God has built a redundancy into the Christian life

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing….” (Ephesians 1:3)

You want someone to drive you to town and both my brother and I show up at the same time in separate cars. You can ride in only one car; the other is redundant.

The word “redundant” means something unnecessary, maybe just a little too much.

In design and engineering, redundancy means building in safeguards to compensate for the failure of the primary system. The backup system you installed may never be used. But if it’s needed, it’s there in place, just waiting.

Imagine an automated system of some type going out due to a power failure.  However, there’s a hand-crank to work with. It’s slower but gets the job done.  People buy gasoline-powered generators as backups to power failures.

Think about the redundancy the Father in Heaven has built into the Christian life.  He saves us, writes our name down in Heaven’s book, we are adopted, and born again. He promises that He will never leave us, assures us that nothing can ever snatch us from His hand, and says that the life we now possess is everlasting.  He indwells us, overshadows us, goes before us, comes behind us, and undergirds us.  He gives us the Bible to teach us, the church to disciple us, assignments to accomplish in this world, and teachers to show us how.  He tells us we are saved forever, that we have become “Sons of God” even, and that we shall dwell in the House of the Lord forever.

Do we have a wonderful Lord or what?

The Father fully plans for us to arrive at His home safely.

Engineers build redundancy into bridges.

When I lived in metro New Orleans, I was delighted when the authorities decided to upgrade the ancient Huey P. Long Bridge which crosses the Mississippi River in Jefferson Parish.  Built in the 1930s, the lanes were narrow, the bridge was curved and driving it was nightmarish.  In seminary, I used to drive a school-bus across that bridge, and learned to pray panicky prayers, believe me.

When the newspaper did a feature about the bridge, I was fascinated to learn the 1930 designers had overbuilt it.  They had constructed this bridge to accommodate trains crossing the river as well as for automobiles.  And because trains back then were pulled by steam-engines–think huge, heavy, smoky, loud–the engineers figured the trains of the future would keep getting bigger and more powerful.  So, they built a bridge to hold all of that.  What they did not foresee was diesel engines.   Soon, steam engines were a thing of the past, replaced by the lightweight diesels.  Consequently–and this is what I found fascinating–this ancient bridge is so strong that the weight of the automobile traffic crossing the river is actually negligible.  (These days, that “new” billion-dollar bridge is a delight to travel.)

Don’t we appreciate safety in bridges?!!

What redundancy looks like in aeronautical engineering.

Airplanes have redundancies built into their design to make them as safe as is humanly possible. I asked pastor friend  Dr. Mike Miller, to comment on that. Mike was flying Leer Jets when he was a young man and these days, he teaches flying to future missionaries.  (Mike pastors Central Baptist in Jacksonville, Texas.)

Yes, redundancy is important. For a long time and still in many small airplanes, redundancy was not prevalent. I used to fly a small twin engine plane that had a  vacuum pump on one engine and an alternator on the other. That meant if your left engine failed, you lost your vacuum pump, and subsequently two of your primary flight instruments. If your right engine failed, you lost electrical power. Now, however, small twin engine planes typically have vacuum pumps and alternators on both sides so that if an engine fails, you only have that to deal with. Your vacuum power gyroscopes and all your electrical systems still function.  Obviously, the same is true if either a vacuum pump or an alternator fail as well. I’ve had an alternator and a vacuum pump fail before, and because of redundancy, I had no problems in flight.

A crazy thing happened one time though. I was flying in inclement weather, and had no outside visibility, meaning I was completely dependent on my flight instruments. Both vacuum pumps failed. Of course, there is another kind of redundancy in that even though I lost my ADI (attitude director indicator), I covered it up so I couldn’t see it, and I used the other instruments to compensate. The rest of the flight went without a hitch.

I’m probably giving you more than you bargained for, but let me explain how the modern flight instruments work with multiple redundancies. It’s really fascinating. In an airliner that you would fly on, for example, both pilots have multiple displays (basically computer monitors). The captain will have a set, and the first officer (co-pilot) will have an identical set.  If one of the captain’s monitors fails, he simply flips a switch and transfers the data all onto one monitor.  If the actual instruments that send the information to the monitor fails for the captain, he simply flips a switch and displays information from the first officer’s instruments. It’s really quite neat.

Even though the Apostle Paul did not use the word “redundancy,” he went to great lengths to convey to us who we are in Christ, using various expressions for what the Lord has done for all who are the redeemed.

This passage in Ephesians 1 is just one example….

1) He chose us. (1:4)

Jesus said, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should remain” (John 15:16).

2) He predestined us. (1:5)

Don’t stumble over this wonderful treasure.  And–as difficult as that may seem–I suggest we try not to get diverted into sidetrips into speculating when the Lord predestined us and whether some are predestined “out.”  He has prepared a place for us, Jesus said in Matthew 25:34 and John 14:3. He has been making plans for us from the beginning. That’s how special we are to Him.

3) He bestowed grace upon us. (1:6)

Not content with just picking us out of the gutter and releasing us from the prison and raising us from the dead–all those metaphors apply to you and me–He proceeded to clean us up, dress us in robes of righteousness, make us children of God–imagine that!–and give us employment in the Kingdom. The blessings of His grace just keep coming, and shall never cease.

4) He redeemed us through His blood. (1:7)

He “bought us out of the marketplace” with the most precious currency in the world, the blood of Jesus.  The Apostle Peter said, “You were not redeemed with perishable things like silver and gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ!” (I Peter 1:17-19)

5) He forgave us our trespasses. (1:7)

Those sins of yours are as gone as anything you ever deleted on the computer. They are buried in the deepest ocean, separated from you as far as the east is from the west, forgotten by the Father, and nailed to the cross. (Scripture teaches each of these truths, ransacking the thesaurus in search of words to describe how total is our salvation.)  There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus!

6) He revealed His will to us. (1:9)

He has big plans for us, earthly as well as heavenly.  It is not His custom to give us the entire scenario in advance, but to shine the headlights a certain piece into the distance so we can see the direction we are to travel for the time being. When we get to the distant point, He will have made clear the next leg of the journey.  “I know the plans I have for you, plans for your welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).

7) He gave us an inheritance. (1:11)

Ah, who doesn’t love a good inheritance?  I’ve been named in a couple of people’s wills over the years–nothing big, but still significant–and it’s quite a thrill.  Best of all is that we are heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.  Peter calls our heavenly home “an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you” (I Peter 1:4).  From here on in, Christian, the news is all good.

8) He sealed us. (1:13)

We couldn’t fall out if we wanted to. We are sealed for all eternity.  Adrian Rogers was speaking to my congregation about this. He said, “Think of Noah in the ark. God had shut that door and sealed it.  Now, I expect Noah may have fallen down a time or two on the stormy sea, but praise God, he fell in the ark, not out of it!”  Christians may fall, but we fall inside the Father’s love, not out of it.

So much for the current mind-set that seems to feel “I made the decision to come to God, so it’s up to me.”

The thing to bear in mind is that when we came to God–and that not of our own doing; He loved us and called us and drew us–something miraculous and irrevocable happened at that moment. We were born again. We were adopted into God’s family, a process that can never be undone.

Our salvation is His doing, not ours.  He is not only the Designer and Implementer and Installer of my salvation, but He is the One who maintains it also.

Rest in the Lord, beloved friend. His love, His forgiveness, His salvation, and His promises are all for now and eternity.

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