This is the final is this series of articles in which we look at what Easter is all about. In the first article we learned that Easter is about God’s love. In the second, we said that it is about forgiveness. In this article we will consider the assertion that the Easter message is one of redemption. Again we ask: What is redemption? How is it connected to the Easter story? Why is it necessary? How does it apply to me? What, if anything, do I need to do?
First, we see redemption at work in practical terms. In the Old Testament, God redeemed Israel from a life of bondage in Egypt. Again in the Jewish sacrificial system, the life of the animal that was offered was in place of that of the one who brought it. By so doing a price was paid; the life of an animal for the life of a person, family or people.
When we come into the New Testament, we see that in its original usage, redemption is a word that had its roots in the marketplace. It is the language of commerce. It has to do with the process of buying and selling, in which a person buys something back, or pays a price for the return of something to their possession. Thus the original word meant ‘to purchase in the marketplace’ or ‘to obtain release by the payment of a price’. In ancient times it often referred to the act of buying a slave.
The second context in which redemption was used was with reference to going from something to something else; or moving from one state to another; for example, where someone has gone from bondage to freedom; poverty to riches. There is a ‘from’ and a ‘to’.
In summary, there are two main meanings of the word redemption. First, it is the price paid to buy something back or to secure its return; used primarily with reference to the procurement of a slave. It is used where a price has been paid to secure the release of something or someone. Second, it is used where there is a change of state or status. So, to redeem is to back or secure a change of state or status. In each case there is a shift or movement, involving a legal change of ownership or position. This shift or change could not and did not take place until someone had done something first or in return.
What has this got to do with Easter? The message of Easter is a message of redemption because every human being is a sinner by inheritance, by nature and deed; and therefore in need of redemption. Our natural condition is characterrised by sin and guilt: ‘All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23). Sin brings slavery. Slavery is bondage to sin and the devil. When Jesus went to the
cross and shed His blood, and by so doing purchased our freedom. Christ through His sacrifice paid for our sin and secured or freedom. There is a related word; it is the word ransom. Jesus’ death on the cross is the ransom for the sins of the world. He paid for yours and my release from the power and penalty of sin. It was His life in place of ours. Redemption is only possible through His blood, because of His perfect sinless life.
Speaking of Jesus the Bible says: In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace (Ephesians 1:7)
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. (Galatians 4:4-5)
For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13-14)
‘…who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness…’ (Titus 2:14a)
‘Who gave himself as a ransom for all people’ (1 Timothy 2:6a).
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. (Galatians 3:13-14)
One who has been redeemed is a person who has been ransomed, delivered from bondage or slavery, distress or penalty; released from a liability or captivity by another, by the payment of a requisite amount or price. That is precisely what Jesus did for you and me on the first Easter through His death on the cross. Resurrection Sunday, the day He rose from the grave, is proof positive that the price for your redemption was fully paid and fully accepted.
That in essence is the message of Easter. Jesus’ death on the cross of Calvary was for the redemption of the world; my redemption, your redemption.
What is your response?
Copyright Emmanuel Mbakwe 2013©
If you have read this article and you are not a Christian, I would like to invite you to receive Christ as Saviour and Lord in your life by praying this prayer:
‘God in heaven, I acknowledge that I am sinner and deserve to be punished for all the wrongs I have done. I am truly sorry. Thank you for sending your Son Jesus to this world. I believe He lived, died and rose again for my sins. I repent of all past sins and ask you to forgive me because Jesus. I confess and ask Jesus to come into my life and be my Saviour and Lord. Please send your Holy Spirit to help me to obey you and lead me to follow you all the days of my life. Thank you God for giving me eternal life through your Son Jesus; Amen!’
If you have understood and sincerely prayed that prayer, then visit this link and drop a note. One of our team of counsellors would be glad to contact, pray with and offer you further guidance on how you can continue with your new found faith in Jesus. God bless you.
PS: If you have been inspired, provoked or learnt something from this article, why not do any or all of the following: (i) leave some feedback or a comment, either positive or developmental; (ii) recommend it to a friend; (iii) share it with a friend. This will encourage and help me to serve you better, so together we can make a difference in our world.