God is: sovereign, faithful, powerful, caring, loving, present...
There is no shortage of adjectives to describe the God of the Bible. Through the years, I have grown in appreciation of the countless facets of the character of God. Each exists perfectly, without cancelling out another, because God is big -- bigger than my mind can fully comprehend. But even with my limited ability to completely grasp the character of God, I am reminded he is not hidden. In fact, he willingly reveals himself to his people (Exodus 34:5-7) and to his world (Romans 1:19-20). Ultimately, God is revealed to us in Jesus Christ (Col 1:15-19) and in Jesus, we see exactly what God is like.
Jesus is not a god like the lifeless idols of other religions, nor is he like the lofty distant capricious gods that seek to crush the broken and failing. No, he is utterly committed to meeting humanity in the exact place they are, including when they are dirty and broken. He is personable and knowable unlike statues and idols. He is also loving and gracious -- actually feeling deep compassion for those he interacts with (Matt 9:36) -- completely unlike the brooding angry distant gods of other religions.
He’s interested in us. Not just in seeing our state so he might judge us with more knowledge, but to sit with us in our mess. Kneeling to look us in the eye, he refuses to leave us where we are. He’s committed to changing us and making us whole again.
The Jesus we see in the Bible, the perfect image of what God is like, is one committed to redemption (Col 1:14). Redemption in his people, his creation, and every square inch of his entire domain (Rev 21:5). Redemption.
Redemption is simply taking something that is broken and making it whole again, something that is dirty and making it clean, something that seems hopeless and giving it real hope. That is redemption and it is one of the facets of the character of our God – redeemer (Psalm 19:14).
Jesus Christ is our redeemer, because he took upon himself the curse of all that breaks us, all that breaks God’s good and perfect world. He took upon himself the curse of sin, by dying on the cross and paying the price for sin (Gal 3:13), a price we could never pay.
This is not abstract. It can’t be. Redemption isn’t a nice theory that sits on the theological bookshelf of our mind gathering dust. No it has very real teeth and is active. Often, we can’t see it or we see it as a singular moment in the past. In an absolute and eternal sense, we are redeemed, but it is an ongoing experience for the follower of Jesus, his church, and his creation (Titus 2:14).
So pause right now and look back.
What do you see? Are you in the same place you were years ago? Are you different? Are you changed by God? Do you know him more? Have you felt his presence, beheld his glory, been made different in your interactions with him, many times through his people? Have you seen him at work in others? Changing them?
What about in your church? What has he done? Is he present, is he active, is he redeeming?
Yes, he is. Because his people are beneficiaries of his character. We experience his redemption because God’s people are tied to God through Jesus and nothing can change that (Luke 1:68).
Now is the time for action. Hit pause in your day, turn the TV off, do what you need to find some quiet. You need to respond to this. Take this time to simply give thanks and open your hands to ask God to do his good work in your life. Pray it for yourself, your family, your church -- ask God to act in powerful ways.
He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb 13:8). If he has begun this good work, he will bring it to completion (Phil 1:6).
Enjoy your redeemer.