“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of (deliverance from) our sins, according to the riches of His grace…” (Ephesians 1:7)
Back when I was a child, our family attended a church that loved to sing those old gospel songs. One of those songs began with these words:
This is glorious gospel truth. But I wonder just how much we really understand the whole concept of being “redeemed?” Indeed, it comes through God’s infinite mercy, through Jesus’ blood-sacrifice, and it makes us His child… forever. But do we grasp that there is so much more to being redeemed than just experiencing God’s love and adoption?
Until we understand what being redeemed really means, we may not grasp the fullness of why God’s redeeming work is something we can love to proclaim.
To understand what it means to be redeemed, we need to understand what it meant in New Testament times. The term was commonly used in situations of transfer of ownership. If you went to a market place (at the root of the word) and purchased some produce from a vendor – your purchase transferred ownership from the one who was selling the produce, to you. What was his, is now yours because you paid a price to own what you did not have previously.
Another common practice in New Testament times was the act of redeeming slaves. You could purchase a slave by paying a sum of money to the slave’s owner. You could do this to purchase the slave for your own service… or you could do so to set him free (In those days, slaves could actually redeem themselves because most of them actually earned a wage in their service!). Either way, to redeem a slave was to pay the established price to transfer ownership… or purchase their freedom.
Jesus taught us that “everyone who sins is a slave to sin.” Since everyone has sinned, we were all the slaves of sin (Romans 6:17, 20). That means sin owned us… ordered us around… kept us in bondage to our self-serving desires… kept us from living in the freedom in which we were meant to live.
The Bible declares that we are all slaves to sin… in need of a Redeemer… to purchase our freedom.
But the problem was… the established price was a life for a life.
But Jesus came to pay THAT price – to purchase our freedom at the cost of His Own blood, His Own life. “He gave His life to purchase freedom for everyone.” (1Tim. 2:6) And:
What Jesus did was to completely liberate us from the “ownership” of sin. This means that, legally, sin has no right to exercise authority over our lives any longer… ever!
This is why the apostle begins Romans 6 by asking the rhetorical question: “Are we to continue in sin that grace may increase?” And, because we were redeemed from our slavery to sin, he answered his own question: “May it never be!” (Rom. 6:1)
It was Jesus Who redeemed us from the slave master called sin… and He did it with His precious life’s blood:
Being redeemed from the slave master of sin means that we never again have to heed his orders, follow his suggestions, or give in to what he wants us to do.
The redeemed are truly free.