Redemption, Loyalty, & Cats
If you ever get a glimpse of my key ring, you’ll notice I have almost as many of those loyalty cards as I do keys. I join most of the free loyalty programs offered to me because if someone’s offering me rewards for shopping at places where I would normally shop anyway, I’m in! Last month I adopted a cat from the Animal Rescue League and added PetSmart to the list of places where I’m a loyalty/rewards member. I’ve already earned enough points there to redeem for money off my next purchase! Being able to redeem points for money off or some other reward always feels good.
What does redemption mean?
The word redeem can have different meanings: to buy back, to change for the better, to restore, to atone for. “Redeem this coupon for a free coffee.” “Redeem your in-store rewards by February 28.” “After losing the first tennis match, he redeemed himself by winning the next four.”
While all of these meanings and uses of the word redeem bring about good things, there’s one meaning that rises above all of them: to free from the consequences of sin. In Romans 6:23, we that the wages of sin is death. That’s a pretty steep consequence and one that we have no way of escaping on our own. But that same verse goes on to say that the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. Jesus paid the price of death for us by willingly giving up his own life. Because of that sacrifice, we are free from our debt and able to have the hope of eternal life.
What redemption means to me
I was 11 years old when I came to the full realization that Jesus died on the cross in order to pay a debt that I owed. I was the type of kid that was very concerned with things being fair, so when I realized what a high price he was willing to pay in my place, it struck me how incredibly unfair that was for Jesus! He didn’t do anything wrong, but the fact that he loved me enough to do that for me made a huge impact in my life and led to my salvation.
Later that same year, I decided to take the step of being baptized. What was really great about it was that my entire family got baptized on the same day. We all stood up in front of our new church family and shared our stories of how Jesus redeemed our lives. At the age of 11, there wasn’t some incredible story I had of how Jesus changed my life. I had a pretty great childhood and was a very responsible, goody-two-shoes type of kid who tried to always do the right thing and avoided getting in trouble at all costs. I don’t say that to brag about myself but to make the point that even though I considered myself a good person and most other people did as well, I had come to understand that no matter how good I was, I still needed the redemption that only Jesus can provide. And his redeeming love is for everyone!
What redemption means for you
Yesterday was a baptism Sunday at GT. These are exciting days at our church because we get to hear the stories of people from all walks of life and how Jesus has redeemed their lives forever. No matter what your story is, if you’ve accepted Jesus as your savior, you have been redeemed! Let your life show that in your actions this week.