Waiting for Redemption

Here is the truth: your redemption is drawing near. It is indeed nearer to you now than when you first believed. (Romans 13:11) The fig tree has sprouted leaves, and the fruit will soon follow. That is to say, the proclamation of life in Christ – the preaching of the gospel – has gone out and has entered your ears and has been planted in your hearts – in your will and devotion. It has taken root and the fruit will soon follow. And the fruit, as the apostle tells us, leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. (Romans 6:22)

The redemption you are waiting for is the redemption from sin and shame. You have sinned and are a sinner. And your sin brings you shame. It’s not just that you do things called “sins”. Or that you refrain from doing things and so commit so-called sins of omission. It is that you are a sinner. You are one that misses the mark. Again, not so much that you are aiming at a mark and you sin by missing it, as an archer with an arrow. Rather, it is that you are the arrow that has been released from the Supreme Archer, and you have missed the mark He was aiming for. That’s what it means to be a sinner. And like an arrow that misses its mark is shamed, so the sinner is full of shame for having failed the Archer.

Now we can say that arrows don’t really feel shame and that it’s the archer’s fault that the arrow missed. And we wouldn’t be wrong. But changing the parable to defend ourselves only shows how far a field we are from the target. You are children of the light and know the truth. It does not become you to pretend that this sin and shame business is not your fault. For even if it were not your fault in terms of cause and effect, you are not thereby acquitted, for you are born sinful and unclean. You can blame Adam and Eve or whomever, but in the end, the piper pipes for you and calls you to account for what you have and have not done. Let the shame of your sin drive you to repentance and to Christ who brings with Him His flesh to cover your shame as the skin of a goat covered the shame of Adam and Eve.

For that is why He came the first time: to take away sin and shame. He became sin for us and the reproaches meant for us fell on Him. (Psalm 69:19-20) The Son of God became for us the chief of sinners so that we would be free from condemnation. And thus by His blood, He redeemed us from sin and its shame. And the redemption you wait for now is when the redemption won on the cross becomes the redemption shown to the devil and his angels as well as to all those that do not believe. You long for and expect your redemption as one on death row longs for and expects the pardon promised. Your redemption is drawing near.

But the redemption you wait for is also the redemption of your body. It is the redemption from sin and shame, and the redemption of your body. For your body has suffered for your sin and is itself sinful. For you are not a soul with a body, but you are a spiritual being of both body and soul. And you don’t go to heaven in spirit only, but your body will be raised from the dead and translated to be as Jesus is: immortal and incorruptible. And thus shall you rise, body and soul, to be with the Lord forever.

So just as you strive against the temptations and sins of the mind and heart, so you should strive against the temptations and sins of the body. For sin belongs not only to the mind and heart but in the members of the body sin wages war against the will of God. And sins of the body are sins against the temple of God in which His Spirit dwells. But His temple is to be a house of prayer for all nations, and not a den of thieves and robbers. So let your body be a house of prayer; bring it into submission by daily prayer and meditation; by conforming your will to the words of sound instruction; by not despising preaching or His Word but holding it sacred and gladly hearing and learning it.

For you know the times. The days are drawing short. Your redemption is drawing near. By these things – by disciplining your body and mind in the ways of the Lord – you stay awake and through His word He gives you the strength to withstand temptation and shame. So that you wait patiently as with the prophets of long ago, waiting for God to send His Christ to redeem you, body and soul.

You have been redeemed. In fact, the whole creation has been redeemed by the blood of Jesus. He makes all things new. He redeems mankind, and in so doing, He re-orders all creation so that this heaven and earth shall pass away, as shall this body of sin. But His word will never pass away. And His word is that He is coming again to take you where He is. He will return as a king from a far and foreign country returning to His own people to bless them with the riches and wealth he has gained while on campaign. For right now the Lord is campaigning for you before the Father, holding you in Himself while He gathers all the elect from every tribe and nation, preparing to present His whole Church, His Body, to the Father as a spotless Bride.