The Price of Redemption
Our studies in Ephesians have brought us to a natural break when we completed the practical teaching about Relationships. The final thoughts in Ephesians 6 v 5–9 concerned servants or slaves and their masters. We are at the Passover time of year, when there is a focus, in many Churches on the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a good opportunity then to break, today and next Lord’s Day, from Ephesians to meditate on important doctrines surrounding the death and resurrection of the saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.
This morning we will consider REDEMPTION. Redemption is a worthy doctrine to think about because it is so wonderful. Redemption is being bought with a price. It is being delivered from bondage and it is about our being recovered by the payment of a ransom.
A text to begin our thoughts is from 1 Peter 1 v 18
18 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; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
The Apostle Peter here is speaking to the poor persecuted believers in Asia in this letter. Although unbelievers are likely to have read his words, his thoughts were PARTICULARLY to the Christians. He uses the word YE which is YOU plural and you in particular. He was utterly confident that those who read his letter in the churches were true believers and were men and women and young people for whom the Lord Jesus Christ had died particularly.
Because the Redemption of the Bible is a PARTICULAR redemption and is so right from beginning to end. There is not one verse that speaks of anything else but a set number of people known to God and saved by God by His grace – redeeming grace. Peter makes it known that his readers NEEDED REDEMPTION.
1 Peter 1 v 18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold,
- but you needed to be redeemed.
He also makes the NATURE of redemption known. They were not slaves who had been bought out of slavery with money or costly treasures – things that would not last – silver, gold etc
Nor did working at it redeem them –
from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
Rather it was a sacrifice that had brought the reality of their redemption to them –
19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
This redemption was no afterthought of a God who had seen His creation go wrong – but as a plan from before the foundation of the world.
There is an old Gospel song that says this –
Redemption, O wonderful story, Glad message to you and to me, For Jesus has purchased my pardon, And paid all my debts on the tree.
There was a price to be paid for Christians to be redeemed. There is a power in this redemption to transform a person’s mind, heart and will. And there are practical consequences for the Redeemed person flowing from the doctrine.
So let us consider Redemption – our redemption and be well acquainted with what God the Lord has done for us in redeeming us.
1. The Price of Redemption.
Before we consider the price of redemption let us spend a moment or two thinking about the word REDEMPTION and the way that it is presented to us in the Old and New Testaments.
There are 3 words in the Hebrew and 3 in the Greek.
1. The first Hebrew word is GAYAL that speaks of a deliverance of property or people sold for a debt. This word is often used when the scriptures speak of how the Lord redeemed Israel as a nation from their bondage in Egypt.
For instance –
Exodus 6:6 Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments:
Exodus 15:13 Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation.
Furthermore it can be used to describe the arrangement that existed amongst the Israelites when a man came to an extreme situation and was forced to sell his family field –
Leviticus 25:25 If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold.
This verse gives us the background to the moving account of Ruth and Naomi when Boaz the kinsman redeemer, called in the Hebrew GOEL, agreed to purchase the field of his dead relative Elimelech. Along with the responsibility to raise a family inheritance by marrying Ruth, Boaz acted as redeemer – and thereby prefigured the work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The word is used in Psalms 69:18
Draw nigh unto my soul, and redeem it: deliver me because of mine enemies.
In this verse there are two aspects of rescue and deliverance – Spiritual redemption
Draw nigh unto my soul, and redeem it:
and physical redemption or rescue
deliver me because of mine enemies.
2. The second Hebrew word is PADAH – which has the emphasis on deliverance or rescue involving a ransom. It is some intervention or substitutionary action that effects a release from an undesirable condition.
It was used in 1 Samuel 14 when Jonathan, King Saul’s son, was under the threat of execution through the foolish edict by his father.
45 And the people said unto Saul, Shall Jonathan die, who hath wrought this great salvation in Israel? God forbid: as the LORD liveth, there shall not one hair of his head fall to the ground; for he hath wrought with God this day. So the people rescued Jonathan that he died not.
The people would have risked their lives as a ransom for Jonathan.
But PADAH also is used in scripture with God as the subject – He is the redeemer who has complete and sovereign freedom to liberate human beings. We can see this with regards to Abraham –
Isaiah 29 v 22 Therefore thus saith the LORD, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob, Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale.
David said a similar thing in 1 Kings 1 v 29
And the king sware, and said, As the LORD liveth, that hath redeemed my soul out of all distress,
The Psalm writers often used the word –
Psalm 26 v 5 Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.
Psalm 71 v 23 My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee; and my soul, which thou hast redeemed.
Liberation through ransom.
3. The third word is KAPHAR but is most often translated ATONEMENT. This word and the word for ransom are both in Psalm 49:7
None of them can by any means redeem (PADAH) his brother, nor give to God a ransom (KAPHAR) for him:
The 3 Greek words in the NT are these –
1. AGORADZO – to buy as in the market place. We find this word in such texts as 1 Corinthians 6 v 19
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
AND 1 Corinthians 7 v 21
Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather. 22 For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant. 23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.
And Revelation 5 v 9
And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood (bought us by blood) out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
2. EXAGORADZO which means the price to be paid. Strictly speaking it means to buy out in the sense that it was the price paid in order to buy a slave with a view to his freedom.
In Galatians 3 Paul uses this word to describe the deliverance that the Lord Jesus Christ obtained for Christian Jews – He delivered them from the law and its curse –
13 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:
3. LOOTRO-OH which is the actual deliverance – or redemption. It means to release on payment of a ransom. 3 texts to show us this word – Luke 24:21 When the two disciples were travelling to Emmaus they met the Lord and during the conversation they said –
But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel; (that is released us from the Romans) and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.
Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity,(release us from the grip of sin) and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
– And the text that we started with this morning – 1 Peter 1:18
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;
So much for the scripture words. But what together do they tell us about the doctrine and idea of REDEMPTION?
They tell us that there is an undesirable condition of human beings; and if such people are to be rescued and delivered from that condition there is a ransom price to be paid for their deliverance.
Indeed the words tell us much – that we are in terrible danger – our sins and iniquities, that are the substance of our fallen souls’ debt to our creator, condemn us to be bound with satan and all his followers for eternity in hell! That is how serious it is! This surely is the undesirable condition. I have never met anyone who desires to spend eternity in hell suffering, crying out, except those who are foolish enough to make jokes about the place of punishment, saying that their friends will all be there! Such people have no consciousness of the awfulness of that place. They clearly have not read the Bible with its many descriptive references. Surely every one’s aim should be to discover how to stay out of hell at the end of time? But apparently it is not. Few people care about their souls. Few people are ready to seek God’s remedy – they choose rather to ignore the facts, to deny the Bible’s words, and to waste the opportunity that there is in this life to accept God’s offer of Redemption.
My friend does this describe you this morning? What have you done to find out about Redemption? – to discover God’s gracious plan to save sinners? We are all sinners and deserve to go to hell – there are no exceptions.
Listen carefully to God’s word – there is a price to be paid for sin. It is here in 1 Peter 1.
1. God the creator demands no less than a SACRIFICE to be made for sins.
The Jewish people understood this very well because they were accustomed to sacrifices. We need to understand that a sacrifice is a substitute. Jews brought a lamb to be sacrificed in substitution for them. Instead of them losing their lives because they had sinned against God, a lamb was killed and offered to God instead. It had to be the best lamb of the flock – no marks, no blemishes, no diseases – the very best – only the best for God. This was the terrible price for sin – a life of a lamb for the life of the sinner.
Notice Peter’s words in verse 19 –
a lamb without blemish and without spot:
And notice whom he refers to – Jesus Christ the Lamb of God!
The death of the Lord Jesus Christ was not an unavoidable calamity, or the death of a martyr. It was rather the result of a deliberate purpose to offer a sacrifice for sin. Do we understand what an offering to God really means?
Perhaps we think that its purpose is to produce a frame of mind in the worshipper so that that frame of mind makes the worshipper acceptable with God. My friends if that is what we think we are wrong!
The true purpose of a sacrifice is to produce a frame of mind in God thereby making the worshipper acceptable to Him, so that His anger towards the sinner is placated! The primary effect of a sacrifice is on God, not on man.
The Jewish offerers brought their own lambs to the sacrifice. But the Lord God has provided Himself a lamb that would be acceptable. He came Himself – the Lamb of God – to be offered for His people.
And this is the amazing thing about redemption – the payment of a price – with regard to our sins – we have not brought our own lambs – the Lord God who needs to be placated has given His own Son to be the Lamb! We contribute NOTHING to the price for our sins. Every other world religion demands you to sacrifice and to contribute in some way so that it costs you something in order to secure salvation.
But not our God! He has provided the sacrifice already – and we go free when we believe it!
There is however more to this price. Peter mentions
2. The Blood of Christ.
Once again the Jews would understand that it was the blood of the sacrifice that cleansed the sinner of his sin. The sin was covered, atonement was made, and the sinner was forgiven. (Hebrews 9 v 22.)
“Without the shedding of blood there is no remission, forgiveness of sins.”
Sin exposes us to God’s wrath and curse and we need to be covered or protected from God’s justice. At the Passover the faithful Jews stayed in their houses under the blood that had been daubed on the doorposts. But the Egyptians who had not been covered suffered the loss of their firstborn.
Psalm 32 v 1 says blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. 2 Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity.
Redemption then shows that the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary was VICARIOUS. This means that He took our place, became our substitute, our representative, and paid the penalty for our sins instead of us.
That makes us free! He has purchased my pardon, and paid all my debt on the tree! Redemption is freedom by the paying of a price.
The price of redemption was the life and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is qualified because He is the Lamb – spotless, sinless, pure, perfect, holy and innocent. He kept all the law and is altogether righteous. He is utterly without any blemish and therefore qualified. He was obedient and shed His blood – that flowed from Calvary – for sinners!
O what a wonderful Lamb! O what a perfect sacrifice! O what shedding of blood this is! We need to be washed in that blood if we are to be cleansed from our sins and redeemed.
Robert the Bruce was hiding from his enemies when he heard the baying of hounds that were on his trail. He struggled to his feet and hurried through the forest trying hard to escape the dogs. He was almost in despair and ready to give up when he heard the trickling of a mountain stream. He plunged into it and ran down stream in the water. The hounds that had been following him lost the scent when they got to the stream and they had to give up, while Bruce found safety on the other side of the river. This reminds us that it is no use merely KNOWING about the stream of precious blood that flowed at Calvary. We need to be plunged into it for it is the only effective barrier and sure escape for the sinner.
But let us be sure that we know why we need redemption in the first place. What are we being redeemed, rescued, delivered from?
We can understand that God rescued His people – the Children of Israel – from slavery to the Egyptian taskmasters in Egypt. That physical and political slavery is a picture of the kind of slavery that is our problem.
There are forces that hold all human beings in slavery. As we identify these remember that we speak in the sense that all have sinned and all are sinners. What is now about to be said refers to unconverted people NOW, and converted people BEFORE they were saved.
1. People are slaves to sin. 2. People are slaves to Satan. 3. People are held for punishment in God’s justice system.
1. People are slaves to sin
Sin is personified in the Bible as a slave owner who determines the course of the unsaved person’s life. In Bible times slave owners acted like dictators, absolute monarchs who did what they pleased.
A sinner thinks of himself as doing what he pleases – but in reality he does what sin drives him to do. This is what Paul meant in Romans 6 v20
For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.
Sin then reigns in every natural man and woman.
But people rarely admit to this bondage and may not even recognise it. This was so true from some religious leaders. The Lord Jesus Christ told them that the
“truth would make them free.” John 8.
But all they could say was
33 We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?
34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
The good news, my friends, is that Redemption breaks this bondage, this slavery, to sin. The Lord Jesus Christ bought us because the price was Himself. Freedom here is the freedom from the practice of sin, the slavery to sin, being driven by it. The reign of sin has been broken in Christ’s people. This does not make them perfect. A force of soldiers serving their King in a country and ruling oppressively can illustrate sin. A liberator comes along and conquers the king and imprisons his army – well most of his army. There remains however a little guerrilla remnant that hides in the hills and from time to time makes raids upon the territory. The king no longer controls, but his soldiers are still active.
So sin no longer controls the heart of the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ but it is still there, causing the Christian occasionally to stumble.
2. People are slaves to Satan
Secondly people are slaves to satan. John 8 v 42 – 47 tells us this –
42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. 43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. 44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. 45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. 46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? 47 He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.
How does a person change and instead of belonging to Satan as his blind slave become a child of God?
By believing in and trusting the purchase of the Lord Jesus Christ – through redemption – through the payment of the ransom. Paul told us, Ye are not your own – you have been bought with a price.
3. People are held for punishment in God’s justice system
The third kind of bondage that grips men is this. People are like men in prison on remand, awaiting sentencing and punishment for breaking God’s laws. God’s system of justice holds us fast. There is a day of judgement coming because we have failed to keep God’s laws.
But the death of the Jesus Christ redeems His believing people. Paul says at the beginning of Ephesians 1 v 7
In Christ we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
There is that redemption – freedom through the payment of a price. We are freed from the necessity to pay for our own sins. What a relief this is! Every believer has the joy of knowing that there is nothing to pay!
But every unbeliever needs to beware. If you die without forgiveness and pardon; if you end your life without the experience of being redeemed, rescued, ransomed, delivered – then you are sunk? You could spend the rest of eternity in regret that you did not believe in God’s provision for sinners.
This is why the Bible record of the life and death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is not merely history – it is life changing and life giving information that has to be believed.
May God give every believer the joy of heart that comes with knowing that Jesus has died to redeem them.
May God also give those who are still slaves to sin, to Satan and held in the grip of God’s justice, the hope and the desire to look to the Lord Jesus Christ and see in Him the rescuer, the deliverer – and then trust their souls to Him alone.