“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” II Corinthians 5:17-21 NIV
Reconciliation and redemption are terms used by Paul to describe how we are being made new in Christ every day when we cooperate with his plan for our salvation and renewing and restoring of our lives. Sometimes this can be hard to understand. Jesus often used parables and stories to illustrate spiritual concepts. I believe the story of Ruth, Naomi and Boaz is another beautiful picture of redemption and reconciliation.
Naomi had a husband, two sons and two daughters-in-law in the beginning of the book of Ruth. Then all the men die, and Orpah returns to her own Moabite family. Naomi decides to return to Israel and Ruth, also a Moabitess, will not leave her alone, but insists on returning to Naomi’s home with her. Naomi is grieving and bitter, and sees no future for herself, or her daughter-in-law. Ruth does not abandon her, and seeks to provide for them both by gleaning grain for them to eat in the fields of Boaz. Ruth comes to Boaz seeking his protection by marriage, and provision for Naomi as well. Boaz agrees to be their kinsman-redeemer, marries Ruth, and they have a son named Obed, who was the father of David. In the beginning of Ruth’s story, Naomi saw her life as empty. By the end of the book of Ruth, her life was full, and she could look forward to a full future.
Jesus is our kinsman-redeemer. He offered himself as a willing sacrifice for our sins. He died on the cross to pay the price required for our sin, so that we can be reconciled to God. When we accept this free gift from God, to let Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins wash us clean of our sin, then we can come into the presence of God. We can spend time getting to know God, and we can learn how God wants us to live. Our lives are being made new every day. When we read the Bible, the Holy Spirit will reveal to us new insights into our lives, into God’s truth, and he will reveal ways we can show God’s love and his desire to reconcile others to himself. We have a future and a hope, just as Ruth and Naomi did. This week, read and memorize II Corinthians 5:17, remember in Christ we are being made new!
By Grace Hunter