed to us with perfect clarity.

Believers were chosen in eternity to be the recipients of these eternal blessings. This group of verses is not teaching that believers had no choice in their salvation. The fact is, we became one of the chosen when we accepted Christ as our Savior. At that moment, the promise of all these blessings kicked in for us. These included:

  • Our adoption, vs. 5. Paul carefully chose His words: we were adopted “as sons.” No, he’s not being sexist here. In his culture, the son had more rights and greater favor than the daughter. Far from being sexist, this is the greatest proving the equality of men and women under Christ! All believers receive the highest and the best blessings and favor from God.

  • Our forgiveness, vs. 7. This forgiveness is full and complete because it is based on God’s wealth, which is endless.

  • A revelation, vss. 8, 9. This third blessing made ours through our redemption is “revelation.” This “revelation” is wisdom and understanding right from God. This is a work of the Holy Spirit, who is always leading and teaching the Church as we allow Him to move in our midst. This is why the Gospel and the things of God make so little sense to the world; they don’t possess the Holy Spirit. We do, however, and He reveals God’s mind and sometimes, though not always, His purposes. Eventually, though, we will know all that God knows as it relates to the lives we lived on earth.

  • A gathering, vs. 10. At some point in the future, in the “fullness of times,” the final aspect of “revelation” will occur. God will literally “gather together” everything under His Lordship. He will be revealed as the ruler of all in heaven and earth (Matthew 6:10). This will be the culmination of all things when Christ becomes King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

These tremendous promises are all ours because of redemption in Christ.

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