I did it. It had been a long time coming, but I actually managed to read the Bible in a year. 365 days of paper-rustling, page-highlighting, margin-annotating activity that frankly put my dissertation efforts to shame. And at the end of it all, 1 word. 66 books into 3 syllables. 882 pages into 10 letters.
For the God of the universe, I imagine that it must sometimes be tempting to go slightly Microsoft Word on the whole set-up. To highlight and delete some red-underlined, error-strewn lives before negotiating some celestial ctrl+ shortcut to copy and paste others in their place. But, on countless occasions throughout the Bible, God is celebrated as ‘Redeemer’; ‘I know that my redeemer lives’, declares Job, for example (Job 19:25). And so many different authors, characters and cameos throughout the Bible repeat this refrain, insisting that redemption is at the very heart of God’s nature.
God is Redeemer. He doesn’t just discard people but, rather, invests in His patient business of transformation and change; “I am the Lord…and I will redeem you” (Exodus 6:6), God says to the flaky, fickle, faithless Israelites as they serve in slavery in Egypt.
And He does. In fact, the big picture of the Bible reveals how God has acted to provide a way to redeem everyone; Jew, Gentile, slave or free. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, God has provided ‘a ransom for many’ (Mark 10:45), a route for redemption that is now available to the whole world (Galatians 3:13-14).
God is Redeemer. And that makes us the redeemed.
But let’s think about some details. What does it look like for us to respond to this redemption and reflect this characteristic that is so central to God’s nature and work?
Ask yourself a question.
What’s your thing?
What are the things that you are really passionate about?
Whatever it is, redemption says, “use it, don’t lose it”.
The all-to-frequent dilemma that Christians face is that, as we rightly try to put God in the centre of our lives and schedules, we can unwittingly become more and more removed from the exact situations within which He has placed us to be witnesses of His redemptive love. That thing that you thought of – that passion, hobby, interest – can be your meeting point with a culture and people that need Jesus. And you can be His messenger if you take hold of the thing you love and redeem it for the glory of God.
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1). God has redeemed you – entirely (Isaiah 44:22). Every atom, every passion. Every mistake, every talent. And now we can share in this redemptive quality by using the passions He has given us to continue His work in turn.
So what was it? Film? Sport? Fashion? Driving? Being a Christian doesn’t mean you need to cut these things out of your life. Instead, put them in a right perspective and consider how God could use your passion for His own sake. Be pro-active. Pray to be used.
For me, it’s music. I’m passionate about bands, artists, singles, albums, live performances, chart positions, awards...you name it. And my extensive NOW collection reveals that much of my interest falls into the genre of chart-topping, cheesy trash. But I know that I’ve been redeemed by God and ransomed at a massive cost. So do I now have to only listen to albums with an acoustic cover of ‘How Great Is Our God’ on? Not at all! Instead, I can join God in his redemptive work by using my passion and enjoyment to engage others with His message of forgiveness and hope. And that is where ‘Redeeming Sound’ began...
Whatever your passion is: Use it. Don’t lose it.
You can read, share and follow Redeeming Sound on Twitter and Facebook. Dan would love to hear from you with all your ideas of how you use your passions to make God the Redeemer known (@dangolding17).