April 6, 2015
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
Ok, I said we were done with Questions Concerning The Cross with our blog last Friday. But I thought of something else that is Redeemed By The Cross, and I had to add one more blog. And the scripture I found in Isaiah 38:16 through 19 beautifully sums it up:
O Lord, by these things men live, and in all these things is the life of my
spirit; so You will restore me and make me live. Indeed, it was for my own
peace that I had great bitterness; but You have lovingly delivered my soul
from the pit of corruption, for You have cast all my sins behind Your back.
For Sheol cannot thank You, death cannot praise you; those who go down
into the pit cannot hope for Your truth. The living, the living man, he shall
praise You, as I do this day; the father shall make known Your truth to the
To explain this last thing of What Is Redeemed By The Cross, I will share some things about my own life. I came from a broken family that had little Christian background. At twelve I started drinking and became an alcoholic by age 15. Having a very addictive nature, I have also struggled with addictions to tobacco, food, pornography and drugs. But at age 19 God called me unto Himself while I was stationed at Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi. I began to grow in my Christian faith, but it was by fits and starts! There was no one to really help disciple me until I met my wife. Her dad was a Baptist minister, and I began to be serious about my faith in Jesus Christ as we attended his church. By the time I was 24 I determined to live out my faith in my everyday life. But I still found myself many times not just disappointing my Lord, but myself also – thinking, saying, doing things that I knew are wrong! And I wondered how God could use me for His glory.
This is where What Is Redeemed By The Cross comes in. Jesus has redeemed our sinful past so we can live productively for Him in both the now and the future! Look what our scripture says about this:
• Isaiah 38:16, 17 – “…You will restore me and make me live….You have lovingly delivered my soul from the pit of corruption, for You have cast all my sins behind Your back.” Before the Lord God gets hold of us, we are spiritually dead, according to Ephesians 2:1. We have as our “…father the devil…” (John 8:44), and we are part of his kingdom, called “…the power of darkness…” (Colossians 1:13). We are headed for a wasted life (see Mark 8:35-37; Luke 12:16-21) and an eternal hell (see Revelation 20:10, 13-15). But God has addressed all these issues in What Is Redeemed By The Cross. And the one issue that I think holds back so many Christians from living the abundant life Jesus came to give (see John 10:10) is that we have done so many things against God and His will, even as Christians, we wonder how He can ever use us! Yes, I wallowed in “…the pit of corruption…” far too many times, even as a Christian! But as David wrote in Psalm 40:2 through 4:
He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set
my feet upon a rock, and established my steps. He has put a new song in
my mouth — praise to our God; many will see it and fear, and will trust
in the LORD. Blessed is that man who makes the LORD his trust….
And since God has “…cast all my sins behind [His] back…,” I no longer have to be burdened down with them. I am clean! For “…the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (I John 1:7).
Now I find God even uses me to counsel people in various addictions – I understand where they are! I empathize with Christians who struggle with sin in their lives – I have struggled also! I can tell them how I have overcome those tough sins and now walk more consistently with my Lord! I can identify with those whose struggles in part stem from broken families and tortured childhoods – I have been there! Do you begin to see how God has redeemed my past to be used for His glory?
• Isaiah 38:17 – “Indeed, it was for my own peace that I had great bitterness….” I have a friend who went through hell as a child – abused and counted as nothing worthwhile! She came to Christ in at age 50, bringing a lot of problems with her, including bi-polar disease. But as painful as her past was, that very past is what drove her to the Savior! So her “…great bitterness…was for…[her] own peace….” Now she effectively counsels others who struggle with mental issues stemming from their past. She is a beautiful example of what God can do as He redeems our past for His glory!
• Isaiah 38:18, 19 – “For Sheol cannot thank You, death cannot praise you; those who go down into the pit cannot hope for Your truth. The living, the living man, he shall praise You, as I do this day….” Those who are spiritually dead toward God have not even a connection to Him to thank and praise Him. And with the life they have mentioned above – if you can call it life! – there is not even a desire to thank and praise Him! But when one comes to know the Savior that one comes alive spiritually, so before God he or she is living. And that living one will thank and praise God for such redemption!
• Isaiah 38:19 – “…the father shall make known Your truth to the children.” As far as I know, I was the first Christian in generations in my family tree! So the story of redemption could not be passed down from father to child. But once I experienced redemption – initial salvation in Christ, the promise of future redemption of the body and all creation, and having my past redeemed so I can glorify Him in the present and the future – I surely want to pass this redemption on to my children, my grandchildren, and to all future generations.
So What Is Redeemed By The Cross? My life in its totality! And for that I want to thank and praise God forever!