I’m part of an on-line community where people share information about their beliefs, behaviours and brand preferences. Members are allocated points for expressing opinions through surveys and research projects. I’ve participated in this community for several years, and have enjoyed several pay-outs. Recently I again reached the necessary number of points to claim a most welcome reward of £50. Having requested my reward I received a confirmatory e-mail entitled: “Your redemption is being processed“. Now this made me smile, broadly, since ‘redemption’ is one of my favourite words, and it got me thinking and writing!

Adding to my thoughts, I received a newsletter from a pastor/friend in Lincolnshire. Speaking of the Fall of Adam & Eve he wrote: “Our relationship-loving God immediately set about dealing with this problem (of severed relationship). He wanted friendship back, without compromising His justice.” – sound, orthodox teaching, I thought … but his next sentence jumped off the page into my heart, as he continued: “The process is called redemption and it centred around the voluntary sacrifice of Jesus Christ…” – WOW, I thought – thank you, Lord, for a confirming word !

Of course, you will recognise ‘redemption’ as a major church word … with its variants scattered throughout our English Bible – both old & new testament. I’ve come across at least 166 references in the English Standard Version (other translations use alternative English words, expressing exactly the same idea, for example: deliverance or salvation). I heartily recommend a careful study, especially of the NT references, making use of a good concordance.

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Now the history of mankind is, I believe, God’s story of redemption, which I propose to display through a series of questions/answers:
• What is happening in the Garden of Eden as God promises that the Seed of the woman will bruise the snake’s head – our redemption is being processed
• What is happening as the errant couple are clothed in animal skins (implying the death of an innocent victim) – our redemption is being processed
• What is happening when Abraham is asked to sacrifice his only son, Isaac – our redemption is being processed
• What is happening when Israelites paint their door-posts and lintels with lamb’s blood, freshly spilled, so escaping certain death – our redemption is being processed
• What is happening when psalmists & prophets foretell of God’s suffering Messiah – our redemption is being processed
• What is happening when the Eternal Christ becomes flesh, and is born of the virgin, Mary – our redemption is being processed
• What is happening when Jesus of Nazareth is cruelly executed on a Roman cross – our redemption is being processed
• What is happening when God raises Him from the dead on the third day – our redemption is being processed
• What is happening as the Holy Spirit comes on the day of Pentecost, giving birth to the Church of Christ – our redemption is being processed
• What is happening when that same Spirit touches our hearts with new life – our redemption is being processed
• What is happening through the roller-coaster of life as ‘all things work together’ conforming us to the image of God – our redemption is being processed
• What will happen at the glorious Second Advent of Jesus Christ – our redemption will be complete

There is ample biblical backing for all these statements, and I want to highlight just two brief passages, making it crystal clear that our God is the God who redeems, that Christ’s over-riding purpose was to redeem mankind, and that the Holy Spirit operates to make redemption effective in the here and now, culminating in a ‘day’ when believers will experience the redemption of their bodies (our resurrection is the ultimate ‘step’ in the process, leading to a shared eternity with our Great Redeemer …)

1. Galatians 4:4-7 – Paul writes: “when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir, through God.

Whatever the future holds for you either as individuals or as church – do ensure you are holding fast to this truth – WE have been redeemed, WE NOW belong to God as His children – which leads to the second passage:

2. 1 John 3:1,2 – The beloved apostle John wrote: “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” – this is utterly mind-blowing to consider, and let’s consider frequently, drawing strength and encouragement from the truth.

But let’s also heed John’s next words, in verse 3: “Everyone who has this hope in Him purifies Himself, just as He is pure.” Linking directly with words of our Master in the Beatitudes: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God“. May we all consider deeply in practical terms, what being ‘pure in heart’ looks like.

I conclude here by drawing attention to that classic song written by Melody Green, and first recorded by her husband, Keith, a matter of weeks before his death in a plane crash:

There is a redeemer,
Jesus, God’s own Son,
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah,
Holy One.

Jesus my redeemer,
Name above all names,
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah,
Oh, for sinners slain.

Chorus:
Thank you, Oh my Father,
For giving us Your Son,
And leaving Your Spirit,
‘Til the work on Earth is done.

When I stand in Glory,
I will see His face,
And there I’ll serve my King forever,
In that Holy Place.

Keith Green on YouTube

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