Ultimate Goal of Redemption

What is the ultimate goal of redemption for humanity?

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I think if we were to look at the ultimate goal for the redemption of humanity, we'd first of all have to say the word "redemption" is just simply one aspect of the Lord's saving work. It's an important concept. It's an irreplaceable concept. But if the Redeemer Jesus Christ has a goal for us, I think it would be to restore the image lost at the fall. Redemption is to save me from my sins, but it's also to produce in me a Christ-likeness that was, in a sense, the picture that God had for all humanity before the fall. So at the other end of lives—we've got the Fall, we have sin, the Lord's work upon the cross, his resurrection, the Holy Spirit's work in our lives—at the end (in Greek the word is telos) at the goal at the end of human history, his ultimate purpose is to have reproduced in us by his sacrificial work in our lives and for us, and the Spirit's work in our lives, a re-formation of all that was lost. That love that became self-love is restored to a self-giving love. The unholiness, the unrighteousness, the brokenness of sin, is replaced by a fullness and wholeness. So the restoration of the image—I'm thinking of Colossians chapter 3 where Paul says we are renewed in the likeness and image, or the image of our Savior. That concept to me is a picture of what the Lord is wanting to do. And I think the Book of Revelation shows that as the nations are gathered, as people come to that final, climactic judgment and the fulfillment of the new heaven and new earth, you've got a concept of holiness and love and of persons remade in the image of the God who created them.

Answer by Dr. Bill Ury

Dr. Bill Ury served as Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology at Wesley Biblical Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi and pastor of Elizabeth City Evangelical Methodist Church in North Carolina.