THE DOCTRINE OF REDEMPTION
(Lesson 18 on Bible Doctrines)
- The term redemption means to deliver by paying a price, to free from bondage. The death of Christ is represented in the Bible as the payment of a ransom. "The idea of ransom is that of the payment of a price in order to set another held in bondage free. Thus Jesus said that he had come to give His life a ransom for many (Matt.20:28; Mark 10:45), and the work of Christ is spoken of as a redemption (Luke 1:68; 2:38; Heb.9:12)" Ė Henry C. Thiessen, Lectures in Systematic Theology.
- The doctrine of redemption is a vital part of Godís revelation concerning His eternal purposes for man. He "redeemeth thy life from destruction" (Ps.103:4). This theme of redemption is dealt with in over 150 different passages of Scripture, in both the Old and the New Testament.
- THE CONCEPT OF REDEMPTION
- Our English word is derived from the Latin, "a buying back." According to the Bible, sinners are enslaved to sin (John 8:34; Rom. 6:17) and need to be redeemed with a price. The price paid was the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ (I Peter 1:18,19; Rev.5:9).
- The ransom was not paid to Satan, but to God. Satan has no legal claims against the sinner, and so does not need to be paid in order to set the sinner free. "Godís mercy ransoms man from Godís justice" (William G. T. Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, Vol. II).
- There are many Old Testaments illustrations of redemption:
- When God slew all the firstborn of Egypt, He told Moses that the firstborn of the Jews were to be dedicated sacrificially as a token of thanksgiving for their deliverance from Egypt. They were not to be offered up, but were to be redeemed (Ex.13:15). Animal sacrifices were the price of their liberty.
- If a man sold his daughter to be a maidservant and her new master, "who hath betrophed her to himself" was not pleased with her, he could not "sell her unto a strange nation" but was to let her be redeemed, i.e., let her be bought back by her father (Ex.21:7,8).
- The Levites were chosen by God to serve in the sanctuary of the tabernacle and were substituted for the firstborn of Israel. The additional firstborn in the other tribes were relieved from service by the act of redemption Ė the payment of a price, five shekels per man (Num.3:46-51).
- If an Israelite was sold into bondage or voluntarily delivered himself into slavery because of indebtedness, provision was made by which the indentured servant could be set free. It was through this provision of the "kinsman-redeemer" that one who was kin to the slave had the right and the responsibility to pay the price in order that his kinsman might be delivered from bondage (Ruth 3:12,13; 4:3,4).
- THE CHANNEL OF REDEMPTION
- Redemption begins and ends with God and is all of grace (Ps.130:7,8; Isa.41:14; 48:17; 49:26).
- Redemption is by the Lord Jesus Christ. "For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth" (Job 19:25). In Christ "we have redemption through His blood" (Eph.1:7). He has "redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us" (Gal.3:13).
- The goal of Christís incarnation was the redemption of man (Gal.4:4,5). He "gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity" (Titus 2:14).
- THE COST OF REDEMPTION
The potential redemption of all men from bondage to sin demanded a price commensurate with human depravity. In the infinite wisdom and compassion of God the price was available and nothing but the life-blood of the only begotten Son of God would suffice (Acts 20:28; Heb.2:14,15).
- THE COMPLETION OF REDEMPTION
A time of restitution of all things is coming when believers will experience the redemption of their bodies (Rom.8:23; Eph.4:30). "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh" (Luke 21:28).
- THE CONSEQUENCE OF REDEMPTION
Whereas once we belonged to the devil, now we belong to God. "For ye are bought with a price" (I Cor.6:20).
Pastor James Barker