What does it mean to be Redeemed? Redemption means to “buy out.” Redemption was originally used in reference to the purchase of a slave’s freedom. Jesus has purchased sinners’ freedom through His finished and sufficient work at Calvary.
Everyone born by a woman needs redemption because our natural condition as sinners, by nature and by choice, is characterized by guilt (Romans 3:23).
The redemption of Christ frees sinners from guilt, being “justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24). The benefits of redemption include the following:
– Eternal life (Revelation 5:9-10).
– Forgiveness of sins (Ephesians 1:7).
– Righteousness (Romans 5:17).
– Freedom from the law’s curse (Galatians 3:13).
– Adoption into God’s family (Galatians 4:5).
– Deliverance from sin’s bondage (Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 1:14-18).
– Peace with God (Colossians 1:18-20).
– The indwelling of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
What Does It Mean to Be Redeemed?
Redemption means to “buy out.” Redemption was originally used in reference to the purchase of a slave’s freedom. Jesus has purchased sinners’ freedom through His finished and sufficient work.
Redemption is related to ransom, for Jesus paid the price for sinners’ release from sin and its punishment (Matthew 20:28; 1 Timothy 2:6). Colossians 1:14 makes clear that redemption is only possible “through His blood,” which is because of the death of Jesus. Redemption is not only a theological proposition, but it’s a matter of worship.
In Revelation 5:9, the people of God sing a song of praise to the Redeemer who was slain. The new song that John heard in heaven is the song of redemption, celebrating the death and resurrection of Jesus. In the vision of chapter 4, John heard the song of creation sung to God’s praise. Revelation 4:11, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things.” This song is similar to the creation song that God spoke of in Job 38:7, when, “the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy.” With Christ’s redeeming work, there is a new cause for God’s praise.
Christ’s worthiness is extolled not in the sense of his glorious divine person, but in light of his successful saving mission on earth. Hebrews 5:9 similarly asserts that Christ was “made perfect” by his obedient suffering as “the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him.” Christ was always perfect in his being, but now he has qualified himself to be the Savior of his people. In this sense, he has become worthy to take the scroll and to be praised.
What Does it Mean That Christ Redeemed Us?
First, Christ is praised for being “slain.” He did not die from an unavoidable tragedy but died as a voluntary act of sacrificial love for his people. Jesus said in John 10:15, 18, “I lay down my life for the sheep.… No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.” Therefore, when people ask who killed Jesus Christ, the best answer is that Jesus willed his own death for the sake of the people he loves.
Second, Christ is worthy because of what he achieved by his death: “By your blood, you ransomed people for God,” Revelation 5:9 says. Different English translations render ransomed as “purchased” (NIV) or “redeemed” (NKJV). The Greek word (agorazo) has the general meaning of purchasing, but often had the specific connotation of ransoming a prisoner or slave out of bondage. Here we see the essence of what Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross: at the cost of his own blood, which evidenced his death, Jesus delivered his people from the bondage and condemnation of sin.
Jesus made payment to the justice of God, which demanded death as the penalty for sin (Gen. 2:17; Rom. 6:23). He foretold in Matthew 20:28 that, “the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Therefore, Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:7, “In Him, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses.”
Significantly, the adoration of the church in heaven centres on the redemptive sacrifice of Christ’s cross. Similarly, when true Christians explain the substance of their faith, they always focus on his sacrificial death to purchase us from the debt of sin.
In 1915, Benjamin B. Warfield made this point to incoming students at Princeton Theological Seminary, asserting that to Christ’s people, his most precious title is “Redeemer.” The reason is, he said, that “it gives expression not merely to our sense that we have received salvation from [Jesus], but also to our appreciation of what it cost him to procure this salvation for us.”
Warfield proved this claim not from the tomes of theology but from the volumes of the church’s hymnody, listing song after song extolling Christ as Redeemer: “O for a thousand tongues to sing My great Redeemer’s praise;” “All hail, Redeemer, hail, for thou hast died for me;” “I will sing of my Redeemer, and His wondrous love for me: on the cruel cross he suffered, from the curse to set me free.” Warfield listed twenty-eight such hymns and twenty-five more that used the word ransom to celebrate Christ’s sacrifice. Warfield might have added the new song of the twenty-four elders to prove the centrality of redemption in believers’ worship of Christ.
How Did God Redeem His People?
We should notice not only the emphasis of the elders on Christ’s redemption but also the kind of redemption they praised. We see this at the end of Revelation 5:9: “By your blood, you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.” The question is asked regarding for whom Christ paid a ransom with his blood.
Universalists reply that Jesus died for everyone so that all are forgiven even if they refuse to believe in him.
Others assert that Jesus died for all people equally, offering his blood for their salvation, yet only those who receive this gift in faith benefit from the cross to be saved. This view is called general redemption and is associated with Arminian theology.
But this also conflicts with Revelation 5:9, along with other Bible verses on Christ’s redemption. The elders sing that Jesus actually “ransomed” those for whom he died so that they no longer remain in bondage. This can describe only those who are saved. Moreover, they use a definite, not a general, term for the objects of Christ’s redeeming work. He did not die for “every tribe and language and people and nation,” but for “people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9).
In other words, Christ redeemed particular people from all over the world, the elect. This affirms the Reformed doctrine of limited atonement or particular redemption. This doctrine does not state that Christ died to make redemption possible for everyone, if only they will believe, but rather that Christ died particularly for his people, foreknown and given to him by the Father in eternity past (John 17:2; Eph. 1:4), who are actually and effectually redeemed by the blood of Christ paid as their ransom.
These same persons believe that the Holy Spirit applies the benefit of their redemption through the gift of saving faith (Eph. 2:8–9). Revelation 5:9 teaches an effectual redemption and a ransom that successfully purchases people for God. Christians are redeemed because we have believed in Christ. After all, by his blood, he ransomed them for God.
More Verses about Redemption
Where else in the Bible do we see mention of redemption? Let’s look at a few passages, from both the Old and New Testaments.
Psalm 111:9 – “He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name!”
Romans 5:10 – “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.”
Ephesians 1:7 – “In Him, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,”
Colossians 1:12-14 – “Giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
Galatians 1:4 – “Who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.”
Galatians 3:13 – “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.’”
Hebrews 9:15 – “Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.”
How Can I Be Redeemed?
Redemption is vital because the Bible portrays sin not as an action but as a tyrannical master (Romans 6:16). Jesus, in John 8:34, said, “Everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.” All who are of the flesh are “sold under sin” (Romans 7:14).
Sin is a power that must be broken because it is a tyrant that must be defeated. Every single person comes into the world held captive by sin. Every day we live according to our master sin’s edicts and in accordance with our captivity. The human race, apart from Christ, is held hopeless in captivity to sin. When faith in Christ is realized, then the sinner’s heart condition is changed towards the Lord.
Every Christian has been redeemed—purchased, delivered, and rescued by Jesus. The Bible says to the Christian that sin no longer has mastery over them (Romans 6:12, 17-18). As Pharaoh ceased to hold power over Israel after their deliverance, sin no longer has power over the Christian. The blood of Jesus has delivered every Christian from captivity to sin and death. True deliverance is found only in the blood of Jesus, who has delivered and redeemed sinners from sin. Every true Christian church is to proclaim there is redemption and salvation found only in Jesus Christ (Romans 10:9-17).
Redemption is found in the costly, bloody sacrifice of Jesus Christ. For the non-Christian, salvation is available only in the name of Jesus and only by believing in His finished and sufficient work (Acts 16:31; Romans 10:9-17; 1 Corinthians 15:1-8). For the Christian, seeing that we have such a great redemption, the only proper response is to worship the Lord Jesus, who purchased and redeemed the people of God and now calls them new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17-21).
Dear Christian reader, today do you long and look forward to the final redemption, when your humble estate will give way to the glorious revelation of the Redeemer at His Second Coming? Do you long for the day when your faith shall be sight, and the clouds rolled back as a scroll? Jesus says to you in Luke 21:28, “Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads because your redemption is drawing near.”
Who is our redemption? There is a Redeemer, Jesus. He is God’s own Son, the Precious Lamb of God, Messiah, Holy One.
Dave Jenkins is the Executive Director of Servants of Grace Ministries, the Executive Editor of Theology for Life Magazine, and the Host of the Equipping You in Grace Podcast and Warriors of Grace Podcast.