It is 4:30am Sunday morning as I sit here. I have been up for only awhile. This is a pretty early Sunday morning for me. In fact, most Sundays I actually will sleep in maybe an extra hour. But this morning, I was awakened with one thought on my mind. Actually one word was forged into my thoughts. That word is “redemption“. I know the meaning of redemption, as used in the Bible, and have for many years. But I am afraid this may not be the case for many. The full force of the one English word that we use is often lost from the Greek text. So this morning I would like to do a small word study with the word “redemption”.
There are basically 3 Greek words in the New Testament that are translated into our one English word redemption. I won’t bog you down with a lot of Greek today. I would just like to mention the words, and their meanings.
1) agorazo- meaning “to purchase in the marketplace.” In ancient times, it often referred to the act of buying a slave. In this case the emphasis is on the change of ownership from one master to another, and it is linked to the price paid. In our case Christ’s blood. “And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you redeemed a people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation”.(Rev.5:9), (I Cor.6:20) We see here that Christ has purchased us from the marketplace of sin. He paid the price with His blood.
2) exagorazo- this word always involves going from something, to something else. In this case it is Christ freeing us from the bondage of the law, to freedom of a new life in Him. “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. (Gal.4:4-7) So we see that Christ blood not only paid for our sins, but that He exchanged the life we had under the curse of sin, to a new life in Himself.
3) lutroo- meaning “to obtain release by the payment of a price.” The price, in Christianity, was Christ’s precious blood, obtaining our release from sin. “knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver, or gold, from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers”. (I Peter 1:18) With this tense of our word redeem we get the full word picture. Christ paid the full price for our sins with His blood. He not only paid the price, but He exchanged our life under sin, for a new life in Him. And with this final tense He goes one step further. He paid the price, he exchanged our life for a new one in Him, and He has released us from ALL penalty of sin for all time.
The idea running through these texts, is that of payment made for our redemption. The debt against us is not viewed as simply cancelled, but is fully paid. Charles Hodge says this in his systematic theology: “Christ’s blood or life, which He surrendered for them, is the “ransom” by which the deliverance of His people from the servitude of sin and from its penal consequences is secured. It is the plain doctrine of Scripture that “Christ saves us neither by the mere exercise of power, nor by His doctrine, nor by His example, nor by the moral influence which He exerted, nor by any subjective influence on his people, whether natural or mystical, but as a satisfaction to divine justice, as an expiation for sin, and as a ransom from the curse and authority of the law, thus reconciling us to God by making it consistent with His perfection to exercise mercy toward sinners.”
The blood shed on Calvary was the COMPLETE payment for sin. For now, and for all eternity. It has been applied to all by faith and trust in Him as their Savior. Salvation is not merit based at all on the believers part. It is entirely based upon the substitutionary death of Christ on our behalf. If it is based upon anything else, it would not be a gift. God would be, what we call here in Oklahoma, an Indian giver. He is no Indian giver. He has redeemed a people for Himself. The price was not cheap. It cost Him dearly. It cost Him His Son.
This should humble each and every one of us to our knees, where our lives are centered around worship to Him. I hope that this little study may help someone in their walk with Christ.