STEEP COST OF REDEMPTION
Salvation and redemption are two words you hear a lot about among Christian people and within church circles. These two words are infinitely ingrained in the lexicon of Christianity. As common as these two words are, however, a large number of Christians haven’t given much thought to the difference between the two.
To many, salvation is synonymous with redemption. As a result, the two words are used interchangeably. While those who hold such a view about salvation and redemption aren’t entirely wrong, there’s a more accurate way of considering these two words than thinking they mean one and the same thing.
Salvation is the entirety of the saving work of God in rescuing mankind from the state of fallenness and restoring them back to the place of the glory of His grace. In salvation, God plucked man up from sin and placed him in His glory. God liberated man from bondage to trespasses, released him from slavery to transgression, in order to establish him in His righteousness. Salvation is deliverance from the consequences of sin, which is death, into eternal life.
Meanwhile, the word “redemption” is a Greek word Lutroō (verb)/Lutron (noun). It’s a word that means a ransom, a price, or paying a ransom. Historically, redemption is a term used to describe the money paid to buy a prisoner of war back or to purchase the freedom of a slave.
While salvation is the general saving work, redemption is more specific, and it refers to the price paid to obtain that salvation. In other words, redemption is the means by which salvation is achieved. Redemption describes how you were saved. Redemption shows man in bondage, in a hopeless condition, from which he must be delivered. And redemption shows how God paid the price to purchase that deliverance.
“Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.” (1 Peter 1:18-19).
In the above passage, Peter thought it was necessary that he reminded the Christians who were then scattered as foreigners in the Asia Minor cities of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, of the price God paid for their redemption.
Peter wrote them because these believers were at a point in their lives where they were buffeted with great distress and severe misery. The pagan society had savagely turned on them and subjected them to persecution, turning their lives into an upheaval. Agony, anguish, and turmoil came to characterize the living existence of these Christians. Things were going well for them at all.
Despondency, naturally, began to creep in. The faith of many started to waver, and not a few started weighing their options. Remain a Christian and continue to suffer or give up the whole Christian thing and enjoy the good things in life. So grave was their suffering that giving up Christ looked rather attractive. Consequently, some of the Christians began to slip back into their old sinful way of life.
“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance…” (1 Peter 1:13).
When Peter heard about their travails, he was overcome with empathy. So, he decided to pen a letter of encouragement to them. In his epistle, Peter compared the brevity of their sufferings on earth to their imperishable, undefiled, and unfading inheritance in Heaven. He evoked images of the living hope reserved for them in God.
Lastly, Peter told them to remember their redemption. Perishable things like silver and gold, i.e., money, Peter wrote, didn’t buy them right standing with God. Instead, the great price paid for their redemption was the precious blood of Jesus shed on the Cross of Calvary. And because of this great price, Peter encouraged them not to lose hope. He charged them to continue to live holy in honor of God at all times.
When you consider how in our age Christianity has been reduced to a mere transactional relationship with God, it’s important that Christians everywhere remember the hefty price paid for their redemption.
As the great Puritan writer, Thomas Watson, once wrote, “Great was the work of creation but greater the work of redemption. It costs more to redeem us than to make us. In the one there was but the speaking of the Word, in the other there was the shedding of blood. The creation was but the work of God’s fingers, Psalm 8:3. Redemption is the work of His arm, Luke 1:51.”
Your redemption came at a rather steep cost, stop cheapening it.