Our Great Salvation #1: Redemption – God the Divine Emancipator

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Redemption: God, The Divine Emancipator

Romans 6:17-18

Please take out your Bibles and turn in them in the New Testament to the book of Romans, chapter 6. If you don’t have a Bible with you, there should be one under a chair in front of you, and you can take that Bible out and in the back portion, turn to page 122. You’ll find yourself at Romans, chapter 6.

You know, light is something we all know. Light is something we are all aware of. We recognize light when we see it. We have a sense that we understand light. I mean, after all, light is light. Right? But the reality is there is more to light than we may know, more than we may think at a glance. In fact, a modern discovery regarding light was discovered by Sir Isaac Newton some three centuries ago. What he did is he took a beam of light, and he put it into a prism. That prism refracted out of that beam of light going in a whole spectrum of colors.

I think we have a slide that I think shows how that worked where you see the prism and the light going into the prism, and coming out of it was this spectrum of colors. Now originally, he felt he discovered there were five colors that made up light. Later he decided there were seven colors that made up light: red and orange and yellow and green and blue and indigo and violet.

So we think we know light, but there is really more to light than we may think. We are starting today a new series of messages I have titled Our Great Salvation. In a similar way, salvation is something we think we know. We are aware of it. We recognize the concept. We have a sense that we understand it. After all, salvation is salvation. Right? But in reality, there is more to salvation than we might see at a glance. Christ’s death earned so great a salvation, so vast a salvation, it could not be conveyed by one concept.

When we look through the lens of Scripture, we find that salvation refracts out into various elements, multiple elements. Some of those elements are communicated by words like redemption and propitiation and reconciliation and justification and imputation. What we want to do over the next few weeks is to begin to look at those various elements to have a better understanding of our great salvation. As we refract those things out in the Word of God, we’re going to have an appreciation, a new appreciation, for the depth and the infinite scope of our salvation. As we look at our great salvation, we’re going to get more excited about the greatness of our God. So I think it’s a worthy pursuit.

Now the title I’ve given to today’s message is Redemption: God, The Divine Emancipator. As we look at these various elements, we’re going to see God in various roles. We’re going to look at redemption, and we’re going to see that He is the Divine Emancipator. Now the plan we have today has five parts to it. We’re going to be looking at them relatively quickly.

First of all, we’re going to look at the background of redemption. Then we’re going to look at our problem in redemption. We’re going to look at the divine purchase. We’re going to, fourth, look at the Old Testament picture of redemption. Then we’re going to look at our permanent freedom. So the background, our problem, the divine purchase, the Old Testament picture, and our permanent freedom. That’s where we’re going this morning.

So if we’re going to understand redemption, we need to look at the background, the backdrop of redemption, particularly the backdrop in the New Testament. The backdrop of redemption and the background of redemption have to do with the Roman army and the conquests of the Roman army. As the Roman army would go out, and then they would come back in victory, there would be this long procession in the city. In fact, it would virtually become a citywide festival. A procession, a parade, would begin.

You would have the generals at the front of the parade. Then you would have the army following after that, the triumphant soldiers. Then following after them would be captured, physical goods they got from their adversaries. Some of those captured, physical goods would be kept by the leaders. But what was really interesting is many of them would be sold to the people. It was basically, you know, a fire sale[clearance] on all kinds of goods. So the city got very excited because there were garage sale prices on all of these things that had been captured, and people could buy things for their home.

Then after the physical goods were paraded, then would come the captives, those who had been captured by the Roman forces. Those captives would be taken to a slave market in the city market, and there they would be sold into a life of bondage. So, when in those days they would hear the word redemption, they would automatically connect it to the purchasing of captives as slaves. So when a Roman heard of the idea of redeeming and redemption, that’s what they thought of. That was the background…purchasing captives as slaves.

Now with that just as a backdrop and a background, we want to very quickly take a look at what the Bible says was our problem…our problem before God. If you have your Bible open to Romans 6, I want you to notice what it says in verses 17 and 18 there. He says in verse 17, “But thanks be to God…” He is writing to these believers. He says, “…That though you were slaves of sin.” That’s what our problem was. We were slaves. We were slaves of sin. He says, “You became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed.” Then he says in verse 18, “And having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.”

See, as human beings, before someone comes to know Christ, we have a problem. That is that we are slaves of sin. We were born in sin. We inherited sin from our parents, who inherited sin from their parents. We were slaves of sin; we inherited sin. Not only that, but we committed sin. Jesus in John, chapter 8, verse 34, said this: “…Everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.” Our problem was we were, apart from Christ, a slave of sin. We inherited sin; we committed sin. We made decisions to go our own way. We violated God’s righteous standards in thought, in word, in deed. We fell short of His perfection. We transgressed His laws.

In fact, without Christ, we would be described as the description falls in Titus 3:3. We’re described as foolish, disobedient, and deceived slaves of wicked desires and evil pleasures. That’s humanity’s problem. We’re slaves of sin. One of the problems with the backdrop of what all this was, the selling of slaves in the marketplace, is that slaves could not free themselves. It was impossible for a slave to free a slave. It was impossible for a slave to purchase their own freedom. When you think about our situation as humanity, that’s exactly where we were. Slaves of sin, but we couldn’t do anything about it. We couldn’t purchase our own freedom. In fact, what we needed was a Redeemer.

So we move now from our problem to the divine purchase, the divine purchase of redemption. As we go through some verses here, I want you to notice two things. Number one, I want you to notice the vocabulary of redemption. We’re going to see several terms. I’m going to actually give you several Greek terms. I just want you to notice the particular vocabulary. If we’re going to understand what redemption is in the Bible, we need to understand the vocabulary. But the second thing I want you to notice as we go through these terms and these verses is I just want to remind you of the price. I want you to see the price of our redemption.

Okay, let’s look at the divine purchase that takes place. We know what our situation is. We’re really without hope. But there is a divine purchase that takes place. The first word I want us to see from the New Testament is the word agorazo. Now in that day, their “mall” (if you would) or their “marketplace” was called the agora. Agorazo is a verb form that relates to the market. It means to purchase at the market. In our lingo [today’s expression] today, we would say it means to buy at the mall. That’s what this word agorazo means, to buy at the market. In particular, the market where slaves were sold.

I want you to see how we have several illustrations of these words and how they’re used in the New Testament. Turn with me to the book of the Revelation, which of course is the last book of the New Testament, chapter 5. I want you to notice there verse 9, because in chapter 5, verse 9, we have this word agorazo used, to buy at the market, to buy at the mall. By the way, in Revelation 5:9, the One who is doing the buying contextually is Jesus, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.

Notice what it says in verse 9. “And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are You (speaking of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Jesus) to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, (and here comes the word agorazo) and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.'” So you have this word buying at the mall, buying at the market where slaves were sold. What Jesus did is He purchased for God with His blood people from every tribe and tongue and nation. That’s just one of the terms of redemption we see in the New Testament.

Now there is a second term that is used to describe this idea of redemption and divine purchase. It’s the word lutroō. Lutroō means to release someone by paying a price. It can be translated, and often is, with the word ransom. You know what a ransom is, right? In our lingo, somebody gets kidnapped, someone pays a ransom, and you release that person by paying the ransom. That’s the terminology that lutroō  includes.

I want us to look at a couple of passages where this term lutroō is used in the New Testament. The first one is in Titus, chapter 2. So you have 1 and 2 Timothy, and then you have Titus, chapter 2. I want you to notice really the end of verse 13, and in particular verse 14. Titus 2:13 talks about “our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.” It goes on to say regarding Christ Jesus in verse 14, “Who gave Himself for us to redeem us.” That’s lutroō . To ransom us “from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.” Christ Jesus gave Himself to ransom us, to release us, to redeem us.

Another passage that deals with this whole idea of redemption using the term lutroō is1 Peter. So turn to your right a few books to 1 Peter. You’ll come in chapter 1 to verse 18. He writes to these believers, and he says to them, “Knowing that you were not redeemed (lutroō, ransomed) with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers,” but you were ransomed, released by a price being paid, the price being the “precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.”

Jesus Himself in Mark, chapter 10, verse 45, said this, “For even the Son of Man did not come (to this planet) to be served, but to serve.” Then he added the phrase, “…and to give His life a ransom for many.” That is a noun form of lutroō , the redemption, the divine price being paid by the Savior. He came to free us from sin and its consequences. He came to this planet to emancipate humanity. He gave His life for you and for me. That’s the divine purchase of redemption.

But we want to look at another thing, which I think is very helpful to see. In fact, this shows so much of the uniqueness of Christianity, biblical Christianity, and that is the Old Testament picture. We want to look at the Old Testament picture of redemption. It involves something in the Old Testament called the kinsman redeemer. What a kinsman redeemer could do for somebody else was to rescue them from slavery. But what’s interesting about a kinsman redeemer is there were four requirements for a kinsman redeemer. I want to look at them.

The first requirement out of the Old Testament was that a kinsman redeemer needed to be your next of kin. They needed to be your next of kin. That, men and women, is why Jesus had to become a man. In order to be a redeemer, you needed to be next of kin. Go with me to the book of Hebrews. It should be a little bit to the left of where we last were. Hebrews, chapter 2. We see this emphasized in Hebrews, chapter 2, verses 14 and 15. Jesus met the qualification of being our redeemer because He was next of kin because He became a man.

You notice it says in verse 14, “Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood…” In other words, since we are humanity. “He Himself (speaking of Jesus) likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is the devil, and (here we go) might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.” You see, in order to qualify as the redeemer, Jesus had to be next of kin. He had to become a man. That’s the first qualification for a kinsman redeemer.

The second qualification of a kinsman redeemer is he had to be free himself. Again, it’s back to that idea that you couldn’t be a slave to free a slave. The kinsman redeemer had to be free himself, which points us back to the necessity of the virgin birth. People wonder, Why was that necessary? Why is that so critical? Well you see, sin is passed down through the father to the next generation. So in order for Him to be free Himself and not to be tainted with sin and to be a slave of sin, there needed to be the virgin birth.

Right here in the book of Hebrews, I want you to notice chapter 4, verse 15. It says, “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses.” I mean, He was a human being. “But One who has been tempted in all things as we are…” Here we go. Here is the key phrase. “…Yet without sin.” There was no sin in Him. He did not inherit sin; He did not commit sin. So He was fully free Himself to be your redeemer and to be my redeemer.

The third qualification for being a kinsman redeemer is they had to have the ability to pay the price. This is why it is so pivotal, and so many people in the world today, even the religious world, don’t understand this. There had to be a God-man who would pay the price. You see, if Jesus was only God, He couldn’t have died. God cannot die. We learn from the Bible that the wages of sin, what we earn because we inherited sin and because we commit sin, is death. God cannot die. Only as a man could Jesus represent humanity and die. There had to be the God-man.

As the God-man, His death would have infinite value. His death would be sufficient to pay the ransom for all of mankind. He had to be both God and man to redeem humanity. That’s why you’ll hear me say over and over and over and over and over and over again biblical Christianity is unique.

I was listening to sports radio this week. One of the things the commentator just said, he said, “All religious principles are the same.” I wanted to just shout out, “No way! No way! Biblical Christianity is unique. It is different from Islam. It is different from Buddhism. It is different from Hinduism.” It is different because Jesus Christ is totally unique. Totally unique because He was the God-man who decided to pay the price and purchase us. He is in a unique role.

Go to your left a few books to 1 Timothy, chapter 2. Verse 5 emphasizes this. Think of all these religious systems out there, and I’ve just named a few of them. But it says very clearly to us in chapter 2, verse 5, “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” But then notice what happened. Verse 6, “Who gave Himself as a ransom for all.” He is the One. He is the only One who did that. Jesus is completely unique. He is the God-man. He is the One who qualified as the Redeemer.

First qualification of the redeemer is they had to be next of kin. The second qualification is they needed to be free themselves. The third one is they needed to have the ability to pay the price. But the fourth qualification of the kinsman redeemer is they had to be willing to do it. He had to be willing to do it. He had to be willing to shed His blood. In Titus 2, it said He gave Himself up. Then there are those magical two words…for us. “He came,” He said, “to ransom many.” What motivated Him to do that? Well the Bible tells us that He so loved us. He so loved the world that He was willing to pay the price.

That leads us now to the final element of redemption we wanted to look at today, the fifth part of our study, and that is our permanent freedom. By the way, to me this is the most exciting thing of all. This is very, very exciting. See, one of the problems with being purchased as a slave at the market is that you could be returned, and you might be sold again. You might be returned, and you might be sold again. We have a beautiful picture in the New Testament. The thrust of the New Testament is that when we were purchased by Jesus Christ, we were purchased never to be a slave ever again to sin.

I want you to look at a couple of terms that are used in that regard. I remember learning these terms. The first term I ever heard them was in 1970. I’ll never forget them. They’ve always stayed with me over the years. The first term of our permanent freedom is the term exagorazo. Remember we saw agorazo as the very first word. Now you have a word that has ex- on the front of it. Same Greek term really that we get the word exit from. Literally what exagorazo means is we have been purchased (remember it meant to buy at the mall) out from the slave market. The implication of this intensified term is we would never be returned there.

I want you to see an occurrence of exagorazo in the New Testament. Galatians, chapter 4, verse 5. We’ll just back up maybe to verse 4. It says, “But when the fullness of the time came (Galatians 4:4), God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law.” Why did He come? “So that He might redeem (exagorazo) those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” See we’re not going back there. We were purchased fully out of that environment.

In fact, we’re not only just no longer a slave, look at what it says there! We have received adoption! What an amazing picture. Not just bought out of the market permanently, but placed in the family of God, adopted as sons and as daughters. Becoming a permanent fixture in the Father’s house. What an awesome truth that is! What an awesome truth. Our permanent freedom.

Another term that points to our permanent freedom is the word apolutrosis. It’s an intensive form of the term redemption. It indicates literally that our redemption is a through-and-through kind of freedom. It is a thorough freedom. I want you to look at a couple of more passages here. Turn a few pages to the right to Ephesians, chapter 1, verses 7 and 8. We see apolutrosis, the through-and-through freedom communicated here. It says in verse 7, “In Him…” Who is the Him? Jesus Christ. “We have redemption…” Apolutrosis, this through-and-through freedom. It came to us “through His blood.” What does it mean? “The forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.” What a beautiful picture that is!

Then if you flip over the book of Philippians to the right and you come to Colossians, chapter 1, we have apolutrosis used again. We see it down in verse 13. “He rescued us (chapter 1, verse 13) from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have (apolutrosis) redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Through and through. Thorough freedom.

I have to admit to you, I absolutely love Hebrews 9:12. We won’t turn there, but this is what it says. “Through His own blood, He obtained (now listen to the next two words)…eternal redemption.” Permanent freedom. Eternal redemption. If you have trusted in Jesus Christ’s death, you are permanently freed from the curse of sin and death. What is so amazing to me, as it says in Romans 3:24, this all happened as a gift by His grace. Isn’t that an amazing thing? It’s an amazing thing! He did that for you and for me who have trusted in Him as a gift by His grace. Redemption. It’s only one aspect. It’s only one facet. It’s only one element of our great salvation.

Now as we do at Wildwood, I want to talk for a moment as we close about some life response I think we should have to what we’ve looked at. The first one is very simply this. I don’t know everyone’s hearts here, but the first life response we should have would be to…

1. Trust in Him as our Redeemer. Because the reality is, if you haven’t done that, I just want you to know very honestly this morning, there is no hope for you. Absolutely no hope for you. I don’t care what religious background you may have or lack thereof, if you do not trust in Jesus Christ as Redeemer, there is no hope for you at all.

That’s why it says in Acts, chapter 4, verse 12, “And there is salvation in no one else.” No one else died to free us from slavery to sin. There is no other name in all of heaven for people to call on to save them. It’s the only way we can find forgiveness with God. It’s the only way we can be free from sin and its deadly consequences, which not only lead to physical death, but even worse, lead to eternal death for all of history. So if you haven’t yet done that, that’s the life response for you, to trust in Him as your Redeemer.

The second life response for those of us who have trusted in Him is…

2. Simply to love, honor, and worship the Lord Jesus. As you go through this week, it ought to make a difference as we’ve looked at redemption and all that it entails. It should make a difference in how you love Him, how you honor Him, how you worship Him. There is a classic hymn that goes like this:

“Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it.

Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.

Redeemed through His infinite mercy,

His child and forever I am.

I think of my blessed Redeemer.

I think of Him all the day long.

I sing for I cannot be silent.

His love is the theme of my song.”

Let’s pray together. Father, we thank You this morning for our great salvation. What an awesome thing it is. If there is anybody who is here today or anyone listening to my voice who has never yet turned to their only hope for forgiveness and a relationship with God in the Person of Christ that they would do so right now. Just by faith to say, “I need a Savior. I need a Redeemer. I need to trust and rest in Christ dying in our place and rising again. That’s what I’m counting on to have a relationship with God.” Father, for those of us who know You, oh we thank You for our grace. We give You praise. We need to praise Your name. We thank You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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