Today a friend of mine reminded me of a powerful truth. She said, “redemption is not the same thing as restoration.” I thought about this statement for a good portion of my day. To restore means to bring back to existence, to bring back to a state of health. This of course, is a good thing. In fact, it’s a GREAT thing!
The Hebrew meaning of the word “redeemed” means to be released.
This deeper explanation hit me like a tons of bricks. I personally know what’s like to be restored and put back together. I also know what it’s like to be completely released from bondage and fear. You could say that restoration is a form of redemption, yet there is a difference.
With the Christmas season comes many different types of emotions, thoughts, and reactions. Some are good, and some are bad. We’d like to think that Christmas is a joyous and celebratory time for everyone. But for many it is very difficult to make it through each day because of loss, pain, addiction, and a myriad of issues human beings face. There is a present reality for us all.
I am personally reminded, especially at this time of year, that I have a Redeemer who has released me from my bondage, pain, angst, and any form of misery I may face. Yet, I still face those things from time to time.
Though I face pain and difficulty, I do not need to remain in a place of suffering.
This is the beautiful thing about redemption. The Redeemer Himself has RELEASED us from the permanent sting of death, pain, and any form of bondage we face on this earth.
Imagine with me for a moment what it is like for a prisoner who has been locked behind bars for many years. Finally the day of release has come. What would it be like to step out of that cell, and walk out the prison doors a freed person? Think of the slave who suffers day in and day out in forced labor, sex trafficking, and many other horrific and unthinkable circumstances. Suddenly, armed forces invade the scene and rescue the victim from the grip of hellish abuse, rushing them to security and freedom Can you imagine? Many of us will never know what that kind of release feels like. Yet, we have been given the same release from our deepest pain, anguish, fear and regret through The Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
In the Old Testament, redemption involves deliverance from bondage based on the payment of a price by a redeemer. Every firstborn male, whether human or animal, belonged to Yahweh, and hence was to be offered to Yahweh. The firstborn males of ritually clean animals were sacrificed, while firstborn unclean animals were redeemed. Human firstborn were also redeemed, either by the substitution of an animal or by the payment of a fixed sum. The Levites are also said to be a ransom for the firstborn of Israel. Money was sometimes paid to deliver a person from death.
In the New Testament, redemption requires the payment of a price, but the plight that requires such a ransom is moral not material. Humankind is held in the captivity of sin from which only the atoning death of Jesus Christ can liberate.
The truth is that without the redemptive work of Jesus Christ we are completely helpless.
We are fully dependent upon the redemptive power of Jesus in our lives. God has taken the initiative to act compassionately on behalf of those who are powerless to help themselves. This my friends, is a gift beyond comprehension, yet it is available to us all.
I urge you to reflect on areas of your life where you need redemption. Open your heart to the saving and transforming power of Christ Jesus. My prayer for you is that the Holy Spirit will overshadow you and mentor you in walking in complete freedom and release. Trust the Lord and His ways. Lastly, no matter what you face this Christmas season, never forget that Jesus is The Redeemer Himself, Emmanuel, God with us.