As I was praying this morning, I was thanking the Lord for my salvation, for forgiving my sins, and redeeming me. And then I paused and considered the word redeemed.
I know what it means, but I wondered if an unbeliever would know if they heard the word.
Sometimes we forget the world doesn’t understand our lingo. The church is guilty of “christianese,” which is the language within our Christian culture of words and phrases using biblical texts. It makes no sense to anyone outside the church. Examples might include: old man/new man, fruit of the spirit, washed in the blood, and born again. These words and phrases make perfect sense to the believer, but the unsaved masses are unlikely to understand (and in some cases, are actually turned off by it).
So I pondered the word redeemed wondering if the concept could be understood by the unsaved.
Curious, I googled the word to see what would pop up. Of course, Dictionary.com and Wikipedia were at the top of the list, but then right below these two was iTunes. What unsaved person doesn’t recognize Apple or iTunes? The Google link read: Redeem iTunes Gift Cards – Apple.
To redeem a gift card means a person has in their possession something of value which has no use until activated. This is true of people and salvation too.
The Bible says, “God has dealt to each one a measure of faith” (Romans 12:3b). In other words, God has given every person the ability to believe, or we could say (for example’s sake) God has given every person something redeemable.
My oldest son is a technology nut like his mom and so every Christmas and birthday, relatives used to get him iTunes gift cards. One year, he said, “Mom, please tell everyone I do NOT want anything from iTunes. I have redeemed all that I need.” We had a good laugh over this. But concerning salvation, God hopes every person will redeem (activate) their faith in Him. In fact, it will only expire at death. It is good as long as a person is alive.
The Bible says, “Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, …but with the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:18-19). In other words, heaven held the most expensive “gift card” ever and God used it for humanity. Jesus was the gift and at the precise moment when all things were aligned, He used Himself to purchase the lost.
Remember, to redeem means a person has something of value which has no use until activated. This must be how Heaven viewed mankind. God saw us as valuable, but until we’ve been redeemed by Jesus, heaven can’t accept us.
We can almost envision the exchange. Jesus paid the price with His own life in order for God to place in every man’s hand, a “gift card” redeemable at salvation. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). “And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of [Adam’s] sin. Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins” (Romans 5:16, NLT).
Jesus redeemed us by paying for the gift (card). Then by faith, we redeem the gift of eternal life by accepting Him at salvation. What a great exchange! It’s Christmas all over again, except this time the gift (card) has immeasurable value!
So mark the word redeemed off your list of “christianese” –I’m pretty sure everyone can understand this analogy.