I’m so excited to get to share this series on preaching gospel to yourself. It’s a blessing to get to take a closer look at one of my favorite words – redemption – and show how beautiful the redemption story is, in God’s Word. My Redemption is a post that continues to bless and encourage me, even in some of the darkest times of my life. I pray it encourages you as well!
It’s likely you’ve heard the admonition to “preach the gospel to yourself.” But do you have a practical, systematic way for doing that? What do you say when you preach the gospel to yourself?
The gospel message about Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection has the ability to enrich us and make us wealthy in mind and spirit, word and deed (see Colossians 3:16). Yet if we have little grasp on how to effectively let it, we miss out on the power it holds.
Preaching the gospel to ourselves means allowing our thinking, emotions, and responses to daily be shaped by the truth of the gospel.
In this series, we hope to give you practical help in preaching the gospel to yourself. We’ve pulled key gospel concepts and compiled them into a list of words, such as justification, redemption, and sanctification. Don’t let the big words scare you because we’ve explained them!
We’ve also summarized each of these powerful truths in a useable way.
We hope this series will deepen your grasp on the gospel and give you verbiage for what to say when you preach the gospel to yourself.
How to use this series:
To begin, read my post below. Then visit each of the links for more gospel words. Take notes while you visit! You may want to bookmark this page because you’ll probably want to come back here often.
Redemption – Preaching Gospel to Yourself
Meanings of Redemption
In the Old Testament, three different Hebrew words are used to differentiate the three different forms of redemption.
The first form had to do with a substitution brought on behalf of a person or animal to be redeemed.
The second form entailed deliverance of a person or property to which someone had a previous claim.
The third form of redemption, though, is the one I want to discuss here. It is from the Hebrew word kapar and means “to cover”. (You can read more about each of these forms of redemption here).
When a sacrifice was made for a person or piece of property to be redeemed, someone (or some form of sacrifice) covered the debt. The Old Testament had specific rules for what animal could be used as a sacrifice, and what family member (usually the next of kin) could redeem a piece of property or a person.
Abraham and Isaac – Sacrifice and Redemption
The Sacrifice of Isaac
One of my favorite examples of redemption is from the story of Abraham. God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac. He had Abraham take him away from home to a mountain in the region of Moriah, build an altar and prepare to sacrifice his son as a burnt offering, all the while not telling Isaac the plan.
Then God said, “Take your son, your only son whom you love – Isaac – and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”
Abraham and Sarah had waited years for their son, and then God tells Abraham to sacrifice him.
(How I’d really like to phrase that: And then God says to sacrifice him???)
Abraham builds the altar, knowing why he is there.
Isaac questions where the sacrifice is.
Abraham responds, certainly trusting in God to provide a redemption to cover for the sacrifice required:
Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.
The redemption could have come at any point. God could have provided the sacrifice during their journey, or as they were preparing the altar. God could have seen that Abraham was being faithful as he took Isaac away from home and toward the mountain.
As a parent, I cannot imagine the heartache that Abraham endured in all of this.
I doubt that Isaac willingly climbed onto the altar.
I don’t think that Abraham said,
“Okay my son, you are the sacrifice, please hop onto the altar now.”
In fact, Isaac was bound – tied. I cannot begin to fathom the torment that both Abraham and Isaac endured once Isaac realized he was to be sacrificed. The Bible doesn’t tell us if there was a fight, or if Abraham did something to render Isaac unconscious, or even if Isaac was full of enough faith to trust his father, no matter what.
At what seemed to be the last minute,
when Abraham had the knife in hand,
just before the very last breath Isaac would take…
The Sacrificial Ram – God’s Redemption
The angel of the Lord called out to Abraham and told him not to harm Isaac. Abraham had shown his faith in God by being willing to sacrifice anything – even his only son. At that point, Abraham looked up and saw a ram stuck in the bushes.
God provided the redemption. He sent the ram to be killed in place of Isaac – to cover the sacrifice that God had required of Abraham.
I love how Hebrews 11, the great chapter on faith, sums up this period in Abraham’s life:
By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice.
He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.
We’ve looked at an Old Testament example of redemption; what about the fulfillment of this word in Christ?
God’s Provision for My Redemption
The New Testament fulfillment of redemption (the shedding of blood for the atonement for sins) is found in just one name: JESUS!
God knew that we would need to be redeemed. Our sin would eternally separate us from God. We would need to continue living by the Old Testament rules and regulations, requiring sacrifices for our wrongdoing.
In His wisdom, though, God chose to provide a way of redemption that would free us from the rules of sacrifice and atonement that were so prevalent in Old Testament times.
He chose to send His Son, Jesus, to be our redemption.
Jesus, part of the Trinity, was fully God, but became fully man to stand in our place. He needed to be fully God to be able to be the perfect, blameless redemption we would need. Yet, He would also need to be fully man in order to offer that redemption – the shed blood required for our salvation.
His love is so great for us, as His creation, that He chose to send Jesus as the redemption, once and for all, for our sins.
Jesus’ death on the cross, His burial and His resurrection provided the redemption we need.
Jesus’ death is the bridge between a gap that we cannot cross on our own. On one side is our humanness, our sin which leads to eternal death, and on the other side is everlasting life that is offered to us through salvation in Jesus.
What does that mean today?
Our Need for Redemption
That means you have been given an opportunity to choose, even today, to accept God’s offer of redemption. You have the opportunity to cross the “bridge” from eternal separation from God to eternal life with God.
People talk of a “sinner’s prayer” – there is no particular prayer that you must say to be saved. It simply needs to be an acknowledgment of your sin, asking forgiveness for your sins, accepting the free gift of salvation, thanking God for His redemption, and asking Him to be the Lord of your life.
My parents tell me that I first accepted Jesus as my Savior at a very young age – so young that I don’t remember. However, I do remember being 7 years old at a camp in Ohio, feeling that I needed to give my life to Jesus. That was the summer I understood the need for my redemption – that my sins would eternally separate me from God and that I needed to accept His offer of salvation.
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.
God loves you – loves me – enough that He sent His Only Son to provide a way for our redemption.
In our sin, we cannot appear before the Father and receive the gift of eternal life. If we accept the salvation provided by Jesus, though, then when we stand before the Father, we have the blood of Jesus to cover our sins.
Preaching Gospel to Yourself
When I think of standing before God at the end of my life, I imagine a picture based on the lyrics from an older song. (Please realize – this is just a picture I use to help understand and explain salvation and redemption.) I imagine standing before the Father, having accepted Jesus’ redemption, but still very aware of the sin in my life. Jesus steps in front of me and says that His blood covers me, covers all my sin, and that He Himself has provided the redemption for my life.
I should have experienced a death like the one almost required of Isaac. I should have been the parent tormented by the requirement of the sacrifice of my firstborn son. My sin forever separated me from God…
until I accepted the free gift of salvation through Jesus’ redemption for my sins. Jesus took my sin when He died on the cross.His shed blood provided redemption for my sins - and for yours as well. Click To Tweet
In my life, I stand for redemption. I believe that it doesn’t matter how old you are, what your life has been like, where you live, your status in life – it doesn’t even matter how many sins you’ve committed, or how awful they were – we are all sinners who need Jesus’ redemption.
The day Jesus died, He was on a cross between two thieves. Those men had committed crimes that required them to die a horrible death. One of the thieves mocked Jesus, but the other asked Jesus to remember him when He entered heaven. He was asking for redemption, and Jesus promised a redemption for that man – a man whose sins required such a horrible death.
Friends, a price was paid for your life and for mine.
Jesus went to the cross – a death reserved for the worst of sinners – so that His blood could be shed in place of ours, as a redemption for our sins.
Has His blood covered your sins? Have you received His free gift of salvation?
This could be your day of redemption!
My Redemption – So Great a Salvation!