I don’t know if there’s another word that carries as much freedom, or peace, or relief in its definition as this one does. It’s one of my all-time favourite words.
But what does it really mean to be redeemed? What makes it such a powerful and meaningful term for us as Christians? The answer can be found in what is probably the most well-known Bible verse.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16 (NKJV)
Redemption was exemplified when He loved us and gave us life instead of death. And what being redeemed means is that God took all of our ugly – all the bad, the dark, the sin, the angry words, the bruises, the pain inflicted unjustly upon innocent people, the murdering, the lying, the cheating, the thieving – He took all of that and more and washed it away. He made us as white as snow, despite how dirty we were when He found us.
“Our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, 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.” – Titus 2:13-14 (NKJV)
“I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, and like a cloud, your sins. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.” – Isaiah 44:22 (NKJV)
And how? How did a perfect, holy, pure and sovereign God let us off the hook and save us from all the wrong we’ve done?
There’s a beautiful answer and a beautiful story to that. He redeemed us by carrying all our sin upon His back along with the cross, as He walked to the place where He would be crucified, a blameless lamb, a sacrifice given to repay our debt, one that would change the world and our lives forever. A sacrifice, the sacrifice that would open a way to reconcile us with the King of kings, the Almighty God.
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” – Ephesians 1:7 (NKJV)
The literal definition of “redeem” will tell you that it means to compensate for faults, or to atone or make amends for sin and evil, to save someone from error, or to regain something in exchange for payment.
His death was the payment. He took the punishment that was upon our heads and justified us. By dying for us, He has saved us. He has taken back possession of us and we are now His. We are His and completely free from the staining of sin. His blood washed it all away.
“Christ bought us with His blood and made us free from the Law. In that way, the Law could not punish us. Christ did this by carrying the load and being punished instead of us.” – Galatians 3:13 (NLV)
“Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as a lamb without blemish and without spot.” – 1 Peter 1:18-19 (NKJV)
And the best part? It’s nothing we did, and there’s nothing we can do to earn or deserve it, which makes it a gift from God. How incredible is that? It really blows my mind. If we truly realize what Jesus did for us and accept Him as our Lord and Saviour, we are free, we are redeemed. He died in our place, and then rose again with holes in His hands and feet, and He did it for us. For my sin. For your sin. For the world’s sin.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” – Romans 3:23-24 (NKJV)
There was no one else who could have redeemed us. Jesus was our one chance at salvation, and because of Him – not because of anything good or worthy in us, but because of His heart and His great love – He willingly became our salvation.
That is what it means to be redeemed. It is the Hero dying for the villain, the purest of all slain for the filthiest. It means we’re forgiven because of what He did for us. It means we’ve been delivered, it means we’ve been unshackled. And it means we’ve been rescued once and for all.
“He has sent redemption to His people; He has commanded His covenant forever: Holy and awesome is His name.” – Psalm 111:9 (NKJV)