Week 31: Redemption
20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Romans 3:20-26
Now, as we continue to deepen our understanding of the gospel, the hope is it will deepen our affections for the Lord. In my opinion, Romans chapter 3 we find the most-dense and rich description of the character and nature of God as revealed in our salvation. Today we will focus on the word redemption.
The word redemption obviously comes from the root word redeem. Now, the common definition of redeem is “to win or get back” or sometimes “to make better.” Now, the biblical definition of redemption is much richer. According to Hodge’s Systematic Theology, redemption means the following.
“the purchase back of something that has been lost, by the payment of a ransom. The debt against us is not viewed as simply cancelled, but is fully paid. 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."
Now that’s a definition. So let’s unpack that thorough definition with an illustration that most of us have experienced and it may help us understand what it means to redeem.
Have you ever “redeemed” a coupon? Well, when you redeem a coupon you receive something that you did not pay for. We’ll take it step by step.
You walk out to your mail box and there it is, a coupon for let’s say, a free ham. Now, you didn’t do anything to deserve the coupon, it just showed up. And so you hop into the car and you head to the super market. You go and select your ham and you walk up to the counter. The friendly attendant scans your ham and says, “that’ll be $38.” That’s when you reply, “Not for me, I have a coupon for one free ham.” You hand the attendant the coupon and he or she hands you the ham, no strings attached.
In that transaction you received something for free, something that you did not pay for. However, the company that is selling that ham paid in full. This is a picture of the gospel of Jesus Christ. For anyone that would believe that when Jesus Christ died on the cross that counted for them, then you have been redeemed. You receive the free gift of eternal life.
However, that free gift was not free to God. He was willing to pay the FULL PRICE of our ransom with His Son Jesus. So the next time you redeem a coupon, may you be reminded that Christ paid the full price for our redemption.
Now, I’m not exactly sure what would motivate a company to send out coupons. It probably has to do with increasing their bottom line. But I am sure that the reason Jesus died for you is to demonstrate His love for you in order that God would be glorified.
May the love of the Father and the sacrifice of the Son in our redemption draw us deeper and deeper into a relationship with Him.