Redemption is an essential concept in Christianity. It means to ‘repurchase’ or ‘buy back’. In Greek the word is apolutrosis which refers to the deliverance of Christians from sin.
To redeem means “to buy out.” The term was used specifically in reference to the purchase of a slave’s freedom. If we are “redeemed,” then our prior condition was one of slavery. God has purchased our freedom, and we are no longer in bondage to sin or to the Old Testament law.
Leon Morris says that “Paul uses the concept of redemption primarily to speak of the saving purpose of the death of Christ. In the New Testament, the redemption word is used to refer both to deliverance from sin and freedom from captivity. Therefore, there is a metaphorical sense in which the death of Jesus pays the price of a ransom, releasing Christians from bondage to sin and death.
Whenever a new story breaks about someone committing a heinous crime, we always wonder about the possibility of redemption and how he or she will achieve it. Many of us remain haunted by a past act and truly regret or feel permanently stained.
Everyone is in need of redemption. Our natural condition was characterized by guilt: “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Christ’s redemption has freed us from guilt, being “justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24). Jesus paid the price for our release from sin and its consequences (Matthew 20:28; 1 Timothy 2:6). His death was in exchange for our life. In fact, Scripture is quite clear that redemption is only possible “through His blood,” that is, by His death (Colossians 1:14).
The benefits of redemption include eternal life (Revelation 5:9-10), forgiveness of sins (Ephesians 1:7), righteousness (Romans 5:17), freedom from the law’s curse (Galatians 3:13), adoption into God’s family (Galatians 4:5), deliverance from sin’s bondage (Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 1:14-18), peace with God (Colossians 1:18-20), and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). To be redeemed, then, is to be forgiven, holy, justified, free, adopted, and reconciled. See also Psalm 130:7-8; Luke 2:38; and Acts 20:28.
The streets of heaven will be filled with former captives who, through no merit of their own, find themselves redeemed, forgiven, and free. Slaves to sin have become saints. No wonder we will sing a new song—a song of praise to the Redeemer who was slain (Revelation 5:9). We were slaves to sin, condemned to eternal separation from God. Jesus paid the price to redeem us, resulting in our freedom from slavery to sin and our rescue from the eternal consequences of that sin.
Bible stories of redemption
Noah – Genesis 6-8
It is one of the greatest stories of redemption in the Old Testament. God warned of a coming judgment. This was going to be a world-wide punishment. Those who would repent of their sins and believe in the warnings of Noah were welcome to board the ark before the flood waters began to fall.
After 120 years of preaching the only people who stepped onto the ark were Noah and his family. Though there was room for many more people in the ark, only eight were saved.
Redemption was offered to all who were willing to repent and believe. However, few accepted the offer.
Abraham and Isaac – Genesis 22
God asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac. Throughout the whole process of going to the mountain to sacrifice, Isaac was obedient and Abraham was hopeful. Abraham fully expected to sacrifice his child on the altar, but he was also confident in the fact that God could raise his child from the dead.
What Abraham did not expect was that God had a completely different plan in mind. Moments before Abraham thrust the knife into his child, God provided a sacrificial ram to take the place of Isaac. God redeemed Isaac with this ram. It is an example of how that God redeems us with the sacrifice of His Son
Ruth – Ruth 1-4
The book of Ruth teaches many lessons. But the overall story is one of redemption.
A Hebrew family moved to a foreign land. Ruth married into this family; but, tragically, all the men died. Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi, move back to the land of Israel. Ruth then became the foreigner in a strange land.
In an effort to provide for her mother-in-law, Ruth went to gather grain in the fields. She met the wealthy land owner where she had been working. This man, Boaz, happened to be a near kinsman to Naomi. But, there was another family member who was an even closer relative.
As a close relative, the second man had the responsibility to care for Naomi and Ruth. He even possessed the right to marry the beautiful young lady. But he neither wanted the responsibility nor the right. Boaz approached the closer kinsman with the willingness to assume the responsibility for the family and the right to marry Ruth. The man accepted and Ruth joined Boaz in marriage.
The Bible calls Boaz the kinsman redeemer. He bought the responsibility to care for the ladies and the right to marry Ruth. Even as a foreigner, this redemption into the family of Israel put Ruth into the lineage of King David and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Potter – Jeremiah 18:1-6
Jeremiah the prophet was instructed to go to a potter’s house. At the house he saw the potter make a pot that was not quite to his liking. The potter pushed the malleable pot into a ball of clay once again. Then he proceeded to remake the pot into something better.
God likened the pot to the people of Israel. He said that He was the potter. God told Jeremiah that as the maker and molder of the nation of Israel, God had the authority to shape the nation as He pleased.
God’s ownership over Israel means that He cares for them. Like the potter, God lovingly molds His people into a vessel that He is proud to display.
Lost Sheep – Luke 15:1-7
When the religious crowd of Jesus’ day complained that He was spending too much time with the sinners of society, Jesus told a few redemption stories. He started with the story of the lost sheep.
A man owned 100 sheep. But, one day while away from home, one of the sheep was lost. He secured the 99 sheep and went in search of the single lost sheep. He carried the lost sheep gently back to the 99.
Jesus said that the man went home and threw a feast in honor of the fact that his sheep was found—it was redeemed. Jesus’ application to the religious crowd was that lost sheep (sinners) need to be found. There is rejoicing in heaven over their salvation. The ones who are religious and see no need in repentance and salvation will not be celebrated in heaven because they have not received the redemption provided by Christ.
Prodigal Son – Luke 15:11-32
Jesus told this story shortly after telling the story of the lost sheep. A rich man had two sons. One day the younger son went to his father and asked for his inheritance. He was leaving home. It is apparent that the boy did not have a good relationship with his father. Though his father loved him, the young man felt like he would be better off without the constraints of the family.
After a time he ran out of money. He had spent it all on entertainment and frivolity. Because of a famine in the land he was in an even more desperate situation. He went to work for a farmer feeding pigs. Eventually he was even eating with the pigs. The young man decided that it would be better to return to the house of his father as a servant than to starve away from home.
When he neared his home he was met by his father. The older man had been watching and waiting for his son’s return. The father gladly welcomed him home, not as a servant, but as a son. A feast was made. A robe and a ring were given to the son to attest to his position in the family. Though he had gone away, his father accepted him back with no change in his status as a son.
Saul of Tarsus – Acts 9:1-22
On the road to Damascus, Saul of Tarsus encountered the Lord. Saul knew very well who Jesus Christ was. But up until that time Saul did not believe that Jesus was the Redeemer promised by God. That day, on his way to capture Christians and take them to prison, Saul saw Jesus for who He really was.
The man who had brought so much persecution to the early church was redeemed by the love of Christ. Saul was later known by the name Paul. This is the man who we call the Apostle Paul. He was responsible for spreading the true Gospel of Jesus throughout the known world in his time.
God Bless You…Brethren.