Do you have a “cause” close to your heart?
- The poor?
- The oppressed?
- The environment?
- Global warming?
- Crime and corruption?
Do you believe there is a “cause” worth speaking out for?
Maybe even dying for?
If you read the Bible as an expression of God’s views, he certainly shares some of our causes! He cares about the poor, the oppressed and the earth. He has a great deal to say against justice and righteousness.
And then he has an ULTIMATE cause.
It is a cause so important to him that, to him, to God himself, it is worth dying for.
That cause is YOU.
And everyone on our planet.
That cause is to REDEEM us.
The word “redeem” is not used much today, but its a profound word, a word well worth taking time to understand. To redeem a person involved paying a “ransom” of sorts in order to buy their freedom from the established ownership or control of someone.
For example, in order to redeem a person from slavery, you would pay the slave’s owner an agreed sum of money and the slave would be set free.
Many of our cultures have an obsession with freedom. We want to be free and resist any attempt to restrict our freedom – governmental systems, religious systems, social norms… some even refuse to work for a “boss”.
Yet, as free as we may think we are, there is an oppression that we cannot shake off. It’s invisible, yet it’s there, though we may do our best to deny it’s power over us.
We may argue about what is right and what is wrong, but we all know that there is right and wrong – just wait till someone does us wrong!
People do us wrong. We do others wrong. We know its wrong, but we still do it.We can’t help it. We may spend most of our days doing right, but sooner or later, we realise that we are far from righteous. As much as we may want to be righteous, as hard as we try, we continue to do wrong. There is a hold over us – an oppressor of sorts – that drives us to do wrong. And no matter how hard we try, we cannot overthrow this oppressor.
The Bible reflects on this with brutal honesty and accuracy. The good we want to do, we don’t – and the bad we don’t want to do we do. We are enslaved to what the writers call “sin”. It’s far deeper than an act or a series of acts; it’s a condition. It’s a condition that seems to have no cure. And it’s killing us, stealing from us the good life we were made to live.
If it grieves us at all, it grieves our Creator far more. It’s his “big cause”.
So he did the unthinkable. He paid the ultimate redemption price – a ransom that could set every person free from this slavery to “sin”.
On earth, in the physical realm, we redeem with money or some other valuable item. In the spiritual realm, where this slavery originates, such things have no value. A different ransom is required.
So God took on flesh, lived a perfect life to demonstrate his goodness – and then he took our sin on himself and died on our behalf. Its a ransom that is hard to understand. The spiritual and physical realms were colliding. A spiritual ransom was paid through a physical sacrifice.
Did it work?
Yes it did! The immediate demonstration was Jesus’ resurrection, proving that he had defeated the power of sin and it’s death penalty!
This is what Easter is all about. It’s awesome! It’s brutal, its mysterious, but it’s the best news we’ll ever hear!
A first-century church leader named Paul put it like this in a letter to a church he knew:
“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
– Colossians 1:13-14 (NIV)
What great news!