The Great Redeemer (not the Great Fixer)

BY Audra

March 21, 2014


In Christianese, we use the language of redemption to describe a variety of situations. But often we misuse this term, questioning God’s “redemptive power” when we expect God to fix our problems and nothing changes. Perhaps we invoke the language of redemption without understanding what redemption really is.

To redeem is not to fix. These words and their definitions are very similar. Fixing and redeeming both involve restoration. But there is an important difference.


We as human beings have agency to fix. We fix broken things all the time, including relationships with people. We even, in fact, often try to fix people themselves, but we quickly learn that is not an agency we have. God made people in God’s own image, and God gave people free will to do with what they would. Therefore, God is not first and foremost in the business of “fixing.” Though God, in God’s great omnipotence, certainly can fix anything on a whim, the experience of most of us along this journey of faith is that God lets things play out as they will, especially—so it would seem, in the worst of times—suffering.

God is very interested, however, in the redemption of entire people.

When we encounter troubles in this life, we often call on God to redeem our situations, but usually what we’re really asking is for God to fix things, and that typically isn’t God’s way. God’s gift of free will allows us to make our own mistakes, and it also allows us the opportunity to clean up our own messes. But it doesn’t promise that we won’t make the same mistakes again, and it doesn’t promise that God will tidy up our messy bits for us.

What God’s gift of redemption does do, however, is free us from the burdens of our past mistakes. It allows us to live life with the confidence that, though we have erred, and though we will err again, we belong to someone. We are marked and chosen and purposed. We are restored and holy, though not sinless. We are forgiven, though not fixed. We are, simply, redeemed.

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4 comments on “The Great Redeemer (not the Great Fixer)

  1. You didn’t use any Bible verses, just a sinners opinion. Paul said; “All have sinned….” All need redeemed. All need forgiveness. God saves the soul, but, not the body, the body will die, therefore we need forgiveness every day. There is however, a vast difference between a sin and a “mistake”. A mistake can be corrected, but a sin is unto death. I think you need to go back to the King James Bible and get yourself streight with God, before you try to teach others. Have a good day!

  2. Interesting, Gnostic thoughts Lonnie. Splitting the human up between body and soul was labeled incorrect by the church hundreds of years ago. We don’t have a soul, we are a soul.

    Also, just curious, why would one need to go back to the King James Bible? I’d think a more modern translation would be more than sufficient. And, more importantly, how can you assess a person’s relationship with the Lord merely from reading an article? I find that judgmental statement more troubling than anything Audra wrote.

  3. One thing is for sure, God is the greatest counselor and teacher. Yes, we do suffer the consequences of our own actions but God love us. So many times I have prayed and begged and asked for things and did not get them but when I am not asking for a blessing and I’m just needing counsel, direction, definition, clarity, he gives it to me. I feel so loved and blessed that God has time for me, he helps me understand him better and he shows me his love for me and my family by listening to me and clearing a path for me. He wants us to come to him and is waiting on us to see him in our life! He is Love, he does not see our sins. He is the Father that is waiting for his child to return to him. It really is that simple. He is gentle and does not desire to punish his children. He is good. He sent his son to die for our sins, our sins are cast as far as the east is from the west, when Jesus sacrificed his life for our sins. We have hope in dark times of our lives because we have God. That is all that matters, his grace is enough to cover anything anyone has ever done. We just have to believe we are forgiven and accept the Father’s gift of grace and forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
    Lonnie, we all have sinned and are sinners but Jesus paid the price for everyone and we all need to accept his gift of grace and forgiveness. Paid for in full!

  4. I thought your post was interesting and even helpful in defining some of the terms. I guess the way I had always thought about redemption is similar. Redemption was the buying back of something. So in this case, Jesus sacrifice and blood purchased us and thus redeemed us. Like you said we are now His and belong to Him no matter what. I wonder if the greater confusion is not so much in redemption vs fixing but in changing vs fixing. We expect God to fix instead of change and usually we think he will fix our circumstances (and he could) but His great commitment is to changing us to be like Christ. I get this sense from Romans 8 that above all God will do what it takes to re-create us to be like Jesus. I know I had that one wrong for a long time. Maybe it’s both. What do you think?

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