Friday, November 27, 2015

Identity in Christ - 48 (Redeemed)

"Redeem" in the original language is close to "redeem" in English. To purchase or acquire the freedom or deliverance of something, or someone, using something valuable.

If I use something valuable to "purchase" something, I show how much value that thing to have. If a purchase a painting with a 1000-carat diamond, I show that I think the painting is worth a 1000-carat diamond.

If the Father redeemed us with the life of Jesus, what must the Father conclude about our worth.

Love is the strongest force in the world. One can compel obedience through fear. But one cannot change motivations, to make someone want to obey with fear. Only love can do that. So, the Father and Jesus invite us to follow him, and then demonstrate their commitment to us. Jesus surrenders his life on a cross for us. A commitment motivated by love for us.

It is God's commitment to redeem us that gives tangible evidence to how sold out he is for us. And it is that evidence that changes our hearts and motivations. It is that evidence that gives us assurance as we accept his invitation to walk with him, give him our allegiance, and take up his cause as our own.
  • God's Perspective
My initial inclination is to go back before creation, before time. Why does the Father choose to create people? Especially since he knows they will sin? Especially since he knows the enormous price he will pay?

My first answer is -- it is all somehow an expression of his love.

I can say it is love, because I can see the price he was willing to play. I can see the price he did pay.

Jesus told two short stories about the Kingdom of God. Which is to say "everything which he rules." Which is to say "God's family." (God does rule over everything, even though there does seem to be a few rebellious spots. But his rule is most obviously seen in those who willfully and voluntarily gave him their allegiance.) In one, God's Kingdom is like a man who is shopping, and he finds a gemstone of incredible value. So valuable, that he deems it a wise decision to sell all he possesses to raise enough money to buy it.

The second is similar. He finds a treasure in a field. To get the valuable treasure, he sells everything to buy the field.

I have always looked at it from the perspective that I was the man. The question is -- what is it worth to me to become part of God's family? Given that I would be giving up a temporary home and possessions to gain a permanent home, and a permanent, living relationship with the King of all, any sacrifice becomes moot in comparison.

But what if in Jesus' mind, I was not the man? What if he was the man? and we are the treasure? What if all mankind was the field, and we were the treasure in the field?

What if Jesus sold all he had to possess us? What if Jesus sold all he had, and bought everyone, knowing that only some of us would become part of his family?

There was a saying passed around several years ago. "If I were the only one who sinned, Jesus would have died for me anyway."

Maybe it should be "If I were the one who would ever give allegiance to Jesus, he would have died for the whole world anyway."

  • Living My Life
This is a trait that does not suggest a particular practice. It suggests an attitude, a motivation, and a perspective that God's family needs to adopt.

So, the question becomes -- how do members of God's family learn to have the same heart for people that Jesus does?

He chose to become a human being with all the weakness and inability that entails. He chose to live in the world with all the mess, trouble and pain that entails. And he chose to take the punishment of each person who ever lived, is livings, or will ever live, due to sin. All of this is because he loves all people, and values all people.

We are designed to live like Jesus. We are supposed to act, speak and think like Jesus. We are supposed to have his values, motivations and priorities.

However, we are not in a position to manipulate our heart. We need to keep close in our relationship with the Father. We need to focus our hearts on him, and receive all the grace and love that he gives. And we need to be open, available and expectant of positive change. Maybe, we should be bold in prayer.

Imagine honestly seeking God for changes in our heart and lives to love and value people as much as he does.

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