Redemption -- What is it?
By Robert Surgenor
In the city of Cleveland, Ohio, listed in the Yellow Pages of the phone directory, you will find thirteen establishments that are unique. These businesses are patronized by people who have fallen into financial difficulties and are seeking to obtain a little "quick cash." The people who operate these establishments are termed "pawnbrokers." In order to obtain immediate cash, the individual presents to the pawnbroker an owned item. For a small basic fee plus a monthly interest charge, the broker will loan a very small amount of the item's value to the owner. In order for the pawned item to be restored to the pawner, the amount loaned on that item must be returned to the pawnbroker. This transaction is called "redeeming." In other words, the item is sold, kept by the broker, and cannot be restored to its original owner until redemption money is given.
Would it interest you to know that we, like valuable items, have been pawned in a spiritual sense? Holy Scripture speaks of us as having been "sold under sin" (Rom. 7:14). God says concerning the whole human race, "they are all under sin" (Rom. 3:9). This calamity transpired when Adam, the head of our race, sinned against God. In so doing he "pawned" all of us, so that we are not in God's possession as Adam first experienced, but rather in the possession of another. We are "without God in the world" (Eph. 2:12), held under sin, and under the curse of God's holy law. "Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them" (Gal. 3:10). Thus we are guilty before God (Rom. 3:19), condemned already (Jn. 3:18), and hopelessly condemned to die (Eze. 18:4). Such are the dire circumstances of the human family to which we belong! We as "pawned" beings are in a state of bondage as a direct result of sin.
Held as slaves, we cannot set ourselves at liberty. Practicing good works, trying to act like a Christian, praying, expressing charity to others, confessing one's sins, joining church, submitting to baptism, tithing, receiving the "sacraments" cannot in any way set one free from bondage! In order for a pawned item to be returned to its original owner a redeemer with a ransom is needed! Multi-billionaires are too poor to redeem any man back to God. "None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him" (Ps. 49;7). Thus God shows us that no human power or skill, no giving of silver, or service, or even one's life, can avail to ransom any soul from the awful doom imposed by sin. I sincerely hope that you see this, for most do not. Consequently they never their hopeless condition, nor do they seek God's remedy.
Mankind needs redemption and a redeemer to pay the ransom price if he is ever going to escape the bondage of sin and the curse of God's broken law! The word "redemption" is a wonderful word! It has various shades of meaning, such as: "to regain possession of by repurchase; to rescue or deliver, as from bondage by paying a ransom; to purchase out of the slave market; to loose, to set free."
THE PERSON, PURCHASE & PRICE
God required the sinner's obligation to be met. There could be no backing away from this holy demand. Since no mortal, nor angel, nor saint could redeem us, where could redemption be found? Ah, my friend, the story is sweet and clear. Redemption was found in the only One who was able to redeem--the Lord Jesus Christ! He voluntarily consented to pay the debt. Under God's law a redeemer must be a near kinsman (related to us), he must be able, and he must be willing to redeem. He also must be free from bondage himself. Christ fulfilled these requirements concerning God's law, confessing, "I am not come to destroy (the law), but to fulfill (Matt. 5:17). Consequently He clothed Himself with a human body so that in the manger we see the incarnation of the eternal Son into the human family. He became our Kinsman Redeemer. "As the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same. " (Heb. 2:14). He tells the purpose of His coming into this world--"The Son of man came . . . to give His life a ransom for many" (Mk. 10:45). Thank God, He the sinless One took the slave's place willingly, was made a curse for him and shed His blood as the ransom price of redemption. "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree" (Gal. 3:13). Divine justice demands eternal punishment in hell because of sin. Christ paid the ransom to the "Justice of God" with a view to setting you free. Notice what God says, "In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins" (Eph. 1:7). Peter exclaims, "REDEEMED...with the precious blood of Christ" (I Pet. 1:18,19). Peter fully knew that the church could never redeem--only the blood of Christ!
Christ has "obtained eternal redemption for us" (Heb. 9:12). This means that those who are redeemed will never be taken back to the "slave market." Redemption once obtained is never lost! Will you accept the price the Redeemer has paid--His precious blood? If you rely solely on His redemptive work, you will be among the throng in heaven singing these words eternally, "Thou art worthy...for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood..." (Rev. 5:9). May it be so--for your sake!