Colossians 1:13,14 "For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."

Those who understand God's intent from early scripture (Genesis 12:3) was to redeem the world through Christ share much in common. God's means for achieving redemption in this rebellious world are simple. Give the promise of world redemption to Abraham. Through Abraham produce a nation. Through that nation bring the Messiah [Hebrew word] or Christ [Greek word]. Through the Christ offer all people redemption.

The areas of agreement are striking. As evangelistic Christians, we all agree God produced redemption though Christ. We all agree (1) on the need; (2) on the severity of the need; (3) on the responsibility created by God and the need; (4) on the need being met through Christian sacrifice; and (5) on the potential of that need being met by sharing the gospel (the good news of what God did for the world through Christ).

One significant question should be answered (1) by listening to God explain His intent and (2) by better understanding the use of Christ to meet world needs after Jesus died.

The question: What would a world redeemed by God through Christ look like? Is it important to answer that question? Yes! Why? If we are not careful, we substitute our expectations for God's purposes. Does the question seek to evade our responsibility to share the message of God's redemption with all people? No! It means we allow God to determine His objectives. If the end result fits our expectations instead of God's objectives, then God's redemption has not occurred in people's lives.

Is the objective to challenge all Christians to look like American Christians? No. Is the objective to fill the world with church buildings as the most prominent buildings on any landscape? No. Is the objective to have more people assembling in church buildings on Sunday morning than assemble in any other religious context? No. (That may happen in successful evangelism, but that is not God's objective.)

Then what is God's objective? The objective of divine redemption is human transformation. The fact that a person (in any culture) has become a part of the people possessed by God means he/she devotes his/her life to glorifying God. Surely it is evident in worship's praise. It is equally evident in the way he treats his wife or she treats her husband. It is evident in the way they treat their children. It is evident in the kind of neighbor he/she is; the kind of employee he/she is; the kind of citizen he/she is; his/her attitudes, motives, values; the reasons for his/her existence; and the way he/she lives a redeemed life. He/she seeks to be a God-defined person, not a culture-defined person.

Jesus stressed that a God-produced human transformation powerfully provides credibility to God's redemption. Christ's disciples are salt and light in this distasteful, dark world because their good works glorify God (Matthew 5:13-16). God's powerful Christ-centered redemption is verified through transformed lives. Conversions to Christ produce changed lives. This good, visible change verifies God's redemption is real.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 5 September 2004

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