Saturday, 28 November 2015

Daily reading: Galatians 4v4-7 'There's no coupon for that...'

"But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God."

Redemption is one of the Bible's big themes. Yet curiously it is one of the ones which I think e most struggle to appreciate. Our world and the world of the Bible are poles apart when it comes to what we mean by the word redeem. Today we most frequently use it of redeeming a coupon to get money off something, so 50p off here or £2 off there. And when you turn the voucher over it says something like cash value 0.001p. Therefore we tend to think of redemption as something cheap.

The Bible's use of the word redemption is of a different magnitude altogether. The Exodus is spoken of as a redemption, Exodus 6v6 ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgement.'  God redeems his people from slavery, he buys them back at cost to himself.  But there is more to it than just buying someone out of slavery.  To redeem meant to bind yourself to the one redeemed and it promised powerful intervention and effective restoration.

It is what we see in the wonderful redemption story that is the book of Ruth.  Boaz redeems the land and the family.  At cost to himself to buys back the land and agrees to restore the family name and fortunes as he binds himself as he marries Ruth and raises children for the family.  Redemption is not a cold hard legal transaction it is entering into a relationship.

Paul tells the Galatians that they are no longer slaves because God has in Jesus redeemed them.  He has bought them out of slavery bound himself to them and promises powerful intervention on their behalf and effective restoration.  When Christ redeemed us he does no less.  Don;t downplay your redemption, don't dismiss it.

Here's four questions I've found it helpful to think on as I muse on this:

1. What difference does this make to how I think of myself?
2. How have I forgotten this truth and how is that seen in my living?
3. What would it look like for me to really grasp this truth and how would it transform my living?
4. How does forgetting it and remembering it affect all my relationships: with God, with family, with church, with the world?

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