Scripture Query and Answer: The Word Redemption

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 9
Q. T. E. asks if it is right to say of those who die in their sins, that they were redeemed by the blood of Jesus. The purchase of a slave, he remarks, is never called his redemption, unless he is bought for the express purpose of being set Free.
A. T. E. is arguing from the application of our English word “redemption;” not from the meaning of the original, which simply means “bought,” and is so translated in 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), of the lost, and in 1 Cor. 6:20, 7: 23, of the saved. The same word occurs upwards of twenty times in the gospels, and is applied to the purchase of land and cattle, food and raiment, &c. In fact, only in the Revelation is it rendered “redeemed;” and even there, the same word bears the sense “buy” exactly the same number of times. It will thus be seen that the argument fails. For if in Greek the same word is translated either way, it is clear that the term in itself does not involve the ultimate destiny of the purchased, or the purpose of the purchaser. But the passage already referred to in 2 Peter is decisive, that false teachers, enemies of the flock of God, are said to deny the Lord (δεσπὁτην) that bought or redeemed them. The difficulty is owing to a not sufficiently large view of God's ways and of Christ's work. The reader will do well to weigh John 17:22As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. (John 17:2), and Heb. 2:9, 109But 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. 10For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. (Hebrews 2:9‑10). It is the difference on the one hand, between Christ's authority over all flesh, and His giving eternal life to the elect; and on the other hand, of His tasting death for every one, and His bringing many sons to glory; in both, a twofold—relation to men generally, and to the saints.