Redemption and Rest

Christianity is, above all, permission to be at rest. When God comes into the soul, His intention is redemptive. He does not come into the soul to give you more work to do, nor does He come into the soul to make you forever wonder whether you are doing enough. He comes into the soul having wiped the slate clean, and having thrown away anything that could possibly count against you as far as you and He are concerned.

Failed Christian lives are not those that have disappointed God; they are lives that think they have. For God has removed the possibility of disappointment. People have said it is impossible for God to be disappointed because that would mean He would have to come to know something about you He did not already know. Which of course is impossible because God knows all things. More than that, however, God knows all things and still chose to love, still chose to accept. To make blameless. This is a product not just of God’s knowledge but also His mercy. God cannot be disappointed in us not because He knows all things about me but because knowing all things about me, He has chosen to love me anyway.

And that exchange cost Him His life. Have you ever wondered why we, as human beings, have this fear of not being enough? Of not being worthy of love? Of being a disappointment? Of being, before God, condemnable? That does not seem like a beneficial evolutionary trait. The human soul seems to be aware of its need for redemption, and everyone is looking for it: Some, by demanding what they are, believe and do be acceptable in they eyes of society (and condemning those who do not agree); others, by embracing the idea that God is an illusion and so there is no such thing as acceptable. Christianity has a different solution: God, becoming a man and dying in our place and paying for the penalty we rightly deserve.

I read a book recently by a Christian author who claims that our need for redemption is not real, and the Cross was not really necessary apart from our own distorted view of God. Jesus went to the Cross, in other words, not because it was necessary in the eyes of God but only in our own. He went to the Cross ultimately to demonstrate how unnecessary going to the Cross was. Not only is such an idea not Biblical, it is also nonsensical. God sent His own Son to die a horrific death over a misunderstanding: What does that say about God?

Not only this, but it is not helpful. This is an attempt to find redemption not through consensus or denial but in a belief that God is simply too nice to condemn us in the first place. Like the others, it is belief that our need for redemption is merely an illusion.

And that is a problem, because the soul needs redemption. It needs truth in the innermost parts if its being. When faced with its own sinfulness, it needs to know a God who was good enough to pay for it by His own blood, not too nice to care about it. Manufacturing a redemption of our own apart from the truth will never satisfy the soul. 

The beauty is that redemption has been provided. We can either find a way for our own redemption, or accept the free gift of redemption Jesus purchased for us by dying on a Cross for our sins. Sometimes the hardest thing for us is to accept a gift we do not think we deserve — or need. But that gift is the only path that will establish in the soul that we are not only loved and forgiven but truly free. This is the rest the soul desires.

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