Theology Corner

Addressing commonly asked questions about Christianity from the perspective of a non-theologian

36. Redemption

Each person who responds to God’s grace (Titus 2:11) and the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ (Rom 5:8; 1 John 2:2) by confession of sin, remorse, repentance, faith and obedience instantly receives the great gift of salvation.  This gift includes but is not limited to the following:

 

  • Redemption (Rom 3:24; 8:23) - You are freed from the bondage of sin for the first time in your life.
  • Forgiveness (Mat 6:9-15; 1 John 1:8-10) – You are forgiven your sins by God.
  • Justification (Rom 3:21-26) – You are declared righteous by God; this legal declaration is valid because Christ died to pay the penalty for your sin and lived a life of perfect righteousness that can in turn be imputed to you.
  • Adoption (Rom 3:23; Gal 3:26; 1 John 3:2) – You are a joint heir with Jesus to the Kingdom of God.
  • Regeneration (John 3:1-21) - The Holy Spirit makes known to you the will of God and helps you discern truth from lie.  He occupies and purifies all the rooms of your heart into which He is invited.  For the first time in your life you are not a prisoner of sin.  You are free to pursue the path of righteousness.  This is the first day of your Christian life and you are a new creature in Christ.  This is the mechanism of your redemption.
  • Sanctification (Heb 6:1; 1 Pet 1:13-16) - You are led by the Holy Spirit along the path toward holiness; this is a lifetime journey.
  • Reconciliation (Eph 2:11-22) - You are reconciled with all other believers.
  • Unification (Eph 3:1-11) – You are united with all believers in the Church of Jesus Christ.
  • Glorification (Rom 8:30) – You will complete the journey along the path of sanctification when your mission in this life is done.

 

This section addresses the concept of redemption.

 

The substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ redeemed or bought-back all creation from the bondage of evil and offered redemption from the bondage of sin to all persons.  But Satan was not a willing seller and will never acknowledge the legitimacy of the sale.  He believes his property was stolen from him and he is battling God to retain possession.  Consequently, creation is legally free from the bondage of evil but it is not free from the influence of evil itself through Satan and his minions.  Similarly, salvation sets us free from the bondage of sin but it does not set us free from the influence of sin itself.

Redemption literally means ‘to buy back.’  The New Testament writers used this concept to signify the act of setting a captive free through the payment of a redemptive price.  It came to be used in the broader sense of a deliverance from every kind of sin and evil through a price paid by another.  This is the true Scriptural meaning as shown in the following texts in which the substitutionary atonement is offered to redeem the souls of all men from the bondage of sin.

Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Rom 3:24).  For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body (I Cor. 6:20).  Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’ (Gal 3:13).  In Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace (Eph 1:7).  You were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold … but with precious blood as of a lamb without blemish and without spot, the blood of Christ (I Peter 1:18, 19).  For Thou were slain and have redeemed us for God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation (Rev 5:9). 

The death of Christ was the redemptive price as He gave His life as a ransom for many (Mat 20:28).  He gave Himself as a ransom for all (I Tim 2:6).  In all these verses, the idea of substitution is clearly evident – one thing is paid for another; the blood of Christ for the redemption of captives and condemned souls. 

Redemption is not limited to the human soul.  Redemption from the bondage of evil is aimed at all creation, including your human body, while redemption from the bondage of sin is aimed specifically at your soul.  The human body is part of God’s physical creation and was, long ago, imprisoned in corruption by the architect of evil who administers decay, violence, disease, suffering and death.  Your body has been redeemed from the bondage of evil but not from the influence of evil itself – set free from bondage but not from influence.  This influence can only be overcome by prayer (healing).  Similarly, the totality of ‘mother nature’ has been redeemed from the bondage of evil but not from the influence of evil itself.  But, someday, ‘mother nature’ will be completely changed when Jesus Christ restores and repossesses His creation (Isa 11:6-9, 65:17-25; Rom 8:20-22; 2 Pet 3:13; Rev 21:1-4).