By Rev. Syd Osenbaugh – Associate Pastor
The Healing Place (Nashville Assembly of God)
As a very young child, I was not enchanted with grocery shopping day. It was a long and boring adventure that only rarely ended in my receiving some kind of special treat for having accompanied my mother on her task. However, there was one part of the day that made it worth enduring. At the checkout lane, after all the groceries had been bagged and paid for, the cashier would dial up the number of blue chip stamps we were to receive for our purchase. These magical stamps would then be taken home to be licked (yuck) and placed into page after page of ‘books’. There was an amazing catalog that would be studied long and hard to determine the best way to spend those stamps. Finally the day would come! My mom would drive to the Redemption Center where we could trade a number of those books filled with stamps for some wondrous item like a brand new toaster – with no money out of our pockets. What a great deal that was!
Whenever I am asked about redemption, that memory is not far away from my thoughts. The primary definition of ‘redeem’ is to buy or pay off, to clear by payment. That is essentially what we did with those blue chip stamps. We were able to obtain a new item without using any money because the books of stamps were accepted as payment. And that is exactly what Jesus did for each and every human being. He cleared the debt of sin with the payment of His own life.
The Bible makes it clear that every individual is a sinner – one who has missed the mark of God’s perfection – and thus is guilty, deserving of the consequence for sin which is hell. That would be a truly devastating piece of news if that was all there was to the story. The apostle Paul points out in the third chapter of Romans that there is no one righteous (verse 10) and that every one has sinned, falling short of God’s glory (verse 23). If that is the case, what hope is there for anyone?
The good news is found in the very next verse. Romans 3:24 speaks of the “redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” God had the plan in motion before He ever spoke any part of the earth or mankind into existence. Before the creation of the world He laid the groundwork of Jesus’ death on our behalf – and He had chosen us to be His own, if we would just accept that payment for our sin and allow ourselves to be redeemed. We did nothing to earn or deserve it. Jesus freely offered His life in exchange for our sin, as payment of the debt. He gave Himself and we got a brand new life – one that is no longer bound by the sins of the past and in which we are free to love, serve, and glorify our Lord. What a great deal that is!
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