The Christian Doctrine Of
No other religion has a Redeemer. Jesus Christ is our Redeemer.
By Ken Raggio
The evening news showed a crazed bank robber walking out of a bank, holding a gun to a teller's head. He held her in an arm-lock, and she was terrified. The local police had already arrived outside the bank, and the robber was holding the teller as a human shield as he attempted to escape.
There was ice and snow on the sidewalk just outside the bank entrance, and as the bank robber attempted to run away with his hostage, he slipped and fell. The teller tore herself away from him and began to run for her life. The robber quickly jumped back to his feet, and pointed the gun at the teller and started to shoot her in the back.
Several policemen instantly opened fire on him, and within seconds, the criminal was lying dead on the sidewalk. The teller had escaped with her life. The quick responses of the law enforcement officers REDEEMED her from an untimely and tragic death.
Whether or not you realize it, every one of us have been held hostage by an evil enemy.
Satan knew that when he tempted Eve in the Garden, she would be condemned to die if she yielded and ate the forbidden fruit. In a moment's time, Satan held Eve in a deadly arm-lock. Because she had transgressed against her Creator, she was condemned to die.
"Of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die," Genesis 3:3.
The sentence of death provided no recourse, and no provision for an appeal. Once Adam and Eve sinned against God, they had no protection whatsoever from the sentence of death.
Likewise, every one of us has transgressed against God, and is condemned to die. God will pass judgment on your eternal soul when you die. He will determine whether or not you obeyed Him in your lifetime. He will either dispose of your eternal soul in Hell, or reward you with eternal life in His presence.
If you have lived your life in transgression against Him, you will certainly be condemned, and you will surely perish. Without miraculous intervention, your guilty soul is doomed to Hell. THAT is what you need to be redeemed from!
You and I desperately need to be redeemed from certain damnation.
People become atheists because they do not want to admit they have an eternal soul. In foolhardy denial, they delude themselves into believing that there is no God, and no cause to be concerned about Heaven, Hell, or their eternal destiny.
Atheism is a cop-out. It is escapism from reality, and utter denial of impending doom.
For thousands of years, the preachers and prophets of Israel declared and documented the supernatural acts of God's dealings with men, to affirm that God is everything His word says He is, and assuring us that everything He has said, He will do. That includes His promise to bring us all to judgment.
If God ever did ANYTHING, He will do EVERYTHING He said He would.
That means that judgment is coming for you and me.
Heaven and Hell are real and eternal destinations, and every soul will spend forever in one or the other.
Now, if you do NOT want to spend eternity in Hell, you need to be redeemed before it is too late.
Redemption is synonymous with salvation. God saves us by redeeming us from our sins and condemnation.
Before there can ever be an act of redemption, there must be the person of a Redeemer.
Many years ago, the local grocery stores gave their customers trading stamps as a bonus for purchasing groceries from them. One particular scheme gave one stamp for every ten cents worth of groceries purchased. They called them “redemption stamps.”
A customer who purchased a large amount of groceries could expect to accumulate enough stamps to earn valuable rewards. They pasted the stamps into stamp books, and took them to a "redemption center” to cash in on merchandise - dishes, appliances, or any number of items from a catalog.
Today, there are few such redemption centers in existence. Even if you possess great quantities of trading stamps, they are worthless without a REDEEMER.
The same is true about our souls. If it were not for Jesus Christ our REDEEMER, our souls would have no value.
Nobody but Jesus can give us true present value and eternal reward in exchange for our worthless, sinful souls.
Only Jesus can give us value and reward in exchange for our worthless, sinful souls.
Whenever God redeems the soul of a man or woman or child, He is recovering the value of an otherwise worthless soul. Our lost and sinful souls have no eternal value except for the grace of God. We are only fit for destruction. If we take our souls to God, and present them to Him on His terms, He will gladly receive them in exchange for His rewards. His rewards are both temporal and eternal.
He promised that if we would GIVE HIM WHAT WE HAVE, He will give us infinitely more value. Jesus said, “every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life,” (Matthew 19:29). A hundredfold blessing on earth and eternal life in heaven are some of the rewards of redemption.
Without God’s plan of redemption, we would all be dying without hope, only to be cast as refuse into the lake of fire.
The act of redemption is like the act of paying ransom for a hostage. Like the news story above, criminals often kidnap a person with the intention of extorting a reward or expending them for some tragic purpose. It is an act of felony. Unless a ransom is paid, the hostage’s life is in real jeopardy.
That is essentially what Satan did in the Garden of Eden. He took Adam and Eve captive at his will (see 2 Timothy 2:26). Unless God is willing to pay our ransom, we will not be saved. We will perish under the curse of our sins, because the wages of sin is death.
But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
When a ransom is paid, a trade-off is made:
a. to recover ownership by paying a specified sum
Redemption saves us from sin and its consequences. Redemption makes up for the tragic losses due to sin. Redemption restores the honor, worth and reputation of its victim. This is what God does for us.
Do not underestimate the awesome wonder of your being redeemed. God does an amazing thing when He redeems you from sin.
R.C. Sproul said, “God just doesn’t throw a life preserver to a drowning person. He goes to the bottom of the sea, and pulls a corpse from the bottom of the sea, takes him up on the bank, breathes into him the breath of life and makes him alive. That’s what the Bible says happens in your salvation.”
Everybody was guilty under the Old Testament Law.
But nothing in the Law could redeem a man. The blood sacrifices only postponed the punishment for another year. Only Jesus Christ can actually redeem us from the Law's dreadful curse.
C.S. Lewis said, “We must not suppose that if we succeeded in making everyone nice we should have saved their souls. A world of nice people, content in their own niceness, looking no further, turned away from God, would be just as desperately in need of salvation as a miserable world.”
All of us have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
Some people illogically believe in the “inherent goodness of man,” but Psalm 39:5 contradicts that notion: “Every man at his best state is altogether vanity.”
Jeremiah said, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.”
Paul said, “There is none righteous, no not one.”
From the beginning of time, God has convicted and condemned men for their sins. He cast out Adam and Eve from paradise, condemned the citizens of the Tower of Babel, drowned Noah’s evil generation in a flood, and overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah with fire and brimstone.
"It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God," Hebrews 13:31.
God gave His Laws (through Moses) to show all mankind the exceeding sinfulness of our human nature. The Law was the SCHOOLMASTER which makes us aware of our sinfulness. The Law shows us our need for a Savior and a Redeemer, who of course is Jesus Christ.
The Old Testament prophets tried desperately to convict the people of their sins. The Lord chastised Israel again and again to make them acknowledge their sins. (Few things serve to make us recognize our sinfulness more than the trouble it causes.)
Jesus came into the world at a time when there was “throughout the world a deep consciousness of moral depravation and a vague longing for a restorer, pointing to a universally-felt need of rehabilitation,” (see Le Camus, "Life of Christ", I, i).
Even in today’s outrageously licentious, “do as you please” society, people still feel an undertow of guilt. Multitudes are groaning in their spirits for deliverance from the world’s sin and misery.
Despite powerful liberal political and social agendas that seem to rule our day, countless millions of people still know in their hearts that things are not well, and that judgment is coming.
The soon-coming of the Lord Jesus Christ will be the ultimate act of redemption of our God, who truly is our Redeemer.
Thirteen times in the Book of Isaiah alone, God called Himself Israel’s redeemer.
God’s Incarnation in the fleshly body of Jesus demonstrated His love and grace toward us, who are lost in our sins. God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself. I John 3:16 says, “Hereby perceive we the love of God, that he laid down his life for us.” It was God - the Father - Incarnate in the human robe of flesh - attempting to redeem us.
We should be thankful that the Law has shown us our sins.
In Romans 7:7, Paul explained that we could not even know we were sinners except the Law had showed us our sins. For that reason, the Law is very sacred. Even in these New Testament times, it is still the Old Testament Law that shows us our sins.
In verse 12, Paul added, “therefore the law is holy.”
Again in verse 14, he deducts therefore that, “the law is spiritual.”
Then in 1 Timothy 1:8-10, he added, “The law is good, if a man use it lawfully; Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine.”
But after all these assertions, however, Jesus Christ is still the only solution to the sinful dilemma that the Law places us in.
“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,”(Galatians 3:13).
In spite of all the Law’s potency to manifest the sinfulness of sin, it is weak to remove it. “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh, That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit (Romans 8:3,4).
Only Jesus can redeem us from the dilemma of our sins.
We ARE going to be accountable for our sins, so we had better find a REDEEMER before that day comes! God clearly placed the burden of accountability on each of our shoulders. Jesus said, “Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment,” (Matthew 12:36).
Paul quoted from Isaiah 45, saying, “As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God,” (Romans 14:11-12).
Every man and woman who ever lived will make their confessions to Jesus Christ in that day. “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father,” (Philippians 2:9-11).
God says, “All souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die,” (Ezekiel 18:4).
“The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now…, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of the body,” (Romans 8:22-23).
From the beginning of creation, God has anticipated the day of judgment of the wicked and redemption of the righteous.
In the Old Testament and in the New, God’s plan of redemption always pointed prophetically to Jesus Christ. The only way that Israel could ever be delivered from their own sinful dilemma was to recognize Jesus Christ as their Lord and their God, Incarnate.
Jesus was the fullness of God bodily (not merely one-third of a so-called trinity), so it was none less than God Himself who suffered vicariously in the body of His human son. God's entire divine nature dwelled in the human body of His Son, so in that body, God vicariously experienced all the suffering and agony of death for the purpose of redemption.
The Great Emancipator
Abraham Lincoln became one of the most significant men in world history when, as President of the United States, he signed the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing American slaves forever. Lincoln had a clear understanding of the horrors of slavery, and spent his life in defense of freedom from slavery. He said, “Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.” Slavery is heinous. Slavery is horrific.
We Are All Slaves To Sin Until We Find Our Redeemer
No one in his right mind would choose slavery over freedom. Yet according to the scriptures, we all are born into sin and slavery and can only be set free by the redemptive acts of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Sin is the ultimate bondage. Addictions, lusts, and evil lifestyles all prove to be terrifying taskmasters in the end. Paul said, “We know that the law is spiritual, but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin,” (Romans 7:14 NIV). "The Message" puts it this way: “I’ve spent a long time in sin’s prison.”
Joseph Alleine said, “Oh, better were it for you to die in a jail, in a ditch, in a dungeon, than to die in your sins.”
We were also Slaves to Satan
Satan enslaved Adam and Eve with his lies. Satan slanders all the righteous in the face of God, as he did Job. In Zechariah 3, Satan resisted the High Priest of God. Satan tempted the very Son of God in the wilderness. Satan sows tares among good seed. Satan oppresses believers and takes captive sinners at his will. He drove Judas Iscariot to suicide. Satan is the enemy of all men, and all men need deliverance from the entrapments and slavery of Satan.
We were Slaves to Self (and our selfish appetites, desires, and will).
”No man is free who is a slave to the flesh,” wrote Seneca.
Paul declared in Romans 7:25 that in the sinful nature of the flesh even he was a slave to the law of sin: “Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Every believer must come to understand the war that exists between the flesh and spirit - the two opposing natures - and recognize the need to be delivered from the bondage of self, and brought into subjection to the Spirit of Christ. Only God’s plan of redemption can accomplish that.
But we HAVE been REDEEMED BY THE PRECIOUS, INCORRUPTIBLE BLOOD of Jesus Christ!
“Only the blood of God is an equivalent for the redemption of souls. Gold and silver may redeem from human bondage, but not from hellish bondage. The whole creation is not a value for the redemption of one soul,” (John Flavel).
Peter said that there is nothing in this corruptible world that redeems us. "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot."
If Adam and Eve had not sinned in the Garden, the entire creation might have continued as immortal. All of the material world might have been preserved in purity and perfection. But sin changed all that. Sin corrupts. Sin corrupted all of nature. It left nothing in nature to repair the damage. But Jesus' blood can!
The Book of Ruth tells an exciting story about one who was redeemed. That story is based on the Old Testament law of "the kinsman redeemer." Since the days of Moses, and the Book of Numbers, the men of Israel were expected to redeem their kinsmen who were in distress.
In the case of Naomi and Ruth, the law of the kinsman redeemer stipulated than one of the brethren of Naomi’s deceased husband should intervene in their plight. That is how Boaz came into the picture.
Boaz was the nearest kin who was both able and willing to take the widowed Ruth and REDEEM her. This is one of the most dramatic stories in the Bible. God rewarded Boaz for redeeming Ruth, by including them both in the genealogy of Israel's Messiah, Jesus Christ!
Jesus is Our Kinsman Redeemer
Like Boaz, the scriptures portray Jesus as OUR kinsman redeemer. “He also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and DELIVER them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to MAKE RECONCILIATION for the sins of the people," Hebrews 2:14-17.
Jesus Was ABLE To Redeem Us
Every born-again believer is “purchased with His own blood,” (Acts 20:28). At Calvary, “when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed,” (1 Peter 2:23,24).
Jesus Was WILLING To Redeem Us
”Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. By the which will WE ARE SANCTIFIED through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all,” (Hebrews 10:7,10).
Jesus might have abdicated or shirked His responsibility as our Savior and Redeemer, but He did not. His flesh dreaded the price, but His will yielded, “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done,” (Luke 22:42)
Four different Greek words in the Scriptures speak of redemption:
The Act of Liberating
Titus 2:14 contains the Greek word "lutroo," which is defined by Thayer: “1) to release on receipt of ransom, 2) to redeem, to liberate by payment of ransom.
So, by this, we can see that JESUS LIBERATED US!
Purchased for a Price
Three times in the Book of Revelation, the word redeemed is derived from the Greek "agorazo," which Strong defines: “1) to be in the marketplace, to attend it, 2) to do business there, buy or sell.”
How are we redeemed “unto God,” “from the earth,” and “from among men”? Jesus Christ simply PURCHASED US with His precious blood!
“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." (1 Peter 1:18-19).
JESUS BOUGHT US!
To Purchase Out Of (so that it can never be enslaved again)
From Galatians 4, comes the Greek word "exagorazo," which is defined by Thayer: "1) to redeem, a) by payment of a price to recover from the power of another, to ransom, to buy off, b) metaphorically, used of Christ freeing the elect from the dominion of the Mosaic Law at the price of his vicarious death."
JESUS RANSOMED US!
To be Thoroughly Redeemed Through and Through
Luke 1:68 contains the Greek word "poieo," which Thayer defines: “to acquire, to provide a thing for oneself; to put one forth, to lead him out.” Any way you look at the subject of redemption, you will see God’s efforts to make something special out of something that would have been lost or useless on any other terms.
JESUS SALVAGED, SAVED AND REDEEMED US!
The blood of Jesus Christ was the only payment needed to redeem us from the prison of sin and the sentence of death.
Martin Luther said, “One drop of Christ’s blood is worth more than heaven and earth.” It is inestimable, the value of the blood of Jesus Christ.
In the stock market, investors often issue a “stop-loss order" that instructs their investment managers to sell any investment instrument as soon as a certain loss has been measured. This is done to prevent a total loss of funds.
God has a “stop-loss order" issued on creation. All of creation that was lost to sin and corruption will be forgotten in the restitution of all things, spoken of by Peter in Acts 3:21. Satan can only do a limited amount of damage in the end. God will always have, at the least, a small seed in the earth - a remnant of true believers that will be redeemed for all time and eternity.
The glorious eternal effect of redemption will be to carry an entire nation of nations forward from this present material world into God’s great and eternal unknown.
None of us can quite imagine the glories and wonders we shall see and partake of when we finally enter into the kingdom of God, either here during the millennial reign of Jesus Christ for a thousand years, or eternally in the heavens.
One thing is certain, it will be as the old Gospel song suggests, “cares all past, home at last, ever to rejoice!”
And all because He REDEEMED us by His blood!
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