I came perilously close to losing my scholarships this semester. Gradewise, there was no way I wasn’t supposed to get a C- in Physiology, requiring me to take it again and putting my GPA at something like 3.4978. I was bracing myself for the worst, expecting to lose my scholarship–have to work my way through school, reevaluate how to handle things. I was kicking myself for being so cocky at the beginning of the semester–“Sure it’s going to be tough taking Chemistry, Anatomy, and Physiology all in the same semester. But I can handle it.” Just barely.
So when I looked at my grades and discovered that I’d gotten a C in Physiology instead of a C-, I felt like the world had been handed me on a platter. I hadn’t lost my scholarships. I would have a chance
to redeem myself. That vein of thought continued for a while–I started to contemplate the concept of redemption.
I don’t think I’ve really valued redemption in my life as much as I should. I’ve known Christ since I was four years old. I’ve been a generally good kid. I’ve never done anything illegal or committed any
of those uncomfortably visible moral errors. I’ve always had good grades, despite having substandard study habits. I’ve always had a nice little life–why should I need redemption?
Of course, this thought is incorrect. I do need redemption–desperately. But I saw that in a new way when I saw that I had received a C in that class. The first words out of my mouth were, “Awesome, now I have a chance to redeem myself.” You see, I didn’t deserve a C in that class–by my own cockiness and lack of devotion to studying, I deserved to lose my scholarship. But, by the grace of God, I didn’t get what I deserved. I received better. Now, I have a chance to redeem myself–to prove that I have a right to the scholarship I received.
Just like I received my scholarships on the basis of merit that I didn’t necessarily have–unless being born “smart” counts as merit–any life that I have received is granted to me apart from my own merit. God
granted me life, not because I deserved it in any way. He just chose to give it to me. But I did not treat that life with respect. I used it for sin and sold my life in slavery to sin; just like I came within an
inch of losing my scholarship because of my own lack of dedication to my studies.
The difference between my scholarships and my life overall rests in this–I have received grace so that I might redeem myself in regard to my studies; I have received grace despite having no ability to redeem myself in regard to slavery to sin. I can learn to study and devote more time to studying to improve my grades–I can’t
do anything to solve my sin problem.
But the amazing thing about God is that what I was powerless to do, Christ did. “For when we were still without strength, in due time, Christ died for the ungodly.” (Romans 5:6) I was completely powerless to redeem myself from sin–but Christ in His mercy took on flesh to become my kinsman redeemer. “But when the fullness of the
time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” (Galatians 4:4-5)
Week in the Word was incredible. The time we spent in Ruth only served to confirm this concept of redemption. The story of Ruth models redemption in so many ways–outlining for us the role of a kinsman-redeemer. Perhaps the first qualification for a kinsman-redeemer is that the person be a kinsman. Boaz was Ruth’s kinsman
through his familial relationship with Elimelech (Ruth’s father in law). Christ became our kinsman by taking on human flesh. As Boaz agreed to redeem Ruth when she requested that he spread the corner of his garment over her, Christ chooses to redeem us when we come to Him for redemption. Just as the redemption of Ruth was part of the grand story of God’s agenda to bring glory to Himself by redeeming a people, our redemption is also part of the grander story. We are redeemed to bear fruit–“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain.” (John 15:16)
Redemption is a grand story that shows the lovingkindness of our Saviour. We were incapable of redeeming ourselves from the slavery into which we sold ourselves. So, Christ in His mercy took on flesh to become our kinsman. As our kinsman, He redeemed us. Now as our husband, He bears fruit in us–fruit that ultimately leads back to the glorification of God and the advancement of His program to redeem for Himself people from every nation.