When we study God’s salvation, it isn’t like anything a person would logically come up with. Let me give you an allegory, and then I’ll point us to a Scriptures.
An Allegory About Redemption
Imagine a drove of dirty, sickly, starving sheep with only small patches of fleece. They are standing in a pen which has nothing for them to eat. The owner of the sheep is standing by the only gate. Jesus walks up and says, “Those are my sheep.” The devil says, “No, the sheep asked me to be their master, so they’re in my pen, and I own them.”
Jesus says to the devil, “Look, here is my perfect blood sacrifice, the proof that I have paid (i.e., redeemed) all of them. Since I am the Lamb of God I’m one of them (John 1:29), the Law says that as a “kinsman,” I have the right to redeem them. And that’s what I’m doing.” The devil opens the gate, and Jesus calls to the sheep, “I am your Kinsman Redeemer, I have paid the price for your freedom. Come follow me!”
Some of the sheep run to Jesus and when they touch Him that are miraculasly changed into the most beautiful sheep that ever existed; other sheep gather around the open gate because they like Jesus, but they don’t leave because the pen is their home. Still other sheep run to the backside of the pen. They want nothing to do with Jesus. A few, perhaps, may start to leave the pen, but then they pull back.
Only the sheep that leave the devil’s pen and come to Jesus receive forgiveness for their sin. All the other sheep that remain in the pen, no matter how close they came to Jesus, do not receive forgiveness; their sin remains with them. The sheep that remain in the pen will receive the same punishment from God that their master, the devil, will receive.
Notice that redemption comes before God’s call. God’s process for our salvation is:
– Redemption, once for all (Jn. 3:16, Ro. 6:9)
– Preaching the Good News of Jesus (Mt. 28:19, Ro. 10:15)
– Coming to Jesus. (2 Cor. 6:17)
– Being reborn into the kingdom of God. (Jn. 3:3)
What an amazing salvation God has provided! “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.” Colossians 2:12-15 (ESV)
Isn’t God amazing!