Rev. Dr. T. P. Varughese Canada Pastor Bible Teacher
The concept of ‘REDEMPTION’ is the central theme of the Bible. If we take away this theme out of the Bible, the Bible will become an ordinary book, practically omitting Jesus the Redeemer. The Bible becomes the word of God because of the themes of Jesus Christ, Redemption from sin and Eternal life. Redemption is the only hope for a fallen, guilty, sinner. Redemption includes atonement of sin, deliverance from guilt and replacement of status from hell to heaven. It was accomplished on the cross of Calvary by Jesus Christ, the son of God our saviour. He has done it and only he was able to do it. This great work was accomplished by the Lord and no other person can repeat the same.
A study on the word Redemption: The word redemption comes from the Latin word Redimere. Redimere is an ‘act of buying back’ something previously sold by paying a price. To explain the Latin word Redimere, the following Greek words are used to bring out the essential meaning and depth: Agoradzo and Lutroo. The basic meaning of agoradzo is to buy. A prefix ‘ek’ is used along with agoradzo (ek-agoradzo) which means “brought out of”. When reflecting on Redemption or the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, the New Testament writers, specifically Paul, uses a different image such as an atonement (a word of OT usage) or sacrifice. The words agoradzo or lutroo have the context of a market place transaction in which money is paid in order to release the bound ones or slaves. This is applied mainly in relation to the saving act of Jesus Christ, delivering a sinner from the bondage of sin. A price is paid on behalf of the ‘bound one’ to redeem from the captivity or slavery and the price paid is known as ‘ransom’. The ransom is what makes the freedom possible. This word appears only in three places in the New Testament (1 Tim. 2:6, Mk. 10:45, Mt. 20:28). The second word is Lutroo. It means to set free or let loose. It is used to describe the deliverance of a slave or a prisoner from the bondage or captivity by paying a ransom (price) for him. The Latin Redemere has the same meaning as that of both the Greek words.
JESUS THE REAL REDEEMER:
Jesus is the Redeemer and the only Redeemer of humanity. According to the word of God, “all have sinned and came short of the glory of God” Rom. 3:23.This speaks of the condition of humanity. But the loving God wanted all to regain the glory that was lost because of sin. Only Jesus Christ was able to redeem sinful humanity from bondage and oppression. He was the only one eligible to forgive the sins because of the sacrifice of his own life, which is the ransom to secure the freedom of those held in bondage of sin. His sacrifice is for the total humanity irrespective of caste, religion or gender. Caste system is nothing but an innovation of certain religious crooks to enjoy their lives at the expense of others. God never created any caste, creed or religion, including the different denominations of Christianity. This is also true of the denominations of Pentecostalism. Jesus Christ is the redeemer of all those who believe in Him. He redeems the humanity from all forms of sinful bondage and oppression through his death and resurrection. It is His resurrection that qualified him to be the only true God. Resurrection also challenges the fallacies of the claims of the so-called gods. Jesus is the only qualified redeemer since He paid his life as the ransom for redemption. He died for the sins of humanity so that we could be free from the bondage of sin. Jesus, the only redeemer thus becomes the only saviour and God (Is. 49:26, 59:20, 63:16, Job 19:25, 1 Cor. 1:30). His scope of redemption covers all religions. A sinner is a sinner irrespective of any religion, since God is not the author of any religion. For that reason, Christianity is also not a religion, but it is a way of life. The one who has Christ inside is a Christian. Christianity is a life-style inspired by Christ the saviour and Lord. Unless Christ is our redeemer, being part of any religion is an empty gathering of a few folks.
JESUS THE PERFECT AND ONLY REDEEMER:
Redemption is the most important subject of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Why is it so important? The first reason concerns the human race. With reference to the beginning of humanity, although science makes a lot of claims, it has not given a believable conclusion till date. Science tried to answer it through evolution but failed utterly. The only believable account starts with an Omnipotent God who created the universe and humanity. Unfortunately, as the result of disobedience of the first man, the whole mankind fell into sin. God in his mercy, decided to save humanity from their sins. It was the choice of God and the will of God (John 10:16, Eph. 1:3-7). For this cause, Christ was ready to pay the penalty to do justice to God and humanity. Jesus voluntarily took the sins of the world and made himself a sacrifice so that forgiveness may be attained for humanity from God the Father. A just God has to see to it that justice is established. At the same time, a sinner has to be forgiven (Heb. 9:22). God must punish sin (Ex. 34:7). The only way the justice of God could ever be satisfied is by the substitutionary sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom.3:24-26). Through the effective ransom paid by his sinless blood, Jesus offered eternal life to those who accept the sacrifice by faith. Thus he became the perfect and only redeemer.
HUMANITY: RECONCILED AND REDEEMED
What is the effect of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross? There can be many answers to this simple question. They include remission of sins, removal of punishments , guilt being taken away, restoration to God’s fellowship and so on. We can include all of these into one phrase, “reconciliation with God”. For our reconciliation some thing has to be done by us. As sinners and enemies of God, we need to believe in the sacrifice of Jesus so that we can be redeemed and washed from our sins. Only then can we be righteous and be reconciled with God (Rom.5:6-10). As sinners, we were enemies, but we are reconciled to God through the death (sacrifice) of His son. Having been reconciled we shall be saved by His (Christ’s) life. 1 Peter 3:18 gives us the assurance that Jesus’ suffering was to bring us closer to God.
Col. 1:19-23 explains the reconciliation in a vivid manner. Paul was refuting the Greek idea that Jesus could not be human and divine at the same time. Christ is fully human and fully divine. Christ’s death opened a way for all to come to God, our Creator. We can have peace with God and be reconciled to Him by accepting Christ who died in our place. Because we were away from God, we were strangers to Him and were enemies to Him. Sin took control of us and thus we thought ill of Him. We became hostile to Him and to His standards. As unbelievers, we were perverted in our thinking and we see the nature of such in the book of Romans chapter 1. In other words, we were not good to save ourselves. Apart from Christ, there is no way for us to be forgiven. Jesus suffered fully as a human being on our behalf in our place. His sacrifice was complete and he truly removed our sin by his sacrifice for us. We can enjoy freedom from sin, the moment we trust in his sacrifice. When a judge in a court declares that the person is not guilty, the person is acquitted from all the charges. Legally, the person is not guilty of any accusations made by the other party. Although there were accusations on us previously, our record is wiped clean and we are no more guilty. We are no more sinners but righteous, and there is no account of sin in our record. What a difference! We are no more alienated from God or enemies of God. This is why Paul said: “Now therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” Eph.2:19.