If I Say I Love You Jesus featuring Lucy Stimpson- Maynard from the album “Precious” recorded and produced by Ross Gill
So last week I finished my blog with the words of Rob Sumrall who when referring to Les Miserables said: What follows in Les Mis is the unfolding of Jean Valjean’s new story. After staring into the “whirlpool of his sin,” he emerges as a man touched by grace. He becomes a kind-hearted, upstanding citizen, albeit under an assumed name and on the run from the law. He spends his life caring for others and extending mercy.
What a message! A man encounters the grace of Jesus Christ expressed through the unconditional love of one of His servants and he is inexplicably and unalterably changed! He becomes a friend to the downcast, a father to the fatherless, a forgiver of his enemy, and a savior to the rebel. The criminal becomes the saint. That’s what redemption does!
I promised that I would conclude the article and here it is:
The Christian message is one of redemption. Ephesians 1:7 tells us, “In him [Jesus] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.” That sinners can experience redemption is good news indeed! God has given Jesus, a sinless model of perfection, to become sin on our behalf (2 Corinthians 5:21). Because of the work of Christ, dirty sinners like me can experience forgiveness and healing according to the riches of God’s unmerited grace.
There is a wrong idea that seems to plague mankind. That idea says that God’s hope, God’s redemption is for the good people of this world. The polished, decent, and religious people are viewed as somehow deserving of redemption. But woe be unto you if you find yourself among the dregs of society. The down-and-outs. The homeless. The harlots. The criminals. The sinners. They stand little chance of redemption, according to this way of thinking. This ideology is wrong! I can’t lend strong enough emphasis to this fact. First off, none of us are nearly as good as we might think. Secondly, redemption is extended to all those who would place their faith in Christ and repent of their sin. Valjean reminds us that even the hardened criminal is not beyond the reach of the Lord.
Les Miserables could give the impression that one is justified by doing all the good things that Jean Valjean did. One might think that Valjean is redeemed by his acts of kindness and mercy towards others. That conclusion is damning. Redemption does not come through good works; redemption is evidenced through good works. Valjean lived a life helping his fellow man because of his surrender to God in the first act.
Valjean’s life ends in fitting fashion. The man who encountered God’s grace wants to be home with the Lord. He faces death as a redeemed man, unafraid of what lies ahead. This too, is the hope of the believer – that one day we will be home with God. Only the redeemed can sing with Valjean:
God up high,
Hear my prayer
Take me now
To thy care
Where you are
Let me be
Take me now
Take me there
Bring me home
Bring me home
The heart cry of the redeemed is to be with the Lord. Death is not scary. It holds no frightening mysteries. Only the promise of the presence of God lies in wait for the miserable people who have been redeemed by Jesus!
This reminded me of Luke 5:31-32 – Jesus answered them “It is not the healthy that need a doctor but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. “
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Quote of the week
It’s not what you have lost but what you have left that counts
The Word for Today