There is seems to be a desire for fairness built into each one of us. It is initially born out of the selfish desire to get our due; to get our fair share of the candy bar or our turn on the merry-go-round. It can mature into something larger than ourselves when we see how others have been unfairly treated and seek to remedy the shortfall. We’d like to think that our sense of fairness is built on justice, it is not of course. Fairness is about what we feel should come our way, justice is only concerned with the actions of others or ourselves and their consequences. Somewhere along the line, sometimes early, sometimes late, we have learned that life’s not fair. Let me ask you this, have you ever considered fairness from God’s point of view?
Think about this. God created the world, He set its course, defined the laws that would govern it, populated it with life, and created the first human beings. Then what happened? Adam and Eve sinned, they disobeyed God. They may have even thought or felt that God’s rule was unfair, that they deserved a taste from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But was it fair to God? God created the world and provided everything that Adam and Eve needed and they choose to follow their own appetites instead of being with God. No, it wasn’t fair. God deserved better. He could have thrown the whole thing away and started all over again but He chooses to redeem instead.
Our next facet in the diamond of who we are in Christ is “redeemed.” There are two Biblical pictures of what it means to be redeemed. I won’t cover the whole story but the book of Ruth tells the story how Ruth and Naomi, destitute because of circumstances, were cared for by their kinsman-redeemer Boaz. The second picture is that of a slave being purchased and set free. Paul writes, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”—” (Galatians 3:13, NASB95) We were made destitute by Adam and Eve. Sold into slavery and separated from the richness of knowing God. And we were slaves to sin through our own actions and choices. There was nothing we could do to earn, buy, steal, or work our way out of our condition. Even though we turned our backs on God and treated Him unfairly He didn’t turn His back on us. He redeemed us. He paid for our freedom through the blood and sacrifice of Jesus. In John’s vision of heaven he heard the song of the redeemed, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” (Revelation 5:9, NASB95) Jesus is the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world, He is our Redeemer. Jesus is the one that sets us free from bondage to sin and death so that we may live a new life in the Spirit.
Here’s something that I think is important in this world of rejection and fear, God chose to redeem each of us. Like Boaz choosing to act on behalf of Ruth and Naomi. Or the person who spends a small fortune to buy the freedom of another at a slave market. God purchased your freedom because He wanted too. He wanted you. He desired to restore the fellowship and belonging that was lost. He longed to bring life to our wasteland. We sold ourselves into slavery for next to nothing but God willingly paid the high cost required to redeem us from our folly.
The Bible makes it plain that with our freedom comes a response. A desire, if you will, to avoid what caused our slavery in the first place. Paul instructed Titus, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.” (Titus 2:11–14, NASB95) But freedom is more than avoiding the trap of sin, it is also walking into a newness of life that is full of hope and promise. Yes, we are to grow in purity and deny ungodliness along with worldly desires. We are also to live sensibly with wisdom and prudence as well as righteously and godly. Living in hope of His return while eagerly searching for opportunities to do good.
When we shine the light of Jesus on this facet of who we are in Christ what should we see? We should first of all see that God wants us. That knowledge alone should light a fire in our souls as we turn from the darkness of our sin and into the brilliance of His love. Secondly, as we continue to walk with Jesus we learn that we are free and being made free. We have been redeemed but we are also growing in purity, pushing away the deeds of darkness and zealously desiring to live a life that glorifies Jesus. Lastly, as we walk in this world we should follow Jesus example; enduring with joy the unfair cost others may demand so the light of Christ’s redemption can shine on their lives.