Redemptive Poverty Work

by Alvin Sanders | President & CEO of World Impact

As someone who has lived and ministered among the working poor, I understand how important redemption is. I know what it feels like to desire to have a better life. I’ve felt the weight of being a part of the fabric of a broken community. Those who live in poverty feel the effects of the Fall in Genesis 3 every day of their lives.

Jesus Christ laid down his life for this redemption. Unfortunately, we too often reduce this story to this simple but incomplete formula: “God made the world, we are sinners, and so God sent Jesus to save us from our sins.”

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the Gospels, were written to serve as tools of evangelism. In fact, the word “gospel” means “good news.” If we reduce the definition of “sin” to mean some “no-no’s we did,” we do a disserve to the message of the Gospels. Right off the bat, Jesus Christ is introduced in Matthew 1 as the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, the one who would finally save His people from the oppressive bondage of the effects of the Fall. Jesus paid the ransom price for our freedom (Mark 10:45). The term we use to describe this purchase is redemption.

Because of the oppressive effects of sin, those living in the condition poverty experience a low quality of life. We are doing people in poverty a disservice if we do not introduce to them an understanding that the redemptive work of Christ signals complete victory over the forces of sin and evil.

Redemption involves sacrifice for the purpose of holistic restoration. The entire story of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is much deeper than the formula we narrow it down to. Jesus defeated Satan and destroyed his works, reestablishing the reign of God here on earth. That’s good news!