Do we truly believe in the full redemptive power of Jesus Christ?
As this question is proposed, the overwhelming majority would more than likely say yes. In part because people who have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus have personal experience of forgiveness and restoration. Many stories of redemption in the Bible provide further evidence.
For example, Zacchaeus found redemption that day when he encountered Jesus in the sycamore tree. An amazing transformation happened in his life, to the point that he gave money back to the people whom he had defrauded. One can read how a murderer was redeemed and became a great church planter and author of a large portion of the New Testament in the story of Paul. The Bible has story after story not only of how people found redemption and restoration, but also how God then used them to impact the world for His Kingdom.
An echo of “Amen” would probably resound after the testimonies of these redemption stories. But there may also be the echo of “No” if some of these stories were closer to home. Following are two stories of redemption of college students who were living a life of sin and found forgiveness and restoration from God, but not necessarily from all other believers.
John was making some really bad decisions when he was a freshman and was living a life of sin. He was one of those people that when you got to know him or if you heard about his lifestyle, the decision not to be his friend would be quickly made. John was also coming to the BCM, and stories of his escapades began to surface. There was a temptation, and actually an encouragement to ban him from the BCM for the safety of the ministry. Instead, the decision was made to begin meeting with John one on one and to start discipling him. Many battles had to be fought, but he began to have some noticeable victories in his life.
John began serving as a leader and actually started discipling other students. He began to serve at some DNow weekends in churches and would regularly be asked to come on as an intern. As a senior, John is one of the godliest students that has come through the BCM. Why? Primarily because of God’s redemption, but secondly because no one gave up on him despite multiple voices to ban him.
The second story is about a young girl, who as a freshman had chosen to live a lifestyle as a lesbian until she met Christ. God redeemed her and she turned her back on her sinful lifestyle. She began sharing the Gospel with others on campus and would use her story. She began to sense a call to ministry and started to seek places she could serve during the summers. She was very open about her former life and how God had forgiven her and redeemed her. She was quickly crushed as she realized that not everyone was open to her serving in their ministry, especially if she was going to openly share her testimony.
In spite of her experiences, God is continuing to use her for His Kingdom. Why? Because God is in the business of redeeming people from all sin, regardless of what it is. God has used murderers, adulterers, prostitutes, and the like from the beginning of time to impact His Kingdom. God has redeemed all of us from the domain of darkness and has placed us in His Kingdom of light to do His ministry. May we all revel in the wonderful grace of Christ and look to see who God is seeking to redeem.