Monthly Archives: August 2017

REDEEMED!

Dear Family
We don’t hear too much about “redemption” these days. It’s a word used almost exclusively in churchy circles by theologians which we don’t really understand. The Apos-tle Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:7,8 “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the rich-es of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us with all wisdom and under-standing.”
So what is “redemption”? A diction-ary gives the definition as “the ac-tion of being saved from sin, error or evil and “the action of regaining or gaining possession of something in exchange for payment, or clear-ing a debt.”
The most probable reason we don’t hear about redemption is because we don’t like hearing that we have a need for it because of our sin. We are no longer comfortable with be-ing described as sinners because, in our warped understandings, that would be judgemental and in all likelihood, politically incorrect.
The whole world is systematically moving further and further away from owning up to its ultimate re-sponsibility to Almighty God, Crea-tor of all things. People who take responsibility for their actions are being becoming increasingly diffi-cult to find. It’s always somebody else’s fault when an individual transgresses. Blame the teacher, blame the government, blame soci-ety, blame the neighbour next door, blame the rusty nail, just blame something except yourself.
Well, God blames us! He holds us accountable and responsible for our own failings against the standards that He has set. His standards do not wax and wane with society’s norms. His standards are indifferent to Hollywood or any deviant pio-neering superstar. His standards are recorded in His Word for all to see and, according to Jesus, that Word will judge all mankind for all time. We need help! Thankfully, He has provided that help. I am a sin-ner. It is my fault. I have turned my back on God’s ways. I have com-promised His Word to suit my own desires. I have chosen my own path in opposition to Him. I am in-different to His Word. When I rec-ognize I do fall short of His stand-ards (called sin), I am able to ac-cess the riches of His grace, the forgiveness of my sin, through the redemption He has provided by His death.
I am redeemed! Praise the LORD!

THE NEW COVENANT

D ear Family
The night when Jesus reclined at the table with His disciples (yes, they reclined and didn’t sit neatly in a row on chairs as portrayed in that famous “Last Supper” painting of Leonardo Da Vinci in 1494—so much for those hidings to keep my elbows off the table) and told them that the cup of wine which He held represented the new covenant in His blood, I’m pretty certain they were somewhat confused. They missed much of His mission throughout His ministry and so this was probably also quite beyond their grasp. They certainly would have known the reference to Leviti-cus 17:11 which reads, “For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atone-ment for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.” But the full impact of that was initially lost on them. A “new” covenant for atonement? In His blood? Perhaps they had heard of or remembered Cousin John the Baptist’s words when he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.” If so, I can just imagine the vibrant excite-ment of anticipation in that little up-per room of earth shattering an-nouncement. The universe had nev-er ever heard such sweet words spoken before!
The new covenant is nothing short of glorious, divine, awesome! God’s standards for holiness and right-eousness certainly have not and cannot change, but His means for atonement have been made com-plete and fulfilled in Christ Jesus, applicable as before by faith.
This wonderful covenant commemo-rates the purchase of the covenant by the blood of Christ, and confirms the promises of the covenant. Those incomprehensible promises which are all “Yes” and “Amen” in him.
So, when we share in the Lord’s supper and pause to contemplate the new covenant, let’s remember that He shed His blood for us be-cause we needed it. We had no hope in the old covenant focused on sin and impossible obedience, but instead, because He loved us, and gave Himself for us, we now have a covenant found on better promis-es—put in our minds and written on our hearts by God Himself.
Oh that we would heed Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 7:1, “Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, per-fecting holiness out of reverence for God.”