GOD – Part 2
GOD as Powerful Redeemer
Sunday, January 13, 2019
John 8:31-36, Romans 6:12-23, Isaiah 43:1-3a
Jesus answered, “I assure you that everyone who sins is a slave to sin. A slave isn’t a permanent member of the household, but a son is. Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you really will be free.
Our baptismal vows or membership vows as a professing Christian in the church are more than a simple statement that we believe in Jesus.
The second vow in the United Methodist Hymnal reads as follows:
Do you accept the freedom and power God give you to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves?
Baptismal Covenant I – United Methodist Hymnal
Likewise, in our confession and pardon we pray:
Forgive us, we pray. Free us for joyful obedience, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Confession & Pardon, Service of Word and Table I & II – United Methodist Hymnal
Perhaps it would be more prudent to notice what is not said. We do not simply accept freedom from death and hell. Rather we accept the freedom and power God gives us to resist evil and injustice of every kind in this life. We do not merely accept a free ticket to heaven when we die. Instead, we pray that God might free us for a life of joyful obedience.
This is not to question or deny the reality of eternal life in Glory of God through the grace of Christ. It does, however, significantly expand our understanding of redemption. Christ did not live among us and die as one of us just to redeem us in death. Jesus himself said that he came to set us free and that he came that we might have life, here and now, and life more abundantly (John 8:36, 10:10).
In Romans 6, Paul declares that we are dead to sin and therefore redeemed from the power sin once held over us. When Jesus says, “Go and sin no more,” he is not giving a command he knows we cannot keep (John 8:11). Rather, as Paul writes:
No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.
1 Corinthians 10:13 (NASB)
This verse is not, as many have claimed, a statement that God will not give us more than we can handle. In fact, it is just the opposite. We will face trials and temptations in life far beyond what we are able to handle on our own… but with those temptations, the Holy Spirit will provide a way so that we might endure in the power and all-sufficient grace of our Lord.
What does redemption mean to you personally?
How have you called upon the power of the Lord to set you free from sin this week?
What might be different about the week to come if you began each day by praying, “Lord, set me free for joyful obedience.”?
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so! (Psalm 107:2)