In His wisdom God gave us in Christ righteousness and sanctification. And that, young people, is why He moved Paul to write in I Corinthians 1:30, “But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, Who of God was made unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.” Did you notice that redemption is also mentioned here? Well, that is the truth which we will consider at this time. And truly the believers have a blessed redemption.
Now to redeem is to buy back again, and plainly it demands a payment of one kind or of another. It changes our legal status, and as far as our redemption is concerned brings us unspeakable blessedness. The Greek word for redeem, and which is used in the New Testament Scriptures, has in it the word market. Just think for a moment of our supermarkets. In them there is a variety of objects that can be purchased. There is the grocery section, the meat department, a place where you can find frozen foods and dairy products, to mention only a few of the many sections where you can buy the items that you need. Years ago, this was a bit different. Then we had separate grocery stores and meat markets. But notice, anyway, they were meat markets and today we have supermarkets. They were places where we go to buy items. And our redemption is a matter of having blessings purchased for us.
However, the particular word used in I Corinthians 1:30 and translated as redemption means literally to set loose. Redemption then is an act of God whereby He sets us loose from something that holds us in a particular circumstance or situation. We may say that He redeems us in order that we may have that righteousness and sanctification which are mentioned before it in this verse, namely, those two blessings of being made righteous and of being made holy.
Now the amazing thing, which required the wisdom of God to provide one who could buy us out of our unrighteousness and unholiness, set us loose from them and make us righteous and holy, is that God buys us out of a situation in which He holds us. Never, young people, make the mistake of thinking that God has to buy us from out of the hand of the devil. The devil and all the fallen angels, figuratively speaking, get every heart beat from God, and every breath of life. They are constantly in debt to God for every aspect of their existence. God owes them nothing, and need not pay them anything in order to redeem us. God need not buy anything from anyone. All things are His possessions. Yes, our salvation is a gift from God to us, but it still remains God’s. It is ours only in the sense that it is used to benefit us with a view to His glory. What God gives us is His means, His tools, His instruments which make us able to glorify Him. We will have more of that next time, the Lord willing But get it straight now that when God gives us something, it still remains His. He never gives anything away and never disclaims anything as His possession We still have to use it to serve and glorify Him, even though He gives it to us rather than to someone else.
Now we ought to get hold of and hold before our consciousness the truth that God made us in His own image: He made us to be different from all the other earthly creatures in that He gives us thinking, willing natures so that we could know Him, talk to Him and consciously do His will. He made us in His own image in order that through us the whole earthly creation might bring praise and glory to Him.
From this we in Adam fell away through the deceit of Satan: and we came under the holy wrath of God. We fell into a state of guilt before God and our condition became that of being unholy, vile, spiritually filthy, incapable of serving Him in any way and at any time. In fact, we became absolutely incapable of thinking or willing to do anything in love to God. Remember what we already saw. Man became totally depraved and lost all ability to love and serve God, or even to want to be taken out of that spiritually corrupt condition, until God causes him to be born again. And if God is going to redeem us, He must buy us out of this state and condition by satisfying His own justice and making us like His own righteous and holy Son.
Redemption then demanded the cross of Christ. Before we can be declared righteous, the whole everlasting punishment that we deserve must be suffered to its end. Imagine that! And endless suffering must be brought to an end! Surely it took the wisdom of God to design a way for this to be done. Because His Son is the eternal second Person of the Holy Trinity in our flesh, He can represent us and give everlasting value to His suffering of the agonies of hell on His cross. Only in that way can and did God buy us out of His strict, absolute justice. Only in that way can we and were we set loose from our guilty state and from the punishment that it called for in God’s holy wrath.
But redemption also called for a perfect life of obedience. All the minutes and seconds of not keeping God’s law which we, and all the rest of the elect children of God did not perform, must still be brought to God, if holiness is going to be purchased for us. We have guilt in ourselves and deserve punishment. But we also are hopelessly in debt to God, not having served Him with every thought, desire and act. And to buy us from out of the slavery of sin, all that work which we did not do must still be brought to God. In the supermarket they demand of you the last penny, or they take the item away from you and put it back on the shelf. God is stricter, more demanding than any man can be. To let us get away with less than perfect works, and the total amount of them that is possible for God’s image bearer in the circumstances and environment in which he lives, would be an act of God whereby He would deny Himself what must be given to Him. He will therefore not only demand a full measure of everlasting punishment to be borne, to buy us out from under His wrath and the curse; but there must also be a full measure of the works of love in all out thoughts, desires and actions brought to Him without the smallest part of these works missing. He is perfect and demands perfect works. All that we owe Him must be paid in full; and that is what Christ did for us as the eternal Son of God in our flesh.
Because these two demands are fully met by Christ, we have redemption. We are freed, set loose from the bondage of sin wherein Satan holds us. And now, without guilt and having the full measure of the works of God’s law, which He demands of us, fully in every detail performed by Christ, the bill for our salvation is Paid in Full!
Turn to Galatians 3:13. There we read, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.’’ There you have one item on that bill of our salvation that was paid in full. Christ took upon Himself, on the tree of the cross, the full, everlasting measure of the curse, and for us brought that curse to an end.
Look up Titus 2:14. There we read, “Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.’’ Notice that it is not simply the curse, or punishment for our iniquity, that was by redemption removed from off us. The love of sin and the living in sin is also taken away from us. Christ redeems us from iniquity and not simply from the punishment of iniquity. He redeems us from impurity, spiritual impurity. He, that is, Paul, states “. . . redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself. …” Making us pure is not removing the punishment of sin but making us sinless, able to and active in a walk of love to God. Paul speaks of our sanctification, that is, our being made holy.
An important truth that we must not overlook or forget is that although we are fully redeemed legally, for the price has been paid in full, we have only a beginning of the enjoyment of this redemption in this life. The aches and pains that we still have on this sin-cursed earth are not punishment upon our sins. They are God’s means of love to polish us and get us ready for the glory that we will have in the life to come. Look up II Corinthians 4:17, 18; Romans 8:28, 38, 39. Our afflictions serve us, benefit us, and work together for our good. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. And from the moment we are born again, we have the beginning, get that, the beginning of a sinless life. But the full redemption in its enjoyment is not ours till we have the redemption of our bodies in the day when Christ returns. Read Revelation 21. 22, and there you will see how fully we are redeemed from the curse and from a life of sin. Revelation 22:3 and 15 tell us that there is no more curse in the new Jerusalem; and in it there are none who love and make a lie, that is, walk in sin. Paid in full means full complete enjoyment of a glorious life that never sins and cannot sin.