What Is Redemption?

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1 Corinthians 6:20
For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

1 Corinthians 7:23
You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.

Galatians 3:13
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.”

1 Peter 1:18-19
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.

“We could not break free. But the price was paid and the result is that we go free.”

When Paul reminded the Corinthian believers of their redemption—“you have been bought with a price”—they would have recognized the phrase you have been bought (Greek ēgorasthēte) as a term normally associated with something from the Greco-Roman culture of day, namely the practice of slavery. The term Paul uses refers to the purchase of slaves from a marketplace. Paul is reminding them of the fact that they have been purchased from bondage to sin (see Rom. 6:17–18, 22). The price of this purchase was “the blood of Christ.”

When Paul says “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law,” he has a different metaphor in mind. Here Paul has in mind the Old Testament Law, specifically Deuteronomy 21:23, which pronounced a curse on anyone who was hung on a tree as a guilty criminal. “Paul is saying that Christ’s death on the cross meant that he bore the curse that would otherwise have rested on us . . . He bore the curse that sinners incurred and this is viewed as paying the price of a price, an act of redemption.”[1]

Christ has become our Redeemer. Jesus told us himself that this was the reason for his coming to earth: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mk. 10:45). His word “ransom” is the technical term used of the money paid to release a prisoner of war or a slave. To release the slaves of sin he paid the price. We were in captivity. We were in the strong grip of evil. We could not break free. But the price was paid and the result is that we go free. “Sin shall not be your master” (Rom. 6:14).[2]

[1] Morris, The Atonement, 121.

[2] Ibid., 120–21.

For Further Reading:

The Essential Scriptures

by Kevin Zuber

Which Bible verses support that doctrine? All good theology is grounded in the Word of God. Yet sometimes it’s hard to keep track of...

book cover for The Essential Scriptures