by Scarlett Stough
Mankind was given a choice: love and obey our Creator God or make our own choices based on what we desire to satisfy our cravings. When we choose to love God, we are choosing life; when we choose to go our own way in opposition to God's, we are choosing death. Everyone with the exception of Jesus has chosen the way of death (Matthew 7:13-14). Death is the wage for our refusal to choose to live the way to life through Jesus the Christ (Romans 6:23).
God did not give up on us. He promised to send us a Redeemer (Isaiah 59:20; 60:16; 63:1-16; Galatians 3:16, 26-29). Jesus the Son of God is the Redeemer he promised. We are familiar with people being kidnapped and held for ransom. A payment is demanded for the return of the victim. The only other option would be a rescue from the kidnappers by force.
Our captor is our own desire for anything other than God and his will. Jesus's death was the ransom payment for us. He also used force, but not by a military raid, but by his own unjust arrest and execution. If we accept that freedom, we can use that freedom to resist the greed of trying to satisfy our physical desires. In general, those desires fall into three categories: “the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does” (1 John 2:16).
The book of Revelation gives us a summary of what we can expect as we wait for the return of our Redeemer. Jesus is pictured as a Lamb slain for us:
You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.
The time will come when all who “have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14) will be rewarded and recompensed for whatever suffering they underwent as they endured to the end of their natural lives or of the age (Matthew 24:13).