Freedom from Debt - Redeeming The Time (Part 2)
Jesus, Be Lord of All
As a missionary evangelist, God has given me the privilege to preach the gospel throughout Africa and around the world. No matter where I go or what crowd is before me, the basic content of my message is always the same – Jesus.
There is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12b NIV). Christ Himself is the centrepiece and substance of the message I preach. His blood purchases salvation. His name drives out demons. His presence heals the sick. And His goodness draws the needy into His loving arms. Our gospel is not another religious philosophy; it is not a sales pitch. It is the revelation of a Man
Faith with repentance is the only fitting response to such a message. For this gospel unveils Jesus as the glorious Sovereign, the King and Lord over all creation, every nation and each person. So when people respond, they must make Jesus Lord of their lives. Every area of the human heart becomes subject to His divine rule. That is what the “Kingdom” of God is all about – submitting completely to King Jesus. But this submission does not end once we get saved. It begins once we get saved. From that day forward Jesus’ rule constantly increases over every area of our lives like the dawning sun rises steadily to transform night into day.
The Gospel is not just about getting to Heaven – it’s about getting Heaven into us and through us to the world around us. The Gospel is relevant to every area of life and the more we recognise that, the more we see the dominion of God (the Kingdom of Heaven) touching and redeeming even the most ordinary things.
Redeeming the Time
In 1 Peter 1:18-19 NIV we read, “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”
I often preach about the blood of Jesus as God’s remedy for sin. I talk about its power to redeem our souls and break every chain. Yet notice where this verse puts its focus. It does not emphasise how we were redeemed from sin by the blood of Jesus. Nor does it stress how we were redeemed from demonic bondages by the blood of Jesus (though these things are certainly true). But this verse specifically declares that we were redeemed from “the empty way of life” we inherited from our forefathers. In other words, the blood of Jesus saves us from a worthless life!
Paul explains further: “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil”(Eph. 5:15-16).
I remember when I was young, adults often quoted this verse to encourage me not to waste time. I was told to “redeem the time” by using my time wisely. But Scripture speaks here of something far more profound than time management.
Time is a destroyer. People throughout history have recognised this unfortunate reality. Many pagan religions have gods to represent time and they are often pictured as destructive and even frightening monsters. Hinduism for example has the goddess Kali who is usually pictured wearing a necklace of decapitated heads and a skirt of dismembered arms. She brandishes a blood-soaked sword and stands on the bodies of slain victims. She is considered the embodiment of time which devours everything. In Greek mythology, Kronos, the god of time, devoured his own children. Even in popular culture, “Father Time” is usually depicted with a harvesting scythe similar to the Grim Reaper.
In the modern world we have a more scientific view of the destructive nature of time. In physics, for example, there is the principle of entropy – the idea that every system tends towards chaos over time. Everything breaks down. Everything is moving towards an ever increasing state of disorder.
Time is not our friend – it is a destroyer. If you have any doubt about that, just look in the mirror. You can see the corrosive effects of time in your own body. As natural as this principle is, there is something about it that feels inexplicably unnatural to us. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that God has put eternity in the hearts of men. We are beings that were created for eternity. We have an inherent sense that something is terribly wrong in this mortal world. Decay and death are such a routine part of the natural order, and yet we possess a profound hatred for them. We all have the instinct to fight entropy with every fibre of our being. This is why we maintain our bodies, our cars and houses. When we see things breaking down we want to fix them and spend much of our lives doing so.
But our instinct to fight entropy goes far beyond simple maintenance. We have a desire to do something truly meaningful – to create or contribute something to the world that will last forever. People express this in a variety of ways. They might become an environmentalist or some kind of activist. They may write books, design art or build monuments they hope will outlive and immortalise them.
But the truth is that all these temporary memorials we fight to build are pretty meaningless in the grand scheme. In fact, someone could make a good argument that, from a purely natural perspective, there is no way to achieve anything that has true meaning. Even the Bible recognises this: “Meaningless! Meaningless… Everything is meaningless” (Eccl 1:2 NIV). Without some kind of redemptive intervention, everything will burn. Time will destroy it all. All of our achievements – monuments, books, art, and environmental and humanitarian work – will soon be finished and forgotten. This is why secular thought has tended towards postmodernism and nihilism. For those without Jesus, nothing really matters.
But the redeemed have amazing ability no other creatures possess. We have the power to live redemptively – to convert temporary resources, like time and money, into eternal assets. That is how Paul can encourage us to “redeem the time.” The blood of Jesus has redeemed us from a worthless life. As a result, we also now have authority to redeem our energy, productivity, intelligence, material, wealth, days and everything else into eternal value.
This is why your finances matter so much. You are one of the few creatures in existence that possesses the ability to do something eternal with your resources. What a privilege! And what a responsibility! No wonder Jesus Himself addressed the issue of finances so explicitly.