Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Son of God and Son of Man?

Son of God. Son of Man. Why does Jesus go by both titles? So, here's my take on it: First, you need to understand that neither one of these titles is to be taken literally. God did not literally have a son called Jesus. And Jesus was not literally the son of a man - He miraculously entered into the physical realm through the womb of a virgin. Both titles, the Son of God, and the Son of Man, are figurative, not literal, terms. 

Next, you need to understand what the figurative phrase "son of" means. Literally, it would express genealogy (James, son of Jebedee). But figuratively, this term implies someone who takes on the character or person of someone or something else. Think of the term "son of" meaning "the exact representation of". Below are some scriptural examples of the figurative use of "son of".

"Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means son of encouragement)." (Acts 4:36). “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come , except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition." (2 Thessalonians 2:3 NKJV - perdition means damnation). "And He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom He gave the name Peter), and James, the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James (to them He gave the name Boanerges, which means, "Sons of Thunder")." (Mark 3:16-17)  

There's no mention in the Bible of Peter literally having a biological son, however, Peter refers to Mark, who no doubt learned much from being with Peter, as his son, figuratively speaking. "She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you her greetings, and so does my son Mark." (1 Peter 5:13)

Did Paul have sons? Not biologically, as far as we know. However, there are some who were close to him, learned from him, whom he influenced in many ways. "Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight." (1Timothy 1:18) "I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains." (Philemon 1:10)  Timothy and Onesimus were not Paul's biological sons, but were ones who he discipled. He was their spiritual mentor. They became like him. 

OK, now that it's been established that the phrase “son of” figuratively means “the exact representation of”, then you can grasp the idea that the two titles of Jesus, Son of Man and Son of God, are 'descriptive' titles. They describe who Jesus is - the exact representation of man and the exact representation of God.


A) Jesus "Son of Man"
The term "son of man" can simply imply humanity - or being human.  “Then He said to me, "Son of man, stand on your feet that I may speak with you!” (Ezekiel 2:1) In this case it means ‘human one’, and is used 93 times in Ezekiel to distinguish between Ezekiel the prophet, and the many non-human beings in his vision. Jesus took on the form of a human. He became the exact representation of a man.  "And being found in appearance as a man,  he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!" (Philippians 2:8) So, Son of Man = Jesus appeared in the form of a man.

B) Jesus “Son of God”
The title Son of God describes the nature of who Jesus is - the exact representation of God. "The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word." (Hebrews 1:3a). Jesus is the perfect ‘son of’ in the sense that He is the pure image of God – the same as God – he IS God in the flesh! "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1) "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us." (John 1:14) He is Deity in human form! “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form…” (Colossians 2:9) He is, in very nature, God! He is equal to God! Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” (Philippians 2:6-7) All I can say is "WOW!"  So, "Son of God" = Jesus is the same as God.

In review, 
Son of Man” = the exact representation of a human, although God. 
Son of God”  = the exact representation of God, although human.

Does that make sense? But wait, there’s more to the story! Besides being 'descriptive' titles, both the terms Son of Man and Son of God are also used as 'Divine' titles of Jesus. They identify and declare who Jesus is.


A) Jesus "Son of Man"
It's interesting that the prophet Daniel uses the term “Son of Man”:  "In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence." (Daniel 7:13). In his prophetic vision, Daniel saw the Messiah figure who appeared to be in the form of man. Well, Jesus was the fulfillment of Daniel's vision. Daniel was seeing, in his vision, a prophecy of Jesus Himself. That's why Jesus took on this title, Son of Man, referring to Himself. And interestingly enough, Jesus always talked about Himself as the Son of Man in a third person perspective. “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death. (The words of Jesus, Matthew 20:18).
So, Son of ManA Divine Title of Messiah
When Jesus uses the phrase “Son of Man”, as referring to Himself, He is identifying and declaring Himself as the Messiah. Jesus uses the phrase Son of Man 84 times in the New Testament, referring to Himself. (NKJV)

B) Jesus "Son of God"
Even at first glance, the title Son of God implies someone not of this world - a divine being. Not only does the title Son of God imply the close association with God, or Jesus being of God, but it implies the unique identification of Jesus as the sole representation of God as the divine Messiah who came to earth as the one and only Savior. "But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." (John 20:31).  \
So, "Son of God" = A Divine Title of Messiah.
It's used 44 times in the New Testament, as referring to Jesus. (NKJV)

So, in summary....
The title ‘Son of Man’ has dual terminology as far as Jesus is concerned. It's a descriptive title, showing Jesus to be the exact representation of a human, although God. Yet it also serves as a divine title, identifying Jesus as the Messiah. 

Similarly, the title ‘Son of God’ also has dual terminology as far as Jesus is concerned. It's a descriptive title, showing Jesus to be the exact representation of God, although in the form of a man. Yet it also serves as a divine title, identifying Jesus as Divine.

Whew...that was a lot! You don't know how many times I've rewritten this!


Monday, July 22, 2013

The Type Of Music God Hates

According to the Bible, there's definitely a certain type of music God hates! Did you think I was going to say Rock&Roll? No, I'm not talking about Rock! Especially since that's the music I used to play. Is it Country or Bluegrass? Not that either. How about Rap? Hip-hop? Jazz? Would you guess Classical? Pop? Maybe Heavy Metal? Soul? R&B? Reggae? Blues? No, none of those either. I'm not talking about a certain genre.

And I'm not talking about the idea of God hating a particular song. Can you picture that? God covering His ears when a song that He can't stand is played? Ha, I doubt that too (well, maybe, considering some of the songs that have been written). As for me, there are a couple of songs that drive me crazy. One is the old song, "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" and the other, "Who Let The Dogs Out". But, I'm not talking about God hating a certain song.  

And I'm not talking about God hating the music played by a particular musical instrument being used. Although, there are some instruments that man has invented that are very irritating. The one I can't bear to listen to is the bagpipe. To my ears, a bagpipe is always dissonent and out of tune. I wonder if God hates a certain instrument that man has come up with? There are all kinds of musical instruments mentioned in the Bible - such as lyres, harps, flutes, horns, trumpets, tambourines, and cymbals. Nothing to indicate He dislikes any. But as far as the type of music God hates,  I'm not talking about an instrument.

The type of music God hates has nothing to do with the style of music, or the song's melody, or the song's instruments. The type of music God hates is music that is intended to worship and glorify Him, but is played or sung with a hypocritical heart. He cannot stand it!

In the Old Testament, there was a time when the nation of Israel was corrupt with injustice. The wealthy took advantage of the poor. Extortion and bribery in the court system ran rampant. God was not pleased with them, and as long as this went on, He was not going to bless them. He used the prophet Amos to give the Israelites the message that repentance is the only way to avoid destruction. And as far as the nation's hypocritical religious gatherings and songs of praise, this is what God said:

“I hate all your show and pretense—the hypocrisy of your religious festivals and solemn assemblies I will not accept your burnt offerings and grain offerings. I won’t even notice all your choice peace offerings. Away with your noisy hymns of praise! I will not listen to the music of your harps. Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice, an endless river of righteous living." (Amos 5:21-24)

Because these people's lives weren't right with God, He called their worship songs "noisy hymns of praise!" And God refused to listen to the music of their harps. He hated it and called it "noise".

I just wonder, if we are singing songs of worship and praise, and we don't really mean what we say, or we are hypocritical in what we sing, does God feel the same way toward us? Yikes! I would say yes! If we are playing or singing music, and we are just going through the motions with false motives or hypocritical hearts, forget it! God refuses to hear it. Not only that, He hates it!

And if we are living a sinful lifestyle, and then pretending to be worshiping God on Sunday, or any other day, it won't work. God is looking at our hearts, and we should be worshiping from our hearts. Otherwise our efforts are in vain. God will not accept or hear our songs of praise and worship. But if we are trying to live righteous lives, are in Christ and under His grace, then we can lift our songs to Him with thankful hearts, and He will accept them.

"Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts." (Colossians 3:16b)

One more thing. As far as God listening to our music, I think there are three basic categories of songs: songs He is pleased with, songs He is neutral to, or songs He hates.
1. Songs God is pleased with.
These are songs that glorify and honor Him. WIth these, He is pleased and listens, when they are presented with a sincere heart.
2. Songs God is neutral to.
These are secular songs and include all genres and all instruments. With these I believe He is neutral.
3. Songs God hates.
These are songs that are hypocritical. He hates these, as well as any songs that deny Him or are offensive to Him.

So, let's make sure our worship is real and our hearts are true.

"But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23-24)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

We Must Overcome Racism

The Zimmerman/Martin trial sure has stirred things up! Can I find a news channel that's not devoting all their time to it? I've never seen so many commentators in action in all my life! And I don't think the coverage is going to end too soon. 

For me, I actually thought Zimmerman was going to get at least a manslaughter charge, regardless if Martin was white or black. However, I was once on a jury, and I know that they have heard a lot more of the story than I have. It seems like the jury wanted to charge Zimmerman with something, but couldn't do it because the verdict had to be within the context of the existing law as it applies to self defense. 

I don't know all the facts. Did Zimmerman really fear for his life - maybe thinking that Martin was going to grab his own gun and shoot him with it? Or did Zimmerman pull his gun in anger simply to win the fight? Only George Zimmerman knows! So this brings up all kinds of issues: gun control, racial profiling, and Florida's self-defense laws.  

Regardless of what you think as far as the verdict, or if racism was a factor in this killing or not, one thing is for sure - the subject of racism has been brought to the forefront. No doubt about that. It's almost like the topic was ready to ignite, and this trial was the spark.

And it brings up the question - does racism still really exist in our country in 2013? The answer is yes! Unfortunately, racism has always existed, currently exists, and probably always will to one extent or the other. It's been going on and on for centuries and centuries. Racism is a prejudice-based view that one race is inherently superior to another. The classic example is the Nazis vs. the Jews. In Hitler's view, the Jews were an inferior race who needed to be eradicated. 

There are so many other examples of racism throughout the ages. In Bible days, it was the Jews vs. the Gentiles, or the Pharisees vs. the Sadducees. Remember the massacres in Rwanda, Africa in the 1990's? It was the Tutsis vs. the Hutus, and thousands were slaughtered. In our country, ever since slavery was abolished, we are still trying to get rid of discrimination and prejudice between black and white. 

So if racism still exists, and it does, how can we work to reduce it? By demonstrations? By arguments and debates? Does that bring everyone closer? Some say we need more education about it, and better laws that give equal rights and opportunities. That's all good, but maybe what we really need to look at is the root cause of racism. What is the underlying factor? What drives it? I believe the root cause of racism is the inherent sinful, selfish nature of mankind. By default, everyone leans toward being prejudice.

If racism is here to stay, can we at least reduce the extent of it? Can we work to overcome it ourselves and help others overcome it? The answer is YES! But we can't overcome racism strictly by forcing people to comply - in other words, strictly by laws regarding civil rights, desegregation, and the like. That's not the real way to overcome it.

The real way to overcome racism involves the heart. That's right - it has to be a personal matter - an individual matter - a matter of the heart. There has to be a transformation in the way you think and act regarding other people. Hate needs to be removed, especially hating others based on selfish motivations, or pride, or race, or for that matter, anything.

Through Christ, this transformation on how we think of others happens. When we become Christ followers, and become obedient to His teachings, we try to be more like Him, We want to think and act like He teaches us to. And you better believe it, Christ knows all about this hate deal - He experienced it Himself! 

If I hadn’t done such miraculous signs among them that no one else could do, they would not be guilty. But as it is, they have seen everything I did, yet they still hate me and my Father. This fulfills what is written in their Scriptures: ‘They hated me without cause.’ (John 15:24-25)

An important truth to remember is that God shows no prejudice, no partiality, no favoritism to any race, or any person. All are equal in His eyes. He wants all to come to repentance, and to be one of His children. His love for all was demonstrated by the cross of Jesus.

Then Peter replied, “I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism. In every nation he accepts those who fear him and do what is right. (Acts 10:34-35)

Here's the key verse for me: "So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer." (2 Corinthians 5:16)

Notice the phrase "worldly point of view". Racism, discrimination, hate, jealously, condemnation, etc, is how we look at others from a worldly point of view. But the opposite of a 'worldly' point of view is a 'Godly' point of view. We need to look at people as God looks at people. We are not better than any other person in God's eyes, regardless if we have more money, nicer clothes, a better job, or better health, or whatever we think elevates us above someone else.

So, no matter who tries to persuade you otherwise, as a Christian, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind."  (Romans 12:2) 

If transformational thinking, through Christ, can overcome racism, then we, as individual Christians, have an obligation to do our part in helping to transform others by sharing the Gospel message, and thereby offering a new life, a new way, a new mindset, a new heart to people, who will then see other races in a different light. As Christians, when we get the opportunity, let's voice our opinion on how people should look upon each other. We can start by setting the example in our own words and actions. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Paranormal Activity - Jesus Levitates!

Jesus was involved in paranormal activities. Of course! Because He was and is 'paranormal'. Paranormal means not scientifically explainable. In other words, definitely NOT Normal. That's because when Jesus came to earth, He was in very nature God, taking on the appearance of a man (Philippians 2:6-8).

Jesus performed a ton of miracles. Miracles are events that defy the laws of nature and science. Jesus healed the sick, made the blind see, made the deaf hear, walked on water, calmed the sea, fed the hungry, healed the crippled, drove out demons, and even raised the dead back to life! Whoa! And that's just a sampling. Besides specific miracles that are recorded in the New Testament, with specific people, the Bible also talks about general miracles that Jesus did - whole groups of people with various issues.

"Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick." (Matthew 14:14)
"A vast crowd brought to him people who were lame, blind, crippled, those who couldn’t speak, and many others. They laid them before Jesus, and he healed them all." (Matthew 15:30)
"Large crowds followed him there, and he healed their sick." (Matthew 19:2)

Who knows how many were healed. Hundreds, perhaps thousands over the period of His ministry. The Gospel of John details many miracles by Jesus, however, not every miracle is recorded. 

"Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written." (John 21:25)

Some of the paranormal activities Jesus was involved in were not just Him performing miracles, but events in His life. For instance, His birth was paranormal. He was born of a virgin! Impossible you say? According to the laws of nature, yes. But, the Creator God invented nature and has sovereignty over it. He can alter it any way He wants to, at any time He wants to. And how about at the baptism of Jesus? The Holy Spirit descends like a dove, settling on Him, and God speaks audibly from Heaven! (Matthew 3:16-17) Not normal! Supernatural!

The 'transfiguration' of Jesus was another incredible paranormal event. 

There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” (Matthew 17:2-5)

Of all the paranormal events Jesus was involved in, the most astounding, far reaching, eternally significant one is His resurrection from the dead! Wow! Because He resurrected, Jesus defeats death itself, and if we are in Christ, we defeat death also. We will resurrect from the dead, and have eternal life with Him, in Heaven.

"And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you." (Romans 8:11)

After Jesus resurrected from the dead, He walked on earth for 40 days, and was seen by many, including 500 at one time (1 Corinthians 15:6). And then something incredible happened. After giving some final instructions to His disciples, He levitated right before their eyes. That's right! Paranormal activity again! To levitate means to rise or float in the air, in defiance of the physical laws of gravity. Jesus, in bodily form, began floating upward, higher and higher, until He reached the clouds and beyond, and then out of sight. 

After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him.  (Acts 1:9)

Can you imagine what the disciples were seeing and thinking? They were trying to see Him as long as they could, for as far as they could, but eventually He was too far away. It's hard to say how long they would have stared into the sky. Fortunately, two angels interrupted their straining. The angels told them that Jesus ascended into the spiritual realm - Heaven. 

As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them.  “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!” (Acts 1:10-11)

Since Jesus was raised from the dead, He is alive! Death no longer has dominion over Him, or over us for that matter. And since Jesus ascended into Heaven, He is going to come back to get us - His church. He promised that.

"Don't be troubled. You trust God, now trust in me. There are many rooms in my Father's home, and I am going to prepare a place for you. If this were not so, I would tell you plainly. When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am." (NLT, John 14:1-4)

His return will be the "grand finale" - "the coup de grace". No one knows when He will come back. But one thing is for sure, He will! And when He does, He will judge the living and the dead, and there will be some amazing paranormal activity, like that which has never been seen. So.... BE READY!

"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come." (NIV, Mark 13:32-33)

Thursday, July 4, 2013

My Personal Declaration of Independence

In the U.S., July 4th is Independence Day. And where I live, near the Ocean, it's beach day! It's the busiest beach day of the year. Thousands and thousands of people flock to the ocean. I wonder how many realize what Independence Day is about, other than a holiday beach day? I'm sure some late night TV host, like Jay Leno, will be interviewing people on the street, to ask what Independence Day stands for. 

Independence Day is a federal holiday that celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. The Declaration of Independence is that famous document, drafted by Thomas Jefferson, and signed by the members of the Continental Congress. It announced that the 13 colonies, then at war with Great Britain, declared themselves to be no longer under the rule of the British Empire. And for our country, as well as for any country that seeks to be an independent nation, that is something surely worth remembering and celebrating. 

It makes me consider...what is our personal independence day, spiritually speaking? When did we declare freedom? Freedom from what? Well, we know this: Christ died to set us free from sins. So, if Christ set us free from sins, we are no longer slaves to sin. In other words, Jesus set us free from the bondage of sin - free from the chains and shackles of sin ruling our lives.

"For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant."  (Hebrews 9:15)

There's a point when we decide to get rid of our old self, our old ways, our sinful ways. In a sense, we die to our old self - we die to sin. Through Jesus we become new. That's what Christianity is all about - new life in Christ. 

"What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?" (Romans 6:1-2)

Spiritually, we go through a death, burial, and resurrection. We bury our old self - crucify our old self. Our spiritual death, burial and resurrection parallels Christ's death, burial, and resurrection. This happens at our baptism. 

"Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life."  (Romans 6:3-4)

At our baptism, we rise to walk a new life. At our baptism, we are joined with Christ, and are united with Him. And if we go through a spiritual death, burial and resurrection with Jesus, ours sins are washed away, and we are forgiven and set free from the bondage of sin ruling our lives.

"For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin." (Romans 6:5-7)

If you were baptized into Christ, you have clothed yourself with Christ. His Spirit is in you, and you walk with Him the rest of your life. 

"For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ." (Galatians 3:27)

Those of us who were baptized, have decided to live a new life - to change, to transform ourselves and live in a right relationship with God.

"In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6:11)

Yes, those of us who are citizens of the United States of America should celebrate the 4th of July, and pledge our allegiance to our country. But even in the bigger picture, those of us who are Christians should celebrate our spiritual declaration of independence -  the day we were baptized! And just as we pledge our allegiance to our country, in a broader sense, as Christians, we pledge our allegiance to the one who set us free, Jesus.

"But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness." (Romans 6:17-18)

That's right, those of us who are in Christ, are set free, not only from the bondage of sin, but we are set free from the grip of death itself! 

"But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:22-23)

So let's celebrate our country's Independence Day. And let this holiday remind those of us who are baptized into Christ, to recall our spiritual Independence Day. The day we were set free. For me, it was December 21, 1986 - my personal declaration of independence :)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

What Does It Mean To Be Redeemed?

There's a popular Christian song out today by Big Daddy Weave called "Redeemed". I love this song and it's message. It's one of my favorites. After all, as Christians, we believe that we are redeemed by Christ. And that's a powerful thought. Or at least it should be. But what does it actually mean?

In today's world, what comes to mind to me when I think of the word redeem, is how the word applies to a coupon I'm using to purchase something. For example, if I receive a coupon for, say, a free candy bar, all I need to do is present the coupon to the cashier in exchange for it. In this way, I redeem the coupon. In other words, I purchase the candy bar with the coupon, and instead of using my money. Isn't that a nice feeling?

I suppose in Bible times, they had a much broader appreciation for the concept of redemption, because in the Old Testament, it was used a lot - for properties, for animals, and even for people. The Mosaic law dictated the details of redemption. For example, it told how a relative could buy back, or redeem, land for the original owner - giving ownership back to him. “If one of your fellow Israelites becomes poor and sells some of their property, their nearest relative is to come and redeem what they have sold." (Leviticus 25:25)

So, this idea of redeeming something goes further than just a trade off. It involves ownership. In the example of the candy bar, when I redeem my coupon, I now own the candy bar. It's mine. 

Remember how the Israelites became a slave nation under the Egyptian pharaoh? And how God sent Moses to get them out? Through Moses, God did powerful miracles, culminating in the death of all the first born of the Egyptians. The first born of the Israelites were spared by spreading the blood of lambs around their door posts. God redeemed them - set them free from slavery. He rescued them.

"I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment." (Exodus 6:6)

God redeemed them. He freed them, but He also considered them His. Think of the candy bar, enslaved by the store owner, to be set free from the bondage of the display counter - rescued! When I redeem the coupon, I now own the candy bar. It's mine, not the store owners. I redeemed my coupon for it.

This concept of redemption, including both the act of releasing, rescuing, as well as corresponding ownership, is expanded to a new level in the New Testament. Now, instead of the Jewish nation being the chosen people, all who are in Christ, Jews and Gentiles, are the new chosen nation - Christians. Peter explains this in his letter, addressed to Christians. "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." (1 Peter 2:9) 

Notice the phrase 'God's special possession' in that verse. That's who we are through Jesus. By the sacrifice of Jesus, we are now God's people,  redeemed and freed from the bondage of sin. 

"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us." (Ephesians 1:7-8)

One more thing. Consider the concept of a "ransom price". It's the cost of releasing someone from being captive. Spiritually speaking, we are ransomed by God. He paid the price to release us from being captive by the bondage, the shackles, of sin. In our case, the ransom price is the purchase price - the price God was willing to pay to redeem you - to rescue you. Think about that cost. Do you understand that nothing could pay the price of your redemption but the sacrifice of God's own Son?  Our ransom price was Jesus, who willfully gave His life for you!

"Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)

No amount of riches, no amount of good deeds that you could possibly accumulate, no amount of righteous living could be enough to pay the price. The ransom for your release was set extremely high. Do you realize what this says about the high value God places on you? He offered the life of His Son in exchange for you! That's how much God values you and loves you. A fair trade? Absolutely NOT!  It's called Grace. 

"You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies"  (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

Through Christ, you are released, rescued, and redeemed. You are one of God's own special possessions - you are His - adopted as a child of God. 

As the song goes, "I am redeemed. You set me free. So I'll shake off these heavy chains. And wipe away every stain. Cause I'm not who I used to be. I am redeemed. Thank God, redeemed."