Chapter 13
The Redeeming Blood of Jesus

Peter says we have been “redeemed” by Jesus’ blood:

…ye were…redeemed with…the precious blood of Christ… (1 Pet. 1:18-19)

Our “redemption” is the result of Jesus’ death on the cross. Paul also says that all who are in Christ have “redemption”:

In whom [Christ] we have redemption through His blood… (Eph. 1:7)

If you are in Christ then “redemption” is yours. You have “redemption” and it’s through the precious blood of Jesus. But what is “redemption”?

The Bible was written in the language of the people. The men who wrote it down did not make up a new language to do it, but they used the common language of the people. When we today hear the word “redemption” we immediately think of spiritual things; but when a man of the first century heard the word, he immediately thought in non-spiritual terms. “Redemption” was an every-day word to the average man in the days when the New Testament was written. Few Christians today, however, really understand what is meant by Peter and Paul in their statements that the Christian has redemption through the blood of Jesus.

In the first century, the Greek word for “redemption” (apolutrosis) was used to signify the release of an imprisoned debtor by liquidating his debt. If a man owed a sum of money to another and couldn’t pay it, he would be put in prison. But if someone came and paid the imprisoned man’s debt, he would then be released from prison; he had been “redeemed.”

The word was also used to express the deliverance of a captive by paying a ransom. Through the payment of a certain price the captive would be released from captivity; he had been “redeemed.”

The two terms “redemption” and “ransom” are very closely connected. In the first century, the Greek word for “ransom” was used with reference to a slave buying his freedom. He would save his meager earnings and what other small amounts came his way, probably over a long time, until he had the necessary sum. He could then buy his freedom by means of the payment of a “ransom.”

In today’s language, the kidnappers of a person will demand a “ransom” to be paid before the person will be freed.

So the terms “redemption” and “ransom” are closely connected. A “ransom” is the price that must be paid for the liberation of a prisoner or captive; and the “redemption” of the person is his deliverance or freedom from captivity which is thus effected.

Redeemed By Jesus’ Blood

The application of all this to our “redemption” through the blood of Jesus is very simple. We were captives to sin and to its penalty of eternal death. We were prisoners to the justice of God. We were captives to the curse of the broken law, and there was no way we could escape.

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: (For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:) (Ps. 49:6-8)

Psalm 49:6-8 teaches that the “ransom” which had to be paid for our deliverance from the curse of sin was an infinite price. We could never have paid the price for our own redemption. In ourselves we were spiritually bankrupt and helpless. But for God’s gracious intervention we were eternally the captives of the curse of the broken law.

But what we couldn’t do, Jesus did:

…the Son of Man came…to give His life a ransom for many. (Matt. 20:28)

Jesus paid the ransom-price and set us free; we have been redeemed.

The price Jesus paid was His own precious blood,

In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; (Eph. 1:7)

or His physical life given in death:

Even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many. (Matt. 20:28)

Jesus paid the ransom-price to God.

And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. (Eph. 5:2)

We were captives to the curse of God’s holy law which we had broken by our sin; so the payment for our “redemption” had to be made to God.

Because of our sin we were “debtors” to God. We owed God something because of our sin. We owed God satisfaction to His broken law. We owed God suffering, infinite suffering. But Jesus became our “Surety.” He took upon Himself our “liabilities” and paid our “debt.” He died in our place. He shed His precious blood. He paid an infinite price and fully satisfied the justice of God.

Through paying the infinite ransom-price of His own precious blood, Jesus “redeemed” us. He set us free. He released us from the curse of the broken law.

Redemption in the Old Testament

There are many illustrations in the Old Testament of “redemption” through the payment of a ransom-price.

In Exodus 30:11-16, God spoke to Moses concerning the taking of a census in Israel:

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto the LORD, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague among them, when thou numberest them. This they shall give, every one that passeth among them that are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary: (a shekel is twenty gerahs:) an half shekel shall be the offering of the LORD. Every one that passeth among them that are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto the LORD. The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when they give an offering unto the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls. And thou shalt take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shalt appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; that it may be a memorial unto the children of Israel before the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls. (Ex. 30:11-16)

When the Israelites took a census of the people they were required to give an offering or “a ransom” to the Lord of half a shekel for each person twenty years of age and older who was counted. Rich and poor alike paid the same amount – a picture of the fact that all men are lost and equally in need of God’s redemption – and the money received was used for the service of the tabernacle. The payment of the half shekel released each man from the sentence of divine judgment in the form of a “plague.” Thus, through the payment of a “ransom” an “atonement” was made, and those for whom the ransom was paid were free from divine judgment.

In Leviticus 27:14-15, if a man consecrated something to the Lord and then wanted it back, he would have to pay a certain price; and as a result of paying that price he was able to “redeem” whatever property he wanted back:

And when a man shall sanctify his house to be holy unto the LORD, then the priest shall estimate it, whether it be good or bad: as the priest shall estimate it, so shall it stand. And if he that sanctified it will redeem his house, then he shall add the fifth part of the money of thy estimation unto it, and it shall be his. (Lev. 27:14-15)

The “kinsman” in the Old Testament had a number of rights including the following: If an Israelite, in a time of financial distress, sold part of his property, that land could be “redeemed” by a kinsman who would purchase it back. A price would be paid and the land “redeemed”:

And in all the land of your possession ye shall grant a redemption for the land. 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. (Lev. 25:24-25)

Again, if an Israelite who had fallen into debt was purchased by a wealthy foreigner, the Lord required that he be set free from this bondage, and it was the duty of one of his kinsmen to “redeem” him through the payment of a specified price.

And if a sojourner or stranger wax rich by thee, and thy brother that dwelleth by him wax poor, and sell himself unto the stranger or sojourner by thee, or to the stock of the stranger’s family: After that he is sold he may be redeemed again; one of his brethren may redeem him: Either his uncle, or his uncle’s son, may redeem him, or any that is nigh of kin unto him of his family may redeem him; or if he be able, he may redeem himself. (Lev. 25:47-49)8

Once again through the payment of a ransom-price the “redemption” or setting free of a captive would occur. There are many other illustrations in the Old Testament of “redemption” through paying a ransom-price.

In fulfillment of these types, Jesus Christ is our “Atonement-Money” and our “Kinsman-Redeemer.” He paid a price and through paying that price He set us free. Through the shedding of His precious blood on the cross, Jesus redeemed us from physical death,10 from the adversities of this life, and from the eternal curse of God’s holy law.

The Bible teaches specifically that Jesus has also redeemed us from the authority and power of the enemy. In the next chapter, our redemption from the power of Satan will be considered in depth.


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