By Pastor Chester McCalley



When Roman generals returned from battle, they marched into the city leading enormous processions. Their troops arrived with the spoils of battle, which included captured men and women as well as booty taken in battle. The wealthy citizens of Rome anticipated this event greatly because it meant an opportunity to purchase booty as well as a chance to buy additional slaves who were to be put on the auction block. This is the scene the New testament authors had engraved in their mind when they wrote of redemption—a common word for making a purchase in the market place.


The word redemption was selected by the Holy Spirit from the language of the first century to express two important truths concerning our salvation.  Redemption speaks of the price paid as well as the release from slavery, the freedom that results from believing in Christ.




1. All men are slaves to sin.

Romans 6:17 reminds believers that, “you were slaves of sin…"  a reference to their former condition as unbelievers.


A slave was owned by his master in a very real sense of the word and had no legal rights. His duty was obedience and service.


2. All men are cursed by sin.

Galatians 3:13 says,  Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law...”

- this reality is pointed out by man's inability to abide by all the things in the law.  3:10b




1. Redemption involves a purchase.


The word translated “redeem” is a commercial term signifying the same thing that our word “buy” does in English, In Matthew 13:44, Jesus speaks of one who “sells all that he has, and buys that field.” Here the word “buy” is the word for redemption.


While we think of buying in terms of material things, in New Testament times people could be regarded as property and thus be purchased.


The fact that Jesus Christ purchased (“redeemed”) us is the basis for the believer regarding himself as totally owned by the Lord. Paul reminds the Corinthians of who they are by asking them to recall, “Or do you not know that . you are not your own? For you have been bought (redeemed) with a price .. .“ (I Corinthians  6:19-20).


2. Redemption involves a price.


The price of redemption is most forcefully stated in I Peter 1:18-19 where we are taught, “that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold... but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.”


Nothing on the human level can redeem man because all human payments are “perishable” and cannot solve the spiritual problem of man’s alienation from God.


3. Redemption involves a freedom.


We have referred to Galatians 3:13 which tells us, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law..


The law brings a curse in that failure to meet its high standards carries the penalty of death. We are all, therefore, under that penalty.


The significant thing about the word “redeemed” in this verse is the fact that though not seen in translation, the verb has the preposition “out of” attached to it, emphasizing the total freedom from the penalty of sin that redemption brings. It also implies a permanency—we are freed, never to return!


4.  Redemption involves a completeness.


This is found in Romans 8:23 which says of the believer that we are among those “waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.”


The completeness of redemption is seen in two ways in this verse. First, the fact that redemption includes our physical bodies. It is the whole man that is redeemed; body, soul, and spirit. Paul is noting that the redemption of the body is part of our future hope. The body as well as soul and spirit has been affected by sin, and redemption is the total solution.


The second emphasis on the completeness of redemption is found in the noun translated “redemption.” Like the word in Galatians 3:13, this word also has a preposition attached to it. Its force could be caught by calling it a “through-and-through redemption.”


5.  Redemption involves a guarantee.


Ephesians 1:13-14 says, “...after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with the view to the redemption of God’s own possession. . . .“ The presence of the Holy Spirit is the guarantee that the whole program of redemption will be consummated in each believer.


The word translated “pledge” is very colorful, It was used of the initial payment that obligated the purchaser to complete the purchase in full, a kind of legal guarantee, It was also used of an engagement ring.





1.  The redeemer had to be a kinsman.


This has its roots in the Old Testament provision wherein “If a fellow countryman of yours becomes so poor he has to sell part of his property, then his nearest kinsman is to come and buy back what his relative has sold” (Leviticus 25:25). Redemption could be brought about by a relative.


This is fulfilled by Jesus in his incarnation— "the Word became flesh."  (John 1:14).



2. The redeemer had to be willing.


Speaking of the giving of his life, Jesus says, ..... I lay it down on My own initiative, I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again” (John 10:18).


3.  The redeemer had to have the required price.


The church is made up of those whom God “purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28).


4.  The redeemer had to be free of personal need.


Jesus Christ is called “a lamb unblemished and spotless.. (1 Peter 1:19).