In the words of John Newton’s 1779 hymn, “Amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found; was blind, but now I see.”
This story never gets old. Not because it’s the most popular Christian hymn. Not because your church sings it every Sunday. Rather, it’s the story of redemption. And for those of us who belong to Him, it’s the “… light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor. 4:4 ESV).
I hear the Psalmist declaring, “Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble” (Ps. 107:2 ESV). There’s something wondrously beautiful about redemption. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as “serving to offset or compensate for a defect.” And rightly so. But even that definition pales in comparison to the gracious redemption of God.
The apostle Paul offers a better explanation: “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved” (Eph. 2:4-5 ESV).
Oh, yeah. That’s the story of redemption. This week, I’m writing about what happens after redemption. How should “the redeemed of the LORD” respond to such kindness? Let’s turn our attention to the book of Matthew.
Having just completed the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus descends the mountain with great crowds behind Him. He soon heals a desperate leper (8:2-4). Before long, He heals the servant of a centurion (v. 5-13). And then, He visits the home of Peter.
“And when Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever. He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and began to serve him” (Matt. 8:14-15 ESV).
I see in this short story a picture of redemption. Let me show you.
God entered our home through the person of Jesus Christ. He saw us bed-ridden in sin. Lying hopelessly. Longing for a Savior. With amazing grace, He touched us. He made a way for us to be healed. Not everyone believed. “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12 ESV).
If you aren’t redeemed by the blood of Christ, you can be. Today. Right now. After all, as Paul writes, “… now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2 ESV). But for those of us who are already redeemed, there’s a question we must ask: now what?
Think about it. We’ve been healed. The grace of God has redeemed our lost souls. We’ve been restored to the presence of God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. So, now what? How do we respond? The same way Peter’s mother-in-law does. The Bible says, “… she rose and began to serve him [Jesus]” (Matt. 8:15 ESV).
As the redeemed of the Lord, we’re called to serve Him. Christianity is more than simply saying a prayer that ends in “amen.” It’s more than just being healed. It’s a way of life. A pursuit of Jesus Christ. A call to service.
And when we consider all that we’ve been saved from, this calling makes much more sense. The Bible says, “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God” (Rom. 5:9 ESV).
We’re saved from the wrath of God. The fires of Hell. Without the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we’re unable to find forgiveness. But in Jesus, we have great hope. And that, my friend, should cause us to serve Him for the rest of our lives. It should cause us to glorify Him every chance that we get. It should cause us to open His Word each day with a deep hunger for Christ. It should cause us to commit to a local church. It should stir an affection in our hearts for the salvation of lost people. I think you get the point.
Salvation comes with a call to serve. But salvation doesn’t come through our service. We’re saved by grace through faith in Christ. Not our works. Ephesians 2:8-9 makes this vividly clear. But upon experiencing the grace of God, we should desire to serve Him for the rest of our lives.
We’ve been redeemed! Now, let’s follow the example of Peter’s mother-in-law and serve Him. That’s the response after redemption.