rrrRedeemed. Restored. Reconciled.

How I love those three words.
Each is different.
But each is fundamentally intertwined.

And when it comes to navigating change… honestly, I wonder how much heat the whole idea of changing anything would generate if we recognized the changes those three words spark in our walk with God (and his people too)…

For the greater part of my life, all three words have been important to me theologically and doctrinally. After all, they are Bible terms. They express great truths. They explain, define, describe, and declare what God has been and continues to do.

Each of those words will preach. You can be soft-spoken and gentle and use those words to convey with great emotion the wonders of our God. You can be loud, passionate, and demonstrative thrilling the listener with this amazing God we serve.

Whatever preaching or teaching style you employ (or listening preferences you enjoy), redemption, restoration, and reconciliation soar above, beyond, and through a world desperately needing hope, mercy, and grace.

I am glad we serve a God willing to self-sacrifice in order to secure our redemption from sin and self—to restore us to Him—to offer reconciliation to the lonely and broken.

Heaven knows we need it.

Because sin destroys.
Not only does it break our relationship with God, it also destroys our self-image, our reputation, and so many of our most intimate relationships.

Because sin destroys.
It robs us of our innocence, honor, and respect. It takes what is vibrant and leaves it in tatters.

Because sin destroys.
It leaves us devoid of value and seeking meaning in things that only further erode our sense of self-worth and value.

Because sin destroys.
And sadly enough, it does so before most of us recognize the truly shattered life we live…

Is it any wonder then that we need a Savior?
Is it any wonder we need one who will redeem us and restore our value—not in our eyes, but in the eyes of the Only One Who Really Counts?
Is it any wonder we need reconciliation not only with God but with the people we love?

Colossians 1:13-14, He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves. We have redemption, the forgiveness of sins, in Him.

That’s Jesus.
My Savior.
My redeemer.

And in the best TV pitchman voice I can muster… But wait, there’s more…

Theology and doctrine aside, redemption is so much more than just the forgiveness of sins.

On the one hand, as long as sin is just a legal issue between you and God, redemption will just be a theological, doctrinal, and legal term bound up in a contract. Salvation will just be a plan you follow to uphold your end of the contractual bargain.

But on the other hand, people who have been broken by their own self-inflicted sin… people who have seen their lives shattered by other broken people… people who have come to understand just how broken they truly are…

These people long for and rejoice when God also redeems their story!

I love these words:

You traded riches to run to my rescue

Oh, my redeemer

You take the pieces and turn them to praises

Oh, my Redeemer

Oh, my Redeemer

(Chris Tomlin, Jesus, My Redeemer)

Broken, shattered pieces?
Pieces turned to praises?
That’s redemption.

When the long dark night is over and the light shines again?
That’s redemption.

When you find yourself using your own pain to help another?
That’s redemption.

I love the story of Joseph.
Reviled by his brothers, they sold him into slavery. Other difficulties would follow. There would be pain and prison. There would be heartache with all the potential of despair.

But then one day it changed.
In short order, Joseph accrued power and honor.
Eventually, he would meet his brothers again and be in a position to save them from the ravages of an unyielding famine.

Remember Joseph’s words to his brothers? You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. (Genesis 50:20 NLT)

This story is often told from the perspective of God’s providence. But to me and I suspect Joseph as well, it is a story of redemption.

The Bible is full of redemption stories.
When God rescued Israel from Egyptian bondage, He was redeeming their story.
When Jesus told the women at the well to go and sin no more, He was redeeming her story.
When Paul urged Philemon to accept Onesismus as a brother, he was actively participating in the redemption of both.

Redemption: the forgiveness of sins and the rewriting of our story.

I thank God for redeeming my story, for giving new meaning to broken things.

Redeem me, O Lord.
Redeem me again…
And in the redemption, may my story be the one You want to tell!

Les Ferguson, Jr.
Madison/ Ridgeland, MS