September 01, 2014

Redemption Comes Hard

1 Peter 4:12-19

“If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”
—1 Peter 4:18


Redemption comes hard. This may be one of the greatest truths. Loosely quoting Proverbs 11:31, Peter notes that it is hard even for the righteous to survive God’s holy judgment. In that light, it’s no surprise that healing a broken friendship, mending a torn trust, or repairing a shattered family can be painfully difficult. Each rip in the relationship brings wounds and consequences. Some are never healed.

Two brothers in my town, both church members, barely spoke to each other for 25 years because of an old, unresolved quarrel. They are not alone.

Give me five minutes and a sledgehammer, and I could batter your family car into a heap of mangled metal. Could you fix it in five minutes? Hardly. Redemption comes hard, and it can take a long time.

This month we are going to watch the excruciating redemption of Jacob’s shattered family. In one day, they will suffer a crushing blow. Joseph, one of Jacob’s sons, will be callously discarded into slavery by his brothers, who have come to detest him as their father’s favorite son. And then they will lie about it. Repairing the damage will take many years, harsh treatment, gradual conviction, and immense grace from God to finally begin the healing.

Redemption comes hard.

Father in heaven, open our hearts to the sober truth that redemption comes hard. Brace us for the hardship of redeeming what is broken in our lives, families, and churches. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Kenneth D. Koeman

Rev. Ken Koeman is a pastor at Bellevue, Washington, Christian Reformed Church. He has written Today devotions in past years and has also authored numerous articles for The Banner, the magazine of the Christian Reformed Church. Ken and his wife, Kay, live in Bellevue and have two children and five grandchildren.

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