The celebration of our redemption and resurrection in Jesus is a good time to remember the wonderful aspect of the gospel indicated by the prefix re- of these two words. Re- basically means “again” and denotes something repeated, returned back, or done intensely. Redemption, therefore, means “to be bought back” and resurrection “to be raised again.” And re- is one of the most common prefixes in Scripture, which shows the rich significance of “again” to the holy gospel. The gospel is the good news of re-.
Our Father has nurtured, raised, and stretched out His hand to rebellious (to war again) children, children who refused (give back as unwanted) to keep His covenant, hear His word, and obey His law, and who rejected (to throw back) even His Christ (Dan. 9:9; Ps. 78:10; Hos. 4:6; Is. 53:3). He came unto His own, but His own received (to take back) Him not (John 1:11). But the stone the builders reject and refuse, God makes the head of the corner (Ps. 118:22).
Through Christ, God gives us, therefore, the ministry of reconciliation (to bring together again)—that while we were still enemies, we were reconciled to God by His death and assured salvation by His life (Rom. 5:10, Ps. 118:22). Although sheep going astray, we are returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls and received back into His favor (Heidelberg Catechism, Q&A 12; I Pet. 2:25).
The gospel is that the Lord remembers (takes to mind again) His covenant forever, but remembers our sins no more (Ps. 105:8; Heb. 10:17). Although He be high, He has respect for the lowly (Ps. 138:6). He regards the crying of His children (Ps. 106:44). He releases the captives from prison and feeds those who cannot recompense (to pay back) Him again (Luke 14:14). The Lord removes our sins, restores our soul, revives and renews our spirit, repairs our broken hearts, and regenerates (to be born again) us by the incorruptible seed of the Word unto a lively hope that always remains in us (I Pet. 1:3, 23; I John 3:9).
Preaching and discipline of Christ must rebuke (to beat back) with all authority because it causes sin to dry up, the devil to flee, and the sick to be healed (Matt. 8:26, 17:18; Tit. 2:15). The Lord still sends prophets saying, “Return ye now every man from his evil way, and amend your doings” (Jer. 35:15). We are told the ungodly do not like to retain (to hold back) God in their knowledge and will die, while the God-fearing retain His Word in their heart and live (Rom. 1:28; Prov. 4:4). And he that believes not, makes God a liar because he believes not the record (take to heart again, that is, witness) that God gave of His Son (I John. 5:10).
God, who is our exceeding great reward (to give back), shall reward everyone according to his works, and rewards them that diligently seek Him (Gen. 15:1; Matt. 16:27; Heb. 11:6). The Lord reserves (to keep back) the unjust to be punished in the day of judgment, but reserves the just to an inheritance incorruptible in heaven (I Pet. 1:4; 2:9). Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man, the things which God has revealed (to pull the cover back) unto us by His Spirit; and the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us (I Cor. 2:9-10; Rom. 8:18).
The gospel of re-, of redemption and resurrection. The good news that Jesus obtained for us an eternal redemption, body and soul, from all iniquity, death, and power of the grave—He has redeemed our life from destruction (Rom. 8:23; Ps. 49:8; Heb. 9:12). The good news that Jesus is the resurrection and the life; that since by man came death, so also by man came the resurrection of the dead; and the children of God are children of the resurrection (I Cor. 15:21; Luke 20:36).
So receive this word. Repent of sin and unbelief. Return, if you have strayed. Remember what you have heard. And rejoice. For the day of our redemption draws nigh. The Lord has commanded His covenant forever; holy and reverend is His name (Ps. 119:9).
Rev. William A. Langerak (Wife: Karen)
Ordained: September 2003
Pastorates: Southeast, Grand Rapids, MI: 2003-2019; Trinity PRC, Hudsonville, MI - May 2019-Website: www.prca.org/current/news/churches/usa-canada/trinity-prc-hudsonville-mi
Address3421 Hillcrest Rd.
State or ProvinceMI