“In [Christ] we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins…” (Colossians 1:14)
Believe it or not, a recent report on CNN touched on an important Christian principle: Redemption.
Following Pope Francis’s August 2 announcement of a change in Catholic teaching regarding the death penalty, CNN host Chris Cuomo—the younger brother of Gov. Andrew Cuomo—offered his thoughts on the subject. (The Pope announced that the Roman Catholic Church no longer views capital punishment as morally acceptable under any circumstances.) According to Cuomo, the Pope made the point that “‘[even] a person who does something horrible can be redeemed…’”
Putting aside the topic of capital punishment, New Yorker’s Family Research Foundation agrees wholeheartedly with Chris Cuomo that a person who does “something horrible” can be redeemed. In fact, the doctrine of redemption is key to an understanding of Christianity. According to Scripture, “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). If he is honest with himself, each person knows that he has thought, said, and done things that are wrong; in essence, we have all done “something horrible.” Because God is holy and righteous (Psalm 145:17), each person’s sins make it impossible for him to be in right relationship with God on his own (Isaiah 59:2). The just punishment for sin is death (Romans 6:23). That’s where Jesus Christ comes in.
To bridge the chasm between mankind and God that is caused by sin, Jesus—God’s one and only Son—left His place in Heaven, came to Earth as a baby, lived a sinless life, and was unjustly tortured and crucified. Through His death on the Cross, Christ sacrificed Himself for the sins of all people, taking upon himself the punishment we deserve (I Peter 2:24). But the story doesn’t end there; on the third day, Jesus rose from the dead and later ascended into Heaven.
To be forgiven of his sins and saved from their consequences (eternal separation from God), each person must confess his sins, ask God’s forgiveness, and place his faith in the risen Christ (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9). Only then can a person be restored to right relationship with God and given the gift of eternal life in Heaven after his life on Earth comes to an end (I John 5:11-13). That is the essence of redemption.
Regardless of the nature or extent of his sins, every person who places his faith in Jesus is forgiven. Just as no one is so righteous that he can please God on his own, no one is so sinful that he is beyond the reach of God’s mercy and forgiveness; all he must do is confess his sins and place his faith in Jesus as His Savior. In I Timothy 1:15, the Apostle Paul writes, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” Isaiah 1:18 says, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”
Romans 10:9 says, “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” If you have never taken that step of faith, why not do it today? In Revelation 3:20, God says, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” God’s invitation is extended to every person. Will you accept it?