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    REDEEMED(Questions 17-18)

    17. Why must He also be God?
    Because only God can take the wrath of God.

    18. Who is this Person who is God and also a sinless Man?
    Our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Many studies of these questions focus on how Jesus took the wrath of God. We know He did this by dying on the cross and bearing the weight of our sins. This is a very important part of Christian doctrine. But in this lesson we want to look at its twin, something that is equally just as important-which is why Jesus took the wrath of God. We can understand the how with our minds, but once we get a clear picture of the "why", we will begin to understand with not only our heads but also our hearts.

    To begin, then, we need to understand the word redeem. This word means to "buy back", "restore" or "return to its original state". We call Jesus our Redeemer, so obviously He has bought something or returned something to where it once belonged. Those things He has redeemed are His people-you and me. Jesus had to come and buy us back because we were slaves of sin. He had to come and return to us to a right relationship with God where we started out in Adam and Eve. He redeemed us(bought us, restored us) because of God's great love for us.

    It would be helpful for us to also understand a little bit about the times of Jesus. In those days it was common to own slaves. There was three basic ways you could become a slave:

    1. By birth. If your parents were slaves when you were born that automatically made you a slave. And when you had kids they would become slaves as well. It was something passed down from generation to generation.

    Now what does that sound like to you? If you said sin you are right. We received our sinful nature from our parents, who received it from theirs. And one day you will pass it on to your kids.

    2. By war. If your country was defeated by another in war, you could become a slave of the conquering country. You would have to live by their laws, follow their religion and do whatever they told you to do. In the same way, we have been conquered by sin and are forced to do what it tells us to do. Instead of worshipping God, we worship pleasure, idols or other things that our sin makes us worship.

    3. By debt If someone owed alot of money and could not pay it back, the person who was owed the money could make that person their slave. They would have to work off the money for seven or ten years. If they died while a slave, their children would have to pay the rest of the debt. Our sin causes us to earn the wage of death. We can't work off what we owe God. The only way to pay it in full is to punished in our body and soul for now and forever.

    To further drive the point of what it means to be a slave home, and how God went to such great lengths to redeem us we will look at the story of the prophet Hosea. God told Hosea to go get himself a wife. Not such a bad thing, huh? But read these verses and see what kind of wife God told Hosea to find:

    When the LORD began to speak to Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea: "Go, take for yourself a wife of harlotry and children of harlotry, for the land has committed great harlotry by departing from the LORD".

    (Hosea 1:2, NKJV)

    A wife of "harlotry" is a nice way of saying, "Go marry a prostitute"! Why would God have one of His holy prophets go marry a hooker? The answer is in the second part of the verse-because the people of the land had committed adultery against God. He was trying to give a symbol or example of how the people had sinned against Him.

    Hosea does what God says to do. But his new wife, Gomer, isn't into the marriage thing. She doesn't show any love to Hosea, she goes out and cheats on him, and eventually because of all the money she owes around town she is captured and set up to be sold as a slave. You think at this point in the story Hosea would say "Good riddance" and let his wife be sold. But that's not what happens. Hosea goes to the auction block where they have Gomer waiting to be sold. At the auctions the slaves would be stripped naked so everyone could get a good look at what they were buying. Gomer must have been very ashamed as she stood there naked in her chains.

    As the bidding begins, you can imagine how everyone wanted Gomer. She was an attractive woman and probably a good buy! The price keeps going up and up until finally Hosea steps up and pays a high price for his own wife. Look at Hosea's words after he bought her back from slavery.

    So I bought her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver, and one and one-half homers of barley. And I said to her, "You shall stay with me many days; you shall not play the harlot, nor shall you have a man-so, too, will I be toward you."

    (Hosea 3:2-3, NKJV)

    Hosea bought his wife back with silver and barley. He took her naked body and covered it with his own clothes. As he brought her off the auction block he made no demands of her except that she should no longer seek after other lovers. He was her only lover now and he promised to be with her for "many days".

    You can probably see the imagery in this story. Picture yourself up on that auction block. You are a slave sold into sin. You stand naked and ashamed because of what you have done. Not only do you deserve to be sold off but nobody would even care if you were killed. But then Jesus appears in the marketplace. He sees you and has pity on you. He does not offer silver or barley, but He bids for you with His life. He gives His blood to buy you back from slavery to sin. As you are sold to Him, He takes you and covers your nakedness with His righteousness. He wipes away your tears. He makes no demands of you except to promise that He will be with you for "many days". He takes you home to heaven and as His bride you will share in His kingdom forever.

    Christ has indeed set us free by taking the wrath of God. But our freedom does not give us the excuse to go out and still commit adultery against God. No, instead we are to use our freedom to serve Him and Him alone. As we close this lesson, look at this last verse:

    For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.

    (1 Corinthians 6:20, NKJV)

    1. What does the word "redeem" mean?
    2. In the story of Hosea, whom did the Prophet symbolize and who did the wife symbolize?
    3. What are the "many days" we will share with God?
    1998 Pomona Youth Chapel/Pastor Tim Shultz