Christian Themes

(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

As the title emphasizes, Redeeming Love considers the nature of love, particularly God’s unconditional love. The biblical story of the prophet Hosea’s difficult marriage to the unfaithful Gomer represented the unfaithfulness that the nation of Israel showed in its covenant relationship with God. Despite the Israelites’ sins of idolatry and selfish pride, however, God pursues them repeatedly, just as Hosea pursues Gomer. God works in the same way in the lives of several of the novel’s characters, pursuing them as persistently as Michael pursues Angel. God’s love, the story demonstrates, follows all people, no matter where they are or how many times they flee God’s presence. The novel repeatedly depicts characters stained with sin and surrounded by evil who are saved through God’s intervention. Biblical love redeems the sinful and the sick-hearted; it heals the wounded, removing their shame. As a prostitute, Angel knows only a love of shame; through Michael and others, she learns to shed her shame and fear.

The unconditional love of God also brings forgiveness. Though guilt drives both Angel and Paul from Michael and from each other, biblical love enables them to forgive each other and be forgiven, removing guilt and delivering hope and joy. Redeeming love also frees the human heart from the ties that bind it. While everyone else warns Angel to build walls to protect herself, Michael’s love, flowing from the love that God has shown him, breaks through her barriers, freeing Angel to live and to love as God intends.

Finally, redeeming love transforms a heart. From a hurting, wounded shadow, the love of God and his people change Angel into a humble, giving, loving servant, rendering her a woman of grace and mercy. Through the story of Michael and Angel, Redeeming Love portrays the truth of what happens when God’s love breaks through into a person’s heart.