The Journey of Redemption

The Journey of Redemption
Author: Barb Barnhart, Preschool Coordinator
He Will Be Called - Part 2
During the years 1994-95, I took a sabbatical from my kindergarten teaching job and went to seminary. I had one year to complete a degree in Christian Education at Wesley Biblical Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi. Looking back on that time, the first thing that comes to mind is, “What was I thinking?”

That year, I took around 65 credits. I was a Dorm Mom at the school and worked part-time at a church as the music director. It was a completely different culture for me, as I am not from the South. I found it challenging to understand what anyone said, and they struggled to understand me. One time, I had to get out of the drive-through line at McDonald’s because they couldn’t understand I just wanted a coffee with three creams!

The courses I had to take were not Christian Education ones, because I had enough of those credits prior to. However, I had to take theology, history, and philosophy. It was a wonderfully difficult experience, which I survived with many tears, and I experienced my very first panic attack.

One of my most difficult assignments was the final paper I had to write for my theology class. I had to defend why we must look at the Advent of Jesus through the journey to the Atonement.
In the same way we also, when we were children, were in slavery under the elemental forces of the world. When the time came to completion, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
— Galatians 4:3-5

Through the life of Jesus, from His birth, to His death and resurrection, the redemption plan was made complete.

The path from Advent to Atonement is so humanly difficult to reconcile. The birth of Jesus, with all of the beauty and peacefulness imagined, compared to the death of Jesus, with all of its cruelty and sadness, are diametrically opposed. However, the plan of redemption was not meant to be complete without both of these events.

This Sunday, Pastor Tim’s main takeaway was that Jesus, our Redeemer, came to pay our debt and set us free. Through the life of Jesus, from His birth, to His death and resurrection, the redemption plan was made complete. To be redeemed is not just the paying of our sin debt—it is much more.

In Ephesians 1:7-10, Paul writes, We have redemption in Him through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure that He planned in Him for the administration of the days of fulfillment—to bring everything together in the Messiah, both things in heaven and things on earth in Him.

Paul uses descriptive words like “riches of His grace” and “lavished on us” to help us understand the depth of the love God has for us in the redemptive plan. How often do we take for granted the cost of the plan of salvation and our freedom? To realize this cost will spur us on to live out this relationship with Jesus with an overwhelming love and desire to share with everyone.

This Christmas season, take time to focus on the whole plan of salvation: Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection are all a part of the story! We have been set free. Our lives are forever changed because as John 3:16 states, God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son.

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