Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Christ the Redeemer

My upbringing as a child, mostly consisted of being obedient  and well-behaved. It was a good raising and I did have a contented childhood. Of course, being a staunchly Catholic family this gradually shadowed into my spirituality as well.

To avoid all occasions of sin and sin itself! 

Prevention is better than cure regret followed by thou shall sin no more was more or less the spiritual exercises I followed. Not to forget to love the lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind and with all your strength (which basically wound itself back to 'thou shall sin no more'...)

To be just, it was a fine personal principle to live by... except that love did not find much of a root in a heart set by rules. I clearly remember being inspired by Jane Austen where filial duty and honour ruled and sacrifice and personal candour were so celebrated.

But duty and honour without love are heavy burdens to carry. They do make great men; but cold hard men, not given to mercy and kindness. I have seen those sorts, and I pitied them. They do not know another way of showing love except by being just and righteous. 

Another pitfall of this line of thinking is that forgiveness becomes very hard. The difficulty to forgive oneself after each fall is immense. It became easier to forgive others for a searing heartbreak than to make leeway for one's weakness. 

Principle, not Christ became the centre of religion. And life became very difficult. It was not the extra prudishness that costed me a lot of joy. It was the extreme self-reliance, the passive distance from people, the gnawing guilt, the constant striving for perfection which is impossible for any. God became a distant deity. I no longer understood why we still needed Christ. If sin could be avoided then a saviour is never needed.

How wrong I was. Years and years of struggling and striving went by till I finally found a Christian fellowship of young adults where I felt spiritually nourished. I finally decided to give God a chance to lead me and he gradually unraveled the bandages, the armour and the defense I had built around my heart. It was painful! Old wounds which had long festered in the dark needed Light. And the letting go! How difficult it was to let go and let God.

It was then I understood. 

Christianity with out the Redeemer 
is beautiful frame without the picture

re·deem·er   /riˈdēmər/
Noun: A person who redeems or buys back someone or something
... or He who restores
He knew how we threw away our birthright with the fall. He knew we were ever hard of hearing the Father's calling. He knew we would still be falling, even after Pentecost.

That is why he came- to restore. To bring back the image of  God in Men, in glory, undimmed before the marring of the world.

To restore Son-ship (Gal 3: 26)
To restore brotherhood (Acts 28:28, Rom 8:29
To restore faith  

Before He came, the wages of Sin was death. And death was ever so close, yes, even while I was still a child I knew death. But he pulled me out of that abyss. It does not mean that I will be able to sin no more or that I shall see immortality in this life or even that I am free of the consequences of sin. It simply means that my righteousness is not by my effort alone, it is in Christ. I just need to lean on him, to appeal for his help, to listen to his counsel...and obey.

And when I fall, I am no loner afraid or burdened. I go back to him for forgiveness and restoration. Sin always takes something away and replaced it with itself. He corrects that equation. 

And at the end of all things, there is always Hope.
"Do not be afraid, I have redeemed you"
               - Isaiah 43:1