What It Means to be “Redeemed by Christ”: Thoughts on Redeemed, How I Love to Proclaim It


I tend to think of myself as a pretty good driver. Unfortunately, there is one group who does not share my opinion, and this group is the New York State Police Department.

In 2004, I commuted to Westbury, Long Island from Montclair, NJ. It was about a 90 minute drive each way.

Well, everything was fine from September 2004 to February 2005. But in February, as I was driving off the Throgs Neck bridge, sure enough, I saw flashing lights behind me. I pulled off to the side, and a gruff police officer wrote me out a ticket. I was going 65 in a 45 mile an hour zone. I’ve gotten enough of these in my life to know I can’t argue my way out of it—it didn’t matter that everyone around me was going faster than me—bottom line is—the sign said 45, and if I was going 46, I had to accept the guilt…

So, I took the ticket and drove on to work. But one ticket wasn’t too bad.

The very next week, I was driving home from work. It was beginning to snow, so my boss told me I could go home early. I was thrilled. So I got in my car and started driving for NJ. The snow started to get heavy, so I wanted to get home before it got too bad. as I was approaching the Throg’s Neck Bridge…you guessed it.

Flashing lights.

A gruff police officer asking me if I knew how fast I was going.

45? I asked.

No, you were going over 60, he said. Then, he wrote me out a ticket.

At this point, I was starting to panic. These were two 6 point tickets. In New York state, as I would soon find out, if you get over 10 points in 18 months, they’ll revoke your license.

The court date for the first ticket came. I went to the court to fight the ticket. Now, in NJ, they have a racket where you show up to court, and you can plea bargain a 6 point ticket down to 3 points. Like I said, I got plenty of tickets in NJ, so I had this process down cold.

So, I walked into the NY court. It was different than NJ courts. I asked the court clerk where the prosecutor was. She said to me THERE IS NO PLEA BARGAINING IN OUR COURT. I had a sick feeling in my stomach.

I went before the judge and the police officer. The officer said that I was speeding. I said…I…may not have been speeding. The judge took 2 seconds to slam down his gavel. GUILTY. 6 points on my license.

Well, 14 months went by, and my second court date was approaching. And I decided…I should take a defensive driving class, and reduce my points…because once I’m convicted of the second ticket, I’m going to lose my license. But if I take a class…my 12 points would be reduced to 8…since it’s under 10 points, I wouldn’t lose my license.

So I signed up for a defensive class on the Internet. And early one Sunday morning, I got in my car and started driving to the class.

I got about three miles from my house…and…you guessed it.

Flashing lights behind me.

The officer gets out of his car. Do you know how fast you were going? 50 in a 35 mile an hour zone.

It was only a four point ticket, but no matter how you did the math, that was it. Game over. I was going to lose my license. Even with the defensive driving class, I would have too many points. Plus, New York has a law that if you’re convicted of 3 speeding tickets in 18 months, you lose your license for six months. I got 3 tickets in 14 months.

So I had to go to court two more times. And the second time, they would take my license away. It was only a matter of time.

I actually tried taking the bus to work to see what it’d be like. The buses on LI are not like the buses in New York City. My first attempt at taking the bus to work, I missed the stop I was supposed to get off for a transfer, so I ended up getting off the next stop and walking about 2 miles back to the previous stop. Of course, I missed the transfer, so I had to wait 40 minutes for the next bus. The bus was jammed with people, so I had to stand by the exhaust, breathing in the diesel gas. And finally, around noon, the bus rolled into work. Of course, the stop I got off was across a major highway, so I had to cross the highway without getting hit by a car. And I thought to myself…am I really going to do this for six months?

My life was about to take a drastic change.

The court date for my second ticket came up. I was in California when it came up, but I went on the Internet and found a lawyer who said he’d go in and represent me. He made sure I knew that win or lose, I would have to pay him his very high fee. I knew there was no chance I would win, but I had no choice—I was in California, and couldn’t fly back in time to appear myself. So I just told myself, I’ll throw away the money, just so I didn’t have to go to court myself or face the humiliation of being reprimanded by the judge.

A few weeks passed by. Every day, I dreaded going to my mailbox. I mean, I was terrified. I fully expected to find a letter from the DMV. Please come to the DMV right away and turn in your license. It will be suspended for 6 months.

Then, I got an e-mail in big letters.

Congratulations! We got your 6 Point Speeding ticket in the Queens North TVB dismissed. This is a tremendous victory. No fine, no points, no nothing! It is as if it never happened.

I read the e-mail at work, and I was stunned, but when it hit me what the e-mail said, I felt like jumping up from my desk and dancing and shouting it out. I excitedly told my co-worker sitting next to me. I forwarded the e-mail to my friends who knew about my dilemma. The lawyer asked if I would give a testimonial, and I gladly agreed to it.
And since that day, when I drive, I am very, very, very, very, very careful to stay under the speed limit. I don’t try to outrun yellow lights anymore. I signal when I turn. I smile when I see police officers. Because I realize how close I came to losing it all, and there is no way I’m going to get any more tickets.

Well, why am I telling you this story on a hymn lyrics blog? Turn to Hebrews 9:27-28 for the answer:

“Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgement, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him”

We have have two destinies in life. One is to die. One is to face judgement.

How are we going to be judged? We’ll be judged against God’s absolute law. And if the judge finds just one point in our lives that we did not follow that law 100%, we are condemned to eternal death.

There will be no plea bargaining. It doesn’t matter if 99% of your life, you did good deeds. You helped widows across the street. You gave your life savings to the poor. You spent hours and hours doing church work. Your behavior is better than everyone around you. None of that will matter.

If the judge finds just one little sin somewhere in your past—that’s enough to condemn you to eternal punishment. And as bad as the buses are in Long Island, I suspect they’re much worse in hell.

But that all changed, because someone showed up to court in your place. He got the charges against you dropped. All you needed to do was accept baptism. And the moment you come up out of the waters of baptism, it’s just like this e-mail says. It’s like it never happened. From the largest sin to the smallest. they’re not charged against you anymore. you don’t need to fear the judge anymore, because the court has dropped all charges against you.

Do you believe this has happened to you?

If so, jump up and dance for joy!
Tell your friends!

And just like I do when I get in my car every day…every single day, remember how you were once condemed to lose everything—not your drivers license, but your hope for eternity.

Remember how Jesus Christ went in your place and my place to the court and got all the charges dropped…through his suffering and his blood. He did this even though you and I didn’t deserve it. You and I should not have any hope. But we do. Against all odds and all logic, he gave you and me a second chance.

Knowing all this, how can we in good conscience even dream of breaking his law again?

And how can we not be filled with joy? See 1 Peter 1:8:

Though you have not seen him, you love him and even though you do not see him now you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy..for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls”:

So…take a moment to reflect on the enormity of what it really means to “be saved”.

Tell the world about it

E-mail your friends

Remind yourself that your salvation was not your right…it’s a privilege that was bought with blood

Obey God’s law, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because you feel so overwhelmingly grateful for this privilege that you would feel so shameful to continue to break the law after you have already been forgiven

And wake up every morning, remembering the one who got your charges dropped and who lets you start your life fresh, with promises that are new every morning.

1.
Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it!
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed through His infinite mercy,
His child and forever I am.

Chorus
Redeemed, redeemed,
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed, redeemed,
His child and forever I am.

2.
Redeemed, and so happy in Jesus,
No language my rapture can tell;
I know that the light of His presence
With me doth continually dwell.

Chorus

3.
I think of my blessèd Redeemer,
I think of Him all the day long:
I sing, for I cannot be silent;
His love is the theme of my song.

Chorus

4.
I know there’s a crown that is waiting,
In yonder bright mansion for me,
And soon, with the spirits made perfect,
At home with the Lord I shall be.

Chorus