Friday, March 25, 2016

Cross and Redemption

An important word for describing what Jesus accomplished on the cross is “redeem”. This English word is used to translate a couple of different Greek words, but they are economic and legal terms that refer to buying back someone who has been enslaved or taken captive.

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people (Luke 1:68)
All are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus (Rom 3:24).
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace (Eph 1:7).
And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation (Rev 5:9).
The clear message of the New Testament is that Jesus redeemed us by his death on the cross. But what does that mean? Most of us do not know anyone who has been captured as a slave and needed to be redeemed or ransomed by someone.

The best example is the people who have been captured by revolutionary groups in the Africa and the Middle East who have demanded that their family or government pay a ransom of several millions to have them set free. If the ransom is paid and they regain their freedom, they have been redeemed by whoever paid the ransom. The person or organisation that pays the ransom is their redeemer.

That leads to another question. Who did we have to be redeemed from? Who had captured us and was demanding a ransom before we could be set free. The answer is that the entire human race had been taken captive by the spiritual powers of evil, and they demanded a ransom before they would set us free.

He gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good (Tit 2:14).
For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Col 1:13-14).
In the beginning, God gave authority over the earth to humans, but humans were deceived and surrendered to the tempter. That surrender of authority gave the spiritual powers of evil legitimate authority over humans. God does not take back authority that he has given, even if it is used unwisely, so he was bound to recognise their authority.

God gave the law to Moses to help the new nation to live in peace in a new land, but the law strengthened the powers of evil, because it specified a curse on disobedience. They demanded the right to enforce the curse on God’s people when they disobeyed. That is why Jesus had to redeem us from the curse.

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 (Gal 3:13-14).
People wonder why Jesus had to die to satisfy God, when he is a God of grace and love. Why could he not just forgive our sin. There are several reasons, but the most important is that the spiritual powers of evil demanded a ransom, so Jesus died to meet that demand.
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).

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