I received an email last week from a national drug store chain urging “Join us for our Bonus Redemption Event” Some of you may also have received it. The store offers points which can be redeemed as cash for items purchased in the store. The “Bonus” of this six-day deal is that the redemption cash value will be topped up. So, for example, redeeming $50 in points will actually buy you $65 in merchandise! It’s a good deal: you surrender X many points, but in exchange receive X plus in value!
A few weeks back I brought a collection of empty pop and sparkling water bottles in to our local bottle exchange. They call the place where this all happens a “Redemption Center.” There is usually a big line-up — folks are eager to exchange what is empty and useless for something of value.
Of course the very BEST “Redemption Event” is the one that’s been available for centuries. It is the one provided by our Creator… in the works “from the foundation [creation] of the world” (Rev. 13:8), planned from eternity and culminated into “the fullness of time” [at just the right moment] (Gal. 4:4) to us, we the undeserving, in the cross of Christ.
The offer is this: We give Him our broken, sin ravaged, “filthy rag” flesh – all our finite physical life, and He gives us immediate entry into the family of God… life eternal… pure… holy and faultless. It’s a very good offer indeed! Only a fool would walk away from it. But as slain missionary Jim Elliot pointedly stated, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
Jesus puts it like this: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. / For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. / What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? / Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” (Mark 8:34-37)
The drug store chain’s “Bonus Redemption Event” ends today. After that, and it will be too late. Jesus’s “Redemption Event” could end at any moment. He urges everyone, saying “Now is the day of salvation.” (2 Cor. 6:2); “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts” (Ps. 95:7-8; Heb. 3:7-8, 15).
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