From Praying the Names of Jesus Week Twenty-Five, Day Three
Without a Redeemer willing and able to pay the high price necessary to liberate us from the power of sin, the story of our lives in this world would be nothing but a story of hopelessness. But because of Christ's redemptive love, we look forward with hope to a day when the world itself will be completely liberated from the power of sin and death.
Until then we can express our faith in Christ by echoing the words of Scripture: "I know that my Redeemer lives and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And . . . in my flesh I will see God" (Job 19:25 - 26).
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Mark 10:45
Praying the Name
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Romans 8:22 - 25
Reflect On: Romans 8:22 - 25.
Praise God: For lifting our burdens.
Offer Thanks: For his plan of redemption.
Confess: Any habit of doubting and forgetting God's promises.
Ask God: To give you a deeper awareness of the full redemption that still awaits you.
Technology has changed our world in remarkable ways. One of the ways it has streamlined my life is by giving me a simple way of categorizing people.
As I see it, there are only two kinds of people in the world: those who forward emails loaded with advice, jokes, lists, causes, petitions, prayers, stories, and cool graphics and those who, even on pain of threatened consequences, don't.
At least a few of these endlessly forwarded emails are ones that contain long lists of self-defense tips for women. Here's some advice about precautions to take in a parking lot: "Never smell proffered perfume samples because someone may be trying to drug you," or "upon discovering a would-be attacker in the back seat of your car, drive straight into the nearest parked car (assuming no one is in it) — your air bag will inflate protecting you while he will suffer brain damage from being violently thrown around in the back," or "if a van is parked next to you and you are alone, always enter your car on the passenger side lest you be abducted." What a shame that there is any need for such warnings.
The sad fact is that people like Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer do exist, though the chance of crossing paths with one of them is slim to none. But these are only small-time killers compared to the worst serial killer of all time. You know his name, though it may elude you for a moment. In fact, he is known by various names: Satan, the devil, the adversary, Lucifer, the prince of this world, the evil one, the accuser. Regardless of what you call him, he is cunning and dangerous, intent on destroying as many human souls as possible.
So how do we protect ourselves against such a predator? Scripture tells us that sin is what makes us vulnerable to Satan. If it weren't for sin we could simply laugh him off. If it weren't for sin there would be no such thing as death, because death — the separation of the soul from the body — is solely a byproduct of sin. Fortunately, our Redeemer has come to reverse the curse of sin and death and to free us from the predatory power of evil. It's as though Jesus took on the role of an undercover police officer assigned the task of luring a serial killer out into the open. But Jesus wasn't just posing as a target with other officers standing ready to rescue him. He had to submit to death, to enter into it in order to undo it.
Through his death and resurrection, Jesus has defeated Satan and secured our future. He has bridged the unbridgeable gap between sinful humanity and a holy God, providing a way for us to be united to God forever. But there is a sense in which the work of redemption is not yet complete. We still suffer loss and endure hurts beyond our comprehension. We still die. Even so, Scripture tells us not only that our souls will live forever but that our souls will one day be joined to glorified bodies that will never get sick, never suffer, and never die. Here is how Paul expressed it to the Corinthian Christians:
Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed — in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."1 Corinthians 15:51 - 54
Meanwhile, we who were formerly enslaved by sin, in bondage to Satan, may well echo the sentiments of a woman named Mary Reynolds, who was born into slavery in Louisiana. Toward the end of her life, when she was over a hundred years old, still poor but now free, Mary told an interviewer: "I members bout the days of slavery and I don't lieve they ever gwine have slaves no more on this earth. I think Gawd done took that burden offen his black chillum and I'm aimin' to praise him for it to his face in the days of Glory what ain't so far off." As former slaves, let us rise up and thank Christ for the burdens he has lifted from us, confident that we too will praise him for it to his face in the days of glory, which aren't far off.
For more from Ann Spangler, visit her blogspot on Christianity.com. Be sure to check out Ann's newest book, Praying the Attributes of God: A Daily Guide to Experiencing His Greatness.