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Redemption:  What does it mean for us?

Gary Googe Jan 18

Three of the basic teachings of salvation are Redemption, which addresses our sin problem; Reconciliation, which addresses our alienation from God; and Propitiation, our need to satisfy the just demands of God.  These three doctrines taken together constitute the one great doctrine of salvation.  While they all relate to people of all times, the full revelation of their meaning was not disclosed until Christ died, arose, and ascended into Heaven.  It was from His heavenly position that these things were fully made known through the revelation given to the apostle Paul and then to us through him.

Ephesians 3:3

3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, [Emphasis added]

Until what was accomplished at the cross was revealed to Paul, it had been a mystery, that is, a secret hidden in the mind of God.

Years ago in America, people were given special stamps at some grocery stores when they made purchases.  They could collect and later use those stamps as a form of payment to redeem household items through a catalog or at a redemption store.  In Bible times, if you were a slave in a slave market, you could be bought and caused to serve the one who bought you or, perhaps, given freedom by the one who paid the price for your redemption.  The apostle Paul used this situation to reveal and explain to us some marvelous truths.  In the Bible we are told that we were redeemed through a price Jesus Christ paid for our sins. 

Ephesians 1:7

In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; [Emphasis added]

In this case, redemption was from what we might call the slave market of sin.  The word grace is in that verse to let us know that God’s work through Jesus Christ to provide for our redemption wasn’t something we earned or deserved.  And we still can’t earn it now.  Other passages tell us the same thing.

Titus 2:14

14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. [Emphasis added]

Still other verses speak of this but sometimes in different terms.

Colossians 2:14

14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; [Emphasis added]

It was through Christ that this work for our redemption was accomplished.

Galatians 3:13

13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: [Emphasis added]

It was not with money that we were redeemed, but by the price of Christ’s work on the cross.  Christ paid the price due, the penalty due, for our violations of the Law.

I Peter 1:18-19

18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;

19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: [Emphasis added]

For centuries lambs and other animals were sacrificed in Israel as an expression of this payment for redemption.  The cross of Christ and His death there was the literal fulfillment of all this.

Again, as born sinners we were all once in this that we might call the slave market of sin.  We were bound there with no way to gain our freedom.  But the good news [the gospel] is that God loved us enough to send His sinless Son to pay the price of redemption demanded by the justice of God so that anyone could be delivered, saved, or rescued from this state of bondage.

John 3:16

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. [Emphasis added]

That verse is often assumed to be speaking of the cross work of Christ, but if we didn’t know about the work of Christ on the cross from other passages, particularly the apostle Paul’s, we would know nothing of it from John 3:16.  This next verse states it all plainly.

Romans 5:8

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. [Emphasis added]

Some think the “us” includes only believers.  But what do the Scriptures tell us about that?

I Timothy 2:6

Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. [Emphasis added]

This tells us this price for redemption was even paid for those who refuse to acknowledge and ever accept it.  The apostle John makes this even plainer.

I John 2:2

And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. [Emphasis added]

Yes, the whole world of mankind was in this slave market of sin, but Jesus Christ made the purchase price for the whole world’s redemption.  He propitiated, that is, He satisfied the justice of God through His work of redemption at the cross.  Does that mean then that everyone is saved? Of course not! It just means anyone can be saved.  For salvation to occur, personal faith must be applied.  No works on the part of the one believing in what He did are required.  Our salvation is all by grace through faith in Him alone.

Ephesians 2:8-10

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Not of works, lest any man should boast. [Emphasis added]

The very next verse in that passage tells us good works should follow, but they are not required as the means to our salvation.

10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. [Emphasis added]

Do these good works always follow in the life of the one believing? They should but they don’t always follow.  In nearly all Paul’s writings he’s correcting believers who in some or many ways weren’t doing that.  In fact, some of these believers were acting like unbelievers, just as they often do in our time.

I Corinthians 3:1-3

1 And I, brethren [referring to believers], could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.

I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? [Emphasis added]

Their “walk as menis speaking of them acting just like unbelievers.  Paul goes on in that same letter to discuss all the many areas of sinfulness where these believers in Corinth needed correction, instruction, and more.

II Timothy 3:16-17

16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

17 That the man of God may be perfect [brought to maturity], thoroughly furnished unto all good works. [Emphasis added]

But the level of one’s growth does not in any way affect one’s status of being one of God’s redeemed and saved people.  Jesus Christ paid the price for our redemption and when anyone accepts what He did for them, they are saved then and forever.  His work of redemption is a complete matter.  Our actions, as believers or unbelievers, has no effect on what He fully accomplished at the cross on Calvary.  His work of redemption was complete and perfect.  The only thing man needs to do for salvation is to believe it.  No additional work on his part is required.

I Corinthians 15:1-4

1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: [Emphasis added]

Application of this to us personally for our salvation requires only our faith.  Nothing more!

II Corinthians 5:21

21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. [Emphasis added]

Putting our faith in His work, not ours, secures for us the righteousness of God, HIS goodness, making us totally acceptable to Him.  In theological terms this is called justification by faith.  Justification is His righteousness being identified with us personally.  It is credited to our deficient account, so to speak.  It is therefore His goodness, not ours, that makes us acceptable to God.  Salvation is gained and our place in Heaven is then secured permanently.

A part of why we then can’t lose our salvation is that we didn’t actually DO anything to gain it.  As I often say, because we didn’t DO anything to gain it, we can’t DO anything to lose it.  I’m always amazed at people who think people can lose their salvation.  What sin could they commit that wasn’t fully paid for by Christ at the cross?  Furthermore, the righteousness God applies to the one believing in what He provided can never be lost.  If you could lose it, could you get it back again? If you could lose it, how many times could you lose it? Also, how many times could you get it back?  No.  Salvation, like birth, happens just once.  This new birth believers gain is also called regeneration in the Bible.

Titus 3:5

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration [PALINGENESIA = born again], and renewing [ANAKAINOO = made new again] of the Holy Ghost; [Emphasis added]

It is through this new birth that we become sons or children of God. 

Galatians 3:26

26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. [Emphasis added]

Until our salvation we’d been born once but were spiritually dead. 

Ephesians 2:1

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sin; [Emphasis added]

Then, if you have any doubts about this new birth and being born again, he says more about it a few verses on down.

Ephesians 2:4-6

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with [SUZOOPOIEO = made alive with] Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: [Emphasis added]

This tells us then that positionally we are in Christ.  We were then brought into union with Him.  It was when we accepted Jesus Christ and His work to provide our salvation that we were born again, regenerated.

Titus 3:5 again

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration [PALINGENESIA = born again.  This is a compound noun—GENESIA means born and PALIN means again], and renewing [ANAKAINOO = make new again] of the Holy Ghost; [Emphasis added]

Conclusion—

When we read that God has done through Jesus Christ a redemptive work for us, we’re being told that God did an extremely important work for each of us that we could never have done for ourselves.  Through the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ our sin problem was fully addressed.  In other words, our sins and the sins of the entire human race were paid for.  To gain salvation people need to simply believe it.  When they do, they are said to be fully reconciled to God.

Again, 2 Corinthians 5:19-21

19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

It is when we accept Christ’s redemptive work for us that we are then fully reconciled to God.

21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. [Emphasis added]

Our sins were credited to Christ on the cross.  When we simply put our trust in what He did for us, Christ’s righteousness is credited to us.  Salvation has been made that simple.  What Christ had to do to provide it wasn’t simple at all.  The various “religions” of the world always make salvation something impossible to achieve while God has made it possible for anyone to easily achieve it.  What will your decision be about all this today? As the apostle Paul once told a Philippian jailer, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” –Acts 16:31

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