This is part two of what I’m calling the 4 R’s of God. The first one, as disseminated in a previous post, was “repentance.” That post has been updated and edited for clarity, so you may want to peruse it first before proceeding to this one. I believe these are four components of a relationship with God. I also believe these are four areas that God is concerned about in our relationships as His children. This second part could be very long and tedious, but that is not my purpose here. Please accept the succinct nature of this post with that in mind as we examine the second “R”.
Redemption – to make better/acceptable; to buy back or repurchase; to release from blame or debt. (compiled)
We all know what redemption is. If you’re a couponer, like I am, you receive value from something you did not pay for because you turned in the appropriate paper work, i.e., a coupon. It has no value if it is thrown away or never used. Using the coupon is considered acceptable payment for a purchase. It releases you from that certain amount of payment of debt. I like redemption – for me. I don’t much like it when other shoppers have already cleared the shelves of all the items available for purchase with said redemptive coupon. I think that people who clear the shelves for selfish reasons don’t “deserve” to redeem that coupon. Wow, I’m really over thinking this!
What does that have to do with our relationship to God, to others or to the world around us? Ok, try to follow this. My attitude towards those other couponers is one of, in my mind, justice. It’s a question of fairness, a question of misusing an opportunity. And I, like all of us, want justice on them. However – on the other side of this coupon scenario – if I cleared the shelves because there were only a couple of items left and I really needed them, I would certainly call for “mercy” from my fellow spendthrifts. Wouldn’t you? Justice is great when we get to decide for others, but mercy is much more palatable for us personally.
God’s holiness and perfect sinlessness demands justice against anyone and everyone that is not holy or perfect. I guess we’re all in trouble, then. Fortunately, God is a God of repentance – that is, God is willing to give up the right to extract justice from all of us and chooses to provide us mercy. God’s justice demands a payment, though, so that His perfection and holiness is not diminished. Enter “redemption,” the second “r” of God’s relationship with us.
God’s idea of justice? Offer mercy to those who don’t deserve it and ask for payment from the only person that could pay off such a huge relational and spiritual debt – Jesus, Son of God, God made flesh, born of Mary, sinless in life and therefore capable of paying for the sins of the whole world. This only worked because Jesus, being fully God as well as fully human in birth, was complicit with God’s plan for mercy and redemption. Jesus was there and had a hand in the creation of the world. Because He IS God, Jesus was there when Adam and Eve turned their backs and chose to sing. Jesus felt the pain and agony of God wishing he’d never created mankind in the first place. And Jesus suffered the emotional and physical distress of becoming the Redeemer of the world when the Romans executed him for no earthly reason. Jesus couldn’t help it. He wanted redemption for humanity, though in his Deity he had to extract justice.
If redemption was THAT important to God, so much so that He would become human flesh just to extract justice from Himself, shouldn’t it be important to us as well? Holding grudges and wishing justice on others only makes us look all the more impure and selfish. Hoping for, working for, asking for mercy on others is an indicator that we, too, understand the heart of God.
I’m sure I will edit and rethink parts of this second “R”. But I hope it challenges us all to live as God lives, changing our minds towards mercy as often as possible; and offering redemption in all our relationships instead of trying to extract justice. That’s all for now.