A friend of mine died a few days ago. A warm, friendly, intelligent man, I met him almost 10 years ago. At that time he was alone, had few possessions. He was feeding himself and his dogs by fishing and hunting. He was cooking on a small petrol stove in his council flat. Walking with me across the moor, he would stop to identify plants, telling me their Latin names. He would identify otter tracks, pointing out their feeding habits amongst the detritus on the lochside, show me the meals of the birds of prey from their pellets. A walk with him was an education. He was reading The Mayor of Casterbridge. He was a talented musician. He was good company. He was a Christian. We walked together, we prayed together, we laughed together. He was a former heroin addict.
He joined the church. He got a job in the outdoors, a job he loved; walking the moors, out with his dogs. He got married, moved away, settled down in a cottage. Happy. Blessed. But he died alone on a city street. With few possessions, with his dogs by his side. He was a Christian. He was my friend. He was a heroin addict.
Jesus Christ brings His redemption, in part, in this life. He forgives our sins, reconciles us to the Father, gives the Holy Spirit, provides stability through our faith, wisdom to live, eyes to see beauty, a family in the church. But his redemption is not complete until we experience our complete adoption as children of God, the redemption of our bodies. Some Christians escape the destruction of addiction in this life, but many do not. Redemption in its fullness is for the next life, the resurrection life. The freedom of the glory of the children of God is to come. Freedom for my friend. Freedom for Ian.