|Ruth and Boaz|
As I lay awake last night, having trouble sleeping despite thinking on the Lord’s faithfulness and His many blessings, I became focused on three words: redeem, restore, and renew. These words describe not only the nature of our salvation, but also serve as commands to follow in our Christian walk. This post highlights redemption, with more on restoration and renewal to follow.
According to Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary, there are three Hebrew root words used for the concept of redemption: pada, gaal, and kapar. Pada is a legal term describing the substitution required for the person or animal delivered. In the Old Testament, God issued many commandments, dealing with social, legal, and religious matters concerning redemption (pada) of servants, animals, and property (Exodus 13:13, 21:8, etc.).
Gaal refers to the deliverance by a redeemer of some person, property, or right to which one had a previous claim through family relationships or possession (Leviticus 25:25-30, 48-54 etc.). For example, the relative of a poor person who sold himself into slavery could redeem him, or set him free, by paying money to his master. In modern times, we might pawn something valuable to get a needed sum of money, then redeem it by buying it back.
God redeemed His people Israel (Psalm 25:22, Exodus 6:6, Isaiah 44:23-24; Luke 1:68, etc.), the firstborn Hebrew children who otherwise would have been struck dead by the avenging angel (Exodus 13:15), and those of all nations who place their faith in His Son (Revelation 5:9).. The word best describing this type of redemption is kapar, meaning to cover sin, atone for sin, or propitiate, as in reconciling sinful man to Holy God (Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:2; 4:10).
In the news, we may hear of parents paying a ransom to redeem, or save the life, of their kidnapped child, and Jesus Himself gave His life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45), to deliver us from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13; 4:5), sin (Titus 2:14) and death (Lamentations 3:58; Job 19:25).
God made mankind in His own Triune image (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) as a being with soul, body, and spirit, yet some would accept and some would reject His freely given offer of salvation through faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). He knew from the beginning of time whom He predetermined to be made like to the image of his Son (Romans 8:29). He called those who would be saved through the work of the Holy Spirit, justified us, or washed away our sins, and will glorify us when we receive immortal, sinless, ageless bodies (Romans 8:30).
None of this would have any meaning if Jesus were not our Redeemer. Without Him, we would all be lost and going to hell, for the wages of sin is death (Romans 3:23). Through Adam’s transgression, we were all sold into bondage as slaves of sin and death (Romans 7:30).
Yet Christ paid our redemption price – the most costly price ever paid – by shedding every drop of His blood to wash away our sins (1 Peter 1:18-19). We are bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23), and sealed with the Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13; 4:30) just as a buyer would pay earnest money to secure his purchase of a property. Once we are marked as redeemed by the indwelling Holy Spirit, we are children of God, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:16-17).
But we in our mortal bodies groan, awaiting the day of total redemption when we take on immortality in our glorified bodies to be like Christ and to be with Him forever (Romans 8:21-23)..Only Jesus can deliver, or redeem, us from this body of death (Romans 7:24-25).
Boaz, the forerunner or type of the Kinsman-Redeemer, redeemed Ruth, his relative in-law (Ruth 3:9,12) and bride-to-be, by purchasing the land that had belonged to her late husband. With that purchase, he also bought the right to marry Ruth, so that the seed line of his deceased relative could continue (Ruth 4:3-11). Through this redemption, Ruth was transformed from an impoverished widow to Boaz’ wife, with free access to his possessions and reputation. And of eternal significance, she also left behind the pagan gods of her homeland to become a daughter of the One True God and ancestor to Jesus Himself through the line of David (Ruth 4:11-22).
Born-again believers are also to follow the command to “Redeem!” as in to redeem the time by sharing Christ with others, for the days are evil. One Jesus redeems us from sin and death, He is our Master and we become His bond servant, given the responsibility to witness for Him (Colossians 4:1-5).
Paul states three examples of how we are to redeem the time: understanding God’s will; being filled with the Spirit; and giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. If we are Spirit-filled, we will encourage one another, worship God, and praise Him with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:16-20).
Each of us is only allotted 24 hours in every day, and we must consciously choose how to redeem every minute. When I was a child, my mother loved to collect “Green Stamps,” given out by our local food market with every purchase – a stamp for every dollar spent. We spent many hours pasting the stamps in a book, and browsing through the catalog to see the rewards for which these stamps could be traded at the Redemption Center. This seemed to me like a magical department store offering gifts ranging from inexpensive kitchen tools to living room sets and televisions, with everything in between.
I was always tempted to squander our precious stamps on little baubles, so that we could have the instant gratification of picking up our prize, But my mother, who was far more disciplined and wise than I, counseled me that the best value was in the most costly rewards, if we had the patience to save our stamps longer and trade them in for a more expensive item. So I had to forego the cute but trivial and short-lived floral potholders, while we saved up our stamp books for a dinette set that became the center of many family meals, celebrations, and school projects, and that she enjoyed even during her last years on earth!
So it is with time – each of us gets 60 minutes to the hour, which we can use selfishly to harm others, carelessly to fritter away on amusements of no lasting advantage, or to spend wisely in prayer, Bible study, and service that will glorify God, conform us more to the image of His Son, and encourage others. Only time spent with, in and for God bears everlasting rewards stored up in Heaven throughout eternity! So as we praise, thank and submit to our Redeemer for purchasing us from the slavery of sin to eternal life, may we redeem the time He has graciously given us by glorifying Him!
© 2014 Laurie Collett
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Again I thank you for your insight of your threefold facets of salvation, always in acccordance with the Triune God.
As for the stamps, I too recall as a boy in the 1960's the Green Shield Stamps here in the UK, first issued at petrol (gas) stations, then among selected retailers. The value of gifts redeemed depended on the number of completed books filled - the greater number of books required, the higher value of the gift (as we called them). Sadly, the scheme folded around the mid 1970s and was never revived.
An excellent post. God bless.
Thanks for your kind words and interesting comment! I didn't realize that Green Stamps were used in the UK also. It seems that the time frame was similar in both the US and UK, and as I remember, the US variety had shields on them. They were called "S & H Green Stamps" -- I don't know what S & H stood for. We got them at the Acme market, a popular chain of food markets in those days.
Great post, Laurie. How many are squandering our gifts from God on such meaningless baubles because we have no understanding of what is really being offered.
Thanks, Donald! May we use our time, talents and treasure wisely to glorify Him! Being in His perfect will is the best blessing we could possibly have, now and throughout eternity.
Hi Laurie, very nice post.
I particularly like the last four paragraphs regarding Ephesians ch. 5 vs. 16-20 and your likening what you did with your green stamps to what we do with our time in the Lord while here on earth. I believe that we are very close to the Lord's return and it is very important how we live out our life in Him and what we do with the talents He has given us.
God bless you in your ministry Laurie
Thanks so much for your lovely comment. Eph. 5:19 is my birthday verse, which delights me as I love writing songs and singing to the Lord and to others, for His glory.
I share your belief that the Lord could return any day now -- may we use every moment we have left to glorify Him!
May God bless you and your ministries also,
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