Note: This series of Holy Week devotions is taken from Dr. Albert Reyes’ upcoming book, The Jesus Agenda: Becoming an Agent of Redemption. All devotionals are posted here.
Monday, March 30: Redeemed, Released and Ransomed
The word in the Greek language of Paul’s day for redemption is apolutrosis, meaning a “releasing, on payment of a ransom … indicating both the liberation from the guilt and doom of sin and the introduction into a life of liberty and newness.” The payment for our sins was the ransom Jesus paid with his own life (Mark 10:45; Matthew 20:28; and John 3:16) that provides release for us from the slavery and bondage to sin and the dominion of darkness into the kingdom of his son. The ransom is the “purchase-money in freeing slaves.” This makes all things new for every person related to Jesus through faith.
In Christ, we are no longer slaves to the dominion of sin but we are free to live a life fully redeemed for God’s purpose and for his Kingdom. Through the blood of Jesus Christ, God made complete payment to buy us out of the slavery to sin and release us from the domain of darkness, transferring us to his kingdom.
Everything Satan intends for evil, God reverses for good through redemption. This cosmic transaction not only determines the eternal destiny of our soul but the reality of the kingdom of God in our lives on earth. In redemption, our lives, our purpose, our families, our neighborhood, our community, and our circle of influence come into the range of potential transformation by the presence of God’s kingdom.
You have the opportunity to have your life redeemed by receiving God’s gift, turning away from sin, and living in the freedom of his love for you. We have the opportunity to live as a brand new person in Christ. The Apostle Paul says it this way: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
My own story of redemption began when I heard my pastor, Bill Thornton, explain God’s story of redemption. He spoke of the opportunity to be forgiven, to have my sins wiped away, to enter into God’s plan for my life in this world as well as the life to come. I did not think of myself as a terrible person but I knew that I did not measure up to God’s standard for holiness and perfection. I was convinced something had to change and I could not rely on my own merits, my own efforts, to have a right relationship with God. I needed someone to help me overcome my own humanity, to fill the gap between what I was and what I hoped to be.
My pastor clearly explained how I could have forgiveness of my sin. I went home that day after church and after our Sunday lunch I asked my mother how I could have the forgiveness of my sins the pastor spoke of. I told her I wanted to be sure that I was forgiven; I wanted to settle the issue of my destination after death, and I wanted to find my purpose in life.
She explained how I was a sinner (Romans 3:23); how God made a way for me to be forgiven even when I was not seeking him (Romans 5:8); how my sins led to death and how the death of Jesus for my sins was God’s gift to me (Romans 6:23); and how personal faith and trust in Jesus would set me free from sin (Romans 5:8). I asked my mother how I might receive God’s gift. She and my father led me to pray and ask Jesus to forgive me, to receive his gift of forgiveness, and to help me find his purpose for my life.
I could not wait until the next Sunday to go back to church and share the good news of my new faith in Jesus with my pastor and the congregation. My story of redemption started in my home with my parents. My story became part of God’s story of redemption across the ages. Everything God has in store for me in this life flows out of my recognition that I am a sinner in need of God’s grace, in need of redemption, satisfying of my debt as a sinner, the payment of a ransom of my life from the dominion of darkness to the kingdom of Jesus. This is what redemption means to me. But the story does not end there. Rather, it only begins with forgiveness of sins.
My redemption story is still being written. God is still redeeming all that was stolen, killed, and destroyed in my life for his purpose. He is reversing the lies that came into our family with the truth of who we are in Jesus and for the kingdom. My story includes my own work as an agent of redemption. I treasure the opportunity to offer my gifts, abilities, background, education, experiences, aspirations, and dreams in the service of my redeemer as an instrument, a tool, and a servant advancing the kingdom of the son God loves.
My work as a pastor, a business leader, an educational administrator, and as president of a global ministry is focused on how I can serve God’s redemptive mission in the lives of vulnerable children, orphans, seniors and their families. This is what it means to me to live life to its fullest and to be an agent of redemption.
Reflection: What is your story of redemption?
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