What is Redemption?

Redemption is a word that us Christians really seem to like. We use it a lot, for one. And when we talk about salvation and Jesus, redemption must take a pretty important role since it is used in this context often.

But what does this word actually mean? It’s a lot easier to just use Christianese without actually understanding it.

The act of “redeeming” something or someone has its roots in ancient slavery practices. In ancient times, often following wars and battles, nations would take prisoners from the defeated forces. They would do this, enslaving them, with the mutual understanding that they could be redeemed for a price. This price would be a called a “ransom.” Thus, at one of its basic senses, redemption could be defined as the freeing from slavery at a steep price.

When we look at the Bible, the Exodus is a clear and powerful example of redemption. God’s people, Israel, were under the foot of Pharaoh, being harshly treated and forced into hard labor. They were slaves. They needed to be freed. They needed a redeemer. Someone more powerful than their captors.

And so God, with a mighty hand, redeemed them. “In your unfailing love you will lead
the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling. (Exodus 15:13)”

So when we think of our salvation, of our redemption in Christ, this is what we need to be thinking of. We were slaves to sin. And God has freed us from our slavery to sin at a steep price, the death of his own Son.

What specifically have we been redeemed from?

We’ve been redeemed from the guilt of sin.
We’ve been redeemed from the punishment of sin, eternal separation from God in hell.
We’ve been redeemed from a life of futility and insignificance.
We’ve been redeemed from hopelessness.
We’ve been redeemed from ourselves (hat-tip to Paul Tripp).

We’ve been redeemed from a whole lot. But here’s the thing we often forget – we’ve not only been redeemed from, we’ve been redeemed to. Check back next Saturday as we explore what that means and what things we’ve been redeemed to.

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