In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.
I live in sunny California, yet I am not a native. I am originally a Nevada boy, then an Alaskan transplant, and now, for the last eight years, I have been a Californian with no plans to change that status for the foreseeable future. While there are many very good things about California, there are also some not so great things.
One such negative which ranks right up there is the CRV, which stands for California Redemption Value. This is an additional amount of tax, although they don’t call it a tax, which is added to every can or bottle purchased at any time in the state. It was instituted under the guise of helping the environment by encouraging people to recycle these items. The idea was that for every can or bottle that you return to a recycling center, you would receive back the CRV you paid. Many other states have very similar incentives, but they don't charge you up front, instead they reward you on the back end for recycling. California holds your money hostage at the check stand until you apparently “do the right thing” and recycle. Meanwhile, the recycling center makes additional money by selling the materials to be reused. To top it all off, as my children discovered when they were younger going to the recycling center with their grandpa, it is impossible to get the full CRV back because the recycling centers are unwilling to take the time to calculate it but instead give you far less of a return that is based on the weight of everything you bring in. I am not big on scams, but when it is the government that institutes deceptive policies under the guise of helping us, my lack-of-justice meter goes into the red and so does my face. I have to keep reminding myself that this is fallen world.
In Paul’s long list of spiritual blessing that every believer has received, he speaks of an equally unfair redemption that actually works in our favor. Unlike the CRV where we get less than what it is worth, Christ has secured redemption for us who had no value in ourselves with His blood that has a value beyond calculation. We were enslaved to sin. It had mastery over everything we thought and did. Even if we tried to escape it, we had no choice but to obey its brutal tyranny. During the 1860’s the average slave was worth about $800 and could typically be freed (redeemed) with such a sum, but the price to buy us back from sin was an amount no human being could ever afford.
Christ is the ultimate recycler. He paid out for our freedom in His shame and solitude on the cross. Jesus took those who were beyond help, reached down into the endless purse of the riches of His grace, and exchanged the full sum required for our redemption and forgiveness. This is the lavish grace in which we stand today and every day into the future. No truly good thing has He withheld or will He withhold from us (Ps. 84:11, Jas. 1:17).
May we view our lives today as richly blessed by God because He forgave and redeemed us!