Bought With a Price

Freedom in Christ is a gift—and a costly one at that.

When my wife and I bought our first home, we were both excited and nervous—30 years of payments was a big commitment. But we believed it was worth it because we wanted to create a space for our family to grow. Similarly, God wants to live life together with His people. And there’s perhaps no better word in Scripture than redemption to explore the great cost He willingly paid for each of us.

Out of Egypt If you said that word in the ancient world, slavery would be the first image that came to mind. It literally meant to set someone free from bondage, usually by making a payment. So, for example, prisoners of war, slaves, and condemned men and women could be set free—if the price was right.

“He fulfilled His promise, breaking the chains of bondage to bring them into the Promised Land and life with Himself.”
 

God’s central act of redemption in the Old Testament—the archetype, so to speak—was His liberation of Israel. In slavery, they had long suffered under the mighty Egyptian empire and were powerless to change their condition. But God promised, “I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments” (Ex. 6:6). And He fulfilled His promise, breaking the chains of bondage to bring them into the Promised Land and life with Himself.

This backdrop gives us a fresh glimpse of Jesus, our Deliverer. When we were held by the mighty empire of sin, enslaved under the oppressive weight of a world distanced from God, Jesus came to lead us out from our captivity and return us to His kingdom. (See Col. 1:14.) In Him, “we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7). And because Jesus pays with His own life, He doesn’t just accomplish redemption—He is our redemption (1 Cor. 1:30).

“A kinsman could redeem the land to keep it in the family or pay to redeem the relative from these difficult circumstances.”

Three Words After the Exodus, three different Hebrew words for “redemption” are used in Scripture. The first, pada, concerns the practice of offering firstborn males back to God in recognition that everything was a gift from the Creator’s hands. So the firstborn of ritually clean animals were sacrificed, while the unclean animals, as well as baby boys, were redeemed—usually by paying a price or substituting another animal. (See Num. 18:15-16; Ex. 13:13; Ex. 34:20.)

The second word, gaal, applies to things like property and freedom. If debt or poverty caused someone to lose his land or sell himself into slavery, a kinsman could redeem the land to keep it in the family or pay to redeem the relative from these difficult circumstances. (See Lev. 25.)

The final word, kapar, means “to cover.” The sacrificial system covered Israel’s sin by atoning, or making expiation, for it—similar to the Passover lambs that covered Israel’s sin. Animals were currency in the ancient world; think of them as four-legged thousand-dollar bills. So, what all three of these “redemption” words have in common is this: an emphasis on the great cost involved to free people and bring them into life with God.

Our Great Redeemer All this points to Jesus, the one who paid the great cost to set us free. Just as it was possible to deliver someone from slavery through payment, we “were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold,” Peter tells us, “but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:18-19).

Unlike the ransoms of the Old Testament, however, Jesus wasn’t a passive chunk of change or some animal indifferently passed from hand to hand. On the contrary, the Savior actively gave Himself, surrendering His life sacrificially to deliver us. Rejoicing in “the redemption which is in Christ Jesus,” Paul says that the Son of God loved us and gave Himself up for our sins (Rom. 3:24; Gal. 1:4; Gal. 2:20).

“Animals were currency in the ancient world; think of them as four-legged thousand-dollar bills.”

When we see what a great cost Christ was willing to pay, our hearts cry out in praise to our Redeemer, whose mighty love has set us free.

From and To We’re not just redeemed from sin; we’re redeemed to God. Israel wasn’t just pulled out of Egypt, she was welcomed into life in the Promised Land. These are two sides of the same coin: It is precisely in our union with God that we find freedom from the alienation of sin.

We are not freed to live for ourselves. We are freed from ourselves to live unto God. As Paul reminds us, “For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body … do not become slaves of men” (1 Cor. 6:20; 1 Cor. 7:23). Indeed, life without God is bondage, and there we remain enslaved to ourselves and the destructive powers unleashed by the world.

Christ brings freedom and a future. While we’ve been sealed with the Holy Spirit “as a pledge” today, we also await the coming “redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory” (Eph. 1:13-14). Though we experience freedom in Christ today through the power of God’s Spirit, we still live in a world groaning in its distance from God, so we hunger and long for the “day of redemption” that’s coming, when creation will be liberated into the glorious freedom of God’s kingdom (Luke 4:30; Rom. 8:18-21). Jesus tells us to look toward His return, and when we see “the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” (Luke 21:27-28), that is the time to stand and raise our heads—to look up and see our Redeemer drawing near.

 

Illustrations by Adam Cruft

Related Topics:  Gods Will

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6 Say, therefore, to the sons of Israel, `I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.

14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace

30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,

15 Every first issue of the womb of all flesh, whether man or animal, which they offer to the LORD, shall be yours; nevertheless the firstborn of man you shall surely redeem, and the firstborn of unclean animals you shall redeem.

16 As to their redemption price, from a month old you shall redeem them, by your valuation, five shekels in silver, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs.

13 But every first offspring of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, but if you do not redeem it, then you shall break its neck; and every firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem.

20 You shall redeem with a lamb the first offspring from a donkey; and if you do not redeem it, then you shall break its neck. You shall redeem all the firstborn of your sons. None shall appear before Me empty-handed.

18 knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers,

19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.

24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;

4 who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,

20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

23 You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.

13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation--having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,

14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory.

30 But passing through their midst, He went His way.

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

19 For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.

20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope

21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

27 Then they will see THE SON OF MAN COMING IN A CLOUD with power and great glory.

28 But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."

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