Summary: Explains to a non-Christian and to a Christian what redemption means.
1. Praise (1-1) the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy (goodness, lovingkindness)
(2-1) is eternal (everlasting).
2. Let those redeemed (special) by the Lord say so, those whom He has
redeemed (special) from the hand of the oppressor;
3. And gathered (special) them from the lands; from the east and from the west,
from the north and from the south.
It was my original intention this morning to speak about what true Christians, redeemed people, ought to do to encourage people who practice fox-hole religion to become Christians. However, yesterday morning when I got up around 4:30 and began to review my sermon in my mind, I realized that as the result of the picnic Friday, there may be several people in our congregation this morning who may not understand the basic Biblical truths about redemption.
You see, redemption is not a word which we use very often in modern American society. When people in generations past became slaves of sin and of self, and slaves of their own desires, they would become poor and would not be able to pay their bills. At such times they might have sold some of their possessions to a pawn shop. When they were a little better off, they might have redeemed their possessions from the pawn shop.
Today most people who have become poor through slavery to their own lusts, rather than go to a pawn shop, often have a garage sale or go on welfare or both.Redeeming their own goods from pawn shops is not a common occurrence with most people who pride themselves in living in what they call the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Before Christ came in the flesh into the world which He created to redeem it from its slavery to sin, most people either owned slaves or were slaves. These people understood the terms about redemption. They understood the idea that if a person were a slave to one owner, a second person could redeem the slave by paying a price of redemption, and the slave would then become the property of the second person, either to be used as a slave, or to be set free.
The Jewish people in particular understood the language of redemption. The Jewish people, at least in theory, realized that they belonged to God because God had made them and had chosen them in Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. The Jewish people realized that they had been slaves in Egypt and that God had redeemed them from slavery to Egypt. The night before God led them out of Egypt, God killed all the firstborn male cattle and children of the Egyptians. The firstborn male cattle and children of Israel would likewise have been killed if each family had not taken a firstborn male lamb without blemish, killed it, and applied its blood to the entrances of their homes. When the destroying angel saw the blood applied to the entrances, the destroying angel passed over the homes, and the firstborn male animals and children in Israel were saved from destruction.
To this very day Jewish people celebrate Passover as the main event in their calendar year. The Lord told the people of Israel that, because He had redeemed them, they belonged to Him, and they were to obey Him. The famous Ten Commandments, which God gave to Israel, begins with a reminder that the God who gave the Jews the Ten Commandments is the Lord their God Who brought them out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
God also told the Jewish people that all of their firstborn male animals and children belonged to Him. So, whenever an animal or a woman had a male firstborn, that firstborn male animal or child had a price on its head and belonged to the Lord.Although the Jewish people, like the nations around them had slaves, God reminded them to be kind to their slaves, because God had been kind to them when they were slaves, and had in fact redeemed them from slavery.
The New Testament concept of redemption goes like this. All of us have been slaves to sin, to self, to our own desires, and to Satan. All of us have disobeyed God’s laws and are under a curse. Jesus, who created us and who on that account owns us, died for our sins. With His precious blood He paid the price of redemption for our sins. We belong to Jesus. We owe Him all we are and have.
One of my favorite illustrations about redemption is the classic, old story of a young boy who made a sail boat. He spent hours and hours making and painting this beautiful sail boat. One day he took it to a river near his home to sail it. He was having a great time holding on to a rope attached to the boat. But then a sudden gust of wind got hold of the sails and ripped the boat out of the hands of the young boy. The boy tried to retrieve the boat, but it got farther and farther away from him. It soon became lost to the boy. Some one found the sailboat and took it to a local pawn shop.