Redemption

Concise Bible Dictionary:

This term signifies “being set free, brought back.” God having smitten the firstborn of the Egyptians, claimed all the firstborn of Israel, and received the Levites instead of them; but there not being an equivalent number of the Levites, the residue of the firstborn were redeemed by money: they were thus set free (Num. 3:44-5144And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 45Take the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the children of Israel, and the cattle of the Levites instead of their cattle; and the Levites shall be mine: I am the Lord. 46And for those that are to be redeemed of the two hundred and threescore and thirteen of the firstborn of the children of Israel, which are more than the Levites; 47Thou shalt even take five shekels apiece by the poll, after the shekel of the sanctuary shalt thou take them: (the shekel is twenty gerahs:) 48And thou shalt give the money, wherewith the odd number of them is to be redeemed, unto Aaron and to his sons. 49And Moses took the redemption money of them that were over and above them that were redeemed by the Levites: 50Of the firstborn of the children of Israel took he the money; a thousand three hundred and threescore and five shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary: 51And Moses gave the money of them that were redeemed unto Aaron and to his sons, according to the word of the Lord, as the Lord commanded Moses. (Numbers 3:44‑51)). So the land, or one who sold himself, could be redeemed (Lev. 25:23-24,47,5423The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with me. 24And in all the land of your possession ye shall grant a redemption for the land. (Leviticus 25:23‑24)
47And if a sojourner or stranger wax rich by thee, and thy brother that dwelleth by him wax poor, and sell himself unto the stranger or sojourner by thee, or to the stock of the stranger's family: (Leviticus 25:47)
54And if he be not redeemed in these years, then he shall go out in the year of jubilee, both he, and his children with him. (Leviticus 25:54)
). The Israelites were redeemed out of Egypt by the mighty power of God (Ex. 15:1313Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation. (Exodus 15:13)). From thence the subject rises to the redemption of the soul or life, forfeited because of sin. Man cannot give to God a ransom for his brother: for the redemption of the soul is precious, or costly, and it (that is, redemption) ceaseth, or must be given up, forever: that is, all thought of attempting to give a ransom must be relinquished—it is too costly (Psa. 49:7-87None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: 8(For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:) (Psalm 49:7‑8)).
In the New Testament there are two words translated “redemption,” embracing different thoughts. The one is λυτρόω, λὐτρωσις, ἀπολύτρωσις, “to loose, a loosing, a loosing away,” hence deliverance by a ransom paid, redeemed.
The other word is ἐξαγοράζω, “to buy as from the market.” Christ has redeemed believers from the curse of the law (Gal. 3:1313Christ 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: (Galatians 3:13); Gal. 4:55To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. (Galatians 4:5)). Christians are exhorted to be “redeeming the time,” that is, buying or securing the opportunity (Eph. 5:1616Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:16); Col. 4:55Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. (Colossians 4:5)). A kindred word, ἀγοράςω, is translated in the AV “to buy,” except in Revelation 5:99And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; (Revelation 5:9) and Revelation 14:3-43And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. 4These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. (Revelation 14:3‑4), where it is rendered “redeem,” but would be better “buy.” The difference is important in such a passage as 2 Peter 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), where it couldn’t be said “redeemed,” for those spoken of are such as deny Christ’s rights of purchase, and bring on themselves swift destruction though they had been “bought.” Christ “bought” all, but only believers are “redeemed.” Christians sometimes speak of “universal redemption” without really meaning it, because they do not observe the difference between “buying” and “redeeming.” Ephesians 1:1414Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:14) embraces both thoughts: “the redemption of the purchased possession.”
Redemption is sometimes used in the sense of the right or title to redeem (Psa. 130:77Let Israel hope in the Lord: for with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption. (Psalm 130:7); Rom. 3:2424Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: (Romans 3:24)); and this right God has righteously secured to Himself in Christ, and in virtue of it He presents Himself to man as a Justifier. Hence redemption was secured for God before man entered into the virtue of it. But believers have it now by faith, in the sense of forgiveness of sins, in Christ, where it is placed for God (Eph. 1:77In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; (Ephesians 1:7)). And in result redemption will extend to the body (Rom. 8:2323And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:23); Eph. 4:3030And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)). In application, the term redemption covers the power in which it is made effectual, as well as the ground or condition on which it is founded; this was set forth in type in the case of Israel.

From Anstey’s Doctrinal Definitions:

This means “bought back and set free.” It is used in the New Testament in application to Israel and in application to Christians.
In connection with Israel historically, the nation was redeemed or set free from the bondage of Egypt by God’s power through Moses (Ex. 6:6; 15:136Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: (Exodus 6:6)
13Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation. (Exodus 15:13)
, etc.). But Israel’s full and final redemption from their enemies is still future, when the Lord appears (Luke 21:2828And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. (Luke 21:28)). Their redemption in this outward sense could have occurred when the Lord first came (Luke 1:68; 2:3868Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, (Luke 1:68)
38And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem. (Luke 2:38)
), but He was rejected by His people (Isa. 53:33He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (Isaiah 53:3); John 1:1111He came unto his own, and his own received him not. (John 1:11)). Consequently, the redemption of Israel nationally was postponed to a future time (Luke 24:2121But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. (Luke 24:21)). When the Lord appears, He will redeem a remnant of the Jews and of the ten tribes, and thus will set them free from every adverse and hostile power that has been against them (Isa. 52:99Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. (Isaiah 52:9); Hos. 13:1414I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes. (Hosea 13:14)).
In connection with Christians, redemption is viewed in four ways:
1) The Redemption Of Our Souls
This is a once-for-all thing that occurs when we receive Christ as our Saviour. We are set free from the sentence of judgment that has been upon us (Rom. 3:2424Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: (Romans 3:24); Gal. 3:13; 4:513Christ 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: (Galatians 3:13)
5To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. (Galatians 4:5)
; Eph. 1:77In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; (Ephesians 1:7); Col. 1:1414In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: (Colossians 1:14); Titus 2:13-1413Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. (Titus 2:13‑14); Heb. 9:1212Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. (Hebrews 9:12); 1 Peter 1:1818Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; (1 Peter 1:18)). Once we have been redeemed in this way, we never need to be redeemed again.
This aspect of redemption has in view the setting of the believer free so that he can do the will of God—in worship and in service. This is illustrated typically in the Lord's words to Pharaoh through Moses, "Let My people go, that they may serve Me" (Ex. 8:11And the Lord spake unto Moses, Go unto Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Let my people go, that they may serve me. (Exodus 8:1)). As a rule, since the word redeem means to be "set free," redemption is always presented in Scripture as being "from" or "out of" some adverse thing that has held people in bondage (Ex. 15:1313Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation. (Exodus 15:13); Psa. 25:2222Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles. (Psalm 25:22); Psa. 49:1515But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah. (Psalm 49:15); Psa. 130:88And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities. (Psalm 130:8); Jer. 15:2121And I will deliver thee out of the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem thee out of the hand of the terrible. (Jeremiah 15:21); Mic. 4:1010Be in pain, and labor to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go even to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered; there the Lord shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies. (Micah 4:10); Rom. 8:2323And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:23); Gal. 3:1313Christ 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: (Galatians 3:13); Titus 2:1414Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. (Titus 2:14)). (In the KJV, Revelation 5:99And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; (Revelation 5:9) says, "Redeemed us to God..." but redeemed is not the correct word there; it should be translated, "Purchased [bought] us to God.")
2) The Redemption Of Our Time
This aspect of redemption is something that should go on throughout our lives as a matter of daily exercise. It has to do with setting free “time” (“seizing every good and favourable opportunity” – J. N. Darby Trans. footnote) and using it for the Lord. This aspect of redemption is mentioned twice in Scripture, each having to do with a different sphere of Christian activity and service.
We are to set free time and opportunities to be used in gospel outreach toward those outside the Christian community (Col. 4:55Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. (Colossians 4:5)“them that are without”).
God has placed this very precious commodity of time in our hands. Some have been given more of it, and others less. It has been said that the greatest waste of time is to spend it on the gratification of selfish interests, but the greatest use of time is to spend it in the service of the Master.
3) The Redemption Of Our Bodies
This will occur at the Rapture when we will be glorified like Christ (Rom. 8:2323And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:23); 1 Cor. 15:51-5751Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:51‑57); Eph. 4:3030And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30); Phil. 3:2121Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. (Philippians 3:21)). At that time, we will be set free from every hindrance that touches our physical bodies. This aspect of redemption includes the eradication of our fallen sin-natures.
4) The Redemption Of Our Inheritance
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Many confuse “bought” with “redeemed,” assuming that they are the same thing—but these terms are not synonymous in Scripture. Mr. Kelly said, “The word ‘bought’ does not mean ‘redeem;’ but so thoroughly have these two thoughts been confounded in the minds of Christians generally, that the difference was quite ignored by the two parties who stand opposed to one another as they have been for 1400 years....The remarkable fact is that both agree in taking these two words as equivalent; so that there has been no thought of discriminating; there is a habitual confusion of the two ideas in ‘purchase’ and ‘redemption’” (Bible Witness and Review, vol. 2, p. 433). The truth is that redeemed includes being bought, but it goes beyond the thought of purchase to take in being set free. Bought has to do with a change of ownership; whereas redeemed has to do with a change of condition. Ephesians 1:1414Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:14) proves that there is a difference between bought [purchase] and redeemed. It tells us that there is something—the "purchased possession" (which is the inheritance)—that has been purchased, but has not yet been redeemed. What could this mean, if both terms were synonymous? All men and things have been bought by Christ, and therefore, belong to Him (Matt. 13:4444Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. (Matthew 13:44); Heb. 2:99But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. (Hebrews 2:9)), but only those who own Christ’s purchase by faith are redeemed. Thus, lost men and women in this world have been bought (2 Peter 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)) but they are not redeemed.
The following illustration helps us to understand the difference between bought and redeemed. Suppose you see a caged dog captive to a cruel master. You often go by that pitiful sight and see the cruel man beating and mistreating his dog. To deliver the dog from such cruelty, you approach the master with an offer to buy the animal. The man is agreeable to it, and states his price, and you pay him the amount. You buy the dog and the cage and drive off. At this point, the dog has been purchased; he has a new master. There has been a change of ownership, but there has not been a change of condition—it is still captive in the cage. But when you get home and open the cage, and the dog gets out and runs around, then there is a change of condition—the dog is liberated or set free! This is the meaning of redemption; it implies not only being purchased, but also being set free. W. Scott said, “Redemption is a very different thing from purchase [bought]; the former refers to a change of state or condition, while the latter merely intimates a change of masters. You may purchase a slave, but that is not deliverance from the state of slavery” (Handbook of the Old Testament, p. 370). (See Bought.)