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Time:  What does Redeeming the Time mean?

Gary Googe Apr 07

This subject may not “ring your bell” or excite you at all.  It is probably not on your “Hot List” of things you want to learn about.  But it is probably one of the most important subjects for any of us to consider often.  Therefore, let us take time to look at where the concept is brought up in the Bible, as well as what it addresses.

Ephesians 5:14-17

14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.

15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,

16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. [Emphasis added]

The idea behind “redeeming the time” is to make the best use of one’s time.  The older I get the more mindful of this I become.  When we are young, we tend to think we have all the time in the world for whatever suits us.  But as one grows and matures as a believer, we become more conscious of time and how we should use it.  This is especially true as one realizes that the time we have on this earth should be used in service to our Savior.  We should know that the reward we receive at the Judgment Seat of Christ is going to be totally dependent on the time we spend living in obedience to God’s Word.

The word “redeeming” means “to purchase; to buy up” from the possession or power of another.  Passages of Scripture speak of this.

Galatians 3:13

13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

This passage serves to inform us of our greatest calling.  While we were once slaves to a life of sin, we are now free, but free to serve our Redeemer in the new life He has provided for us.  Because of Christ’s work to “redeem” us, having secured our release by the payment of His death, burial and resurrection, we should want to be of service to Him in every way we can.

In certain Christian circles there’s discussion of what is often called full-time Christian service.  While they’re normally thinking of church or missionary work, what I’m talking about is simply living fully for the Lord in all that we do each day of our lives.  Shouldn’t we all be full-time Christians in our manner of life? Shouldn’t everything we do be a reflection of our service to our Redeemer? In this sense, should any of us be part-time?

Colossians 3:23-25

23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

25 But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons. [Emphasis added]

Yes, our reward in heaven is going to be a reflection of our service to our Lord in this life now.  The things we receive in reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ will surely reflect this.

II Corinthians 5:10

10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. [Emphasis added]

The idea of redeeming the time is to rescue or recover our time; to improve it for great and important purposes.  Question:  Is your life today reflecting your service to your Savior?

In using Microsoft Word on a computer, you can always “redo” or “undo” something.  What is there about your life that you’d like to “redo” or “undo”? What are you doing now that you may later want to “redo” or “undo”?

Please notice again the Ephesians passage we looked at.

Ephesians 5:14-17

14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.

15 See then that ye walk circumspectly [livinng a well-ordered, disciplined life], not as fools, but as wise,

16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. [Emphasis added]

Do you need a “wake up call” in how you’re conducting your life? Have you been spiritually “sleeping” and in need of an awakening?  Walking “circumspectly” in this case is to do with living a disciplined, well-ordered life in submission to God’s Word.  Have you been doing that? Or are you meandering through life, making decisions that will result in outcomes that you’re going to later wish you could “undo”?  I can assure you there are many people my age who don’t even want to think about their past, let alone repeat it.  But as I heard it said many years ago, tomorrow is the first day of the rest of your life.  Question:  What are you going to do with it?

An old friend of mine used to have a sign in his classroom that said, “If you didn’t have time to do it right the first time, where are you going to find time to do it over?”  Unfortunately, life can’t be done over, but we surely can learn from our mistakes.  Therefore our last years can be our best.  What’s it going to be for you?

In the Bible, we have a man named Saul who later became known as Paul.  The first part of his life was a complete waste, even though people who knew him were thinking he was a tremendous success.  But the day he met Jesus Christ everything changed, even his name.  The name-change represented a whole new life with a new beginning.  He became a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and made the decision to devote the rest of his life in service to Him.  But up to that point he had done everything imaginable in opposition to Jesus Christ.  Paul explains his situation prior to his salvation for us in the following verses.

Acts 26:9-11

I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.

10 Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them.

11 And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.

And in Galatians 1:13,14 Paul writes about this.

13 For ye have heard of my conversation [manner of life] in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:

14 And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.” [Emphasis added]

As the Jews stoned their prophet Stephen, Saul stood there cheering them on and held their coats. Saul participated in the murder of yet another messenger God sent to Israel [Acts 7:58–8:4].  He actually participated in the murder of Stephen.  But God was going to use Paul, as He can anyone, in some wonderful and spectacular ways.

This same Saul of Tarsus would become the great Apostle Paul, “the apostle of the Gentiles.”

Romans 11:13

13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:

Throughout his ministry of about 35 years, the Lord brought Paul through terrible beatings, persecutions, imprisonments, torturing, shipwrecks, and abandonments [1 Corinthians 4:9-13; 2 Corinthians 4:8-10; 2 Corinthians 11:22-27].  But never once did Paul forget those times back in Jerusalem, years before, when he “persecuted the church of God, and wasted [destroyed] it” [Galatians 1:13].

Although he killed the Lord’s followers in ignorance and unbelief, he could never go back and “undo” any of it.

Despite all his past failures, though, Paul never let those things stop him.  He tells us he went right on in appreciation for his salvation and looking forward to the reward that his Lord would someday give him.

Philippians 3:13-14

13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. [Emphasis added]

Paul knew very well that looking back and focusing on that could only bring discouragement and frustration.  Therefore, it seems he never let his past slow him down.  He went right on, redeeming the time he had left in service to his Lord.  In his last words, he reflects on this.

II Timothy 4:6-8

For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. [Emphasis added]

The Apostle Paul was an ordinary man with an extraordinary God.  That is exactly as it is for us today.  It was the influence of God’s Word that made the difference in his life, just as it will in ours.  We are to let Paul’s words ring in our ears right to the very end of our lives.  We are to “redeem the time” so long as we have the opportunity.

Colossians 4:5

Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.  [Emphasis added]

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