“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (1 Peter 1:18-19)
How glibly we use the terms redeemed, redemption, and ransom. But what do they mean, and more importantly, what did Christ’s act of redemption mean?
Three Greek words and their derivations are used in the New Testament to denote various aspects of this truth. In our text, “redeemed” comes from lutroo, which means to set free, buy back, or ransom. Christ’s innocent blood, sacrificed for us, bought us back. “By his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” (Hebrews 9:12).
Redeemed from what? From slavery to sin. Jesus taught, “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin” (John 8:34). Thankfully, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law” (Galatians 3:13). The Greek word here is exagorazo, meaning to buy up, to ransom from the market place (i.e., agora), which could be called “the slave market of sin.” He ransomed us, He redeemed us from the horrors of slavery to sin by His death on the cross.
The final word is apolutrosis, “to ransom in full.” He has paid the full penalty! “It is finished” (John 19:30), He said as He died. In Him alone “we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7).
Each of us needs to appropriate His plan, “for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23-24). JDM