What is Redemption? How is Salvation Different?
Redemption refers to the price that you have to pay to get back what is yours, but has been lost.
Years ago you could take soda bottles back to the grocery store and they’d give you the “redemption value” right on the spot.
If your car ever got impounded for being left in the wrong place at the wrong time, you may have had to pay a significant price to get it back.
These are just a couple of examples of redemption that immediately come to mind.
But what is the redemption spoken of in the Bible? And how does it differ or compare with the salvation spoken of there?
In this post we’ll consider redemption and then go on to see how it relates to God’s salvation.
What is the Redemption spoken of in the Bible?
Romans 3:24 says,
“Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.”
“To redeem is to purchase back at a cost. We originally belonged to God but became lost through sin. The requirements of God’s holiness, righteousness, and glory were so great upon us that it was impossible for us to fulfill them. However, God paid the price for us through Christ, repossessing us at a tremendous cost. Christ died on the cross to redeem us…His blood obtained an eternal redemption for us.”
So redemption is simply the price God paid to get us back for His purpose. God’s righteous requirement for sin is death. But if we all died because of our sins, God would have no one through whom to fulfill His divine plan.
Since we could never pay this price, God offered up His own Son unto death for us all. The precious blood of Jesus, shed for us, satisfies all the righteous claims of God.
First Peter 1:18-19 says,
“Knowing that it was not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, that you were redeemed from your vain manner of life handed down from your fathers, but with precious blood, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot, the blood of Christ.”
This reminds me of a hymn by James Gray (1851-1935) on the price for our redemption. The chorus reads,
I am redeemed, but not with silver;
I am bought, but not with gold;
Bought with a price—the blood of Jesus,
Precious price of love untold.
What does this mean to you?
It’s simple. Because God already paid the price, by offering up His Son, you and I don’t have to die for our own sins. When we receive what God’s Son Jesus has done for us, we’re forgiven by God and God has no righteous ground to condemn us. We can only thank and praise Him by saying,
“Dear heavenly Father, thank you for redeeming me with the precious blood of Jesus, Your Son. I deserved to die, but He died for me. I believe that His sinless blood has forever erased my record of sin in Your book. Lord Jesus, I love you, I thank you for willingly offering up Your body on the cross for my sins.”
But is this all? No! There is much more to God’s salvation than redemption.
Redemption is something “judicial.” It answers the legal claims of God’s righteous law, so that we who were sinners need not perish. It deals with all the negative problems that separated us from God—like our sins, and our sinful nature that caused us to do many wrong things.
But then, what is “salvation?” How is it different from “redemption”?
Actually, “redemption” is just the beginning, the first part of our “salvation”. Redemption is what God accomplished for our offenses on the cross. When this accomplishment is applied to our offenses it becomes the forgiveness of our sins (Eph. 1:7, note 2). But salvation implies much more.
“Salvation refers to a person’s being saved before God, which includes being forgiven of his sins, being spared from perdition, being regenerated, having the eternal life of God, and becoming a child of God.”
This significance of salvation is from the view of our beginning the Christian life. But it does point out that God’s salvation not only solves our problems with God on the negative life, but also imparts to us the life of God that we may become children of God on the positive side.
Romans 5:10 points to the “life-side” of salvation by saying,
“For if we, being enemies, were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more we will be saved in His life, having been reconciled.”
Here’s my point. Even if we have been redeemed judicially to be delivered from all the problems between us and God (including being reconciled to Him), there is still much more!
As redemption is through Christ’s blood (Eph. 1:7), this “much-more salvation” is in Christ’s life (Rom. 5:10). So it is something “organic”—a life process that spans our entire Christian life. Such an “organic salvation” includes:
- Regeneration—our being reborn of God’s Spirit with His divine life (John 3:6, 16).
- Renewing—our being daily nourished with the fresh supplies of His resurrection life (2 Cor. 4:16).
- Sanctification—our having Christ as the life element saturate all our inward parts with His nature of holiness (Rom. 6:19, 22).
- Transformation—our being changed to Christ’s image by the riches of Christ’s life coming into us as our new element and discharging our old natural element ( Rom 12:2; 2 Cor. 3:18).
- Glorification—our entire spirit, soul and body being saturated with the glory of God’s life, so that our body might be transfigured and conformed to the body of Christ’s glory (Rom. 8:30; Phil 3:21).
- And much more!
May we forever thank God for the judicial redemption that is the wonderful beginning of His complete salvation. Then, may we go on to pursue, experience and enjoy every aspect of His organic salvation until we meet the Lord in His soon return.
“Lord Jesus, thank you for Your redeeming death that has delivered me from God’s eternal judgment. Thank you that by Your judicial redemption I’ve been restored to Your original intention and can now experience and enjoy every aspect of Your organic salvation. Lord, daily save me in Your life. I love You.”
References and Further Reading:
- You may also enjoy reading my previous post on a similar topic, “Have You Applied the Blood of the Lamb? Are You Drinking the Water of Life?“
- This post by a fellow blogger also points to the goal of God’s redemption being our salvation in His life.
- For further enrichment you may also enjoy reading a message on this topic in Chapter 24 of the Central Line of the Divine Revelation, by Witness Lee. You can also read it online at ministrybooks.org.
- This Hymn also strengthens the point of this post:
- Propitiation made by the blood, / Jesus’ redemption bought us for God!
- Photo Credit: Texasrobo
About Tom Smith
Hi. My name is Tom Smith. I'm the writer behind Holding to Truth in Love, and I love the Lord Jesus and His life-giving Word. Please feel free to send me an e-mail through the contact page if you have any questions. I hope you'd take a moment to subscribe to the Holding to Truth blog. Then you'll be sure not to miss a post. Thanks!