“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” —Ephesians 1:7-8
The most important aspect of the cross of Christ is redemption. Without the cross and the shed blood of Christ, there is no possibility of His redeeming work in action. Yet, some ask the question “Why couldn’t God forgive, or redeem, without the cross?” They state that if a person sins against another person, all he is required to do is forgive, so why can’t God do the same? To answer those questions, we must first address the seriousness of sin and its effects on a person.
When man was created by God, he was created in perfection with total God-consciousness, which means that his state of being was totally toward God, his Creator. Due to the fall, sin entered the world, and as a result of that sin, man went from having total God-consciousness down to the far lower level of self-consciousness. Sin, therefore, became his very nature, and he became a perverted creature, completely ruled, or dominated, by the sinful nature. This sin nature controls the individual and forces a person to do things that he would not necessarily do, which can lead to utter disaster.
The Meaning of Sin
To describe sin, let us dive into what this word means. There are five different words for sin in the Greek that portray the aspects of sin, both active and passive. The most common usage for sin is hamartia, which depicts sin as “missing the target, or the failure to attain a goal.” The second is adikia, which means “unrighteousness, or iniquity.” Ponēria speaks of the “evil of a vicious or degenerate kind.” The last two Greek words for sin express the inward corruption and a perversion of character. The final two are active: parabasis is “a trespass or stepping over a boundary,” and the last word is anomia, which is “a disregard or violation of a known law.”
If we are to be honest with ourselves, after viewing each of these meanings for sin, it is clear that we have violated God’s law or have deliberately crossed the line. We have broken God’s law, defied God’s first commandment, and replaced it with total dependence upon ourselves. Sin is not just a lapse in judgment but, in reality, is hostility toward God and His way.
The Meaning of Redemption
With sin permeating the entirety of man, God could not merely speak redemption into existence. Instead, He had to act in such a way that sin could be removed (taken away), and the controlling factor of sin completely broken. With that being said, the cross was such a force that through Christ’s work and the shedding of His life’s blood, the grip of sin would be broken over those who would believe.
This leads us to what redemption is and what it entails. Like its counterpart in sin, there are several meanings for this word redeem, which essentially means “to buy back.” The first word is agorazō, which means “to buy in the slave market.” The second word is exagorazō and means “to purchase out of the slave market, never to be put up for sale again.” The last word is lutroō and means “to liberate by ransom.” The idea behind this word is that such a price was paid that no one could ever say that price was insufficient.
In the Old Testament, redemption began with a person offering an animal as a sacrifice unto God. During the time of the exodus, it went from a sacrifice for every person to a sacrifice for every house. During the great Day of Atonement, the sacrifice progressed to a sacrifice for the entire nation. Then, as we venture into the Gospels, we find that Christ is the ultimate sacrifice for the whole world.
Through the simple act of faith, the individual in question can be redeemed. In other words, he is purchased out of the slave market, never to be sold again. Because the price was high when Christ redeemed us from sin, no one can ever say that His blood was not enough. Instead of forfeiting our lives for our sin, the Son of God sacrificed His life instead and became a ransom for us. He took our place in order to redeem us. He took upon Himself our transgressions, the curse of the broken law, and liberated us from the damaging effects of the fall.
The cross is the most essential aspect of the plan of God. It provided the means for the Evil One to be disarmed, disabled, and defeated. The moment that we enter into Christ’s death, we enter into His victory. In other words, we are victorious because Christ is victorious. There is no way we can fight against Satan, overcome him, and win our victory through our own strength and ability. If we try, we will inevitably fail. However, if we rely on the victory of Christ through the means of the cross, we are not only conquerors, but we are more than conquerors, and it’s all because of Christ. We have been forgiven or released from the grip of sin and, therefore, brought into the family of God.
The price was high, and this redemption that we have before us cost God everything. The least that we can do is avail ourselves of this great redemption plan, place our faith in what Christ has done, and enjoy the spoils of God’s victory over sin.
The last part of this work is grace. The cross is the greatest example of the grace of God that has ever existed. Instead of God ignoring the plight of man because of sin, God showed grace to humanity. Grace is the goodness of God extended to those who are undeserving. We do not deserve this grace, but God loved us so much that He provided grace for anyone who will believe. Grace is the only way that we can experience redemption; redemption is not earned, but instead, bestowed upon an individual. It is a gift, and it is dependent upon faith.
We must understand that God has always been a God of grace because man has never deserved anything good from God. However, because of God’s love toward us, He has extended His grace to those who do not deserve it and cannot earn it. We deserve death, but He has substituted life for death, freedom for slavery, and liberty through the simple act of believing. The only thing God requires from us is faith, and through this faith, we can enter into His redemption, His victory, His healing, His salvation, and His deliverance.
Never forget what it took and what it cost to purchase your salvation. Never forget the price that was paid for you to experience what true liberty and victory are. Do not take your salvation for granted but thank Him every day for what He has provided. Take time to bless His name and praise Him for who He is and what He has done. We can become familiar with freedom on an exponential level unlike anything we have ever experienced before. Still, to receive it, we must believe what Christ accomplished was enough. The cross is how we can enjoy more abundant life, and it gives the Holy Spirit the ability to work in our lives to bring about what is needed.
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