Monday, November 30, 2015

The Meaning of Redemption

To be taken or removed from death, darkness, and damnation into life, light, and love.  That is the meaning of redemption.  Oswald Chambers, in the classic devotional My Utmost for His Highest, says we don't think on redemption enough, and he would be right. Chambers calls the Cross of Calvary the "tragedy of God."  I call it God's most characteristic act. God is love. Of course, He would go to such great lengths to show it. God is light. Of course, He would die in order that darkness should be put to death. God is humble. Of course, He would stoop to such a humiliating death. God is life. Of course, death could not hold Him.

The cross is where we see God's character most clearly.  He is quite the opposite of the selfish, prideful, self-seeking, self-preserving people we all are by nature.  That is why we need Him so desperately. We CAN be overcome by His nature, but only through redemption and only through the Cross of Calvary.

The cross isn't just a symbol.  It isn't something to simply wear around our necks like a good luck charm or even as a proclamation as to whom we belong. THE CROSS IS EVERYTHING. Without it, we are doomed.  Without it, all would be lost.  God would have never let that happen though. That's the point.  It's just not in His nature.  He loves.  He lives.  He redeems.  He restores.  He makes all things new.  He is light and beauty and power and all that is good, right, and holy.

My words fall so short in describing Him. But think for one moment about that one word, "light." By it, we see. Can you imagine life without light?  Light is good.  It warms us.  By it we know and are known. What cannot be revealed by light?  Shed light on anything anywhere and a gift will have been given, taken, or exchanged.  Light is good.  By it, we walk and are fed.  Even at night, there are twinkling diamonds overhead.  Never would our God leave us to utter and complete darkness.  He reaches out with a spark of light that spreads and grows like wildfire, and darkness will never consume it.

The cross is the spark that ignites a flame of fire inside each of us who believe.  Believe today with great gratefulness for the light of salvation, the beauty and hope of resurrection, and the bonds of love that will never be broken between us and our great God.

Oh God, our Father, thank you for the cross. Thank you for today, for our country and land, and for the hope of a new and perfect land that is coming with you, Lord. May we walk by your light, grace, and mercy forever. Amen.