Redemption is another part of the overall work of God by which God has brought about our reconciliation and the removal of the barrier of fellowship between God and man. It deals specifically with the problem of man’s sin and with the fact that man is viewed in Scripture as imprisoned or enslaved because of sin (Gal. 4:3-8; 3:22).
Sometimes the term redemption is used rather loosely by theologians and Christians meaning nothing more than simply deliverance. It does mean deliverance, but it means a particular kind of deliverance, a deliverance that results from the payment of a great price. This concept is always in view even when the word redemption is used in passages such as Exodus 6:6; 15:13; Psalm 74:2; and 78:35. Redemption is based on some great expenditure of God. The price God paid is always in view.
Redemption means liberation because of a payment made. In the New Testament, that payment is the death of the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The key Greek words used for the concept of Redemption:
Agorazo: This word comes from agora which means “market place.” It literally means “to purchase, buy from the market place.” In ancient times slaves were brought to the market place, put on the slave block, and then traded or sold to the highest bidder. Scriptures that use this word are 1 Corinthians 6:20, 7:23; 2 Peter 2:1; Revelation 3:9-10. Agorazo stresses Christ’s sovereign worth, value, and thus His ability to redeem us from the slave block of sin by paying the price of our redemption.
Exagurazo: This is a compound verb derived from the preposition ek meaning “out of” plusagorazo. It means to “purchase out, buy out” or “ransom out.” The word is intensive and adds the idea of “deliverance and freedom through the price paid” (Gal. 3:13; 4:5). This word places more emphasis on the deliverance and freedom. Believers have been set free from the slave master, the law and its indictment and condemnation of man as a sinner.
Lutrao: This word comes from lutron which means a “ransom price.” Lutron comes from luo, a verb meaning “to release, set free.” So lutrao carries the meaning of “to release by paying a price” (1 Pet. 1:18-19; Heb. 9:14). This word emphasizes the price paid and the resultant freedom. The price paid was the physical death and shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross.
Apolutrosis: Apolutrosis comes from the preposition apo meaning “from” plus lutrosis, the noun form of lutrao mentioned earlier. This word with the preposition is somewhat intensive and means “to permanently set free” (Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14).
AN EXPLANATION OF THE DOCTRINE OF REDEMPTION
The Agent of Redemption: The agent is, of course, the Lord Jesus Christ who, in His sinless person and by His death on the cross, purchased our redemption (Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14; Rom. 3:24). As part of the work of reconciliation, God the Father removed the sin problem through the person and work of His Son.
The Instrument and Point of Redemption: This is the blood and the cross of Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:18-19). The blood stands for the fact Christ died as the Lamb of God sacrificially and as the substitute for sinners.
The Object of Redemption: This is man’s sin and slavery to sin. The object of redemption is not simply man, but man’s sin problem and his bondage to sin (Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14; Gal. 3:13).
The Results of Redemption:
- (a) forgiveness of sin (Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14),
- (b) deliverance from bondage to sin and the Law (Gal. 3:13),
- (c) provides the basis for imputation and justification (Rom. 3:24; 2 Cor. 5:9),
- (d) provides the basis for our adoption as adult sons of God (Gal. 4:5-6),
- (e) provides the basis for an eternal inheritance (Heb. 9:15), and
- (f) provides the basis for capacity to glorify God (1 Cor. 6:20).
FOR WHOM DID CHRIST DIE?
In connection with the doctrine of redemption and our consideration of the doctrine of reconciliation, there is the question, “For whom did Christ die?” Did He die for the entire world, or for only the elect? The strict Calvinist who believes in the five points of Calvinism believes Christ died only for the elect. This is what theologians call the doctrine of Limited Atonement (we will discuss this further in a later Bible study).
But the Bible plainly teaches that Christ’s death and His work of redemption was not only sufficient for the entire world, but that He actually died for the sins of all the world. This belief, known as Unlimited Atonement, does not mean universal salvation, but only that Christ’s death paid the penalty for (sufficient for) the sin of all the world and for all time. For the Savior’s death to be effective for any individual that person must personally believe or trust in Jesus Christ as his/her personal Savior.
1 Timothy 4:10,“For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.” (Emphasis mine.)
The one sin for which Christ did not die is rejection of His person and work (John 3:18, 36).
John 3:18, “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
John 3:36,“He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
[For a more in-depth study see soteriology “Study Series 1 Meaning, Need and Scope of Salvation”]