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What does being “redeemed” mean for a Christian?
“I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.” Isaiah 44:22
If there is no discernible difference between the way a Christian lives his or her life, and how non-Christians live, then why would anyone need to be Christian? What does it mean to be redeemed? To me, it means a person has been rescued from sin and death by the blood of Christ. As far as I’m concerned, there is no better way for a Christian to re-dedicate him or herself to God, entirely, than to be reminded, often, that we are not our own. We have all been purchased by the blood of Christ.
Unfortunately, some who say they have been redeemed allow the world to entice them into believing they can live their lives any kind of way—just as long as they say they are Christian. Then, while professing to be of the Christian faith and while going to church every Sunday, they go about living their lives as though they think there is a big wall hovering overhead between them and God, hiding from Him their activities and thoughts. And were it not for the fact that they have literally told others they are “saved” Christians, there would be no way for anyone to know it.
“You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:20
If you are a “practicing” Christian rather than simply a “professing” one, your redeemed life should bear at least some resemblance to the life of Jesus. There should be something others can see in the way you live your life that lets people see that you have decided to love and to obey God. I am not saying you have to be perfect in all you do, think, or say, all the time. No one is perfect, and no one will ever be perfect. Perfection is something God wants us to strive for; but it is a goal our human weaknesses will not allow any of us to reach. Still, we are to strive for it.
Any Christian who becomes redeemed has agreed to obey and serve God through Jesus. Jesus paid a price that is much more valuable than any amount of silver or gold, and he paid it for the redemption of the people who say they love God. Does your life demonstrate to non-believers that the price Jesus paid was in vain? If you have been redeemed, truly, then it is your duty and your obligation to devote your life to God’s service. That means you have promised to love God, to glorify Him in your life and in how you treat others, and to do your best to stop engaging in sinful pursuits and ways that are against God.
“But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin." 1 John 3:5
No one is above God, and God sees and knows everything. In the end, any Christian is fooling self in thinking it is all right to profess love for God while doing any and everything God has told us is sinful. And even though people can and do manage to fool some of the people some of the time, and all of the people some of the time, no one will ever be able to fool all the people all the time. The day of reckoning is always on its way because God promised us that everything done in the dark will come to the light (Luke 8: 17).
You cannot be a closet sinner forever. Someone is going to know, and if you’re serving mankind instead of God, when mankind finds out that you’re a hypocrite, your facade will be broken down forever, even in the secular world. Then you will be left with one choice: To join the rest of us sinners who have chosen to stop playing around with God and go to Him completely, or decide that you don’t want to live your life for God after all. No one can have it both ways.
"For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open." Mark 4:22
To serve God as a Christian means to turn away from sin. It does not mean that you will never be tempted by sin. Sin roams around everywhere, ducking and hiding in some places, and bouncing boldly up in your face in other places. When you become redeemed, that is, when you trade in your old life for a new one, in the name of Jesus, even becoming redeemed won’t eradicate sin as a constant threat in your life. It will remain a constant, and there will always be temptations that will try to get to you. But if you believe that God is all powerful, and therefore more powerful than anything the devil has in his bag of tricks, then you will do all you can to resist temptation. You won’t simply fall prey to it with no conscience, as if God has given you a “VIP pass.”
As a Christian, it is your responsibility to do your best to fight temptation. It comes down to you having to exert control over your own body, physically and mentally. A fight may ensue, but when temptation arrives asking you to partake in sin, if you resist and say “No,” then temptation has no choice but to leave, ultimately. It becomes an unwelcome guest who has to go away. The problem is, sometimes we don’t ask temptation to leave. We kind of like having it around, because it brings excitement and other interesting stuff that feels good to the flesh. And if you’re living in accord with the desires of flesh, instead of with the desires of the Holy Spirit, then you probably like playing around with desire and the excitement it offers, and you're willing to take part in sinful activities and imaginings designed only to keep flesh happy and satisfied.
“He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.” Hebrews 9:12
You might be questioning what good redemption is, if we are still able to fall prey to the weaknesses of our flesh after becoming redeemed. The answer, as I see it, is that being vulnerable to sin does not mean you have to fall prey to it. As humans, we all come to God as sinners. Becoming redeemed simply means we are acknowledging that we have no hope against sin without Jesus. Becoming redeemed means we have accepted Him into our lives as our Lord and Savior. It means we have renounced sin and its hold on us and on our lives. It means we are promising to do our best to live from day to day, from moment to moment, for God through Jesus Christ. It also means we are pledging to fight against the temptations of sin from day to day and from moment to moment.
Resisting temptation is not something that you or I can do alone, and God does not expect us to do it alone. That is why Jesus came to earth—so that we would not have to fight sin alone. Trying to do it alone is a prescription for depression and confusion. When compared to the power of sin, your human body is like a dried up little twig. You cannot fight the powers of Hell, the power of sin, with a twig. In fact, you can’t fight the power of sin with anything that is human or material, alone. You need the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit within you to fight against sin. God can move mountains, obstacles, roadblocks, and detours that await you on your path to His righteousness. He can remove even the temptation to sin from your body as well as from your mind. But you have to help yourself by asking and by desiring that He do it. You have to truly want to live a life that rises above the sinful desires of the flesh, and that’s what redemption offers. Redemption offers you and me a chance to live within the power and glory of the Holy Spirit. Redemption is available to us because of the blood of Jesus that was shed on the cross at Calvary, and we're redeemed only through our faithful belief in God, and through our desire and decision to abstain from sin while living our lives in service to Him.