What is Christian redemption? What does it mean to be redeemed?
Redemption is a biblical word that means "a purchase" or "a ransom." Historically, redemption was used in reference to the purchase of a slave's freedom. A slave was "redeemed" when the price was paid for his freedom. God spoke of Israel's deliverance from slavery in Egypt in this way: "I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment" (Exodus 6:6). The use of redemption in the New Testament includes this same idea. Every person is a slave to sin; only through the price Jesus paid on the cross is a sinful person redeemed from sin and death.
In Scripture, it is clear every person stands in need of redemption. Why? Because every person has sinned (Romans 3:23). The following verse then reveals we are "justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Romans 3:24). Hebrews 9:15 says that Jesus "is the mediator of a new covenant . . . since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant."
Redemption provides several benefits for the believer: eternal life (Revelation 5:9-10), forgiveness of sin (Ephesians 1:7), a right relationship with God (Romans 5:17), peace with God (Colossians 1:18-20), the Holy Spirit to live within (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), and adoption into God's family (Galatians 4:5). Titus 2:13-14 says Jesus "gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession."
When we are redeemed, we become different people. When God redeemed Israel from slavery in Egypt, He made them a new nation and gave them a new land. Likewise, the Christian has a new identity in Christ. No longer is the Christian a captive to sin and death. Instead, he has become a citizen of God's kingdom. Christians now live in anticipation of our eternal home with our heavenly Father.
God wants us to see Him as the One who redeems (Isaiah 43:14; 44:6, 24; 49:7). Just as Boaz was the kinsman-redeemer of Ruth (Ruth 3:9), Jesus redeems us (Galatians 3:13). Jesus paid a high price for our redemption, the ultimate sacrifice of His own life to free us from sin.
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