The Redemption Story

We must recognize there are those who are just not interested in being redeemed by the grace of God. They have ultimately been deceived by Satan’s messengers. They believe to become saved and surrender to Christ they will no longer have any fun. They do not want to be restricted from living as they please. They believe there are greater rewards living outside the will of God than being obedient to His will.

Most never consider the consequences of what sin can bring. How many have such guilt in their lives that they end up depressed, fearful, living constantly with anxiety and have no joy or peace in their lives? In fact, the result of sin in many situations may cause health problems. Sin can cause an individual to become so scarred, that their previous living and guilt can never be forgotten. There may be a time when they have reached bottom and feel there is no hope.

For years I have taught we can’t rely on feelings. We must rely on what God promises. This is our hope—there is only one sin that can’t be pardoned and that is rejection of Christ as the Son of God and denying the Holy Spirit. All other sins can be forgiven.

Grant Fishbook brought to our church a message on redemption. He told the story of Rehab the prostitute in the Book of Joshua. God had sent spies to Jericho and she took them in and protected them on the condition they would protect her family when the Israelites attacked. They promised to save and provide for her and her family. When you look at Jesus Christ’s family tree, she married a Jew and became a part of that family tree. The point was made that God can redeem anyone regardless of their past.

It reminded me of a man who had headed the Jewish religious leaders in their determination to destroy Christianity. If a Christian would not deny Christ they were thrown in jail or killed. This man was a murderer. He was on his way to Damascus to persecute Christians and was hit by a light from heaven. He heard a voice say, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” He asked, “Who are you Lord?” “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.”

These two stories tell us the character of God and His grace and mercy. We define mercy as God “not” giving to us what we deserve. We define grace as God giving to us what we do “not” deserve.

These two illustrations that the Bible gives shows what a person can be before salvation and what they can become after salvation. It shows that the Apostle Paul’s salvation came immediately after Christ spoke and he did nothing to earn it. Paul was told to see a man named Ananias. Arriving, Ananias placed his hands on Paul and he received the Holy Spirit. The sanctification process began. God sets him apart so that the Holy Spirit can transform his life. From that time on he stayed separated from the world’s ways.

A number of times I have used the illustration of what happens to a caterpillar. It’s a bug that crawls through the grime of the world. Who knows all the messes that it goes through? Then one day it dies a caterpillar’s death and turns into a beautiful butterfly. It then sours above the grime and messes below. It has been completely transformed. This is what happened in the life of Paul. He was into the devil’s grime but repented and joined the kingdom of God and lived apart from the sinful world.

What better illustration could God have given than to show what the Holy Spirit can do once it enters the life of a sinner? If God can turn a caterpillar into a butterfly can He not turn a sinner into a Christian by giving to us His Spirit?

I realize that to most of you reading this blog, this message doesn’t apply. However, we probably know many family, friends or neighbors that it fits. Hopefully, it will help us become better witnesses when dealing with those who have been deceived by the devil’s lies and have given up on God.

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