As you read through the Bible, it’s important to remember that God had a reason for revealing it’s content to us. And in order to understand scripture, you need an understanding of where the narrative is headed. Well, very early in Genesis we are introduced to God, his nature and his character. Next we meet mankind and learn something of man’s purpose and design. As we see man begin to make bad choices, a separation occurs. It’s a separation between God (who is holy and just) and man (who is basically rebellious). That’s a problem. We need look no further than Genesis 3:15 to find the seeds of the solution to that problem. In technical terms it’s called the proto-evangelium. That really long word means “first gospel.” It’s the first hint of the good news of Jesus as the solution to our problem. And so God’s rescue plan begins to unfold. Welcome to Bible Comprehension 103: Redemption!
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To Buy Back
Our third theme is important because it’s the solution to our problem. As you read through the entire Bible, you are also going to notice many references to redemption. The word redemption means “to buy out” or “to buy back”. It usually means to buy back something that was lost or taken away. Often it was used in the context of purchasing back a human who had been sold into slavery. And certainly with the Fall, we see that we fell into the slavery of sin. There was a loss of relationship between man and God. Life was taken away and death entered.
A Silly Kid’s Game
As a kid, we had kind of an ongoing neighborhood game that loosely illustrates this principal. Neighborhood war! Imagine two teams, constantly on the run from one another. If you were caught by the opposing team, you would be held captive in a patch of bamboo, which we called the bamboo forest. Guarded by your captor, you were doomed to stay in the bamboo forest until one of your team mates could rescue you (or the streetlights came on, and then you were freed by default). Fortunately, I had a girl on my team that was a fierce competitor and loyal friend. I never had to spend much time captured because she was quick to come to my rescue (and all of the kids in the neighborhood were afraid of her, that helped, too!). Okay, so it was a silly game. But my point is that I had a rescuer, someone who I could count on to faithfully free me from the enemy. And that is what redemption is all about. Jesus frees us from slavery to our enemy, Satan.
The First Good News
Our fall into sin did not surprise God. In fact, God planned from the beginning to rescue us from the power of sin and Satan. God’s plan was to send Jesus to rescue us, to buy us back from the power of sin and death. And hints of that plan are revealed in Genesis 3:15. In addressing Satan for tempting Eve, God tells Satan that a descendant of Eve will bruise (or crush) Satan’s head. Yes, Satan will take a shot at this descendant of Eve, he will bruise or crush Jesus’ heel. But the deadly blow will be the crushing of Satan’s head. The ultimate fulfillment of God’s statement in Genesis 3:15 happens at the crucification of Jesus. Jesus suffered the wounds of the cross (which did include wounds to his feet, Luke 24:37-40), but these wounds were temporary. Jesus rose from the dead. Christ’s resurrection defeats death and ensures Satan’s doom (1 John 3:8 and Revelation 20:10).
How It All Plays Out
Jesus paid a price to rescue us from the bonds of sin. That price was his own death. He died in my place to pay the penalty for my sin. When we accept Christ as our Lord, we are redeemed. We were lost, but now we belong to the family of God, permanently. We experience adoption into God’s family. So, as you read through the Bible, you will want to look for this theme of redemption. It’s in lots of places, in fact, there are even two entire books of the Bible, Ruth and Hosea, that are dedicated to this theme.
Bringing the Bible to Life for Kids
Let’s Take a Closer Look at Genesis 3:14-15
Let’s see what we can learn as we read Genesis 3.:15. Choose a translation that is easy to understand. I use the NIrV version. Now talk through the following questions. Let your children make the discoveries, that makes learning fun for them. I’ve given you some answers in italics.
- Who is God talking to? Satan
- How did God curse the serpent for tempting Eve? God made the serpent crawl on his belly and eat dust. Also God said that a descendant of Eve would one day crush Satan’s head.
- Which is a more deadly wound, to crush someone’s heel or to crush their head? To crush the head is deadly.
- Who do you think has the power to crush Satan’s head? God has the power to crush Satan.
So how did God crush Satan? God would one day send his own son Jesus to once and for all defeat Satan. Satan tried to defeat Jesus through the people who killed Jesus, but Jesus rose from the dead and this is how Jesus defeated Satan.
Now Read Romans 3:23-25
23 Everyone has sinned. No one measures up to God’s glory. 24 The free gift of God’s grace makes us right with him. Christ Jesus paid the price to set us free. 25 God gave Christ as a sacrifice to pay for sins through the spilling of his blood. So God forgives the sins of those who have faith. God did all this to prove that he does what is right. He is a God of mercy.”
- Who has sinned? Everyone has sinned.
- Who measures up to God’s glory? No one measures up to God.
- What is God’s free gift? Jesus paid the price to set us free, God gave Christ as a sacrifice to pay for our sins.
- How do we benefit from this gift? God forgives our sins.
- What does this prove about God? He does what is right and he is merciful.
Next Read 1 Peter 1:18-21
18 You were set free from an empty way of life. This way of life was handed down to you by your own people of long ago. You know that you were not bought with things that can pass away, like silver or gold. 19 Instead, you were bought with the priceless blood of Christ. He is a perfect lamb. He doesn’t have any flaws at all. 20 He was chosen before God created the world. But he came into the world for your sake in these last days. 21 Because of what Christ has done, you believe in God. It was God who raised him from the dead. And it was God who gave him glory. So your faith and hope are in God.”
- What were were set free from? an empty way of life
- Who did we inherit this way of life from? Adam and Eve
- What did Jesus use to buy us back? his priceless blood
- How is Jesus different from you and me? He is perfect, he doesn’t have any flaws.
- When was Jesus chosen to set us free? before God created the world
- Who raised Jesus from the dead? God
Make Some Connections
Read John 3:16-18
16 God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life. 17 God did not send his Son into the world to judge the world. He sent his Son to save the world through him. 18 Anyone who believes in him is not judged. But anyone who does not believe is judged already. They have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
Now, help your children make the connections between all of the passages we have read. In this way, you will model for them how to read the Bible as a whole, not just separate parts. Talk about the following questions:
- What are some of the things in the verses you read that remind you of what you read in Genesis 3?
- When did God choose Jesus to set us free from sin? before God created the world
- Why did God send Jesus to buy us back? Because God loved us.
- What did Jesus do for you? He paid the price for my sin
- If I believe in Jesus, what will happen to me? I will have eternal life. God will not judge me. My sins will be forgiven.
To Buy Back
I hope you have a better understanding of what Jesus has done for us. And I hope you can see that God had this planned all along from the beginning. As you continue to read the Bible, look for the times that it talks about Jesus “buying us back” or “paying the price” for our sin. We call this redemption.
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