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Redemption: What does this mean in the Bible?

Gary Googe Mar 22

The term redeem simply means to buy back. Because man is born a sinner, he is born a slave to sin.  In the Bible, the Apostle Paul speaks of himself as one who was carnal by nature, “sold under sin.”  To be carnal is to be governed by one’s sinful nature, instead of the Spirit of God.

Romans 7:14

14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. [Emphasis added]

In the ancient world, slavery and slave markets were common. A person could be bought back, that is, redeemed from the slave market for a price. In some cases, a person could be bought back after being sold into slavery. Others had become slaves in other ways, such as through warfare and being captured as prisoners and enslaved.

In the Bible, we are told that we were captives to sin. But in this case, it was God Who performed the work of redemption by paying the redemption price for our release through His work on the cross. We find that God by Christ has, in a very real sense, purchased us from the power of sin which once held us captive. The purchase price God paid is said to have been “the blood” of Christ.

Hebrews 9:12

12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. [Emphasis added]

This work was done for all mankind, including those who will rule in the coming kingdom.

Revelation 5:9

And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; [Emphasis added]

Scripture tells us this redemption price was not paid with perishable materials, but with “the blood of Christ.”

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]

Please notice that this work of redemption was unlimited in its scope, unlike what some falsely claim. It was done for those who believe as well as those who don’t believe in Jesus Christ. It was for all mankind of every generation of history.

II Peter 2:1

1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. [Emphasis added]

When Jesus Christ did His work on the cross of paying for our sins, He paid the redemption price, satisfying the required payment for all mankind.  This next of several passages clearly states that Christ fully satisfied the justice of God for the sins of both believers and unbelievers.

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]

This was done as an expression of God’s love for all.

Romans 5:8

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

That, of course, does not provide salvation for all, but it makes all savable. In other words, it makes salvation a potential for all.

John 3:16-17

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.

17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

As per verse eighteen of this same passage, for this work of redemption to result in one’s salvation, personal faith in Jesus Christ must be expressed.

John 3:18

18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. [Emphasis added]

Colossians 1:14

14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: [Emphasis added]

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;

Ephesians 1:7

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

The expression of personal faith provides an additional element that is essential for salvation, namely, the righteousness of Christ. Forgiveness alone is not enough. Redemption and forgiveness is subtraction; the imputation of divine righteousness is addition. In other words, it is at the point of faith we gain the perfect righteousness of God that saves us. Such has always been the case. The salvation of Abraham proves to be an example of this.

Genesis 15:6

And he [Abraham] believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness. [Emphasis added]

The end result of all this is spoken of as salvation, but it is also called justification. Justification occurs when the very righteousness of God has been credited to us judicially. In our case today it occurs when a person accepts Christ’s death, burial and resurrection as the basis for his salvation.

Romans 3:27-28

27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.

28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. [Emphasis added]

Among other things, incredible peace of mind is gained when a person no longer sees the need to perform works for salvation!  The work of Christ was sufficient payment.

Romans 5:1

1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: [Emphasis added]

All this comes to us by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 2:8-9

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

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

As per the next verse in that passage, it is now His purpose for us that we should do works simply as an expression of our appreciation for all He’s done and is going do for us.

Ephesians 2:10

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]

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]

Those works are to be done in service to Him, not the world.

I Corinthians 7:23

23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men. [Emphasis added]

Colossians 3:23

23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; [Emphasis added]

By such works we bring glory to God.

I Corinthians 6:19-20

19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. [Emphasis added]

When we choose not to serve Christ, we are said to grieve the Holy Spirit of God.

Ephesians 4:30

30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. [Emphasis added]

Therefore, this verse is telling us that although our redemption was accomplished in the past, there’s a sense in which it is also something in the future. It is after physical death [or when we are resurrected at the Rapture] that we will be totally [or ultimately] redeemed from sin in that we will no longer sin at all, having been taken out of this mortal body of sin.

Romans 7:24-25

24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. [Emphasis added]

I Corinthians 15:51-58

51 Behold, I shew you a mystery [a formerly undisclosed truth the Old Testament prophets knew nothing about]; We shall not all sleep [the Rapture could occur before we die], but we shall all be changed [a reference to the time of the Rapture and our transformation],

52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality [meaning we gain our resurrection body].

54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

The doctrine of redemption emphasizes our freedom, our liberty. We have been set free from the bondage of sin and the condemnation associated with it.

Romans 8:1a

1a There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus,

We are now to act like it in our conduct. We are now free to be of service to the Lord simply as an expression of appreciation for all the blessings of salvation we now have. We are, therefore, exhorted not to serve our flesh [our sinful nature] but to be of service to the Lord Jesus Christ who redeemed us.

Galatians 5:1

1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. [Emphasis added]

Galatians 5:13

13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh [don’t look at your liberty as a license to sin], but by love serve one another. [Emphasis added]

In quite a number of Paul’s epistles [Romans 1:1; Philippians 1:1; Titus 1:1], he begins the writing by identifying himself as a slave to the Lord. The Greek word DOULOS is typically translated servant in numerous Bible translations, but the word should rightly be translated slave. Many, and probably most, of the people Paul was addressing in his epistles were not simply servants.  They were slaves living in the Roman Empire. There were literally millions of them. By calling himself a slave of Jesus Christ, he is identifying himself with them. What he means is that because of his love for Jesus Christ, he has made himself His slave forever [See Exodus 21:1-6]. This is something we should also do! We are not bound to make ourselves a bond-slave to Christ, but we should. We are free to do it or not to do it. But if we truly love the Lord Jesus Christ as Paul did, we will then say with the manumitted slave of old, “I will not go free; I will be a bond-slave of Jesus Christ forever.” Our redemption by Him should mean that much to each of us. We should gladly serve Him the rest of our lives.

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