Redemption in Christ- Ephesians 1:7

In Ephesians 1:7, Paul tells us that in Christ “we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins”. Just what does it mean that we have “redemption”, what is it and what does it mean to our lives? The Greek word redemption here is apolutrosis- literally to “redeem from”. The term redemption refers to a release from bondage or captivity by payment of a ransom. Our redemption in Christ means that the price has been paid to secure our freedom, to release us from bondage or captivity, but exactly what are we set free from? The idea of redemption is not something originated by Paul, but comes from the Old Testament concept of the goel, the kinsman redeemer. To redeem something meant to “buy it back”. This was done by a kinsman who could afford to pay the price to buy back land from someone else, or to buy the freedom of a relative who had been sold into slavery. We can see, then, why Jesus had to be one of us(fully man), for only a kinsman redeemer could pay the price necessary to secure our freedom from slavery. We can also see why He had to be God, for Isaiah 43:14 tells us that our redeemer would be “The Holy One of Israel”. According to the Old Testament, Messiah would be a kinsman redeemer for His people (Isaiah 43:1,14), one who would release them from bondage and slavery. The majority in Israel in Jesus’ time thought Messiah would bring freedom from Roman bondage and oppression, which did not happen, and that is the reason so many in Israel would not accept Him as Messiah. The Messiah would bring freedom from bondage, but bondage to what? We will look to Psalm 130 for the answer. The Psalmist begins, in verse 1-2, by crying out to God in despair over his sin, asking God for mercy. In verse 3-4, we find that his cry for mercy has been heard and answered, that the Lord does not “keep a record” of his sins, but forgives them, wiping them from the record. In His mercy God forgives, and this causes the forgiven to “fear” Him. The Hebrew fear here is yare, which can be used to describe two different types of fear. The first is the sense of terror or dread which come from the anticipation of harm. The second is of a reverent awe expressed in obedience or worship, used only in relation to God, and the type of “fear” meant here. God’s forgiveness produced a sense of reverent awe in the Psalmist. This reverent awe causes the Psalmist to “wait” upon the Lord (verse 5-6), and the waiting here is defined as putting his hope in God’s word, he “waits” upon the Lord by living in obedience to His word. He then calls upon his fellow Israelites to join him in confession of their sins, knowing the Lord will forgive (“for with the Lord is unfailing love”), and that this will produce the sense of reverent awe which will bring about lives of obedience to God’s word. Not only does the Lord forgive us of our sins, but he redeems us from our “sin”. In Him we find full redemption, total freedom, and what is this freedom from? It is from sin! The Messiah, as our kinsman-redeemer, would pay the price to secure our freedom from sin, and this is what Jesus did at the cross. God has heard our cry for mercy, and has sent His Son to redeem us, to bring us forgiveness of our “sins”, but also freedom from “sin”. He has secured for us total redemption, which means freedom from bondage, and that bondage was to sin. We will next turn to the New Testament in order to see just what this means and how it applies to our lives.

2 Comments Growing In Grace  //  Salvation and Redemption

2 Responses so far.

  1. Rick Yant says:

    This is really good stuff! “…and that this will produce the sense of reverent awe which will bring about lives of obedience to God’s word”. I think of Gomer when Hosea bought her (Hosea 3:2) Then she must have had this “Fear” (yare) In verse 3 He said you now will stay with me forever. Of course we know this is a picture of our redemption. 🙂 Praise God!

    • JoeChestnut says:

      Thanks, Rick. Your comment brought something else to mind regarding this Psalm. You would think it would be more natural for us to obey a God we are terrified of, but I think this teaches us that it is actually more natural for us to obey a God we are in reverent awe of, for we will draw near to (or stay with as in Hosea) Him, versus a God we are terrified of. I believe we should proclaim a God of grace and mercy rather than fear and condemnation to believers. Blessings, Joe.

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