I not only have incredible children, but I also have amazing nieces and nephews. My niece, Madi, has always been a smart, strong and self-assured little girl. She is now a beautiful teenager who loves Jesus and serves him boldly. When she was little she would come spend the night with us on weekends. Now that she is a teenager she comes to Kentucky to visit us. We are so proud of her.
One day, when she was probably three or four, she was over for the weekend. Our children were teenagers and had friends over, as they usually did. Madi was in the living room right in the middle with all the big kids. She was adorable. She was the center of attention and loving it. During her performance she did a cartwheel but hit her leg on the coffee table. It completely humiliated her, and her countenance went from happy to horrified in a matter of seconds. She fled the room in tears. My daughter, Rachel, went in after her to comfort her. Rachel checked to make sure it was only her ego that was hurt. After a few minutes of sobs she finally said to Rachel with her adorable toddler lisp, “Do you fink I can ever go back out there and redeem myself?” Rachel assured her she could and was unconditionally loved and accepted. She humbly made her way back into the room and was met by affirmation and words of encouragement. She gradually regained her confidence and was back at it — singing, cartwheeling and laughing.
What incredible words from the mouth of a three year old … “Do you fink I can ever go back out there and redeem myself?”
Redemption. This is the kingpin of word for our lives as believers in Jesus. The meaning is, “the action of saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil. The action of regaining or gaining possession of something in exchange for payment, or clearing a debt.” We literally owe a debt we cannot pay! Because God loved us so much he made a way for us to be brought back to Him. He made a way for us to be redeemed from our current state of sin. The Bible is loaded with passages and stories explaining this redemption in full.
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.” (Ephesians 1:7)
“But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.” (Galatians 4:4-7)
“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us–.” (Galatians 3:13)
“Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.” (I Peter 1:18-19)
“Not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.” (Hebrews 9:12)
“For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:13-14)
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed.” (Romans 3:23-25)
“For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.” (Hebrews 9:15)
Unlike Madi on that day, we can never redeem ourselves by what we do or don’t do. Unfortunately, doing a better cartwheel or being adorable just isn’t enough to redeem us.