Spiritual Blessings - Redemption
E. L. Lovering, Ilfracombe
THE TERM "redemption " occurs both in the Old and New-Testaments. and the idea of purchase with a view to freedom was well-known to the Hebrew of the Old Testament and the Greek and Roman of the New.
REDEMPTION IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
Redemption of the first-born. When God smote the first' born of Egypt, he claimed all the first-born of Israel for Himself, and received the Levites instead of them. However, as the number of the Levites was not sufficient to account for this, the remainder of the first-born were redeemed by money, " after the shekel of the sanctuary," and thus they were set free (Num. 3.45-51).
Redemption of property or persons. God declared that the land should not be sold in perpetuity for it belonged to Him, but in all the land of their possession they should grant a redemption for it (Lev. 25. 24). Were a man to sell himself to a stranger or sojourner who had " waxen rich ", one of his " brethren may redeem him . . . or any that is nigh of kin unto him of his family .. , or if he be able, he may redeem himself " (Lev. 25. 47-50).
Redemption of the soul. " All souls are mine " (Ezek. 18. 4). Life that is forfeit to man may be bought back with money, but not life that is claimed by God. " They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches ; none of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him " (Psalm 49. 6, 7). Neither the wealth of the wealthy, nor the wisdom of the wise can effect any man's redemption. So precious is the soul that only at infinite cost can it be redeemed, " God," says the Psalmist, " shall redeem my soul " (verse 15). An infinite redemption is alone possible to an infinite God.
The Kinsman-redeemer. The Hebrew word " goel " (translated " redemption ") is used to indicate both the act of redemption and the redeemer, the one who pays the redemption price. This is beautifully illustrated in the Book of Ruth. Naomi had a kinsman of her husband's, a man of great wealth, and his name was 13oaz, Not only did Boaz redeem by purchase all that was Elimelech's and all that was Chilion's and Mahlon's. but, moreover, Ruth the Moabitess did he purchase to be his wife. (Ruth 4. 9, 10). Redemption for Ruth meant not only an inheritance of wealth and plenty, but by her union with Boaz an end of loneliness and penury.
REDEMPTION IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
In the New Testament there are two words translated " redemption," The one denoting to buy as from a market, and used especially of purchasing a slave with a view to his freedom. The other word implies release on the receipt of a ransom paid. Thus the slave may not only be purchased and experience a change of ownership, but can know complete freedom from all bondage. Sin had within its grasp the human race as bondmen. Gould man ever be free, and could the ransom price be paid ? We have seen from the Old Testament the utter hopelessness of man ever to redeem himself or his fellow. If man is to be redeemed from the power of sin it must be the work of (Sod Himself. To this we now give our attention.
The Source of Man's Redemption. " Of Him (God) arc ye in Christ Jesus, who was made unto us wisdom from God, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption ; that, according as it is written. He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord " (1 Cor. 1. 30, 31, R.V.). If God is the source, then Christ is the stream which brings redemption to us—" In whom we have our redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace" (Eph. 1. 7, R.V.). The Lord Jesus Christ became our Kinsman-Redeemer, for " when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, that He might redeem them which were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons " (Gal. 4. 4, 5, R.V.J, so that " with freedom did Christ set us free " (Gal. S. 1).
The Scheme of Man's Redemption. So different from and surpassing man's greatest ingenuity. Here it is that the shadows, types and symbols of the Old Testament become clear and plain. The emphasis of the way of approach to God had ever been by blood of sacrifice. Now we see the meaning of this ; " not all the blood of beasts on Jewish altars slain, could give the guilty conscience peace or wash away one stain." Richer blood from nobler veins must flow before man can be redeemed to God and know perfect cleansing from his sin. Redemption is deposited in Christ. He is the channel through which it Bows, and when I receive Him, I receive redemption. " Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus " (Rom. 3. 24).
The Security of Man's Redemption. It is said that in the purchase of land in ancient times, instead of a percentage of the agreed amount of money being deposited as legal bond, the vendor would stoop down and take a handful of the earth bought and would hand it to the purchaser. The purchase was thereby " sealed " with an " earnest " of the inheritance. Thus Paul wrote to the Ephesians : " after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise. Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory (Eph. 1. 13, 14).
The Scope of Man's Redemption. Redemption is available for all, but is only realized by those who receive the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour. " For there is one God, one Mediator also between God and men. Himself man, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all; the testimony to be borne in its own times " (1 Tim. 2. 5, 6, R.V.), Christ " bought " all, but only believers arc "redeemed." Some speak of universal redemption without really meaning it, because they do not see the difference between " buying " and "redeeming." Eph. 1. 14 embraces both in " the redemption of the purchased possession."
Redemption covers past, present and future. Christ Jesus has " redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us" (Gal. .1. 13). The Saviour Jesus Christ, "who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity and purify unto Himself a people for His own possession, zealous of good works " (Titus 2. 14, R.V.). " And not only so, but ourselves also, which have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we, ourselves, groan within ourselves, waiting for our adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body " (Rom. 8. 23, R.V.).
The Duration of Redemption. Redemption is not only for time but for eternity. " But Christ having come a High Priest of the good things to come, through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation, nor yet through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, entered in once for all into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption " (Heb. 9. 11, 12, R.V.).
" Glory to Him, whose love unknown,
Touched man's abyss from heaven's high throne ;
Like some new star its radiance beamed :
A new song rose : Redeemed ! Redeemed !"