Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 17 Number 3 March 2015
Page 2

Editorial

Redemption

Redemption Requires a Redeemer

Louis Rushmore“For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth” (Job 19:25). Once prosperous from every consideration, then destitute of this world’s goods and even of his health, yet Job maintained the hope of a heavenly hereafter that sufficiently overshadowed every present distress. Job demonstrated confidence in the Lord to whom he gladly trusted his eternity. Job earnestly desired that the consolation with which he was comforted based on this hope would be realized by many others as well.

Job’s hope and confidence was three-fold: (1) Job was confident that the Redeemer lives; (2) he also fully expected that the Messiah would someday appear to rescue his and other souls; and, (3) Job was hopeful and confident regarding the general resurrection in which he would participate.

These reflections encouraged Job in the face of his severe adversity and served as the basis of his hope. Likewise, contemporary children of God who find themselves greatly afflicted or facing death can appropriate to themselves consolations through the same hope. Certainly, for the rest of us who are relatively free from great trials, we can also through this hope known to Job find sufficient strength to satisfactorily cope with daily difficulties.

The Redeemer of whom Job spoke is the Christ (i.e., Savior, Christ, Messiah), whose function and certain ministry on earth was first intimated in Genesis 3:15. That our Redeemer lives is the foundation of all our hope; if our God were dead as some declare, we could have no hope. Job had sure hope based on the resurrection long before the earthly walk of Christ, His crucifixion and triumphant resurrection; we see so much more clearly than Job and yet he harbored great hope — the same hope we now have.

Unlike idolaters whose worship pertains to dead gods fashioned from stone, wood, metal and the imaginations of men, Christians have a living Savior. Our Great Prophet is alive evermore, whereas other world religionists, for instance, revere dead (buried) prophets. Jews reject the Christ and have no Savior (Redeemer). Only Christians have a living Savior — who resides in heaven at the right hand of God (Acts 1:9-10; 7:55-56).

Jesus our Messiah is coming back to rescue the righteous. In Job’s day, the first advent of our Lord was still future, to which he referred (19:25). However, when Jesus returns, He will not stand on the earth (Zechariah 6:12-13; Hebrews 8:4).

The Second Coming of Jesus Christ is the hope of both Old and New Testament children of God; our eternity depends on it. While necessarily the “first” coming preceded the future “second” coming, were Jesus not to come again, the “first” coming would be meaningless. The Second Coming of the Lord is the cardinal hope of Christians (1 Corinthians 15; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) and the dreadful fear of the ungodly (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).

The general resurrection is pending (John 5:28-29). Job believed in a bodily resurrection (19:26), which is also a principle of Gospel truth (1 Corinthians 15:49-54; Philippians 3:21; 1 John 3:2-3). Our hope for eternity rests on our resurrection from the grave; we know we shall be resurrected because the resurrection of Christ guarantees our resurrection. Without our resurrection all would be hopeless (1 Corinthians 15:19). We have a common hope with Job and God’s people of all dispensations: (1) our Redeemer lives; (2) our Redeemer is coming for us; and (3) our Redeemer will resurrect us.

Job desired that his hopes might be recorded in a book or engraved in stone so that others might develop the same kind of hope and become beneficiaries of the same consolations. His words, though, are immortalized in the eternal volume, the Bible, for all of every time to see.

Modern man has often derived comfort from Job’s words as one sings them: “I know that my Redeemer lives.” May our Redeemer live in each of us as we always abide in the Gospel.

The Divine Plan of Redemption

Jesus Christ is the singular key to human redemption, because without Jesus Christ, the Son of God, our Savior and Redeemer, none of us could possibly be saved. Yet, there are a number of aspects relative to the redemption of mankind that work perfectly and intricately together to make possible the salvation of humankind. Furthermore, the redemption of souls involves both deity and humanity, for as much as people cannot save themselves apart from God, while at the same time, God will not save anyone without his or her obedient participation in the divinely-given plan of redemption.

God’s redemptive plan includes roles by God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit and by any man or woman who desires to be saved from sin and entertain a real hope of spending eternity in heaven. Therefore, the roles of each person of the Godhead (Acts 17:29; Romans 1:20; Colossians 2:9) as well as the role of the ones being saved are essential. Mankind has a role in his own salvation, without which activity in accordance with the revealed instructions of God in the New Testament, he cannot be saved. The salvation of humans is conditional upon their obedience (2 Thessalonians 1:8; 1 Peter 4:17), but no one can be saved or redeemed without the participation of the Godhead.

The Father’s part in human redemption involves love (John 3:16), grace (Ephesians 2:8), mercy (Titus 3:5) and the Gospel (Romans 1:16). Christ’s part includes the shedding of His innocent blood (Revelation 1:5) and being the Mediator between mortals and the Father (1 Timothy 2:5). The Holy Spirit provided the communication between the mind of God and earthlings through the inspired revelation of the New Testament (2 Peter 1:20-21; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Hebrews 9:15).

Man’s part in his own salvation or redemption can be variously described. He must have faith that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (John 8:24). That faith leads to repentance of past sins (Acts 2:38; 17:30). To be saved, a sinner must be willing to acknowledge before others his or her belief that Jesus Christ is Lord (Romans 10:9-10). Baptism or immersion (Colossians 2:12) for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 22:16; 1 Peter 3:21) results in redemption from past sins (Romans 3:25). Our Lord referred to this as being born again (John 3:3-5).

Generally, one must be obedient to the Gospel of Christ to be saved (Hebrews 5:8-9). This will include purity of life and mind (Revelation 22:14), which involves laying aside evil (James 1:21). Faithfulness must characterize the child of God, even if he or she would have to forfeit his or her life for that faith (Revelation 2:10); Christians must endure (Matthew 10:22). The faithful Christian must demonstrate his or her faith by works of obedience (James 2:24). This is how a person calls on the name of the Lord to be saved (Romans 10:14).

Man’s role in his own redemption is only possible after he has gained knowledge from the Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:15). Christians, then, can pass along that saving knowledge – the Gospel of Christ – to other humans so that they can have access to redemption, too (1 Corinthians 1:18, 21).

Defining Redemption

Two families of words with similar definitions translate in the New Testament to “redeem” and “redemption.” They have similar meanings with different emphases. The Greek verb “exagorazo” means to buy out, such as to buy a slave out of slavery to grant him or her freedom. The verb “agorazo” appears in Revelation 5:9 regarding human salvation, which reads, “And they sang a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation’” (NKJV).

The Greek verb “lutroo” means “to release on receipt of ransom (akin to “lutron,” ‘a ransom’)… ‎signifying to release by paying a ransom price, to redeem” (Vine’s). It appears in Titus 2:14, which reads, “who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.” The word “lutroo” appears in 1 Peter 1:18 as well. “Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers.” “While both [exagorazo] and [lutroo] are translated ‘to redeem,’ “exagorazo” does not signify the actual ‘redemption,’ but the price paid with a view to it, “lutroo” signifies the actual ‘deliverance,’ the setting at liberty” (Vine’s).

Nouns “lutrosis” and “apolutrosis,” “a strengthened form” (Vine’s) of “lutrosis,” appear in the New Testament and relate to human redemption in several familiar passages. “Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption [lutrosis]” (Hebrews 9:12). “Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption [apolutrosis] that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24). “In Him we have redemption [apolutrosis] through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14). “And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption [apolutrosis] of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance” (Hebrews 9:15). The concept of redemption (lutrosis) is of “redemption from the penalty of sin” (Thayer’s).

Overview of Redemption

By divine redemption, we mean the redemptive plan that is divine in origin. In other words, “How did God in the New Testament state that He is willing to save people from their sins?” It is unreasonable to believe that God will accept one or more manmade redemptive plans instead of his plan for the salvation of lost souls.

God the Father through His mercy (Titus 3:5) and grace (Ephesians 2:8) designed a redemptive plan. Essentially, by God’s mercy He withholds punishment from us that we deserve.  By God’s grace, we receive good things from Him that we do not deserve.

Through mercy and grace, God sent Jesus Christ to be our Savior (John 3:16). Jesus brought the divine redemptive plan with Him (John 1:17). Jesus Christ died on the cross for our salvation (Hebrews 9:28). Through mercy and grace, God caused the Holy Spirit to reveal the redemptive plan through the New Testament (2 Peter 1:20-21). The Holy Spirit, along with the Father and the Son, participates in the redemption of souls: “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13).

In addition, God’s redemptive plan requires the participation by those who would be saved. Jesus is said to be the author of salvation to them who “obey Him” (Hebrews 5:8-9). “Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And being been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.” This obedience includes hearing the Word of God only (Romans 10:17); “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” The Word of God leads to Bible faith (John 8:24); “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” Faith leads to repentance (Luke 13:5); “I tell you, no; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Repentance is followed by professing Christ (Romans 10:9-10); “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

Then comes immersion (Romans 6:3-5); “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore, we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection” (KJV). From then onward, Christians must practice faithfulness (Revelation 2:10); “Fear none of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give thee the crown of life.”

The Father, Son and Holy Spirit have done their parts for the redemption of lost souls. Have you, dear Friend, participated in your own redemption according to God’s redemptive plan, or have you subscribed to a mere manmade redemptive plan, which is unable to save your soul? Eternity is too long and souls are too precious to accept a counterfeit plan of salvation. Divine redemption is within reach of every soul and is all that will matter in judgment.

Works Cited

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 2006.

Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words. CD-ROM. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1985.


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