Understanding Salvation

Redemption

Psalm 107:2 says 'Let the REDEEMED of the Lord SAY so.' In other words we are to talk about our Redemption. But many Christians don't know what REDEMPTION means. It is a word with a very specific background and meaning.

THE SLAVE-MARKET. The return of a victorious general to Rome transformed the staid, austere atmosphere of the city into a festive occasion. When a general was victorious over an enemy, he returned to Rome at the head of A GREAT TRIUMPHAL PROCESSION. He led back in triumph the forces that had served under him, the spoils of the conquered land and a large number of captives. When the news of the victory reached Rome, preparations were made for this, for it was a time when the glory won by the conqueror was heaped upon his head. He rode into the city to be received by the nobles and dignitaries in a manner becoming his victory. This was a time the wealthy looked forward to, for they could buy from the spoils of conquest-the treasures that would adorn their homes. It was a time anticipated by the slave-owner who desired to enlarge the number of his slaves, for after the captives had been led in the triumphal procession, they'd be taken to the SLAVE-MARKET and one-by-one, were put upon a slave block where were examined and tested by prospective buyers, and then purchased to be brought into a life of BONDAGE and servitude. They'd lost their POSSESSIONS and FREEDOM and now were at the mercy of their OWNER and his ENFORCER-the chief slave. Theirs was a cursed life of POVERTY, SICKNESS and DEATH, having no money, no power, no rights.

SLAVES OF SIN This was the thought uppermost in the minds of the New Testament writers when they described Jesus as our REDEEMER and the great work of REDEMPTION he accomplished for sinners. The Bible declares: 'all have sinned', that we've all been conquered by sin and were doomed to live the cursed life of a slave in bondage to sin. When Adam sinned he rejected God as his Master and came under the cruel domination of a new Master called SIN. 'I am carnal, sold under sin.' (Rom 7:13). Every man is born a SINNER and a SLAVE to SIN. He is not free, his will is under the control of sin and his future is fixed by it. This master can deliver him over to even greater bondage (a slave getting weak or old was often sold in the slave-market. The new owner knowing his time was short would try to get more out of him. Sin works this way, bringing us into greater bondage as we serve it.)

In the same House is the chief SLAVE of SIN = SATAN who has the power to afflict and make our situation worse. The penalty or consequence of being UNDER SIN is the CURSE (poverty, sickness and spiritual death).

THE LAW. When God gave the LAW to Israel they thought it was a means to be set free, for if they kept it in every point then surely they'd win their own freedom! But this was impossible for as sinners they continually failed and moreover they found the law was a curse to them for it was a hard overseer pointing out their every fault and whipping them for it. This was the CURSE of the the LAW which magnified the CURSE of being under SIN. In fact God had given the LAW not as a means of liberation but in order to prove to them that they were SLAVES OF SIN and thus powerless to set themselves free. They (we) could never earn or deserve their (our) freedom-so important for them to know for it would cause them to look toward, and receive a Saviour, a Redeemer who would set them free. Job knew this: 'I know my REDEEMER lives' (Job 19:25)

But such is the proud spirit of man that many were still trusting in themselves.

Jesus said: 'If you abide in My word...you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you FREE.'

They (some Jews) answered, 'We are Abraham's descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can you say, 'You will be made free?' (How deceived can you get? They had been in bondage to Egypt, Babylon, and Rome as well as to sin. Pride makes you say stupid things!)

Jesus answered, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin (all men except Jesus) is a SLAVE of SIN, and a SLAVE does not abide in the house forever, but a SON abides forever. Therefore if THE SON sets you FREE you shall be FREE indeed.' (John 8:31-36).

Jesus burst their Bubble! He proved they were slaves of sin because they'd committed sin (whether you commit more or less sin than others or do more or less good misses the point). This is true for all - even these God-fearing Jews. As no slave can free himself (he has no money or power or authority) he must look outside himself for LIBERATION. We are helpless, but now JESUS presents himself as the ONE who is ABLE. For he claims not to be a SLAVE but A SON, then THE (one and only) SON (John 3:16). THE SON as a FREEMAN is able to set the slaves free! 'If THE SON sets you FREE you shall be FREE indeed.' This is why Jesus had to be born of a virgin. The sin-nature is passed down from Adam through the father. God was His father. Jesus was born free of sin - He was a rich freeman.

'REDEEM' means 'to buy back, to pay the RANSOM PRICE to regain something lost that had fallen into the hands of another.' Redemption is COSTLY - that is the emphasis of the word.

A Boy once made a boat but lost it as it was carried to sea. Later he saw his beloved boat in a shop. So he saved up to buy back (redeem) his boat. Now itwas his by creation and redemption (it is the same now for us and God - we belong to Him both by Creation and Redemption).

One word for REDEMPTION actually means:
'to buy out from the slave-market of sin and to be set free.'

A slave-owner who had just lost his son, saw a slave of the same age in the slave-market. His heart went out to him and he bought him and at once released him. He turned round and said-'you have given me my life back-so 'I'll serve you forever' This is how we should respond to our Redeemer.

You see we were slaves in the slave-market of sin, sold into worse and worse bondage. We were powerless to help ourselves and no-one else (Buddah, Confucius, Muhammed etc) could save us because they were slaves also.

'None can by any means REDEEM his brother. Nor give to God a RANSOM for him - for the REDEMPTION of their souls is costly, and it shall cease forever - that he should continue to live eternally, and not see the pit.' (Psalm 49:7-9).

But Jesus came along - A FREEMAN - and saw us on the block. He paid the price, took our chains off and set us free! Now we belong to him not just by creation but by redemption also. He bought us back from the hand of the enemy. He redeemed us.

A boy had caught some old, weak birds and was planning to torture and kill them. A Pastor saw this and offered to buy them. The boy was puzzled thinking they were not worth the money. The Pastor paid the price, opened the cage door and set them free - that is Redemption.

THE RANSOM PRICE for us was so great:
'You were not REDEEMED with corruptible things like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, BUT with the PRECIOUS BLOOD of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish or spot.' (1Peter 1:18-19)

'Redeemed' here means the act of liberating through the payment of a ransom.

'Corruptible and corrupted' things of this sin-cursed earth (Gen 3:17) could never provide a satisfactory redemption price - this includes man and his works -nothing in this creation can suffice. It must be untouched by sin.

Only the BLOOD of CHRIST is sufficient.
'Shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood' (Acts 20:28)

Redemption is sung about in heaven:
'You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open it, for you were SLAIN and have REDEEMED us TO GOD by Your BLOOD, out of every tribe, tongue, people and nation' (Rev 5:9,10). When we know what it cost to redeem us, our life should be filled with praise.

'The Son of Man didn't come to be served but to serve and to give HIS LIFE as a RANSOM for ('Anti-lutron'-in place of and for the sake of) many.' (Matt 20:28, Mark 10:45).

This speaks of substitution: The price necessary to set us free from bondage to sin and its consequence (death) was to take our place on the block and bear our sins and death on the cross.

'The man Christ Jesus who gave himself as a RANSOM for all men.' (1Tim 2:5,6)

On the cross he paid the price to set all men free-even condemned false-teachers who: 'deny the Lord who BOUGHT them.' (2Pet 2:1)

Jesus declared on the cross: 'IT IS FINISHED' - a commercial word meaning 'THE PRICE IS PAID IN FULL'

2 STAGES OF REDEMPTION - BLOOD and POWER.

(1) The PAYMENT confers authority, transfers all rights of ownership and control to the redeemer. There's no more obligation to the old-master. Done by Jesus on the cross by SUBSTITUTION.

(2) The RELEASE. Using this authority the Redeemer actually sets the slave free into a new life by Power. If the old-master is evil and resists this he must be overcome. Jesus did this by his death and resurrection and dynamic defeat of the devil.

THE EXODUS, the classic Old-Testament picture of Redemption shows this.
When God is called the Redeemer of Israel it speaks of the Exodus. They were cursed slaves in Egypt.

(1) Their firstborn were redeemed by the SUSTITUTIONARY BLOOD of the Passover Lamb (a type of Christ) God provided the blood for them.

(2) Those who received this redemption were set free from Egypt by GOD'S POWER (being identified with Moses in death and resurrection through the Red-Sea) This power destroyed the control of the enemy who wanted to keep them bound. 'He redeemed them with His mighty outstretched Arm'

A Man once laid down his life to rescue a boy in a fire that killed his parents. When it was time for the Court to decide his new family - who was found to have the right to adopt? and whom did the boy want? Yes-the one who paid the price to save him and give him a new life by his selfless intervention-he was the one who had won the right (by the demonstration of his love and power to protect) to enter into covenant with the boy and adopt him into his family as his own son. Likewise when Jesus our Bridegroom redeemed us by His blood and power, he won the heart of his Bride. He proved Himself worthy to be her Lord. The demonstration of His love in redeeming her means she now belongs to Him. REDEMPTION establishes completely new relationships and a new life!

The other great Old-Testament picture is in the story of BOAZ and RUTH. This revealed the conditions a Redeemer had to satisfy to bring Redemption. God prepared the way for knowing the Redeemer through the Jewish Customs. If a Jew was sold into bondage or sold himself into slavery because of debt, provision was made for him to be set free through the Kinsman-Redeemer - only a relative had the right and responsibility to pay the price to deliver him.

The Legal Conditions to redeem:

1. He must be a Kinsman-to have right to redeem. Thus, Boaz could redeem Ruth from her low estate. Thus the Redeemer (Jesus) had to be a man (related to us in Adam). (Heb 2:14,15; John 1:14)

2. He must be Able to redeem - he can pay the price. The nearer kinsman to Ruth was unable to redeem. Likewise all in Adam were our kinsmen but could not redeem us because they were also corrupted. Boaz had the substance (wealth) to redeem Ruth. Jesus likewise could redeem us. (Acts 20:28, 1Pet 1:18-19)

3. He must be Willing to redeem. The nearer kinsman to Ruth was unwilling, for it was too costly for him, he was not willing to be responsible to care and provide for her for the rest of his life. Jesus was willing to pay the price, to give up everything, he was a willing sacrifice. (Luke 22:42, Heb 10:7)

4. He must not himself need the redemption he plans to provide. A slave can't free a slave. A man in debt can't clear another's debt. Jesus was sinless so he qualified. (Heb 4:15, 1Pet 2:22-24)

Lessons from the Hebrew Customs
(1) DEBT = a Type of Sin. (In the Lord's Prayer: 'forgive us our sins (=DEBTS)' (Sin = negative righteousness). Man's actions (sins) put him in debt. He is in bondage to sin (under the power and curse of debt). Jesus paid off this sin-debt with his positive righteous life (blood) poured out for us. Justice requires that every debt must be paid. Hence a ransom must be paid for the forgiveness of sins) Thus Redemption relates directly to forgiveness of sins and release from sin. The Jewish customs teach us that the Kinsman-Redeemer must pay the debt = 'the penalty for our sins' (the negative payment) and in Boaz case he also paid the price to look after her in his house (as his wife), to exalt her to a new life and estate (the positive payment) Likewise on the cross Jesus paid the price to cancel our sins (Col 2:13,14) and to purchase a place in heaven for us, thus providing an eternal inheritance.

(2) The story of Boaz reveals that full redemption is not just release FROM the curse but also release INTO blessing, from union with sin to (marriage) union with Christ (Boaz) and an eternal name (an inheritance and future.) This is also seen in the Redemption of Israel from Egypt to the Promised Land.

(3) A redeemed slave is free, Christ does not force us to serve him. He could be a voluntary love-servant (Exodus 21:1-6; Deut 15:16,17). He had his ear-bored, signifying his readiness to hear and obey his Master (Romans 12:1,2). Christ fulfils this picture too - as God's servant (Psalm 40:6on, Hebrews 10:5-7) and is the example to us of how a redeemed, freed slave should continue - for in serving God we find complete freedom (Jn 8:31,32).

RESULTS OF REDEMPTION:

1. CONTINUAL PRAISE and WORSHIP (Rev 5:8)

2. HOLINESS
'Do you not know that your body is the Temple of the Holy-Spirit Who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were BOUGHT at a PRICE therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit which are God's.' (1Cor 6:19,20)

'Our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave HIMSELF for us, that He might REDEEM us from every lawless deed and purify for himself His own special people, zealous for good works.' (Titus 2:13,14)

Christ -'our redemption' is now the center of our lives. (1Cor 1:30)

3. LIBERTY- the subject of Galatians. Remember you have been set free (like a released prisoner) but use your freedom for good-not for evil. Don't be like a prisoner who goes back to a life of crime and grime. So grateful you are out, live a new-life determined never to return to bondage.

'When the fullness of time came, God sent forth His SON, born of a woman, born under the law to REDEEM those under the law' (Gal 4:4,5)

'Stand fast in the LIBERTY by which Christ has made us FREE, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.' (5:1)

'You brethren have been called to LIBERTY, only do not use LIBERTY as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.' (5:13)

'Being justified freely by his grace through the (through and through) REDEMPTION that is in Christ Jesus.' (Romans 3:24)

'The Lord REDEEMS the soul of his servants and none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.' (Psalm 34:22)

4. PROCLAMATION
'O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! for His mercy endures forever. Let the REDEEMED of the Lord SAY SO, whom He has REDEEMED from the hand of the enemy.' (Psalm 107:1,2).

Declare: 'I am redeemed. I am bought with a price.
I am set free from sin, released from the curse.
I am set free to praise and serve God.
I am a freeman. No more bondage- but glorious liberty.
For Jesus has set me free and
if the Son set me free the I am free indeed!'

SPEAKING TO THE UNSAVED - we need to tell them we are all in debt, slaves to sin, that we cannot free ourselves. We are like slaves in the slave-market of sin with no hope. But a Redeemer has come, who has paid the full price to cancel our debt and set us free. He took our place and bore the punishment and curse we deserved for our sin. He paid the penalty for our sins and also paid the price to provide all we need for a new life forever as a freeman! All you have to do is accept what he has done for you and walk free. Say 'Yes' to Jesus. All we have to do is believe in and trust the Redeemer, put our lives in his hands, receive him as our Saviour and Lord. Then our chains of slavery will fall off and we can walk out free into a new life, with our debts (sins) cancelled (forgiven) How foolish for a slave-presented with such an offer of good-news to respond by saying: 'No thanks, I'll work out my own future, I don't need or want any help. I'll do it my way.' Such a one is destined for destruction by rejecting his only hope.

NOTES:
A. Greek Redemption words:
(1) LUTRON-the price of release, ransom
(2) (EX)AGORAZEIN - to buy
(3) TIME-price
(4) LUTROUN
(5) APOLUTROSIS-redemption

B. The Redemption (release) of the body from sin is yet future (although it is paid for by the Blood) (Rev 14:3-4, Rom 8:23, Eph 1:14).

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