NINE OPERATIONS OF REDEMPTION
NINE OPERATIONS OF REDEMPTION Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
To be totally redeemed is to be totally reclaimed from the power of Satan. There are at least nine operations included in the Divine program of total redemption.
Table of Contents
NINE OPERATIONS OF REDEMPTION
He saved them from the hand of the foe; from the hand of the enemy he redeemed them. (Psalms 106:10)
To redeem a thing or a person is to gain back the thing or person from the control of another.
In the beginning Adam and Eve, by their willingness to obey Satan rather than God, sold themselves and all their descendants into slavery to Satan. Now the task is to gain back human beings from the chains of Satan.
Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin." (John 8:34)
We can see in Pharaoh of Egypt a picture of the unwillingness of Satan to release his slaves. The price of redemption has been paid as the Lord Jesus shed His blood on the cross. Christ died to redeem the peoples of the earth. Even though Satan no longer has any legal claim to people, he will not release them.
Therefore, freedom from Satan must be gained by the exercise of force. This is the reason for the Battle of Armageddon.
The following text may make it clear that redemption is a program, beginning with our initial forgiveness and proceeding to a new righteous creation in which no sin remains.
We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. (II Corinthians 5:20)
Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. (Matthew 5:23,24)
We must be reconciled both to God and to other people.
We are self-centered today. The Christian teaching sounds as though God is so anxious to be reconciled to us that He is willing to have lasting fellowship with us while we continue to sin. This is an incorrect emphasis. It is God who has been offended. God is not going to change. It is we who have to change. It is we who have to come out from the filthiness of sin so God will be willing to receive us.
It is true, however, that God reaches out to us in order that we may be able to return home to God. The Shepherd leaves the ninety and nine and seeks out the lost lamb.
But God will never compromise the integrity of His holy Nature.
As we continue in the program of redemption we may feel impressed by the Spirit of God to go to another person and make things right. It is important that we do all God shows us as far as making peace with another is concerned. Otherwise God may honor their grievance and we may suffer for it.
Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. (Matthew 5:25)
We are to live peaceably with all people, as far as possible, forgiving everyone and seeking the good of our brothers and sisters in Christ.
The forgiveness of our guilt is but one step in the program of reconciliation, of redemption. However, we are not fully reconciled until there is no part of Satan left in us.
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace (Ephesians 1:7
God cannot just forgive our sin. God is not a human being. God is perfect love, perfect justice, and perfect judgment. He is a Spirit.
When an individual sins the Divine scales are thrown out of balance. God cannot just say, "Oh well, it doesn't matter."
The soul that sins shall die!
However, it is possible for an innocent person to give His life as payment for the sins of another. God's justice remains intact. Death resulted from the sin and so the scales came back into balance. The price of redemption has been paid by the blood of the innocent.
We must remember, however, that by accepting the death of Jesus on our behalf we now belong to Jesus and not to ourselves. We have passed from slavery to Satan to slavery to Jesus. We are the Lord's slaves just as we used to be Satan's slaves.
A human being is the slave of Satan or the slave of Christ. There is no middle ground. The only free individual is he or she who is the slave of Jesus Christ.
I think today we figure that "good ol' God" in His good-natured way just decided to forgive our sins. This is not at all what took place. Rather, God laid the guilt of our sins on Christ and He paid the agonizing penalty. The price for sin was paid in full! Let us not forget this, because we seem to have a humanistic view of God todayCas though He has changed from that dreadful ogre of the Old Testament into a kindhearted grandfather. God has seen the light and has decided to join the human race. God is okay and we are okay.
If this modern version were true it would have been better if we never were born.
Christ died for the sins of the whole world. But in order to have our sins forgiven we have to believe this is true, and then ask to have the forgiveness applied to ourselves. The atoning blood of Jesus Christ is completely authoritative. Satan cannot gainsay it. The price of redemption has been paid in full!
For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more. (Hebrews 8:12)
As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. (Psalms 103:12)
In any court of law it is one matter to pay the penalty for breaking the law. It is another matter to have the crime removed from our record.
Removing the incident from the record is termed "expunging."
When an individual breaks the law repeatedly a dossier is accumulated. It is true that when the lawbreaker serves out his time and pays his fine, he no longer is guilty. The police cannot retain him legally.
But there still is the record, the dossier, which will be handed to the judge at the next offense.
God has promised that He will not remember our sins. They not only are forgiven, they are expunged from the record. This is marvelous when you think about it because we, in our pride, may keep on berating ourselves concerning a sin that has been confessed to God.
We are not to do this. It is an insult to the authority of the blood of the cross. When God forgives He forgets.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9)
Two things happen when we confess our sins (not just list them but repent of them wholeheartedly) First, God forgives us our sin. Second, God purifies us from all unrighteousness.
If I am not mistaken, purifying us from all unrighteousness refers to expunging the record. Obviously, when we confess our sins we are not immediately freed from our entire sin nature. (Would it were so!) I believe the reference is to the particular sin or sins we have confessed. They are forgiven, and then the record is expunged. No dossier is accumulated. It is as though we never had sinned.
We may suffer for years from the consequences of sins we have committed. But in God's sight our sins have been forgiven and removed from the record. The consequent suffering has to do with the law of sowing and reaping and does not mean we have not been totally forgiven and cleansed from all unrighteousness.
For example, let us say we are not faithful to our marriage vows and go to live with someone else. Then we repent and ask God to forgive us.
God will always forgive us and erase the record of our transgression.
But the consequences of our folly may cause us pain for many, many years. We reap what we sow. Our relationship to God is intact. But when we come to the hour of death and realize we have betrayed a wife (or husband) and children who had trusted us, and are given to understand the inheritance we have forfeited by breaking our marriage vows, the agony may be severe and prolonged.
Our sins have been forgiven and the record expunged. But we may enter the spirit realm as a naked spirit, devoid of inheritance and reward. There are laws that operate in the Kingdom of God and they are not canceled because we have been forgiven and the record erased.
God may forgive our smoking cigarettes if we truly repent and turn away from this injurious habit. But we still may die from lung cancer.
In other words, no one gets away with anything. Every action has a consequence and must be dealt with in one manner or another. But God will save us from the Lake of Fire if we truly repent and call on the Name of the Lord Jesus. Whoever will call on the name of the Lord shall be saved!
However, there is a reward for pursuing the life of victory in Jesus.
"I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire." (Matthew 3:11,12)
This is a topic that has occupied much of my thinking, preaching, and writing.
I believe the difference between the forgiveness of sin and deliverance from sin is an area of considerable confusion in Christian thinking.
All of us hope to one day find ourselves in a paradise where there is no sin in us or in other people. Isn't this so? Yet, the Christian Gospel is preached as though it only forgives sin. When and how God will actually remove sin is not always made clear.
We know, from the passage in Matthew set forth above, that the time will come when sin is removed from the Kingdom of God. We are not always certain whether such removal shall occur in Heaven or on the earth; now or at the coming of the Lord.
Let us suggest there are four areas that must be considered in the program of deliverance from sin, which obviously is an extremely important aspect of the Divine redemption.
First, our mind must be oriented correctly toward the removal of sin from us.
Second, the vitality of the sinful passion must be deadened in some manner.
Third, the damage done by our sin and self-will must be repaired.
Fourth, the source of the spiritual darkness in us must be removed.
Until these four areas are dealt with successfully we have not been completely redeemed from slavery to Satan.
Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5:13,14)
It is evident from the above passage that growth in Christ has a lot to do with growth in the ability to distinguish good from evil, and to embrace the good and denounce and renounce the evil.
To grow in the ability to distinguish good from evil is to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve were not ready to eat of this tree. Neither are we until we are established in Christ. Such knowledge grows in us a little bit at a time so there can be a corresponding growth of Christ in us.
It is of the greatest importance that we set our mind to the fact that the Holy Spirit desires to lead us continually in the conquest of sin. We are never to believe or say, as is stated today, that as long as we are in the world we have to sin. This is not a scriptural attitude. We always, day by day, must be following the Spirit of God in the process of growth in godly behavior.
In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. (Romans 6:11-14)
We are to count ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ. This is the only scriptural orientation to the Christian discipleship.
We are to refuse to let sin govern our conduct.
We never are to offer the parts of our body to sinful behavior but to God as instruments of righteousness.
Our mind must be set toward ever-increasing victory over sin. We never are to accept defeat no matter how prolonged the battle. Remember how the Israelites have suffered to the present hour because of not diligently driving all of the Canaanites from their land of promise when they had the opportunity. God warned the Israelites to totally destroy the enemy. This they were unwilling to do but stopped fighting as soon as some victories had been gained.
Our mind must be trained to never, never, never compromise with partial victory over the sins we commit. If we do not surrender, Christ will give the victory at just the right time.
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
To resist the devil is to vigorously denounce and renounce sin. We denounce it as unworthy of the Kingdom of God. We renounce it, telling it we want nothing to do with it ever again.
The reason people do not make more progress in moral deliverance is that they do not get firm enough with the sin. They pamper and mollycoddle themselves, excusing their conduct and comparing themselves with other people.
If you expect to be delivered you have to confess the sin clearly, condemn it to the Lake of Fire where it belongs, turn away from it, calling on the Lord for help. If you will take this attitude toward sin, Satan will flee from you. He is terrified of the righteous when they are abiding in Christ!
For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, (Romans 8:13)
You have to try this procedure to appreciate how effective it is.
We are to put to death the actions of our sinful nature. How do we do this? We confess the specific behavior to God clearly. We denounce it as fit only for the Lake of Fire. We renounce it, stating clearly that we wish to have no more to do with it forever. We draw near to God, accepting with thanksgiving His forgiveness and cleansing of the record. Then we resist the devil every time we are tempted back into the old behavior.
I don't know if this procedure has always been as effective as it is today. I do know the Lord works at definite periods of time and seasons of opportunity. Certain parts of the New Testament are emphasized during different generations.
I have found that putting to death the actions of the sinful behavior works powerfully in our day. I know also that whenever there is a season of opportunity we have to take advantage of it right away. When that window is closed it may be closed for eternity. God is loving but not foolish. He means business and He expects to be obeyed sternly and diligently. He is a hard businessman in some ways.
Please don't wait to see if I am correct.
If you will follow the scriptural procedures outlined above, you will discover that there will be a deadening of the vitality of the sinful urge that has been addressed specifically. It will appear to be outside you to the extent that you now are able to resist it.
Try it and see for yourself. Taste and see that the Lord is good.
And provide for those who grieve in Zionto bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. (Revelation 21:4,5)
He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work. (I John 3:8)
Most of us who are adults can look back on our lives and remember the foolish, sinful things we have doneeven as Christians. Perhaps we have truly repented and have gained the Lord's forgiveness and cleansing. But we have harmed others and ourselves by our behavior.
How wonderful it is to know that if we are faithful to the Lord then He, having forgiven us and having cleansed the record, immediately sets about to repair the damage we have done to ourselves physically, emotionally, and mentally.
"The oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair." Gladness and praise means all painful memories have been removed. This in itself is a tremendous blessing.
I think those who have lived sinful lives, never having repented, will be tormented by the memory of what they have done. Can you imagine the abortion doctor surrounded with the images of his operations? What if these images persisted for eternity? And there is no loss of consciousness in the spirit world!
Perhaps we will never regain our physical, emotional, or mental health in this worldor perhaps we shall. But we know eventually we shall be made whole once again, because of the promise in God's Word that He is bringing us to fullness of joy.
As far as the damage we have done to other people, who knows what is to be done about this? All we can do is to receive our forgiveness and cleansing, and then, as the Spirit directs us, make restitution as well as we can. After that the results of our sinful, willful actions must be left in the hands of God.
We do know that one of the tasks of the sons of God will be to rebuild the damage done by sinners and self-willed people.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. (Isaiah 61:4)
It is good to know that we will be busy in the world to come, constructing a new world in which righteousness will prevail.
The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. (Matthew 13:41)
Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:27,28)
Paul stated that sin dwells in our flesh. We know that the human body is neutral as far as sin and righteousness are concerned. None of the chemical compounds that make up our various systems contain in themselves a desire to sin.
Therefore, the sin that dwells in us must consist of spiritual forces or personalities. We can deaden their vitality by the procedure outlined above, but they still may be present in us. For this reason we never can let down our guard. We always must be prepared to resist the devil.
However, the New Testament speaks of a day of redemption, of salvation, that is to come in the future. Since our sins already have been forgiven and the record has been expunged, the future salvation must refer to the actual removal of the tendencies toward sin that dwell in us.
Who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. (I Peter 1:5)
I can think of nothing better than having no sinful impulses in my personality. How do you feel about this?
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: (II Corinthians 5:17,18)
Notice the completeness of the Divine work!
"The old has gone."
"The new has come."
"All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself."
The new creation is not merely a forgiven old personality. It actually is a new creation in which all of the old man has been removed; and all of the new that has been added is of God Himself. We can look forward to this total work because God has promised it.
My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, (Galatians 4:19)
It is one matter to have our sins forgiven, cleansed, the vitality deadened, and then the actual sin removed from our personality. This leaves us like Adam and Eve.
But it is not God's intention to put us back in Paradise in an innocent state, for then we might commit the same error again. Rather God is forming Christ in us as a wall against sin. In fact, the only guarantee that we will not sin again is that Christ has been formed in us. This is true whether we are in Heaven or on the earth. There is no safety in merely being in a place, no matter how holy. The only guarantee we will not repeat the mistake made by Adam and Eve is that Christ has been formed in us.
After all, sin began in Heaven around the Throne of God! The first sin on earth was committed in Paradise. So the only assurance we have that we will not sin is that Christ has been formed in us.
Christ is formed in us as we learn to live by His body and blood. Every time we turn away from our own way and choose the way of the Lord we are given to eat of Christ's flesh and to drink of His blood. In this way the Bride of the Lamb is formed within us. Just as Eve was formed from the substance of Adam, so it is true that the Bride of the Lamb is formed from the body and blood of Christ.
To take a worldly, sinful, self-centered individual and conform him to the image of Jesus Christ until he or she actually is a brother of Christ is no small undertaking. God is able to transform us to this extent provided we cooperate with His Spirit. God began our salvation and God will bring it to completion if we will be strictly obedient to Him.
He who overcomes receives the hidden manna. This means that those who live victoriously in Christ are continually being nourished and strengthened with the body and blood of Christ. Thus they pass from victory to victory.
The believers who continue to live according to their sinful nature remain unchanged. No new creation is formed. This is unfortunate, because even if their sins have been forgiven they still are not capable of ruling with the Lord Jesus. They still can be moved off the track.
When the Apostle Paul noted that the believers in Galatia were going back under the Law of Moses, he told them that he would travail in birth until Christ had been formed in them. It is only as Christ is formed in us that we can walk consistently in the ways of God.
We must be forgiven.
The record of our guilt must be wiped clean.
We must deaden the vitality of the actions of our sinful nature.
We eventually must have the sources of sin removed from our personality.
And we must have Christ formed in us.
None of these five operations of redemption can be left out if we are to be removed completely from the wiles of Satan.
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you foreverC the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. (John 14:16,17)
Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. John 14:23)
The forming of Christ in our personality provides a resting place for the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
First the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us for eternity.
Then we are to keep the commandments of Christ with the power and wisdom the Spirit provides.
At the appropriate time the Father and the Son will come to us and make Their eternal home with us. This is our destinyto be the dwelling place, the resting place, the throne, of almighty God.
The Father has no way of communicating satisfactorily with the people whom He has created. Therefore He is calling out from mankind a Church, a royal priesthood, through whom He can govern and bless the saved peoples of the earth.
No member of God's elect, His priesthood, will ever be completely satisfied until his or her life is found in God and in other people. We are to be the vehicle through which the love of God is expressed to His creation. It is because of our role as members of the royal priesthood that we are called on to endure the rigorous discipleship to which we have been assigned.
For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. (II Corinthians 5:4)
The passage above has to do with the Day of Resurrection, the day when our flesh and bones are raised to stand on the earth. At that time our body will be clothed with that which we have sown while living on the earth, whether good or bad.
I guess there is no more radical change of emphasis needed in Christian thinking than removing dying and going to Heaven as the goal of salvation and substituting in its place a right standing in life and power in the Day of Resurrection.
Our goal is not eternal residence in Heaven. This never is presented in the Bible as the objective of salvation. Whatever will happen to us after we die and before the Day of Resurrection is not clearly described in the Old or New Testaments.
Our goal is salvation in the Day of the Lord.
Hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord. (I Corinthians 5:5)
To be "saved" is to not be destroyed in the Day of Christ. This is the basic meaning of salvation. It has little to do with going to Heaven.
But for the members of the royal priesthood, to be saved is much more comprehensive than not being destroyed in the Day of Christ. It means to be conformed to the moral image of Christ and to be brought into untroubled rest in the perfect will of God.
This was the mark toward which the Apostle Paul was pressing.
It seems that Christian thinking has never been clear on the difference between the Church and the saved peoples of the nations of the earth. The Church is an elect priesthood, the members of which have been called from the foundation of the earth.
The saved peoples of the nations of the earth are not members of the royal priesthood but are the inheritance of Christ and His Church. The royal priesthood will bring the rule and blessing of God to the members of the saved nations.
To not understand this is to not understand the Kingdom of God.
The saved peoples have been judged by the Lord as worthy of eternal life. These are the "sheep nations."
But the members of the priesthood are dealt with day after day, night after night. They are running a race. They are fighting the good fight of faith. They are tested to the limits of their faith. They continually are pressed into the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The members of the elect, the Church, the royal priesthood, are judged with far greater severity than is true of the saved peoples of the earth. The elect are saints, holy ones. The term "church" means called out from the peoples of the earth."
Our objective is not primarily to be saved in the day of wrath, but rather to be found in Christ as an eternal, incorruptible part of Him. It is toward this end that we patiently work out our salvation.
Because our objective is to rule in glory with Christ, what takes place in the Day of Resurrection is of supreme importance.
No doubt after we die we will go to our loved ones in the spirit realm, there to rest in a place of peace and joy. But this area of rest is a place of waiting for the truly important and significant time when the Lord returns to earth and we return with Him to receive our reward at His hands.
Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. (Revelation 22:12)
We are to put our treasures in Heaven. But we will not receive them when we die but when the Lord returns to earth. He will bring our rewards with Him. He will give to everyone according to what he or she had done while living on the earth.
Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that dayCand not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. (II Timothy 4:8)
We Christians, if we would be true to the New Testament, must turn now from the traditional "saved to go to Heaven" model of salvation, to the scriptural model of fighting the good fight of faith that we may attain a better resurrection.
Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. (Hebrews 11:35)
There are at least nine operations of the Divine plan of redemption. The purpose of these operations is to reconcile us to God and to man so we are qualified and competent to fulfill the Kingdom roles for which we have been created.
Our sins must be forgiven so God may receive us. This is accomplished as by faith we receive forgiveness through the blood of the cross.
The record of our guilt must be erased so we have a clear conscience toward God.
Our mind must be trained until we are able to recognize what is sinful and be willing to denounce and renounce all spiritual darkness.
While we are waiting for complete deliverance we must confess and reject the actions of our sinful nature so the vitality of the sin in us is deadened to the extent we can resist it.
We must follow the leading of the Holy Spirit as He works to repair the damage caused by our sin and self-will.
We must prepare our mind and heart so when the Day of Redemption arrives we can receive by faith the total removal of spiritual darkness from our personality.
We must learn to live by the body and blood of Christ rather than by our natural wisdom, strength, talents, and desires. We do this by deciding each day to look to Jesus for every decision rather than to push ahead according to our adamic impulses and passions.
We must cooperate with the forming of Christ in us until we are completely filled with the Holy Spirit, the Father, and the Son.
We must prepare ourselves for the day when our flesh and bones are raised from the dead and clothed with the body of incorruptible life.
If we still are alive on the earth when the Lord returns we must press into the change from mortality to immortality, not once looking back; not once desiring to cling to our familiar flesh and blood metabolism.
It will require unswerving faith and determination to sustain the change from mortality to immortality.
God has given us a perfect program of redemption so that through Christ we may be removed from slavery to Satan and brought into slavery to Jesus Christ. God will accomplish this in us provided we respond with faith and patience and do not shrink back.
We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. (Hebrews 6:12)
But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved. (Hebrews 10:39)