What are some of the benefits of our redemption?

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When we look at the world today, we see that people are longing for meaning, for significance, for purpose. And there's so much confusion in our culture. What is life all about? What is the reason for living? Why am I here? And so, people try all sorts of things to find meaning and significance, whether they pursue their job, or sexuality, or drugs. I mean, there are all kinds of venues and paths where people are trying to find happiness and joy. But the gospel tells us our fundamental need, as human beings, is to be in a right relationship with our Creator, with the one who made us. And the gospel tells us the truth about ourselves. It's a very difficult truth to accept. And that truth is that we are alienated from him. The truth is that I, Tom Schreiner, am wicked; I'm an evil person. And that's a very hard thing to bear. We all know what it's like to be in a conversation with someone and they point out one of our sins. And we resist it; we're defensive. And the gospel tells us, our Creator is saying that to us. The one who made us is saying that you are evil; you have displeased me. And it takes a great work of the Holy Spirit, doesn't it, to admit that and to stand before God naked, as it were, and to say, "I have displeased you. I have rebelled against you. I am a wicked person."

But the gospel doesn't end there, does it? The gospel says that God sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to atone for our sins, to absorb the wrath of God. God out of his love sent his Son, so that our sins could be forgiven, so that if we put our trust in him we can be forgiven of our sins. And when we come to that experience, when we turn to Jesus Christ for such forgiveness, there is an incredible sense of peace, a sense of rightness with the world, because it truly is a rightness with the world. We suddenly realize this is what we are created for. We are created to be in right relationship with God. We recognize at that moment when we confess our sins, and we're forgiven of our sins, this is the truth about me, I'm flawed, I'm fallible.

I was just reading the story yesterday of a very famous person, and one of his children was criticizing him for his sins. And it just struck me again, isn't this the story of us all? We are flawed, sinful people, but when we confess our sins, we're honest with ourselves, we turn to Christ for forgiveness, we experience peace with God. As Paul says in Romans 5, we're a new creation now. And obviously, there are struggles in our lives as Christians. We still have trials and difficulties. But I think we have that sense of abiding peace. The love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts, by the Holy Spirit, and we sense now that nothing can separate us now from God's love because we've been forgiven of our sins. We have a new status as God's children. We have a new destiny. We're filled with hope, and we're filled with joy, and we're given strength to make it through these pilgrim days.

Answer by Dr. Thomas R. Schreiner

Dr. Tom Schreiner joined the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary faculty in 1997 after serving 11 years on the faculty at Bethel Theological Seminary