For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:13-14 NIV
In C.S. Lewis? masterpiece, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, the message of redemption is beautifully illustrated. One of the brothers betrays his family for the pleasure of his own appetite. His action rightfully makes him the possession of the wicked witch. But the creator of Narnia, Aslan, sacrifices his own life in place of the guilty one. By doing so, Aslan basically transfers his value and worth to the boy. This act demands honor on the part of the recipient. The once selfish and deceptive sibing takes his place among the warriors to defend Narnia against the wicked schemes of the witch. Aslan?s blood bought him freedom from the death he rightly deserved, and now he gladly serves the one he could never repay.
Webster?s 1913 dictionary defines redemption as ?the act of purchasing something back or regaining possession of by payment of a stipulated price?. In a nutshell, redemption is the Gospel or Good News for man. Like Aslan, Jesus, the Son of God, gave his life in exchange for man. Due to an act of the will, man became a slave of a wicked master, the devil, whose chief aim was to be like God and have dominion over everything in heaven and on earth. The devil never imagined God would give his own life for lowly man, a created being. Why? Because the devil had no idea the value God ascribed to man. Before He ever spoke the words, ?Let there be light (Gen. 1:3)?, God predetermined to reconcile man through the blood of His One and only Son (Ephesians 1:3-7). At the heart of such an act is the purest definition of love: to give one?s life on behalf of another (John 15:13). Man rightfully belonged to God as a created being who was designed to rule over God?s earth. But when He repurchased man with the blood of His Son, who in essence represented the entire Godhead, man became a new creature altogether (2 Corinthians 5:17). Now man has son-status in the presence of Almighty God; he shares Jesus? inheritance. Not by merit, but by grace!
Wow! Stop and think about that and let it sink deep into your consciousness. God has delivered man from the dominion of darkness, a destiny of death and destruction, and transferred him into the kingdom of His Son who upholds all things. There is no place greater than the Son?s kingdom, so who is our enemy? Granted, the world is full of wickedness lurking in dark corners of deception, but those in the Son are not of the world. The bible speaks of the Son as the Word of God in flesh (John 1:14). So if you are living in His kingdom, you are governed by the light of His Word, not the darkness of the world. This privilege came through great sacrifice on the part of God and demands great honor on the part of man.
Honor is defined as ?that which denotes reverence and respect.? It also speaks of consideration of the one esteemed. In order to bestow respect, one has to consciously consider what speaks honor to the worthy party. With God, obedience to His Word shouts love and respect (John 14:15). Without honor, commitment is virtually nonexistent. In the movie, The Last Samurai, honor meant everything. Japan was being influenced by those who were willing to compromise ancient values in order to see the modernization of the western world come to its shores. A handful of brave men were willing to lay down their lives to preserve what mattered most: Honor. We who have received freedom through Christ?s death should exhibit such honor. Our lives must be a constant reflection of respect for what has been paid: precious, innocent, and holy blood. We can no longer allow habits from the old life to operate in us unchallenged. We must fight the desires of the flesh in honor of the Spirit of Him who now lives in us. There can be no excuse for dishonor of the blood. Our Redeemer is gracious and He stands on our behalf as a mediator (1Timothy 2:5). When we fall short, our attitude still should be that of Paul?s in Philippians 3:13-14:?Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.? Bringing honor to His name by living a Christ-centered life should be the aim of all who care anything about God; the one who used His Son?s blood to satisfy the debt of sin.
Man was created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27), who is a Spirit (John 4:24). When man sinned he died spiritually (Genesis 2:15-17 andGenesis 3:2-7) while his mind and body continued to exist. So, in order to right the wrong he had done, someone who was spirit in nature and sinless in deed would have to give their life in exchange for the man. The only one who fit the bill was God, who made man in His Image. And it was God who established blood as a source of life. In essence, innocent blood had been condemned by sin so innocent blood was required to make things right again.
Blood is ?thefluid that circulates through one?s body, carrying nutrition to its cells and parts.? But this word carries much more meaning as it relates to God?s order in creation. Blood represents life. In a family, the blood line of the father often reflects the future of his offspring; his blood is directly associated with his name. In the Western Hemisphere of the world, few truly understand the importance of shed blood pertaining to reconciliation or the binding of an oath between two or more parties. Tribal cultures are accustomed to the ancient practice of cutting covenant in order to preserve peace among people groups. This is where blood is shed in order to bind two groups together in a sacred oath of commitment to one another, even in death. The scriptures tell us the ?blood covenant? was first and foremost God?s idea. In Genesis, God cut covenant with Abraham and swore by Himself to give Him offspring and to make his name great (Genesis 15 andGenesis 17). But this was only a dim reflection of the ultimate covenant God would cut with man. His plan all along was to pour out the purest blood of all, His own, on behalf of fallen man in order to bestow on him His Rightness (2 Corinthians 5:21). This is the binding power of blood portrayed at its finest. God?s blood alone could accomplish such a thing. And yet, man must embrace his responsibility to honor the blood with his life.
After young Edmund received pardon for his sin of betrayal in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, He was ready to represent the name of the one who set him free. Edmund would die to defend everything associated with the name ?Aslan? and his kingdom, ?Narnia.? Why? Because innocent blood was shed for one who deserved to die. The Church of God Almighty is built upon the precious blood of Jesus, our Redeemer. It is time for us to honor the blood of Christ with holy living. With every fiber of our being, we must be found imitating Him in word and deed. Upon thorough investigation of our lives, may those seeking to condemn us as followers of Christ find more than enough evidence to convict us of the crime.