Monday, February 11, 2013


     As a child, I remember shopping in stores that gave Gold Bell Gift Stamps—the number of stamps received depended upon the number of dollars spent. When mother and I returned home, I would have the privilege of licking the stamps and placing them in the little squares on the blank pages of books that, when filled, could be redeemed for valuable items.  

     The key to getting a “free gift” was the redemption center where completed books were exchanged for merchandise. Housewares, small appliances, home furnishings, bicycles and toys could be redeemed—each requiring a specified number of completed books of Gold Bell Gift Stamps. Among my most prize possessions is the Betty Crocker Cook Book redeemed for my eleventh birthday. Ingredient remnants splashed across tattered recipes continue to remind me that over the decades, holiday traditions jumped off the pages of that cookbook and into the hearts of my family.
     My most prized possession is also all about redemption—my mother’s Bible. Although the pages are worn and the cover is torn, the message remains powerful and effective. From Genesis 1:1 through Revelation 22:21, it contains God’s plan to redeem mankind to Himself. Titus 2:14 concisely states God’s redemption plan—Christ gave himself for us, that He might redeem us from our sin.

     The word redeem in Titus 2:14 comes from a Greek word meaning to free a slave by paying a ransom. Two thousand years ago slave redemption in the marketplace was a common occurrence. Slavery in modern American life is more insidious. While we no longer stand on street corners and auction people to the highest bidder, too many remain in bondage to sin.

     But there is hope. Just like my mother paid for items in a store and received stamps to be used in the redemption of gifts, Christ paid for our sins on the cross and we can trade our sins for salvation through God’s redemption plan. The most wonderful thing about God’s plan—although it cost Him everything in the death of His Son—it is free to all that seek forgiveness of sin through Jesus. Confess your sin from a sincere heart. Repent of your sin. Believe that Jesus Christ is the One and Only Son of God who was crucified, buried, and rose from the dead for your sin, and you will be saved.

      As the words of the old gospel hymn say:

            I am redeemed, by love divine
            Glory, glory—Christ is mine
            All to Him, I now resign
            I have been redeemed!

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