LIVING BY THE POWER OF REDEMPTION
Robert D. Pace
In Christ’s Day, the word redemption was readily understood. It meant, “to release from captivity.” The reason it was a prevalent concept is because it related to slavery. Rome governed the First Century world and their power controlled over six million Jews—or, one-third of their population. The word redemption applied to the means of ransoming a slave from an abusive slave-owner. It was a “buy back” that liberated one from bondage, restored that person to their family, and consequently brought joy. This is what Christ’s redemption secured for sinners. As sinners, we are slaves to its power. But our faith in Christ’s death on the Cross purchases us back to God and frees us from the dominance of sin. It places us back into the family of God, and grants eternal life in Heaven. Thank God for redemption!
(Transition) There are many benefits that God offers to those that are redeemed, but today I want to mention three. Let’s read our text in Ephesians 1:7-8.
In order to understand redemption, you have to understand God’s Justice System. From the beginning, God has held men and women accountable for their sin. In the Garden, God warned Adam that the consequence for disobedience would be death. And from the moment Adam transgressed, mankind has suffered the dread and deathly consequences of sin.
Regardless of how man disputes God’s Justice System, it is just that! It’s just and fair. When man violates God’s law he isn’t acquitted because a crafty lawyer gets them off the hook with a legal loophole. Men are acquitted because a loving Savior took their place and accepted the sentence of death on a Cross. And when we accept Christ’s sacrifice for our sins God declares us, “Pardoned.” That’s an incredible work of grace that I can’t fathom! Even though we are guilty, Christ assumes the penalty of our transgression and acquits us. His death on the Cross wipes out the record of our wrongdoing. That is the power of redemption!
(Transition) While the Cross shows us the power of redemption, I want to go beyond a mere declaration of that fact. I want to investigate what it makes it possible to “Live by the Power of Redemption.” And Point 1 is this: Living by the Power of Redemption Means You Understand Christ Satisfied God’s Demand for Justice against Sin
I. Living by the Power of Redemption Means You Understand Christ Satisfied God’s Demand for Justice against Sin
Adam’s disobedience indicted the entire human race. God warned Adam that his rebellion would result in death, and when he disobeyed that’s exactly what happened. Now think about something. Did Adam’s punishment fit the crime? All he did was eat a piece of fruit and God sentenced Adam, and all humanity, to the curse of sin and death. On the surface, that seems terribly unfair—death for biting an apple (or whatever it was)! It just doesn’t make sense! But it does make sense when you understand how God’s Justice System operates. And with God, the penalty of our sin is not solely determined by the degree of our sin. Regardless of how insignificant the sin seems, sin’s penalty is determined by the holiness of the God against whom it’s committed! You see, God is a holy God. And the only way man can dwell in His presence is by being holy. Let me illustrate it:
(Example) Imagine yourself in school when the teacher says, “Here are the rules of the classroom: No talking, no reading of magazines, no gum chewing, no walking around the room at your leisure, and no mobile devices. Students that violate these rules must stay after school.” Now, imagine yourself sitting in the Supreme Court. The Chief Justice says, “Here are the rules: No talking, no reading of magazines, no gum chewing, no walking around the room at your leisure, and no mobile devices. If you violate these rules you’ll be held in contempt of court”! The same minor offense is committed in two distinct settings, but there are two disparate penalties. What is the difference? It’s not the infraction. The difference is the one against whom the violation is committed! A Supreme Court Justice, representing a nation, demands more respect than a teacher in a classroom.
The reason people reject the penalty of Hell is because they haven’t measured the character of God. They assume sinning reflects only on them. But there’s more. Sin also impugns the altogether Righteous and Holy God.
- Isaiah 46:9 says, “There is none like [Him].” He is transcendent—wholly other from creation.
- The Bible describes Him as omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and eternal. That’s beyond our ability to conceive.
- Scripture says He’s without flaw and perfect at every point.
That’s why sin’s penalty isn’t just determined by the degree of our sin; it’s determined by the holiness of the One against whom it is committed. The most trivial sin conceivable impugns the Sovereign and Holy God of the universe. And He cannot overlook sin because God created Law and a Justice System for that Law.
When we understand God’s Justice System James 2:10 is clarified. James wrote: “whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” This is why Moses was forbidden to enter Canaan for the tiny infraction of smiting the rock and it’s why the angel decimated 70,000 Israelites after David simply polled the Israelites without collecting a tax.
It doesn’t matter if you’re Caucasian, Asian, African, or Hispanic sin has consigned you to spend eternity apart from God. “The wages of sin is death” (Gal 3:23), and you are totally helpless to fight those charges. But there’s Good News! Christ satisfied the demands of justice when He suffered in your place at Calvary. Ephesians 1:7 says, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” Praise God!
The grace of Jesus Christ pays our penalty and saves us from our sins. And there is a reason that Christ’s penalty is sufficient. And it’s revealed in the wondrous way Paul wrote that verse in Ephesians 1:7. Paul didn’t say God redeemed us “out of the riches of His grace.” He said God redeemed us “in accordance with the riches of His grace.” And there’s a huge difference between salvation coming “out of His riches” and coming “in accordance with His riches.” Let me explain:
(Example) Fortune 500 lists Bill Gates as America’s wealthiest man who’s worth over 75-billion dollars. If Bill Gates gave $100 to a charity that would be contributing “out of” his riches and that’s no sweat. But if he gave $100 million to a charity that would be contributing “in accordance with” his riches! Bill Gates would have given lavishly because He had the resources to give that way.
That helps explain the incredible message of redemption. The Bible says the Lord redeemed us, “in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” And what riches did God have to make payment for man’s sin? Jesus Christ! Jesus was the immeasurable treasure of Heaven whose sacrifice on the Cross more than paid for the sins of the world!
Are your sins great? Are transgressions appalling? Are iniquities dreadful? Be assured Christ’s grace is greater! God redeemed us “in accordance with the riches of His grace.”
(Transition) Now let’s talk about the “Blood” that Ephesians 1:7 mentions. Living by the power of redemption means we trust Christ’s Blood for salvation and nothing else.
II. Living by the Power of Redemption Means Trusting Christ’s Blood for Salvation
Blood has never been a pleasant topic of discussion. In the wrong context it can even be nauseous. Yet the Bible refers to it over 400 times. Hebrews 9:22 makes the strongest assertion about blood when it says, “without the shedding of the blood there is no remission of sins.” That means there is no salvation apart from Christ’s sacrifice of bloodletting. Allow me to illustrate that.
“Out of Egypt I have called My Son”
There’s an interesting Scripture in Hosea 11:1. The prophet says, “Out of Egypt I have called my Son.” You can make several applications from that passage but there’s one I find interesting. That is, in a spiritual sense, all believers have a past that’s rooted in Egypt. Egypt represents the world, its entanglements, and its power to dominate. And when none of Moses’ plagues against Egypt freed the Israelites, Moses commanded the Israelites to place the blood of the Passover lamb over their doorpost. Then suddenly, in one night, all of Israel was called “out of Egypt” and set free!
It’s the Blood of Jesus that saves and delivers us from the bondage of sin, too! Christ’s Blood has loosed every Believer “out of Egypt,” and that means “He whom the Son sets free is free indeed!”
Sometime back, I talked with a well-meaning minister from a mainline denomination. During the conversation he said: “You know, I really don’t understand why some Christians emphasize the Blood as they do.” (Pause) I’m unsure which part of Scripture he thought under-emphasized the Blood! The Old Testament refers to the Blood 314 times and the New Testament mentions it about 100 times. Four hundred-plus Blood references are enough to convince me of punctuating it!
Satan knows that salvation comes only through Christ’s Blood and that’s why he gets people to substitute it for “good works” or keeping rules. But the Prophet Isaiah said our works of righteousness are as “filthy rags.” That means our ‘filthy rags of good works’ cannot resurrect and transform our dead, lifeless spirit. They can’t cleanse our conscience from guilt. Satan knows these things! Remember,
It’s the Blood of Jesus, not “good works,” that Colossians 2:14 says, ‘blots out our sins’ and makes them impossible for God to find.
It’s Christ’s Blood that Psalm 103:12 says removes our sin “as far as the east is from the west.”
It’s His Blood that Hebrews 9:22 says frees our guilty conscience.
It’s the Blood that Romans 5:10 says removes God’s wrath toward man.
It’s the Blood that Revelation 5:9 says justifies us before God.
It’s the Blood that Colossians 1:20 says brings perfect peace.
Our salvation is not in our works it’s in Christ’s Blood! And this is a sacred, non-negotiable doctrine of the Christian Faith that we cannot compromise in order to stand firm in our salvation! Christ alone is our freedom from sin and firm foundation for salvation. The apostle Peter said in Acts 4:12, “there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.” Praise God!
(Illustration) It’s my guess that when secular history records the world’s most respected woman of the twentieth century it will be Mother Theresa. She ministered to lepers, the impoverished, and the needy. As far as religion is concern she demonstrated devotion, sacrifice, and good works. We’ll never know how much good she did until Heaven’s records are disclosed. But if Mother Theresa never personally accepted the Lord Jesus Christ into her heart, (And I believe she did because her last two words were, “Sweet Jesus!”) but if she didn’t, despite all those good works, she did not go to Heaven!
Some people don’t believe that. They say, “How narrow-minded. My God wouldn’t treat people that way!” In one respect they are correct; their god wouldn’t treat people that way. But their god isn’t the God of the Bible; He’s a god of their imagination! They have dreamed-up their god because they are a law unto themselves and want to feel good about what they believe.
(Example) On December 18, 1865 Congress ratified the Thirteenth Amendment that abolished slavery in the United States. Now, let me ask you something: One day later, December 19, 1865, how many slaves were there? (Pause) In truth, all the slaves were free but it took weeks before some received the news and years before some slaves appropriated their right of freedom. The slaves not appropriating the Thirteenth Amendment remained in bondage.
This is what people must do to be saved. They must stop trying to quit sinning and stop promising to “do” better and accept what the Blood of Jesus does. As the song says, “there is wonder-working power in the Blood!” And that is why Revelation 12:11 says we “overcome by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony!” The Blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, is our only means of salvation and power over sin.
(Transition) And that leads us to our next point. Living by the power of redemption recognizes Christ alone rescued you.
III. Living By The Power Of Redemption Recognizes Christ Alone Rescued You
Psalm 49:7-8 says, “No man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him— (8) the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough.”
Do you realize without Jesus Christ we could never be saved? He alone is our hope of salvation. Living by the power of redemption understands that Jesus appeared as your substitute and did what nobody else could do. Christ, crucified and resurrected, is your only means of freedom from sin and eternal life.
I know this is a culture of moral relativism that scoffs at Christianity message of Jesus being the only way of salvation. Western thinking insists that many paths lead to God. But I like the old aphorism that says this: “Before you blame God for not providing many roads to heaven, you should thank Him for providing one road to heaven!”
Do you do that? Do you thank God for salvation through Jesus Christ? He emptied His life for you. He suffered the brutal beating of a Roman soldier for you! He bore a crown of thorns and let Roman soldiers pierce his hands and feet with nails. He took your shame. Jesus did this for you!
(Illustration) Years ago, I read the story of Max Walsh. He was vacationing in the Alps when he went for a walk. The weather was fine but as happens in the Alps a blizzard arose in a moment’s time. Within minutes Max was blinded, lost, and had collapsed. The lodge realized he was missing and unleashed its best husky to find him. When the dog found Max he was semiconscious so in an effort to arouse him the dog grabbed his jacket and began jerking it back and forth. But as Walsh regained his senses he mistook the dog for a wolf and he pulled out his knife and attacked his would-be savior. The dog was forced to leave and limp back to the lodge where he fell dead. The lodge owner knew what happened so he braved the elements and followed the blood to Walsh. He was carried back to the lodge and later recovered. Walsh was saved because a faithful dog followed his master’s orders, shedding blood in the process. (Author Unknown)
Many people get emotional over a story that shows the death of man’s best friend. Yet, on the other hand, they have never felt the impact of our Savior’s death! Christ was the best Heaven had to offer! And living by the power of redemption understands that Jesus appeared as your Savior and did what nobody else could do. If you are not a Christian, I invite you to make Christ your Savior today.