Leviticus 25  •  7 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Redemption is God's principle. Leviticus 25 (which is the great scripture on the subject of redemption) shows us that, because on the sale of either the person or the lands of an Israelite, if he had no kinsman to redeem him or his estate, God would redeem both every fiftieth year, and every man then should return to his family and to his possession. So that redemption was God's principle. And also, because it was so, neither the land nor the people were to be sold forever, but to be sold subject to redemption-as we say in our laws, sold by way of mortgage, not sold forever, or out and out, but sold by way of mortgage, or subject to redemption. The same chapter shows us that. Thus it is clearly apparent that redemption is God's principle. But what does it imply? The paying of a price, a full price, for the thing or person sold. The purchaser of an Israelite or of his possession was to have the full money weighed out to him, ere he could be required to restore the man or his land to his king-man. The Scripture shows, in like manner, that our glorious kinsman (the God of heaven and earth manifest in flesh) has, by Himself, paid the full price of our redemption, paid the debt that lay upon us and our inheritance. In the balances of the throne of God (where righteousness was seated) the price was paid and weighed with the nicest hand, that no wrong might be done to any one through man having sold himself and all that he had by his sin. And thus Scripture calls Jesus a redeemer, in the sense of this glorious chapter on redemption. He visited and redeemed His people, and the price that He paid was His blood, or Himself-" he gave himself a ransom for all to be testified in due time," " by his blood having obtained eternal redemption for us"- “the redemption of the purchased possession," and " thou hast redeemed us to God," and many such passages.
And the scales of the throne of God tested the weight of this price before it was paid. They had before tried the weight of the blood of bulls and goats, but they found all such blood to be light and insufficient; but when the blood of God's own Lamb-God's divine Son-was put into that balance, which was thus held by the hand of Him that sat on the throne-that judges right-the balance stood, the will of God, the great Creditor, was satisfied, and by the satisfying of that will we are sanctified (Heb. 10.); by the payment of that price our person and lands are repurchased by our glorious Redeemer or kinsman.
I do confess, to touch this doctrine of repurchase, or redemption, appears to me to touch the dearest thought in the mind of God, for it is as Leviticus 25 blessedly shows us, as I have said, His own principle. And why is it so dear to Him? Because it glorifies His love, that is, Himself, above everything; because it shows such a way of self-sacrifice in God, that though this ransom, this price of redemption, demanded the Son from the bosom (the Isaac), yet the Isaac was delivered.
And what comfort to the conscience to know that the full price has been paid. What comfort to a poor redeemed Israelite it must have been to know that his creditor, to whom he had sold himself, had been paid the uttermost farthing of his demand by his generous kinsman! The heart gets comfort from knowing that God's love was gratifying itself in the work of our redemption, but the conscience gets ease from knowing that God's righteousness has been honored and secured, that the demand of His throne has been fully answered. And I judge that the Scripture enables us to understand how the blood of Jesus is equal to accomplish this great end of paying the ransom or redemption money. For the original condition was this: life must go for sin; " in the day thou eatest thou shalt die." Adam ate, Jesus died or gave up life; and He had life to give up. No other victim on earth had life; for sin, the principle of cloth, was tainting everything. All other blood carried the savor of death in it, but the blood of Jesus was the blood
of a living one, and this was equal to meet the penalty of sin, and when given was the full price for the redemption of all who would trust it and plead it, for life bad now gone for sin. Jesus was not debtor to sin or to death, for He was entitled to life, but yet for us he consented to " die unto sin" (Rom. 6.), to own the claim of sin and death, and thus has He fully and meritoriously discharged it. The blood was the life and was reserved for God. It was a thing forfeited or given back to God, because of sin. But God laid it up (or, found it) in Jesus, and in Him gave it to sinners for atonement. (Lev. 17.) In this way again we see the blood of Christ to be as heavy as all the penalty of sin. For death has been induced-life has gone for sin, and that was the original condition. And again, the Lord said, the soul that sins shall be a curse. But the same Lord says, the man that hangs on a tree shall be a curse. And thus, in another shape, we see the price equal to the debt in the very reckoning of Him who alone can take the account, that is, the Lord, or God Himself. (Deut. 27, 21; Gal. 3.) And it is most comforting to see the unbending severity of righteousness in this matter. It will be satisfied. The patriarchal law (Gen. 9:55And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man. (Genesis 9:5)), the national law of Israel (Exodus xxi. 23), the law of shadows or ordinances (Num. 35:3333So ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: for blood it defileth the land: and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it. (Numbers 35:33)), all show this. The payment must be equal to the debt, the ransom to the penalty or forfeiture. Guiltless living or untainted blood in Adam was shed by sin; guiltless, ever-living, and untainted blood in Jesus has now been shed for sin. (Heb. 9:1414How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:14).) And our comfort as sinners comes from thus seeing that the nicest and fullest demands of the righteous One have been honored, ere pardon and peace are preached to us, ere the boundless love of God would give itself to our hearts to rest, refresh; and gladden them forever. And that blood which as the victim Jesus once shed for sin, (Heb. 9:1414How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:14)), as the Mediator He pleads always for transgressions. (Heb. 9:1515And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. (Hebrews 9:15).) For it is the redemption of the one as of the other-the price for full remission of daily defilement. And by that same blood, as the forerunner into heaven, the same Jesus now there is getting all ready for us. (Heb. 9:23, 2423It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: (Hebrews 9:23‑24).) The very presence-chamber and all the heavenly things in glories that are there, making them approachable to sinners. And after all this display of the blood in Hebrews 9 we see the act of the righteous hand of God, as it were, holding the balance, as I have said, while weighing it against sin in Hebrews 10, and then the balance gloriously stands, and sin is then righteously remitted. So that in the blood we enter the holiest with a perfect conscience no longer in our sins kept outside.
The blood, as thus the price of redemption, or the consideration' on which God can be just and the justifier of the believer, is called " the blood of the covenant." (Heb. 13; see also Ex. 24; Zech. 9; Luke 22:2020Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. (Luke 22:20); 1 Cor. 11:2525After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. (1 Corinthians 11:25).) And in that character also it is seen on the mercy-seat, or the throne of God, being that which shows how that righteousness and peace can kiss each other. And as the price of redemption it was put on the lintels of the Israelites' houses, and from the beginning of the world to the death of Jesus used in atonement, used as that which alone could meet sin.