What is redemption? This is easily one of the most challenging questions to answer, but the answer is also so incredibly simple. The entirety of scripture is God’s glorious story of the redemption of His people. When He created mankind, they quickly fell into temptation, became corrupted in sin, and God placed a curse on mankind as the consequences for their folly. Fortunately, He also has a plan to redeem His people and bring them back to Him.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 ESV
If God knew what was and is going to happen, why would He carry out His incredible plan? A simple answer is that while we have limited understanding He has infinite understanding and knows how to work all things together for the good of those who love Him. God knows the beginning and the end, He knows all of eternity, and wrote the whole thing - but there is one more very important detail: He gives us the free will to choose Him or not choose Him, and also provides that Way to that freedom.
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:1-6 ESV
We have to choose the redemption and salvation He offers. He does not force it on anyone, but because He knows all of eternity, He also knows what we are going to choose and has planned ahead, knowing the choices we will make along the way. While He does not force us He does work in our lives to draw us into Him, revealing Himself to us in different ways, so that we may know Him and choose Him. Whatever we do choose, He works into His plan and nothing we could ever do could thwart His plans. He works all things out for the good of those who have been “called according to His purpose,” even the broken, sinful choices that mankind makes in their lives.
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 ESV
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 ESV
So, if our choices don’t negate God’s plans, why should we care about His redemption? We are designed by Him, for Him, to be in relationship with Him, and before we are redeemed by the salvation of Jesus, we are separated from Him and enslaved by our sin. Through redemption we are set free from our sins and can be in a relationship with Him, reaping the benefits of being called by His name. Through this redemption, He offers we can enter into our rightful place as His children.
Who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Titus 2:14 ESV
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 ESV
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, Ephesians 1:7 ESV
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 ESV
I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you. Isaiah 44:22 ESV
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20 ESV
So, what is redemption and how are we redeemed? Redemption is God choosing to deliver mankind from bondage to sin. God offers us the free gift of forgiveness when we come to Him with a pure heart of repentance, willful seeking to atone for the sins we have committed against Him, and accept the salvation He provided through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Through repentance, we completely change our minds and turn away from our sinful way of life and seek atonement, or reconciliation, with our Heavenly Father. To break it down, repentance and willful atonement are required to receive God’s gift of forgiveness, and restoration and redemption are the results of God’s gift of forgiveness. Through all of this, we can come into a relationship with our Heavenly Father, who then gives us the gift of His Holy Spirit to teach and guide us in His will, and begin to reap the blessings of being in a right relationship with Him. We are freed from the guilt and power of sin in this life, allowing us to freely love and serve God, but we will not know the full power of His redemption until the resurrection of the dead.
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. John 8:31-34 ESV
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1 ESV
And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Luke 21:27-28 ESV
What should we do once we have accepted salvation and been redeemed by God? Once saved, we are called to live as Christ, to live a life of service to Him who has redeemed us, and to glorify and honor God in all our ways. God is the Creator of all living things, from the very beginning all the way through eternity. He created the human race, forming us as the potter forms the clay and when we are redeemed we are made new in Christ and completely transformed. We are called to always be learning and developing faith and trust in Him through fervent prayer, time in His Word, and fellowship with His people to grow in our knowledge of Him and the life He calls us to, and to grow and strengthen the Body of Christ.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1 ESV
then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. Genesis 2:7 ESV
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 ESV
Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it: Isaiah 42:5 ESV
God created and formed us to worship Him out of love for Him. He desires to draw us into a relationship with Him, meeting us where we are, sin, brokenness, and all. God provided the way to return to Him through His Son, Jesus Christ, and it is out of His love for each of us, even while knowing all of our sins and transgressions, that we are called back to Him to be redeemed and restored to our right place in relationship with our Heavenly Father. Once redeemed we are called by His name, being reborn as Children of God. Through His salvation we are made free, receive His Spirit, and can live as Christ in the new life and identity He has given us.
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 ESV
Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9 ESV
Since you were precious in My sight, You have been honored, And I have loved you; Therefore I will give men for you, And people for your life. Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your descendants from the east, And gather you from the west; I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ And to the south, ‘Do not keep them back!’ Bring My sons from afar, And My daughters from the ends of the earth— Everyone who is called by My name, Whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him.” Isaiah 43:4-7 NKJV
But let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. 1 Peter 3:4 ESV
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12-13 ESV
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God. Ephesians 2:19 ESV
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 1 John 3:1 ESV