The Bible says that Jesus accomplished eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12). That sounds appealing. Being redeemed is a beautiful thing, especially if it is for eternity!
How much do we really need redemption? In the musical “Les Miserables”, a woman named Fantine looks back on her sad life and she sings:
“I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving
Then I was young and unafraid
And dreams were made and used and wasted
There was no ransom to be paid
No song unsung, no wine untasted”.
This song describes how all kinds of things come forth out of youthful desires: dreams are made and wasted, every wine is tasted, every song is sung. In other words, you do everything you want to do. And the thought behind it is: God forgives, and no price needs to be paid.
When Fantine sings this, she is deeply disappointed. She has found out that sin does have a price to pay. It has destroyed her life.
Sin has a price – and you can’t pay it
That is a deep insight. Sin has a price. And at some point you find out that you can’t pay that price. You’ve done things that can’t be made right. You recognize things in your own character that you know are not right. When you’re 15 years old, you believe that things will improve as you get older. And when you’re 45, you realize you can’t change yourself.
Who pays the price for sin? Who will make it right again? There is no hope in the song. Fantine’s dream that God would forgive has fallen apart. But that’s because she had a wrong impression of the Gospel. She thought that God forgives, and therefore there is no need to pay a price for sin. But the core of the Gospel is that a price must be paid for our sins, and God Himself pays it. This makes the Gospel a much deeper story than “no matter, God doesn’t mind”. This much deeper story becomes visible when Jesus dies on the cross. And we also hear it in the phrase “eternal redemption” from Hebrews 9:12. Against Fantine’s despair, we put the hope that Jesus brought about an eternal redemption.
Why is redemption “eternal”?
What does it mean that Jesus brought about an eternal redemption? At least it means that you yourself will exist forever, otherwise you could not be eternally redeemed. That is an incredibly important message. It gives incredible significance to your life. You’re not going to be 50 or 70 or 80 or 90 years old. You’re going to be a billion years old, and even then you’ve only just had the beginning, since life after death is without end.
That’s why I honestly understand very little of those people who say that the Christian faith is not about eternity, but about how you live now. Of course, how you live now is important. But the glory of the Christian faith is that it tells us how to be eternally happy, not just temporarily.
Eternity is important
If we picture our life as a line from birth to eternity, there are two important points on that line. The first point is the point of our death. The second point is the point of the resurrection of the dead. After that, eternity continues. Our birth lies in the past, that is fixed. Eternity goes on forever, that is certain. The Lord Jesus is coming back, at a time determined by the Father. That is fixed. The only thing we don’t know is when our point of death is. And we tend to worry whether that point of our death is a little earlier or a little later.
Let us not forget that eternal life is infinitely more important than life here and now. How much energy we use to facilitate and protect earthly life! And how many things we sacrifice in order not to endanger the earthly life of ourselves and people around us. Wouldn’t it make sense to invest even more energy to focus on eternal life for ourselves and others?
Christ came to bring eternal redemption. This reminds us that we will spend an eternity on the new earth with the Lord God, or in hell without Him. Those who live without Christ and die without Christ will be without Christ in eternity. And being without Him means facing eternal unhappiness. He comes to save us from that unhappiness. He has brought about eternal redemption. Whoever is redeemed, is redeemed forever and ever and belongs to Him forever and ever. Eternal redemption leads to eternal glory. Put your trust in Jesus, so that eternal redemption is yours too.