What: Sunday Morning Message
Where: Gateway Community Church
When: April 10, 2011
Pastor: Randy Hageman
In Jesus’ death on the cross, God is providing the means and gift to save us.
As we said last week, Jesus in effect became sin, though he had never sinned, in order to pay the price for our sin. Buy what does it mean to say we’re saved? What is this salvation that was achieved by Jesus at the cross for us?
The Bible actually uses several different images to convey what salvation means. They are not mutually exclusive but more like complementary, with each one adding nuances to the overall meaning. So, let’s take a look at each image – and the first one is Redemption.
The setting for the Greek word underlying this comes from the marketplace. Essentially, it means to buy back or redeem, whether as a purchase or a ransom, and it specially applied to the purchase or release of a slave. This word focuses on our captivity to sin, which makes God’s rescue necessary.
Jesus: “…‘I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin.’” (John 8:34 NLT2)
Being a slave to sin means we are not free – we are trapped & can’t get out by ourselves. Even if we wanted to do what’s right, we still find ourselves trapped by sin and making bad, hurtful, harmful choices.
Romans 7:14-24 (NLT2): “14) The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. 15) I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. 19) I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 23) This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24) Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?”
Paul understands that we are not free – we are trapped, addicted, enslaved to sin. And this enslavement includes not only our souls but also our bodies. Our very bodies are trapped, enslaved, and we see disease and death all around us, like the death of a dear saint in our church this week, Lynne Higganbotham, who died way too soon.
So God sent His only Son to redeem us, to save us. His entire life was not just about leading a good and decent life as a model for us but to come and serve as a substitute for us.
Jesus: “‘For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.’” (Mark 10:45 NLT2)
It’s Jesus’ life for ours – the Messiah, the Son of God, our substitute – in order that we could be saved from a life of slavery to sin and death.
Galatians 3:13 (NIV): “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 tree.’”
We are redeemed now from the curse of sin, but this redemption is a work in progress. For Christ followers, our spirits are now redeemed, but this redemption goes even further – one day even our bodies will be redeemed.
Romans 8:23 (TNIV): “Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption, the redemption of our bodies.”
You see, Good Friday shows us the price Jesus paid on the cross for our sins – his own life – but in Easter we see the full extent of this redemption. This is why Easter in two weeks is such a big deal – Jesus’ victory is our victory. Jesus’ resurrection will one day become our resurrection, as those who claim him as the Lord & Master of their lives join him with perfect, redeemed bodies to live forever in a new Heaven here on a redeemed and restored earth.
But remember that redemption carries the image of being bought – we no longer belong to ourselves but to the one who redeemed or bought us, to God himself. And as a sign or mark of redemption, His Holy Spirit comes to live within us.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NLT2): “19) Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you & was given to you by God? You do not belong to our-self, 20) for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.”
We’re not saved to do whatever we like – we’re saved to live lives that honor God. We’re saved and bought to live with Jesus as our Master, and how I attempt to live now becomes a clear sign of just how much I understand what Jesus did, the cost he paid for us, for me!
If I don’t think his sacrifice was a big deal, then my dedication to Jesus is more about convenience, and my life may not reflect it all that much. But imagine how that must look to God – He paid the ultimate price for us in Jesus Christ, and we’re grateful for a while, but then we just kind of blow it off. If we truly understand the incredible cost God paid for our redemption through Jesus Christ, then Jesus becomes not just our Savior but also our Lord and Master, and his Spirit lives in us to teach us, guide us, transform us.
It must be our daily goal to reflect his redemption in our lives, in how you & I live. If we don’t, then quite frankly, we are snubbing our nose at the price he paid for us and ignoring the Holy Spirit now living within us.
Philippians 2:12 (NLT2): “…Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear.”
Our obedience is the clearest sign that we understand the cost Jesus paid, that we have been bought for a price – his life. Obedience, then, doesn’t become the way we please God and earn our salvation, as some folks think, but the way to show God’s salvation that we have received with incredible gratitude by faith and allow His Spirit to work within us to increasingly transform us into the very image and likeness of Jesus himself, the one who died in our place. .
Obedience shows that our whole lives are now given in love to God to live sacrificially and gratefully for Christ daily because he redeemed us. So, redemption carries with it the setting of the marketplace, where we have been bought for a very great price!
Another image found in the New Testament takes us into the court of law and is called justification. Justification is the opposite of condemnation, and these are both verdicts of a judge who pronounces the accused either guilty or not guilty. The simple understanding of justification is that because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, we are now forgiven of our sins, and taking it a step further, granted a right-standing or righteousness before God.
You see, initially, the verdict for each one of us is guilty – we are condemned sinners – but by the grace and mercy of God, through His work on the cross in Jesus Christ, we have been redeemed and legally declared or justified not guilty.
Romans 3:23-24 (NIV): “23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
God is the One who has justified us, and this justification is not the same as amnesty or overlooking our sinfulness and deciding not to seek justice. God is just and holy, as well as loving, as we talked about last week, and He cannot simply overlook our sin.