Why do men struggle with redemption?
An interesting question, let’s start with some facts:
“Redemption, n. Deliverance of sinners from the penalty of their sin.
tr.v. re·deemed, re·deem·ing, re·deems; adj. re·deem a·ble.
- To recover ownership of by paying a specified sum.
- To pay off.
- To fulfill (a pledge, for example).
- To set free; rescue or ransom.
- To save from a state of sinfulness and its consequences. See Synonyms at save1.
- To restore the honor, worth, or reputation
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. – Romans 3:23-24
If this is true, why do we, especially men, struggle with this?
I can’t but God can! His blood, His willing sacrifices of His Son our Lord Jesus, because He loves us so…
PROBABLY the ordinary idea of our Redemption is that Christ, being the God-man, redeemed the rest of mankind as individuals. That, however, is not the idea put before us in Holy Scripture. Throughout the Psalms Christ speaks as being Himself redeemed by God. This truth is rendered the more forcible because it is contained in the very sentence with which Christ gave up His life upon the Cross:
5“Into Thy Hands, O Lord, I commend My Spirit, for Thou hast redeemed Me, O Lord, Thou God of Truth” – Psalm 32:5
The word Redemption is found 46 times in the Bible, the word Redeemed 78 times.
What are the steps to redemption? Which is the hardest to manifest?
It is unfortunate that we often treat God with less respect and consideration than we treat the people with whom we interact with, from day to day. This is especially true when it concerns our sin. Were we to come to the realization that we had offended, insulted or sinned against someone at the office or in our neighborhood, most of us would be careful to word a sincere apology, and be quick to express our heartfelt remorse, “I am so sorry!” and “Please forgive me!” would be the natural and immediate expressions of our hearts and our mouths.
It is tragic that our relationship with God is often very different. It is not uncommon to hear Christian men respond to the realizations of their sin with statements like “I’ll work on that,” or “I should really try to do better.”
Why do we respond with these types of Teflon coated comments? Are they just vague brush-offs to exit the hard truths?
It is as though God were a concept or a standard that we were attempting to live up to, rather than a Holy Person whom we have offended. In contrast, the Bible pleads with God’s people to
2“Take words with you and return to the Lord; say to him ‘Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously’” – Hosea 14:2
Jesus ordered this kind of direct and daily appeal to God when he taught us to pray,
12“Our Father in heaven… forgive our debts” – Matthew 6:12
Let us be careful then, to thoughtfully and sincerely express our regret to God each time his Spirit brings another of our transgressions into view. God, of all people, certainly deserves our sincerest apologies. Food for thought!
Redeeming Grace is not to be feared, but embraced. Once you confess, the sin is as far west is from the east… in sincerity forgiveness is asked, He forgives and forgets… redeemed.
“Nothing has any power to alter a man save the incoming of the life of Jesus and that is the only sign that he is born again.” –Oswald Chambers
I am Sorry
“Sorry means you feel the pulse of other people’s pain as well as your own, and saying it means you take a share of it. And so it binds us together.”
Sorry is a lot of things. It’s a hole refilled. A debt repaid. Sorry is the wake of misdeed. It’s the crippling ripple of consequence. (Redemption is not free, we must still live with the consequences of our free will) Sorry is sadness, just as knowing is sadness. Sorry is sometimes self-pity. But Sorry, really, is not about you. It’s theirs to take or leave.
Sorry means you leave yourself open, to embrace or to ridicule or to revenge. Sorry is a question that begs forgiveness, because the metronome of a good heart won’t settle until things are set right and true. Sorry doesn’t take things back, but it pushes things forward. It bridges the gap from darkness to light. “Sorry is a sacrament. It’s an offering. A gift.” – Craig Silvey, Jasper Jones
Jacob and the Angel;
A Lesson in Asking & Receiving Forgiveness & Redemption
Jacob’s wrong in receiving his brother’s blessing by fraud was again brought forcibly before him, and he was afraid that God would permit Esau to take his life. In his distress he prayed to God all night. An angel was represented to me as standing before Jacob, presenting his wrong before him in its true character. As the angel turns to leave him, Jacob lays hold of him, and will not let him go. He makes supplications with tears. He pleads that he has deeply repented of his sins and the wrongs against his brother, which had been the means of separating him from his father’s house for twenty years. (Supplication (also known as petitioning) is a form of prayer, wherein one party humbly or earnestly asks another party to provide something, either for the party who is wronged or the offender)
All night Jacob wrestled with the angel, making supplication for a blessing. The angel seemed to be resisting his prayer, by continually calling his sins to his remembrance, at the same time endeavoring to break away from him. Jacob was determined to hold the angel, not by physical strength, but by the power of living faith. In his distress Jacob referred to the repentance of his soul, the deep humility he had felt for his wrongs. The angel regarded his prayer with seeming indifference, continually making efforts to release himself from the grasp of Jacob. He might have exercised his supernatural power and forced himself from Jacob’s grasp, but he did not choose to do this.
Jacob’s persevering faith prevailed. He held fast the angel until he obtained the blessing he desired, and the assurance of the pardon of his sins. His name was then changed from Jacob, the supplanter, to Israel, which signifies a prince of God.
(A supplanter takes over or takes the place of someone else, usually on purpose. If usurping thrones is your thing, then maybe you have a future as a supplanter. One who wrongfully or illegally seizes and holds what is not his).
“And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou do ask after my name? And he blessed him there. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” It was Christ that was with Jacob through that night, with whom he wrestled, and whom he perseveringly held until He blessed him.
The Lord heard the supplications of Jacob, and changed the purposes of Esau’s heart. He did not sanction any wrong course which Jacob pursued. His life had been one of doubt, perplexity, and remorse because of his sin, until his earnest wrestling with the angel, and the evidence he there obtained that God had pardoned his sins.
“Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed. He wept, and made supplication unto Him: He found him in Bethel, and there He spoke with us; even the Lord God of hosts; the Lord is his memorial.” – Hosea 12:4-5
“And Jacob lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, Esau came, and with him four hundred men… And he passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother. And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him; and they wept.” Jacob entreated Esau to accept a peace offering, which Esau declined, but Jacob urged him: “Take, I pray thee, my blessing that is brought to thee; because God hath dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough. And he urged him, and he took it.”
An Object Lesson in Forgiveness and Redemption
Jacob and Esau represent two classes: Jacob, the righteous, and Esau, the wicked. Jacob’s distress when he learned that Esau was marching against him with four hundred men, represents the trouble of the righteous as the decree goes forth to put them to death, just before the coming of the Lord. As the wicked gather about them, they will be filled with anguish, for, like Jacob, they can see no escape for their lives. The angel placed himself before Jacob, and he took hold of the angel and held him and wrestled with him all night. So also will the righteous, in their time of trouble and anguish, wrestle in prayer with God, as Jacob wrestled with the angel. Jacob in his distress prayed all night for deliverance from the hand of Esau. The righteous in their mental anguish will cry to God day and night for deliverance from the hand of the wicked who surround them.
Jacob confessed his unworthiness: “I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which Thou hast shewed unto Thy servant.” The righteous in their distress will have a deep sense of their unworthiness and with many tears will acknowledge their utter unworthiness and, like Jacob, will plead the promises of God through Christ, made to just such dependent, helpless, repenting sinners.
Jacob took firm hold of the angel in his distress and would not let Him go. As he made supplication with tears, the angel reminded him of his past wrongs and endeavored to escape from Jacob, to test and prove him. So will the righteous, in the day of their anguish, be tested, proved, and tried, to manifest their strength of faith, their perseverance and unshaken confidence in the power of God to deliver them.
Jacob would not be turned away. He knew that God was merciful, and he appealed to His mercy. He pointed back to his past sorrow for, and repentance of, his wrongs, and urged his petition for deliverance from the hand of Esau. Thus his importuning continued all night. As he reviewed his past wrongs he was driven almost to despair. But he knew that he must have help from God, or perish. He held the angel fast and urged his petition with agonizing, earnest cries, until he prevailed.
Thus will it be with the righteous. As they review the events of their past lives, their hopes will almost sink. But as they realize that it is a case of life or death they will earnestly cry unto God, and appeal to Him in regard to their past sorrow for, and humble repentance of, their many sins, and then will refer to His promise,
“Let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me.” – Isaiah 27:5
Thus will their earnest petitions be offered to God day and night. God would not have heard the prayer of Jacob and mercifully saved his life if he had not previously repented of his wrongs in obtaining the blessing by fraud.
The righteous, like Jacob, will manifest unyielding faith and earnest determination, which will take no denial. They will feel their unworthiness but will have no concealed wrongs to reveal. If they had sins, unconfessed and unrepented of they would be overwhelmed. Despair would cut off their earnest faith, and they could not have confidence to plead with God thus earnestly for deliverance, and their precious moments would be spent in confessing hidden sins and bewailing their hopeless condition.
The period of probation is the time granted to all to prepare for the day of God. If any neglect the preparation and heed not the faithful warnings given, they will be without excuse. Jacob’s earnest, persevering wrestling with the angel should be an example for Christians: Jacob prevailed because he was persevering and determined.
Thanksgiving & Prayer
4 I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, 5 that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge— 6 even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you— 7 so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. – 1 Corinthians 1:4-9 ESV
10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. – Colossians 1:10-14 NIV
Men it is done… in Him, we can move on!