REDEMPTION What Jesus Did For The Believer……CLAY Fit For The Master’s Use…Because He Redeemed It!
It happened about ten years ago — when it was still fashionable to give away redemption stamps for almost anything purchased. I was walking in the downtown area of a large city and a church bulletin board caught my eye. Its message has been forever etched on my mind. It simply proclaimed: “Redemption center; no stamps necessary.”‘
Redemption is among the most important words in mankind’s vocabulary because it describes the most potentially important transaction in life.
Christians frequently talk about redemption, sing about redemption, and pray about redemption. But what is redemption? What is it in the eyes of God?
Let’s get back to the sign that I mentioned earlier. The church sign read, “Redemption center: no stamps necessary.’ The sign was technically right, because men who experience redemption do so freely, or without a cause (Rom. 3:23). That is, men make no contribution toward their own redemption. Not only are stamps or payment unnecessary, in point of fact attempt at payment of any kind would negate the transaction of redemption.
If, however, someone read the sign, “Redemption center: no stamps necessary,” and perceived that redemption could be secured without any payment by anyone, that would be equally erroneous. Redemption requires payment, and the price was paid in its entirety by the Son of God.
By definition, redemption is the act of deity in which Jesus Christ pays the whole demand of the law for sinful man; the Father receives him as a son and heir; and the Holy Spirit delivers him from the bondage of indwelling sin unto true freedom.
It is precisely because Jesus paid the whole demand of the law for sinful man who was, in turn, enslaved by that law, that Jesus can proclaim, “If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (Jn. 8:36).
The entire glorious truth of redemption is summed up in the Bible by the use of three words. Each of the three words means redemption but each has a particular shade of emphasis or meaning.
First there is the word agorazo. With the use of this word the emphasis is on the ransom price to be paid. Listen to the beloved Apostle John address this subject; “And they sang a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed [agorazo,to pay the ransom] us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Rev. 5:9). That is, the ransom price was the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Or consider Peter’s condemnation of false teachers in the latter days: “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who secretly shall bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord that bought [again the word is agorazo, to pay the ransom] them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction” (2 Pet. 2:1). Peter is saying that in the latter days false prophets will deny the efficacy of Christ’s blood in the purchasing of our redemption.
The great Apostle Paul adds his voice to that of John and Peter. He wrote to the church at Corinth, “For ye are bought [agorazo, to pay the ransom] with a price; therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor. 6:20). Paul’s logic is simple. Jesus, through His blood, has paid the price for our redemption. It is only logical, therefore, that we glorify God in our body and spirit which legally belong to the One who has redeemed us.
Second there is the word exagorazo. With the use of this word the emphasis is on the removal of the redeemed from the slave market of sin and the jurisdiction of the Mosaic Law.
Galatians is the Apostle Paul’s great epistle on Christian liberty, it is the believer’s emancipation proclamation. It is the refutation for all time of those who would seek to put the child of God back under a law system or to illogically develop a system of grace plus law. Paul’s clarion call is “Christ hath redeemed [exagorazo, to remove] us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us; for it is written. Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree” (Gal. 3:13). Paul’s point is that Christ through His death has removed us out from under the curse of the law.
To underscore the importance of our removal out from under the curse of the law, Paul ties it directly to the purpose for the incarnation of the Son of God: “But, when the fullness of the time was come. God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law. To redeem [exagorazo, to remove out from under] them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Gal. 4:4-5). For emphasis, let’s reverse the order of Paul’s statement.
To be adopted into the family of God, man had to be removed out from under the curse of the law (which keeps man from God); and for that to be accomplished, Jesus had to become a man.
Third and finally, there is the word lutron. With this word the emphasis is on releasing the one redeemed so that he may choose whom he will serve.
The tax collector-turned-disciple gives an excellent illustration of this word. The disciples were jockeying over places of honor in the kingdom, and Matthew records the Lord’s response; “And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant; Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom [lutron, to set free] for many” (Mt. 20:27-28), The appeal by the Lord is to servitude. And the example He uses is that He willingly gave His life that many might be released or set free. Now, out of gratitude and love, the recipient of release has the potential to choose to serve the One who released him.
The most familiar use of this word comes from the inspired pen of the Apostle Peter. He wrote, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed [futron, to set free] with corruptible things, like silver and gold, from your vain manner of life received by tradition from your fathers. But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Pet. 1:18-19). The price for our being set free was not the corruptible things of this world but the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The three words for redemption in the New Testament taken together give a composite picture of this glorious doctrine.
The imagery behind these words is that of a slave market — a common and dreadful scene in New Testament times. Agorazo then speaks of the ransom price that was paid to purchase the slave. Exagorazo speaks of the removal of the slave from the sphere of the slave market. And lutron speaks of release of the slave himself. God is so wondrously gracious. He pays the price of our redemption; He removes us from the enslavement of this world system; and then He sets us free. If we serve Him, it is because we choose to, never because He forces us to serve, Wisdom, gratitude and tove argue for willing servitude. And countless millions have through the centuries with unanimous voice proclaimed, “His yoke is easy, His burden is light.”
During seminary student days, I remember going to listen to a well-known evangelist who had come to town. He was speaking on the redemptive work of Christ. To illustrate a point, he told of a woman whose husband had died. The deceased man had been a physician, and one day his widow went through her late husband’s ledger. To her surprise she found that many of his patients had unpaid bills of long standing. She decided to hire a lawyer to collect the unpaid bills. As the lawyer looked through the ledger, he found these words written under each unpaid bill; “Debt cancelled — could not pay.” The lawyer told his client that she could not cotlect, that the debts had been cancelled by her husband because the patients could not pay. Now the evangelist made his application. “That is what Jesus did for us in redemption,” he forcefully proclaimed. “He cancelled the debt because we could not pay it.” To such a statement everything within me cries out, “No, no a thousand times no!”
If you are in Christ, your debt has not been cancelled because you could not pay it. Jesus paid it for you in full at “the place of the skull,” There He was pierced through, there He shed His blood, there He who knew no sin was made sin for us, there He met once and for all the demands of the law. Amazingly, the price was not too high for the Father’s love or the Son’s obedience, and with an infinite sacrifice of eternal worth He legally ransomed us from sin’s penalty; He positionally removed us from sin’s presence; He experientially released us from sin’s power so that we need never be enslaved again.
I asked, “How much do you love me, Lord?” and He said, “This much,” and lifted up His arms and died.