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The range of redemption

The Corinthians understood they had been redeemed through Jesus, but like some disciples today, they didn’t grasp how wide-ranging that deliverance was. If you ask people today about their salvation many will tell you something to the effect of “my soul has been saved.” That’s gloriously true and worthy of the highest celebration—it just doesn’t go far enough.

Redemption is about the fact that everything that was lost will be restored. To start with the truth most commonly recognized, we’ve been reconciled to God. We were alienated from Him due to our sin but through Christ’s atoning death our relationship has been restored. That’s part of redemption but it’s not all of it. Redemption is more of a mountain range than a mountain.

What was lost at the fall wasn’t just our relationship with God—we lost our body. We lost it ultimately to death and along the way to sickness, disease and disability. But the biblical witness tells us that God is going to do something about all that. Paul writes, “we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8:23).  In another resurrection text, he will say “the One who fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to God” (2 Corinthians 5:5). We will get our body back (it has to be our body or it’s not a resurrection) and it will be glorious and adapted for our new existence (1 Corinthians 15:42ff).

But there’s more. What was lost at the fall was creation (Genesis 3:17ff). And in Romans 8 Paul says that the creation is waiting for our revealing and it will be “liberated from its bondage and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God” (v. 21). Add it all up and our relationship with God, our body and creation will all be brought to back to fullness.

Sin doesn’t win; in the end Christ triumphs over all (1 Corinthians 15:54-57). This all takes place because God is faithful. Despite our rebellion and unfaithfulness, He has been faithful in providing a way back for His wayward through Jesus. And even though many continue to forsake His way, He is patiently working to bring fulfillment to all of His promises.

God is in the process of making all things new and He started with Jesus. Jesus is the first of God’s new humanity—the firstborn from the dead (Revelation 1:5). One day “we shall be like Him” (1 John 3:2). In Christ we are “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17). That is not new in point of time (neos), but new in terms of quality (kainos). Unlike cars, houses and clothes, this newness doesn’t deteriorate or depreciate. Time has no effect on it. The newness we experience has nothing to do with chronology and everything to do with our relationship with Jesus. Life has changed radically and as long as we remain in Christ we remain radically new.

This should make a difference in the way we live (1 Corinthians 15:58)!

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