I am in the middle of a complete bathroom overall. Some mornings I wake up and my body reminds me of what I did the night before. It creaks, groans, and complains a bit. I know I am not alone, God’s creation does the same thing: “the whole creation has been groaning together”, but also, “we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies (from Rom. 8:22-23)”. We groan not only physically, but emotionally, socially, and spiritually under the ongoing influence of sin and decay in our world and our lives.
The Story of Everything is a story of redemption. Generally, in the Old Testament, we use the word redemption in three ways: to deliver, to buy back, or to atone (literally ‘to cover’). In the New Testament, Jesus is announced as the fulfillment of Israel’s messianic hopes, the arrival of their long-awaited redemption, and the covenantal outworking of God’s intentions toward his people. God the Father gives the Son to a people whom he redeems for his own possession (John 17:2,6), prepares a body within which the Son dwells (Heb. 10:5), and accepts him as representative of the people whom he redeems (Heb. 9:24). God the Son carries out the work of redemption being perfectly obedient to all the commands of the Father (Heb. 10:7-9), even unto death on a cross (Phil. 2:8), a death that satisfies the redemptive ransom payment for our sin (1 Tim. 2:6). Finally, God the Spirit empowered Christ throughout his earthly ministry (Matt. 3:16; Luke 4:1,14,18) and applies Christ’s work of redemption to his people (John 14:16-17, 26; Acts 1:8).
Ever since the Fall, humanity has suffered in a state of alienation and bondage. In bondage to sin and separated from God. His redeeming work delivers us from captivity, buys us back as his own precious possession, and atones for our sin. When life gets hard, and the groaning comes easily, thankfully God does minister to us through the ministry of others and various material blessings. However, our primary need is redemption; in contrast to even the best momentary respites from trial, God’s promise of redemption is sure, complete, and eternal! Living in a fallen world is not easy, but Christians have the privilege of living in the light of redemption. Our hope of a better day and world ahead is not a pathetic form of escapism, but the confident expectation of God’s promise to redeem a people for his own glory!