I know my Redeemer lives!

It has been so amazing to me over the last couple of years to learn about the substitutionary atonement of Christ. I know that to some of you who do not share my spiritual history, this seems so odd. But I was not taught that Jesus was my substitute. I was taught that my eternal destiny was not determined by faith alone in what Jesus did for me on the cross. I was taught that his death on the cross was to give us the Holy Spirit and a chance to go on to perfection. I was taught that what made Jesus different from us was that He had the Holy Spirit from birth and we don't. But once we received Spirit Baptism (with the evidence of other tongues), we now had the same power within us and that power would enable us to be perfect (in this life) just as He was. Not only was it possible, both the experience and perfection were requirements for eternal life.

I wrote a whole paragraph about specific things I was taught in my last post, but I decided to take it out. (So if you read it while it was there and then wondered what happened to it, that is the explanation.) I am concerned that, for my friends who do not share my past history, it may sometimes become laborious to read those things. And I try not to get carried away in the details. But this morning, I have to share the contrast between my past and present because it is Easter weekend and I am filled with gratitude for the righteousness that has been imputed to me through Christ! Easter also brings back a specific memory. I think about it every year.

This post will probably become long. There is much I want to share this morning. So feel free to skip it if you are pressed for time.

Most of my life, I didn't know what Jesus really did for me. What I knew was a skewed gospel. It was another gospel. It wasn't the true gospel. And I am so thankful that God has been so merciful to me to allow me to know that my standing with Him is not based on any worthiness found in me. I am covered by the blood of His Son. And I no longer have to fear that I cannot measure up and be accepted by Him. I am His child through adoption, not through achievement. Praise God, from Whom ALL blessings flow!

At Easter time, I always remember Easter of 2004. I wanted to take my new husband to my old church on Easter Sunday. I didn't really want to go to church there. I just wanted him to meet my old friends and them to meet him. I knew that was the only way I could accomplish this. (John refers to that day as "John on parade day." And it's true. I feel so honored to be married to him and I am always thrilled to introduce him as my husband.)

I remember how strange the Easter message was to me that day, after only being gone for about a year. The pastor spoke on the Holy Spirit and he went overboard (in my opinion) in emphasizing that prior to baptism in the Spirit (with the evidence of speaking in other tongues), your soul is DEAD to God. And he repeatedly used the word dead.

Remember that I was taught the new birth was the experience of speaking in other tongues and not coming to faith in Christ alone. Therefore, no one was born again at conversion or through saving faith, but only through this experience. And only at the time of this experience (which could be witnessed and verified by others), was your soul made alive to God. The message was not foreign to me. I had heard it all my life. But this time it stood out to me because I had spent a year away from that environment, and in that year I had been exposed to the truth of God's Word. I had learned the truth of salvation. I sometimes wonder about when I truly became a believer, because even though I always considered myself a Christian, I found true salvation only after I left there. But I try not to make judgments about the salvation of anyone else. Only God can know an individual's heart and what they truly believe. And those whom God has chosen, even if they are presently in deception, as I was, He will save.

To me, the message that day was one of death and not redemptive life. The pastor was declaring, without coming out and clearly saying it, that if you had not spoken in tongues, your soul remained DEAD to God even if you were a believer. I realized what a strange Easter message it was and how wrong he was. My Christian husband was appalled by the message and made one request. I'll never forget, as we were leaving the parking lot, him saying to me, "I did this for you once, but please don't ever ask me to come back here for a church service again." And I promised I wouldn't. There were other things said in the service that threw up red flags for him, too. For instance, there was a prayer request from a man on the platform for a little girl -- that her mother would not be awarded custody of her, because it would take her out of a "body" church. And my husband immediately recognized the belief that it was more critical for this little girl to be in one of their churches than to be with her mother.

It's hard for me not to get caught up in the details. This is my testimony of deliverance. But I guess if you weren't interested, you wouldn't be reading my blog. So I will continue. : )

The same year I knew I was supposed to leave that church, I began listening to Tim Keller sermons. No matter what part of the Bible he is teaching on, he always demonstrates how every single story in the Bible is about Christ and pointing us to Him. The whole Bible is HIS story, from beginning to end. And I began to learn about salvation and see the scriptural evidence contradicting what I had been taught. There are far too many examples for me to include in this one post. But one that greatly helped to illuminate the gospel to me was the story of David and Goliath. Keller clearly showed how that story pointed to Christ as Savior. He explained how the message of the story was not that we all needed to be the hero of the story or like David. No, we are the cowards in the story who need a hero, a Savior. The deal David made was that the reward coming to him for defeating Goliath would be imputed to those he fought to deliver. My former leadership made the most important point of the story the five-fold ministry (the five smooth stones). Not that it was ever said, "This is the most important thing to get out of the story," but that was what was emphasized in the story over and over again.

I see now how over-emphasized the role of the ministry was in salvation there. I was taught that I would not have eternal life unless I had reached perfection when I died, but I would receive a resurrection and an opportunity to finish overcoming at that time. This did not give me any real hope or comfort because I never understood why I would be able to do then what I couldn't do now. But I do remember it being said (from the pulpit) that the difference would be that there would be a perfected ministry and church in operation at that time and that would enable a greater number to reach perfection. I remember the question being discussed, whether or not the saints COULD reach perfection without being "under" a perfected ministry. And looking back from this perspective, I now see how the leadership was making the ministry more essential than the work of Christ on the cross by their teaching. But I never saw it while I was there. Ironically, these are the observations (more or less) that I deleted from yesterday's post. But I will leave them this time. I didn't plan to come back to this when I started. So maybe I'm supposed to write about this. My hope and prayer is that even one person reading my blog might question what they are believing and find the truth.

I was reading some Charles Spurgeon quotes this morning from "The Power of Christ's Second Coming." I was reading from Chapter Four, "I know that my redeemer liveth." They are the words of Job before Christ ever appeared in the earth. Spurgeon goes on to explain something I previously learned from listening to Tim Keller. This is what I most wanted to share when I began writing this post. But in order for you to comprehend my overwhelming joy at understanding this, you have to first understand what I once believed. For you, deliverance may have been from a life in the world. But my deliverance was from false religion.
Spurgeon writes:

The word Redeemer is in the original goel -- meaning kinsman. The duty of the kinsman, or goel, was very specific. Suppose an Israelite had alienated his estate, as in the case of Naomi and Ruth, and it had passed away through poverty. It was then the goel's business, the redemer's business, to pay the price as the next of kin and to buy back the heritage. Boaz stood in that relation to Ruth...Remember, too, that it was always considered to be the duty of the goel not merely to redeem by price but, where that failed, to redeem by power. Hence, when Lot was carried away captive by the four kings, Abraham summoned his own hired servants and the servants of all his friends and went out against the kings of the East and brought back Lot and the captives of Sodom (Gen. 14). Now, our Lord Jesus Christ, who once has played the Kinsman's part by paying the price for us, lives, and He will redeem us by power. O Death, you tremble at His name! You know the might of our Kinsman! Against His arm you cannot stand! You did once meet Him foot to foot in stern battle, and O Death, you did indeed tread upon His heel. He voluntarily submitted to this, or else, O Death, you had no power against Him. But He slew you, Death, He slew you!

...Passing on in our text to notice the next word, it seems that Job found consolation not only in the fact that he had a Goel, a Redeemer, but also in the fact that this Redeemer lives. Job does not say, "I know that my Goel shall live," but he says, "He lives," having a clear view of the self-existence of the Lord Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever.

...Still the root of Job's comfort seems to lie in that little word my. "I know that my Redeemer liveth." ...So, what is a kinsman if he is not a kinsman to me? A redeemer who does not redeem me, an avenger who will never stand up for my blood, of what avail were such? But Job's faith was strong and firm in the conviction that the Redeemer was his. Can you say, "I know that my Redeemer liveth?"

...Surely if Job, in those dark misty ages when there was only the morning star and not the sun, when they saw but little, when life and immortality had not been brought to light -- if Job before the coming and advent of Christ still could say, "I know," you and I should not speak less positively...

...oh, to go down into the river of death knowing that all is well, confident that as a guilty, weak, and helpless creature I have fallen into the arms of Jesus, and believing that He is able to keep that which I have committed to Him.

I have goose bumps all over right now as a result of reading and typing these words. The gospel has been made alive to me. I have had to reject so many beliefs that were cultivated in me from birth. And I will not tell you that it was an easy process. I think it's obvious from my writing that it was not. I have lived in condemnation. I have lived in fear and anxiety. I have lived in self-doubt. But my Redeemer lives! My Kinsman, my Goel, He has purchased me with His blood. He did not purchase me with His precious blood to ever lose me to my own inadequacies. My sin and inadequacy was the reason His blood had to be shed. He did for me what I could never do for myself. Death passed over the Children of Israel because the blood was over their door. Yes, there are a lot of other details in the story. They obeyed all of God's instructions. But the death angel passed over them because their door posts were covered by the blood of the lamb.

It is only the blood of the Lamb that saves us. The white robes of the overcomers are white because they are washed in the blood of the Lamb.

Hebrews 7:27
Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.

Hebrews 9:12
He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.

Hebrews 9:24-26
24 For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God's presence. 25 Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. 26 Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.


Anonymous said…
Spurgeons writing that you shared is something to be excited about.

It is so peaceful to know that my hope is not in something I could do. No wonder I spent so much of my young adult life feeling so hopeless, empty and dead.

“Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all." Isaiah 53:4-6

I plead with anyone who is trying to carry a load that they can not bear to repent and make Jesus the Lord of your life by faith in what he has finished.

Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

He paid the penalty for our sin, even the sin of trying to atone for our own sins. There is no other work to do, just repent and believe upon what Jesus has done.

Colossians 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

It is finished, no additional work by man required.

God bless,

Todd E.
Shari said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shari said…
Amen, Todd!

Our Redeemer Lives! Our Redeemer Reigns! Our Redeemer SAVES! COMPLETELY!
Anonymous said…
Hello from PA! You are so right when you say that we belong to Jesus because of adoption and not by achievement. I'm so glad that you've been released from the "alternative" gospel and set free to revel in the amazing saving grace of Jesus. Happy Easter!
Shari said…
Thanks, Alice!

And thanks to everyone for all the comments on my blog. I love your comments. Lynda, I never got a chance to say thanks to you for leaving a comment recently.

I hope everyone has had a blessed Easter Sunday. Our whole weekend was great. Between the two services at MTSU, we had approximately 18,000 people attend our annual community-wide Easter Celebration! Our pastor utilizes a lot of methods to get people there. But when he gets them there, he tells them about their sin and WHY Jesus had to die. Once again, he did not disappoint me with his message!

I am a blessed, blessed person this Easter! Thank you, Jesus!