“For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus:
that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.”
Redeem. A small word with an overwhelming meaning. It means to buy back what was once your own.
That’s what Jesus did for me.
In Romans 8, all of creation is described as being in bondage. The sin in Eden brought a curse not only on the heads of all mankind but on all of creation. And so now we all groan, waiting for deliverance from chains of decay.
Bondage. Slavery. Subjection. To what? Sin, and death, and the curse. It spread from Eden like an epidemic, passed on from father to son, from mother to daughter, generation to generation, people to people. To this day we bear the scars from the chains that bind us to Death.
We, the capstone of God’s creation, who once were in the garden, in Eden, we who walked with Him in the cool of the day and lived for His glory, were suddenly sunk into ruin by our own doing. We forsook God and so became slaves. We who once belonged to God now served a new master.
That’s where redemption comes in. Blood from the veins of spotless goats and unblemished lambs was spilled on the altar to atone for sin, to cover it for a time, appeasing the indignation of God that is the just due for every offense. To completely take away the sin would require the blood of a more perfect sacrifice. And so the perfect Lamb of God came to sacrifice Himself, and the blood that stained the splinters of the cross was the blood that did not merely atone (or cover) our great debt of sin but removed it farther from us than the distance between east and west.
If we choose to accept that gift. I did. His blood was my ransom. It was enough. He paid my debt in full. And I am no longer a slave to sin because He bought me back.
But once you buy something, it’s yours, right? So that means that I now belong to the Son of God. I’m His. 1 Corinthians tells me: “you are not your own…for you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
Let me make one thing clear: slavery to Christ is the most freeing thing I could ever imagine. Jesus is the Master of masters, the Lord of lords. Jesus Himself said that His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. But there’s a caution in Galatians: “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty. Only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”
I don’t belong to me. So what business do I have living for me? None. Absolutely none. What right do I have to take advantage of my dearly bought freedom and use it for my flesh? No right, whatsoever.
What then? Why do I now live? What shall I do with this life, this freedom, this liberty, since I do not belong to myself?
Live no longer for myself, but for Him who died for me and rose again.
I like the way Nate Bramsen puts it: “Jesus never wanted to be part of your life. He wants all of it.” He died for me and rose again, and surely He is worthy of more than my life. But, it is the greatest thing I have, and so I must no longer live for myself. Stop satisfying fleshly desires. Stop pursuing fleshly wants. Stop seeking fleshly pleasures. My entire being belongs to God, and every part of my life needs to be surrendered to my Lord of lords. It’s hard. The old man doesn’t like to stay crucified, does he? But God helps us in our weaknesses.
Glorify God in my body and spirit, which are God’s.
Living for His glory. Body and spirit alike. With my body – going where He sends me, doing what He asks me, saying what He tells me – whatever it is, it’s a brand new opportunity to glorify God. Not to glorify myself – to glorify God. With my spirit – taking every thought captive in obedience to Christ, pursuing truth in the inward parts, setting my mind on things above – whatever it is, it’s a brand new opportunity to glorify God.
Through love, serve my brethren.
Jesus said that inasmuch as we serve one of the least of His people, we do it to Him. Isn’t that a thought! Imagine a chapel building full of Jesus’s – I might be a bit more active in serving, to say the least. But inasmuch as I do it to the least, I do it to Him, and inasmuch as I do not do it to the least, I do not do it to Him. Freed servants – what a title! But it’s an honor to wear since we serve the Lord Christ.
So. What now? What am I going to do about it?
I’ll be honest – sitting here and writing this has made me feel rather uneasy. Because I have majorly failed at living ‘not for myself but instead for Jesus Christ’. But He gives more grace, praise God! And He calls me to live for Him who died for me and rose again because I have been bought with a price – redeemed with the blood of Jesus. He calls me to live for Him because I am not my own.
He calls you, too.
// love that compels | part 1 | part 2 | part 3 //