Redemption: Finally freed from the bondage of ourselves

Recently I preached a sermon on God’s Radical Redemption. In it I spoke of three kinds of redemption that God initiates, and ultimately finishes, some have been accomplished, while others are in the process. The first part of God’s Radical Redemption is Spiritual Redemption; the forgiveness of sins, which comes from His son Jesus’ paying the price of all humanities sin on the cross. The second is our Physical Redemption, which God promises us in the resurrection of the life. And the last is Cosmic Redemption, where all things, both in Heaven and on Earth will be “made new”. Oh what a marvelous day that will be as the trumpet blows and our savior, Jesus comes to redeem His entire creation!

One thing I failed to mention, but later realized, is that in God’s process of Redeeming us completely (both physically and spiritually) we will be made perfectly perfect. No more thoughts of sin, or struggles with temptation. We will be made right, like God intended; the way Adam and Eve were before the first sin.

That day is one that I, and the Apostle Paul, look forward to very much. He writes (Romans 7) of the fight between his mortality and Holy Spirit within him in this way:

14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. 15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

This plan of Spiritual, Physical, and Cosmic Redemption, installed from the beginning of creation is what Paul yearns for. He is openly acknowledging the sinfulness of his flesh and is looking toward a day when these thoughts, temptations, failings are but a thing of the past.

Until the day we step over the threshold of eternity we will wrestle with sin. We can’t avoid it. But we can fight it with all that we have.

Paul was not waving the white flag on the battle within him, he was only attributing its cause. In his other letters he defines how we can overcome our fleshly passions and desires and that is to live by the Holy Spirit in complete submission. Now, will that always happen, no. But it is worth the fight. The battle for our holiness is one we must always be ready to wage. In Ephesians, one of Paul’s earlier letters, he says that we must, “put on the full of armor of God so we may withstand the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11). This battle for our holiness is one with opposition. Satan is constantly battling for the souls of men, souls that have not put on the whole armor of God.

Genesis 4:7b puts it this way, “…sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” This exhortation came right before Cain rose up and took the life of his brother Abel; it was the first bloodshed. God approached Cain in a moment of sadness and despair and gave him the exhortation to rule of his sin, to take a stand against it and ultimately rule over it. We know that sin is not conquered by our will power or desire, it is only conquered by our submission and obedience to the Spirit’s will, and allowing Him to guide us through it.

As I think about my fleshly desires, cravings, and failings, I long for the day that I am face to face with the Savior with a fully redeemed body, mind and spirit, thats desire is wholly holy. But until that day I can be encouraged by these Biblical truths, and I pray that would encourage you also.

  1. Be in the Lord. (Ephesians 6:10) 
    1. Just before Paul lists the full armor of God he points the people of Ephesus to this truth: “Be strong…in the Lord and the strength of His might.” This calls us to be in constant submission to His will and desires for our life. To overcome fleshly temptations and cravings we must be strong, not in ourselves or our power, but in the Lord, and the strength of His might.
  2. Experience Grace in your failings (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
    1. Paul does not advocate a sin filled life for grace to abound more fully, nor do I. But Paul explains in this passage the completeness of God’s grace, that no sin can keep you from His love, His grace is always waiting for you and me to repent of our sin and come back to Him.
    2. He also states that in His failings, similar to ours, when victory over strongholds are had, that God’s power is shown and not our own. Therefore we should, like Paul, boast in our weaknesses and let the power of Jesus be seen when He, through the strength of His might, might receive all the glory and praise forever.
  3. Pursue Holiness (1 Peter 1:13-16)
    1. Peter writes to the church of the reality of the part we play in this battle We must take initiative; we must pursue Holiness by “being sober minded, having set our hope in God’s Grace shown in Christ Jesus”
    2. We should not let our lives, actions, hearts be conformed to the surrounding entrapments we pass each and everyday. John gave a similar call when he said we are in the world but not of it. We are to be set apart for the glory of God, and God alone.
    3. Lastly we are told to imitate Jesus; “to be Holy, just as He who called you is Holy”.

These exhortations are not easy, but they are worth it. God’s Radical plan of Redemption is to prepare a people, set apart, perfect and pleasing, to reside with Him eternally. Church, It is so worth being conformed to the image of our savior. Be in the Lord, Experience Grace in your failings, and Pursue Holiness.

 

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