All too often we punt the promises of God from the present into Heaven.
But what if salvation- redemption- actually does begin now?
What if Jesus NOT ONLY changes our future destination but ALSO changes all of life beginning in this moment and all future moments?
To understand that kind of life, we've got to uncover the word redemption- a word that's tossed around in church circles a lot.
Problem is, many of us don’t know what it means.
Yes, we know we need to be redeemed, that Jesus is our Redeemer, and that He redeems us, but how do you make that concept practical instead of abstract?
To uncover that, we've got to go back to two separate-yet-connected stories!
The first story = the Exodus
In seminary, I learned about the concept of “The Law of First Mention.” It means this: to understand a concept that appears later in the Bible, go back and evaluate how it was used first.That always provides clues as to its meaning. Then, start building your understanding from there.
When we search back for redemption, we find ourselves in Exodus amidst a group of slaves who were given a promise of freedom. Redemption references the act of deliverance God promised to do- and did. Redemption means “freedom.”
The second story = the Cross
Jesus, the Redeemer, is the One who sets us free.
But when and where does He do it?
He does it at the Cross and at the events surrounding the Cross. In fact, Peter says we're redeemed by Jesus blood (1 Peter 1:18-19).
What does He free us from, and what does He free us to?
To grasp the full measure of our redemption- that is, our freedom- we've got to look at the places Jesus bled.
Turns out, He’s been far more successful at His work than we typically think. Jesus doesn’t just free us from the horror of sin and death, He frees us to our destiny- a life of radical freedom which He encourages, equips, and empowers us to experience now.
Yet to understand how incredible the redeeming work of Jesus is, and to truly comprehend how "this life" changing it is, it's helpful to understand that first story, the Exodus story...
About the first story: The redemption experienced in Exodus was a "this world" redemption- with promises of freedom and transformation for the present.
About the second story: If the New Covenant is founded on "better promises" (Hebrews 8:6-7), shouldn't we expect the same + more from it instead of less?
Benefit #1- a mind that can know & do the will of God
The Children of Israel were slaves in Egypt- with no ability to make any decisions on their own. We, too, were once bound by a mind that was an enmity with God and that which is good.
Our spirits are one with God when we are redeemed (1 Corinthians 6:17). But, our soul- the mind, the emotions- need to be redeemed. Our will is bound by sin- until the Lord sets us free.But Jesus bled in the Garden when He sweat drops of blood, bleeding to redeem the broken will.
Benefit #2- a conscious that is clear, uncluttered, and unencumbered
The Israelites were "loathsome" in the site of the Egyptian taskmasters, repugnant. They walked with their heads low.
We, too, often feel shame in greater degree than any of the physical harm of sin- even when (like those Israelites) we're the victims of sin and not just the instigators of it.
Jesus was bruised as they beat Him- a bruise being blood that spills beneath the skin. When He bled inside Himself, He redeemed the hidden and broken places inside each us
Benefit #3- a body that is healthy + whole
Many of the Israelites were frail and sick- yet the Bible tells us the Lord healed all of them in a night, such that they were able to make the trek to the Red Sea.
Jesus bled from His back ("by His stripes you are healed") to restore our bodies physically. Death was a curse of the fall- not just spiritual death but also physical.
Benefit #4- everything that we need for ourselves + more than enough to do every good work we're called to do
The Israelites toiled for naught. All of their work benefited the corrupt kingdom of a false god.
One of the curses of the Fall was that the ground would bare thorns, and that Adam would struggle against it.
When Jesus bled from the crown of thrones, He reversed that curse. Now, we are always supplied to do every good thing He has called us to do (2 Corinthians 8:9, 9:8).
Benefit #5 & Benefit #6- everything we put our hands to prospers, every place we go we have authority
Moses was told- and relayed to the Children of Israel- that everything they put their hand to would prosper (Deuteronomy 15:10). They were also told they would posses every place they walked (11:24).
Adam and Eve originally handed dominion and authority to Satan in the Garden- yet the blood on Jesus' hands and His feet restores it all.
Benefit #7- a soul that prospers
Incredibly, Jesus continued bleeding even after He was dead and had paid the sacrifice for sin, for forgiveness.
The Children of Israel went forth with shouts of joy (Isaiah 55:12). In the same way, in the Lord’s presence, we experience fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11). His joy becomes our strength (Nehemiah 8:11). He gives us purpose and reason for living. We live with great freedom because we understand that we have been accepted and embraced by Him- not rejected. The result is that we are overflowing with life.
These benefits are for now- not later!
Paul wrote to a church in which everyone began to believe there was "no resurrection," that there was no Heaven. The early church actually believed ALL of the benefits of the Cross were for THIS LIFE! Paul had to remind them, that the benefits were ALSO for the future, that there is a future Resurrection. All too often, we flip the paradigm backwards!