In the last session we thought about the meaning of redemption as pertaining to a person’s need for God. From the moment we recognise and own our need for God the process of healing and acceptance can begin. It is a new start, a re-ordering of our lives and priorities which in turn prioritises the life of the spirit rather than the material. In it, we are redeemed, or ‘bought back’ from despair and meaninglessness. We begin to participate in the life of God himself.
In this session we’ll look at how Christians respond, and sometimes fail to respond, to God’s invitation to participate in this life, to understand the purpose of redemption and of God’s redemptive work in the world.
Did the last session help you to see the idea of redemption differently? Paul’s use of the words ‘the world’ and ‘the flesh’, broadly speaking, translates as ‘the material’. But this would seem to imply that the material, as opposed to the spiritual, is inherently bad. Would you agree? Give reasons.
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John 8:26, 32
We are loved for being the person we are, rather than because we qualify or because we conform with certain rules and expectations.
Christians are called to think intelligently from within a living relationship with God, from within God’s own life, believing in the fundamental goodness of society and in his love for it.
Christians are people who know themselves to be forgiven and who are therefore reconciled or ‘at one’ with God and with one another. That is their freedom.
‘The One who sent me is true’
In what sense is God ‘true’? this is a question that requires that we go deeper than whether or not God ‘exists’. We need to be thinking more along the lines of ‘Is God to be trusted?’ How would you answer someone who does not believe God is to be trusted?
‘The Truth will set you free’
In what sense, from the previous discussion, and from the last session, are we ‘set free’ by the truth? Try to think about ‘truth’ in the broadest possible terms. For example, does coming to terms with the goodness in ourselves, as well with the things we would like to change, set us free? How?
In being a forgiven people Christians become bearers of hope. Does this resonate with your own faith journey? Has it changed you in any way?
The Redemptive love of God
What do we mean when we talk about Jesus being the Saviour of the world? What does ‘radical welcome’ mean for you? How do we radically welcome those whose theology we disagree with?
Do you think everyone is redeemed, whether or not they are Christians?
Lorraine Cavanagh is a theologian and an Anglican priest. Before her ordination she was an established painter with successful solo exhibitions in London. She then completed a doctorate at Cambridge University. Since her ordination in 2003 she has been Anglican Chaplain to Cardiff University and Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. She was also part-time tutor in Christian Spirituality at St. Michael's College, Llandaff. She lives and works in South Wales.