Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Recently I heard this phrase used:  "We are all in the process of being redeemed."  Can this be true?  Are believers really being bought on the installment plan?

Our English word "redeem" is actually a translation of three Greek words:

Agarazo: to buy at the market.

Ex-agarazo: to buy out of the market.

Lutro: to set free (upon receipt or payment of the ransom price)

The Easton Bible Dictionary explains redemption more fully:

[It is] the purchase back of something that had been lost, by the payment of a ransom. The Greek word so rendered is apolutrosis, a word occurring nine times in Scripture, and always with the idea of a ransom or price paid, i.e., redemption by a lutron (see Matt. 20:28; Mark 10:45). There are instances in the LXX. Version of the Old Testament of the use of lutron in man's relation to man (Lev. 19:20; 25:51; Ex. 21:30; Num. 35:31, 32; Isa. 45:13; Prov. 6:35), and in the same sense of man's relation to God (Num. 3:49; 18:15). There are many passages in the New Testament which represent Christ's sufferings under the idea of a ransom or price, and the result thereby secured is a purchase or redemption (comp. Acts 20:28; 1 Cor. 6:19, 20; Gal. 3:13; 4:4, 5; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14; 1 Tim. 2:5, 6; Titus 2:14; Heb. 9:12; 1 Pet. 1:18, 19; Rev. 5:9). The idea running through all these texts, however various their reference, is that of payment made for our redemption. The debt against us is not viewed as simply cancelled, but is fully paid. Christ's blood or life, which he surrendered for them, is the "ransom" by which the deliverance of his people from the servitude of sin and from its penal consequences is secured. It is the plain doctrine of Scripture that "Christ saves us neither by the mere exercise of power, nor by his doctrine, nor by his example, nor by the moral influence which he exerted, nor by any subjective influence on his people, whether natural or mystical, but as a satisfaction to divine justice, as an expiation for sin, and as a ransom from the curse and authority of the law, thus reconciling us to God by making it consistent with his perfection to exercise mercy toward sinners" (Hodge's Systematic Theology).

Hodge couldn't be more emphatic — our debt has been fully paid.  It is not being paid little by little, bit by bit.  Christ died to pay the penalty against us once for all.

Hebrews 9:11-15 speaks of this — "he entered once for all into the holy places ... thus securing an eternal redemption."  If believers are all in the process of being redeemed, as being claimed, wouldn't Christ have to be dying again and again (Heb 9:6-10)?  (See also Once for all.)

Hebrews 9:11-15 — But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.

Titus 2:14 tells us that the Lord Jesus Christ gave Himself for us, "that He might redeem us from all lawlessness, and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works." Our Lord died to redeem us from all iniquity, and He redeemed us unto Himself to be his people. He desires that we should be zealous of good works, but as believers we belong to Him now — bought outright, paid in full.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works (Titus 2:11-14).

No, we aren't being bought on the installment plan.  We are fully redeemed now. We were "bought with a price" and "redeemed to God” (1 Cor 6:20; Titus 2:14). We were "redeemed from the curse of the law" (Gal 3:13). And some day our mortal bodies will be made incorruptible and perfect (Rom 8:22-24). What a glorious day that will be!

May I suggest that instead of saying, "We are all in the process of being redeemed," a more appropriate statement might be, "We are all in the process of being sanctified"?  But even then we must be careful, for the Bible speaks of sanctification as being both already completed (positional) and in the process of being completed (practical).  We should be clear about which one we are speaking.  (See also Who we are - part 3.)

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.

Redeemed, redeemed,
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed, redeemed,
His child, and forever, I am.

Redeemed and so happy in Jesus,
No language my rapture can tell;
I know that the light of His presence
With me doth continually dwell.

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.
by Fanny J. Crosby