Category Archives: Salvation

Lent Day #37 | Redemption

We have interacted with the idea of redemption at various times during this series of reflections (here, here, here, and here). Today, as we draw closer to Easter morning we will take some time to explore what it means that God has redeemed us.

Redemption is a financial term. Many of us have used coupons before. We go to a store with the coupon and when we redeem it we get what it offers at the time of check-out. The reality of this transaction is included in our salvation. When Jesus came to earth, his mission was to redeem that which was lost. In what way was it lost? It was lost to sin and sinfulness. No man or woman who has ever lived can rise up to God. Our blood has been tainted by the sin of Adam and Eve. When they disobeyed God and decided to do their own thing, they damned their ancestors to a life of struggle, strife and strain.

Redeemed by the Blood of Jesus

I want to correct a common misconception here. There are some who believe (and teach) that Jesus redeemed us from the devil. The idea being the enemy of God was holding us captive. This does not make any sense because he too is captive. The devil must still submit to the will of God, even though God is waiting to pronounce his final judgment! So, if we were not redeemed from the devil, who are we in debt too? We are in debt to ourselves. The reason we are stuck in our predicament is because we keep making withdrawals from the account and have been overdrawn for millennia. The debt of sin is the belief we can live independent of God. This however is not the case. If it were not for God we would have nothing. Paul, said it this way,

24 “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 28 for, ‘In him we live and move and have our being’.” (Acts 17:24-28a, ESV)

If it is true that “in Him we live,” then we need someone to redeem our debt and make a deposit into our account of unrighteousness. The only one who could do that was Jesus. When we came into this world, he lived the life we could not live; he died the death we deserved; was raised to life from the grave so we could stand before God forgiven–not perfect. We will never be perfect, but we are being perfected.

Redemption is what Jesus has done to remove the burden of our sin debt. He was submitted the coupon of his blood for the balance of sin in the world. The hymn writer was correct when they said

        What can wash away my sin?
        Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
        What can make me whole again?
        Nothing but the blood of Jesus.


                Oh! precious is the flow
                That makes me white as snow;
                No other fount I know,
                Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

        For my pardon, this I see,
        Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
        For my cleansing this my plea,
        Nothing but the blood of Jesus.


        Nothing can for sin atone,
        Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
        Naught of good that I have done,
        Nothing but the blood of Jesus.


        This is all my hope and peace,
        Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
        This is all my righteousness,
        Nothing but the blood of Jesus.


The Lion of Judah Forgives Sinners

The Wrong Person in the Right Place

In Luke 7 Jesus is sitting and having dinner when an uninvited guest shows up and causes a stir. A woman of ill-repute shows up and begins to wash Jesus’ feet with her tears and anoint them with an expensive perfume. It is one of those moments in Jesus’ life where I wish I was a fly on the wall. There is no way of knowing the murmurings that took place as she made her way to Jesus. The looks of shock, disgust and disdain from the host were plain to see. But, Jesus had a different look.

In this moment we get a glimpse of what it was like for a sinner to have the king of kings extend forgiveness.

One of my favorite descriptions of Jesus is the Lion of the tribe of Judah. There is something ominous in that superlative. The vision of this ferocious beast, capable of destroying anything or anyone that gets in its way is awe inspiring. Movies like The Lion King and Aslan, from the Chronicles of Narnia serve as examples of the power of this animal. At the same time both of these examples demonstrate the tenderness of the king of beasts. There is a majestic quality to lions.

This is the irony of this moment. The Lion of Judah does not lash out at the sinner. Rather, Jesus allows her to do what she had set her mind and heart to do. He does not interfere, but rather illustrates to his host the reality of what is taking place. Worship and forgiveness; salvation and redemption; grace and justice; reconciliation and healing are all happening at the same time.

Only the chief of sinners can experience the king of kings. I think that is why Paul the apostle saw such powerful demonstrations of the Spirit in his ministry. He recognized that he was like this woman. He was like the great hymn describes, a wretch.

Jesus own words reveal what he saw.

44 Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” (Luke 7:47, ESV)

How much do you need to be forgiven for?

That is an interesting question. Have you ever considered that the connection between your love of and for Jesus is directly tied to how much you feel you need to be forgiven? The more we can feel the depth of our sin, the greater our love for the one who forgives. We are not supposed to wallow in our sin or beat ourselves up for our sin. What Jesus is reminding us of here is that the reality and weight of our sin should bring to our minds the reality and wonder of our salvation in Jesus.

The Sin of False Piety

The danger that was demonstrated by Simon, Jesus’ host, is that he actually thought that he was in the right by condemning this woman AND Jesus. Simon even questions Jesus genuineness by asking himself if Jesus is a prophet at all (Luke 7:39).

This is one of the more obvious examples of someone assuming that they understand God’s plan. This is a dangerous place to be. We are in no position to question God’s abilities or intentions. Simon should have known better. But, that would assume that he saw himself as this woman did. To know God is to humble yourself before him. To grow in grace and experience life altering forgiveness is to accept what we really are–sinners deserving of hell. Only then, when we have come face to face with ourselves, will we be able to accept who God wants to make us.

Jesus did not die to adopt spoiled children into the family of God. Jesus died to save children without a home, a family, or a name. We are sons and daughters of God because God brought us in, not because we deserved it. We do not deserve to be a part of the family of God. We never have. But, thanks be to God who is rich in mercy and abounding in grace toward us. I am so thankful that the Lion of Judah forgives because there is another lion, not as powerful, but just as dangerous who is seeking as well (1 Peter 5:8). And his intentions are not as noble.