Redeemed

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If you’re like me (and some of you who read this are, I know), you grew up in a world where your citizenship and your faith community and your family all sort of mashed together. True, that means that later in life you have to sort those things out (or should, anyhow) in your thinking. But I contend that there are advantages to growing up in a world where a relationship with God and the local expression of His Church are natural.

There are also disadvantages to this kind of comfortable familiarity. One is that sometimes things that are really, really important (sacred, even) can become almost invisible.

I’ve heard the word “redeemed” all my life. I’ve sung songs about it — some of them may have been almost ridiculous, now that I think about it. “Oh you can’t get to heaven — on roller skates — oh you can’t get to heaven, on roller skaaaaaaaaates — oh you can’t get to heaven on roller skates! You’ll roll right past those pearly gates. All my sins are washed away, I’ve been redeemed.”

A few weeks back, two musical groups from the University of Mobile shared in worship at Northland. The video above is one of the songs they shared.

When the song first started, one of the voices inside my head (don’t call for help, I’m okay with multiple conversations) mumbled something about hoping that the older folk who like this style of music were enjoying this song. I nodded…and then ignored the urge to not listen because it’s not my preference. Who ever said that I can only learn, only worship in the styles that “fit” my preferences — the ones that are most comfortable? Liar.

As I listened, as I let the lyrics penetrate past my brain and ears and into my heart, I was overwhelmed by the truth that God’s audacious, ridiculous plan to redeemed sinners into His family not only brings Him great glory and pleasure, but it means that I can enjoy a relationship with God every day of my living on this earth and beyond time into eternity.

My sin (and let’s not even pretend that sin is not an issue for me…or for you) disqualifies me from a relationship with God. He is perfectly holy. He cannot join himself in relationship with anything or anyone who is not also holy. This means that I am disconnected from the God who created me to be in a relationship with Himself — hopeless and discontent if left on my own. I do not have the ability to be good enough. I also do not have the ability to pay the price of my sin and still live. The price of my sin is death.

And while there might be someone who would pay that price on my behalf — their sinfulness disqualifies them from being a worthy sacrifice. As an American, I am grateful for the women and men who have paid the ultimate price for my political freedom. That extraordinary sacrifice does not go un-celebrated. But that is the only freedom they could buy for me.

Only the perfect man could pay the price for my sin so I could be free from my bondage to the consequences of sin. Only God himself, in the flesh, could be born without sin, go on to live a perfect life and then choose to die a sacrificial death on the cross, so that my life can be redeemed. That is what Jesus Christ — God the Son — did at Calvary over 2,000 years ago. I choose to trust in what He did on that cross for my salvation, for my redemption. I know that there is nothing I can add to what He did that will add any value. I am fully dependent on Him. And He is fully dependable. I am fully redeemed.

Amazing. Grace.

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