Redemption and Purchase

2 Peter 2:1  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 7
"Denying the Lord that bought them." 2 Pet. 2:11But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. (2 Peter 2:1). A word on this clause of Holy Scripture may relieve the minds of persons to whom it seems harsh that the Lord had bought false teachers and heretics. You must distinguish between being bought and being redeemed. It is never taught in Scripture that the Lord redeemed a heretic, or any other man that was not saved. There is not a syllable in God's Word that enfeebles the certainty of eternal life for the believer; but it is nonetheless clearly taught there that the Lord has "bought" every man whatever, saved or not—believer or not. The result for man has nothing to do with the Lord's purchase. He has bought the world and everything that belongs to it. This is the doctrine everywhere, whether in parable or in doctrine, whether in gospel or epistle; and this is the constant statement of the Spirit. Of course, therefore, these bad people were bought as well as the rest.
But redemption is another thought and, so far from purchase being the same as redemption, the two things are decidedly in contrast. The object of redemption is to deliver a person from the power of the adversary, to bring one who is a captive out of slavery, to set him free by the ransom paid. This is only true of the believer; he alone is brought out of captivity and made free. It is an efficacious, not a nominal deliverance, and belongs only to faith. It is not merely that there is purchase money; this is not enough for redemption, which is a question of setting a slave or prisoner free, and this is never the case unless a soul believes in Christ. But it is a different thing with purchase; you may buy that which is inanimate, and that which is bought belongs to you indeed, but possibly for harm and shame. Supposing you could purchase a person, what is the effect of the transaction? You make him a slave; thus it is the very reverse of redemption. Redemption makes the slave free, but purchase makes what you buy your property or your slave.
These two facts are both true of Christians, and meet in Christ's blood. The Christian is both redeemed and purchased; but he alone is redeemed. But besides being redeemed, he is bought by the blood of Christ, and therefore it is that he becomes Christ's slave. He is a bondman of Christ Jesus. Perfectly freed by redemption, he is made thoroughly a slave by purchase; and this is precisely the anomaly the natural man never understands. As for the theologians, some of them are only natural men; but one might ask in despair, 'What is it they ever seem to understand? The fact is that they have so confused the two things as to make the subject hopeless in their hands.
It is clear that the dispute between those called Calvinists and the so-called Arminians turns much on this point, which is then very important. Both of them agree in the error that redemption and purchase are the same thing. The consequence is that they never can settle the question. The Calvinist is quite right in his premise that redemption belongs solely to the household of faith; the Arminian is no less right in his premise that purchase belongs to every creature under the effects of sin. But they are both equally mistaken in assuming them to be the same thing; and there they wrangle, as they might forever, without advancing an inch toward settling the matter, because each holds a truth that the other denies.
The truth in this question, as in many others which have distracted Christendom, is that faith receives that which the contending parties lose in the dispute; faith bows to the whole truth instead of being shut up to a part of it.
Here then in 2 Pet. 2, it will be seen that it is only a question of purchase, which does not imply that these men were ever born of God.