“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10. Jesus states there is a thief who has stolen something from creation and Christ has come to redeem what has been lost. This act of God is called “to indemnify”. Indemnity is a contractual obligation of one party (God) to compensate the loss incurred to another party (humanity) due to the acts of the offender (Satan). The duty to indemnify is the contractual duty to “hold harmless” or “to save harmless”.
Here is God’s account of indemnity. In Genesis 15 God came to a man named Abram and made a covenant with Him to indemnify humanity. It is an interesting read especially understood in Old Testament Jewish context. I won’t go into all the details, but what is shocking about this covenant encounter Abram had with God is God declares He (God) would take Abram’s place if Abram (or humanity) broke the covenant. Wait a minute! That’s not how covenants work. Can you imagine going to a banker and asking for a loan to buy a house, and in that written contract the banker states, “If you fail to make the monthly payments we (the bank) will pay your mortgage off for you”. Where do I sign, right!
God promised humanity that he would indemnify us way before Jesus arrived on earth. Perhaps you have wondered as I, why God chose to do it the way he did it. What is the point of the cross? Why did God crucify Himself, die, and then, three days later resurrect to new life? What is God communicating to us through the cross and resurrection?
I’m not going to pretend I know God’s mind on this issue, but I would like to share a thought. One thing I’ve come to understand about God is He always communicates in terms we can understand to show us our condition/position and to reveal to us our future.
What is our position? We are spiritually dead is the terminology the Bible uses. I understand this to mean we are broken and with all our knowledge and with all our attempts to heal ourselves we continue to fall short. I don’t fear God’s judgement, I fear the ruthless evil that resides inside my heart. I need someone to do for me what I haven’t been able to do for myself - heal my sin condition/position. Through the cross and death of Christ God shows us our condition/position. Sin has destroyed our ability to love purely, and to act justly, and to love mercy. This would be bad news if the message stopped here.
What is our future? Three days later Jesus resurrected from the dead. Here God is revealing to us our future. A future where we are free from the curse of sin. A future where all things have been resurrected to new life where the beauty and purity of God’s creation is restored. A future where we will know love in its purest sense, will act justly and righteously, and love mercy correctly.
Two very important statements made by Jesus upon the cross to show God’s heart and work of redemption. The first is recorded in Luke 23:34 - “Jesus said, ‘Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’” Jesus wasn’t making a request of God, he was declaring to us the act of God to forgive and restore - INDEMNIFY. Jesus was declaring to us that God was compensating the loss his creation had incurred and to “hold harmless” or “to save harmless”, from their loss. This is more than forgiveness and a transformation in this life. This at of redemption is to completely restore humanity to the perfection we were created in the beginning. That is something only God can do!
And then, John 19:30 - Jesus last words upon the cross, “It is finished”. The declaratory curse the thief had imposed on humanity has been Indemnified, “saved harmless”, and will be restored. Christ through the cross has shown us our condition/position, and through the resurrection has shown us our redemption/future. There is coming a day when the former things are no more, for all things God has made new, and there will be no more sin, sorry, or death.
Thank you God for your amazing acts of goodness that restored to us what the thief has stolen, and redeem us from our condition and failures of this life. This is why it’s called GRACE!