Coupons. Ugh. I know that I should save them and use them. 50 cents here, a dollar there – it can all add up to money back in my pocket each week. But I never seem to be able to save them and redeem them.
I made a real effort at coupons when I was first married and trying to domesticate myself a bit. I believe I even had a folder to keep the coupons organized in. I would never remember to bring them back with me to the store, though, and when I finally did – you guessed it – they’d be expired.
I should coupon, I know I should. But I never succeed, and every time I get a coupon I’m reminded of my failure to redeem them.
Redeem – now there’s a word we don’t use in everyday talk too often. Only if we’re talking about coupons. Or God. “Redeem” is an important word when we talk about God, because it’s what God has done for us in Jesus Christ.
“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement,[b]through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith” (Romans 3:23-25).
When Paul chose this word in Romans 3:24 it didn’t have anything to do with coupons, but it did have something to do with slavery. In the first-century Roman world, slavery was a fact of life. Sometimes a slave was bought back and given freedom – when that happened, the slave was said to be “redeemed.”
When something is redeemed – a coupon, or a slave – a transaction takes place that creates a transformation. A worthless piece of paper becomes a discount. A stack of money becomes freedom. This is what God has done for us, but not with a coupon or money… but with his son. Jesus’ death on the cross became forgiveness of sins. Jesus’ escape from the tomb became eternal life.
It’s like the best, most valuable coupon ever.
But even valuable coupons can go unredeemed. I can testify to that. Every now and then I’ll get one that’s so good, I think I’ll give it a shot. Even though I know myself, even though I know I seldom remember to use it, I’ll say, “This one is worth it! I’ll use this one!”
I never do.
Life happens, and I get busy, and I forget.
The same can happen for us with Jesus Christ. Life happens, and we get busy, and we make the horrendous mistake of leaving this best coupon un-redeemed. Even worse: in this case, God has already done the redeeming work. Redemption has taken place. All we have to do is accept it.
Do you need redeemed? Do you need your sins changed into forgiveness by a body broken? Do you want to trade in death for eternal life through a Savior resurrected?
Then no need to feel disappointment; this is what God has done for you in Jesus Christ.
You have been redeemed.