New Church Life March/April 2017 - Page 29

     leavened, that is, fermented, because it represents the result of a long process of temptation through which the truth was “refined” and perfected in Him. Redemption, Part 1 But let’s get back to the topic of redemption and what this really means. The word itself in modern usage carries implications of cashing something in, almost as you would do with coupons, or with scrap metal. In Christian circles the word is often tied to the concept of ransom, as in the Gospels where we read that “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28, Mark 10:45). We’ll come back to this. Meanwhile a better understanding of the term, redemption, may come to mind if you think of redeeming a bad situation: how do you take a tragedy and get some “redeeming value” out of it? Or how do you “redeem yourself ” when you make a serious mistake? You don’t exactly trade yourself in, right? But you do try to do better, and to cover your mistake with appropriate words or actions. That word, cover, also comes up in relation to the Lord’s life, at least in vicarious atonement circles, because there is an idea that Jesus “covered” our sins by offering Himself as a sacrifice in our place. This might be inferred from Psalm 85 where it is said of the Lord: “You have forgiven the iniquity of Your people; You have covered all their sin.” But, in fact, that covering is better explained by Shem and Japheth’s actions in covering their father Noah’s drunkenness in Genesis 9, and in the Epistle of James 5:20 where we read that “he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins,” or 1 Peter 4:8, where we read that “love will cover a multitude of sins.” The point is that the “covering” effect of redemption is not a matter of disregarding evil but of amending it and making things better. By the way, another term that is often used in Christian circles to describe the Lord’s work is “atonement.” This is interesting because there isn’t a single reference to that word in the New Testament All this of course is what the Lord continues to do for us every day since then if, as and when we believe in Him, appeal to Him, and do as He teaches: He subjugates or controls the hells for us. We don’t. We can’t. But He did and He can – every day. 95