If we begin with the idea that psychology is the study of what people do and why they do it, the psychology of redemption points us to the power of the Cross to transform people more than patch them up.
The “what-we-do” changes when we are born of the Spirit because the “why-we-do-it” changes. To be born of the Spirit is to open the door to the life-changing spiritual power that arrives and activates the soul to the Life of God; therefore, that Life of God activates a new lifestyle.
Some exaggerate the idea of “a new creation” by assuming we are not even the same person, but that would mean we were not redeemed at all, but that we became someone else. That redemption means I become someone else would be a bizarre idea since the person God loved is the person I would no longer be. What we mean by that and what actually is can only be reconciled in the fact that God does not make me someone else but the person He created me to be.
That would also point to the fact that before I am born of the Spirit, I am not becoming the person God created me to be because I am not doing what that person would do because of a fundamental flaw in “why I do what I do.” I have a “why I do it” that is fatally flawed from the moment Creation and my generations join together.
I am created. I am created by joining who I am with my generations. The statement, “If God is involved in my creation, I can have no sinful nature” is false. God involved in Providence – which is Providence itself – does not make God culpable for all that occurs within history. God involved is not the guarantee that God is the cause. Even in my creation, He is symphonically orchestrating All together for good for those with passion and purpose.
Providence is what throws off the calculations of human reasoning and fails to show up in computer projections of future outcomes. Looking at my generations in order to project my future paints a dismal picture without redemption, and restoration.
Love means that God can see me redeemed and restored as He creates me with my generations intact. He has hope. He has faith. He has joy. He has anticipation. He has love. He can see something spiritually possible that is not naturally possible because He can see me born of the Spirit.
He can understand what I do in light of why I do it. He can see that changing, and He invests the power of the Cross, the power of the Spirit, the fullest measure of Providentially applied grace, and the transformational power of a renewed mind in a process that restores the why-I-do-it and what-I-do to What-God-wants.
The living sacrifice lifestyle breaks the mold of the cosmic order off my why-I-do-it so completely that I prove the what-God-wants.
The psychology of redemption is all about what-God-wants. It begins with why I do what I do. That is, the transformation is measure in behavior with the added discernment of intention. To judge the behavior without discerning the intention fails to properly discern between rebellion and immaturity.
At any rate, redemption has a psychological component when we begin with the idea that psychology is the study of what we do and why we do it. Psychology as a discipline of moderns in and itself fails to recognize the spiritual reality that stands behind natural reality, so it remains nearly worthless to the kingdom of God, but the Bible does not ignore this fundamental aspect of human behavior.
Redemption produces a new lifestyle or some tragic short-circuit has occurred between the what-I-do and why-I-do-it of my life. Beware the rapid skip to “the righteousness of Christ” as a singing bowl of spiritual magic. Beware the more ridiculous idea that applied modern psychology and redemptive processes shake hands. Beware like the plague the idea that something called “the righteousness of Christ” is superimposed upon my life like rose-colored glasses so God sees me without any grasp of reality or concern for my actions and activities.
Run away from any modern form that suggests you are just carried about in God’s affections without concern for your behaviors within the corporate culture of the kingdom. It ignores the intention of God: to be represented in behavior and culture on Earth as it is Heaven.