Holding to Truth

holding to truth in love for the building up of the Body of Christ

What is Redemption? How is Salvation Different?

What is redemption and 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?

Let’s 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.”

Footnote 3 on this verse in the New Testament Recovery Version points out that,

“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 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).

Redemption solves all the negative problems between us and God.  Salvation goes the rest of the way to fulfill God’s positive purpose toward us.

In the first chapter of Life Lessons, Witness Lee presents the following significance of our initial salvation,

 “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, 15).
  • 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).
  • Conformation—the changing of our outward form that we may match the glorified image of Christ (Rom. 8:29).
  • 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).

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.”

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References and Further Reading:

  • For a deeper apprehension of the truth in this post I’d highly recommend following the links to Bible references with the related footnotes on each aspect of God’s full salvation.
  • 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 read it online at ministrybooks.org.
  • This Hymn also strengthens the point of this post:
  • 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!

16 Replies

  1. J. Cagle

    I am so thankful for my redemption through the precious blood of Jesus, but even more so for the “much more” salvation in His life day by day.

  2. Thanks to our Lord for His solution to all the negative.
    Thank Him also for the “much more” on the positive side.

  3. Elizabeth Ncube

    Thank Lord Jesus Christ for Your precious, prevailing, efficacious and judicially redeeming blood by which You accomplished an eternal, unlimited redemption for us. Lord, we thank You even more for the “much more” ongoing organic salvation in Your life. Lord Jesus save us day by day, moment by moment by Your divine, incorruptible, all-powerful resurrection life in us as we turn to our mingled spirit! We love You Lord Jesus!

    1. Tom Smith

      Amen! May we increasingly appreciate and apply the effectiveness of Christ’s judicial redemption as the God-given procedure to usher us into God’s positive purpose by life. May we go on to receive spiritual revelation so that we will treasure all the steps in His organic salvation to be daily renewed, sanctified, transformed and conformed to Christ’s image so that God may gain His corporate expression for His glory (Eph. 3:19-21) Thank you for your confirming comment.

  4. Amen! Thank You Lord Jesus, for Your precious blood, shed upon the cross for our judicial redemption, and thank You Lord, for the “much more” salvation that we have through enjoying You as our life and life supply. Praise the Lord! Amen.

  5. raphAel

    thanks smith.how cAn i grow now spirituality


    1. Tom Smith

      Raphael, growing spiritually is related to our contact with God. It is God who causes the growth (1 Cor. 3:6). The only way to grow is to cultivate a personal, intimate, affectionate relationship with Him. The following are a few posts that can help you to develop such relationship with the Lord:

      4 Simple Ways to Grow in Christ
      10 Short Morning Prayers We Can Pray to the Lord
      12 Tips on How to Pray-read the Word of God to be Spiritually Nourished

      Please let me know if you find any of these posts helpful to your spiritual growth.

      Thank you for your comment.

  6. Adusei Richard

    please ,l’m from Ghana .i need your help so that i can win more souls for our father and his son jesus christ.What i need from you was to send me some materials like books,pen,and bibles for me to share it,so that more sinners will be save at this end time.sir i wont do this just like that i will try my best to organize a group so we can continiour do this till time God will send down to take his sons.thank you i promise that you will help me .

    1. Tom Smith

      Please check out the free digital downloads available through BiblesforAmerica.org and RhemaBooks.org.
      Rhema Books may also be able to provide some printed literature and point you to some sources in Ghana.

  7. Neal

    Thank you so very much for your life-giving explanation of redemption and salvation. I truly feel that I have gained, from reading your article, a whole new perspective of this “much-more salvation” and of the amazing ongoing gifts that are ours as we grow in our understanding of the work of God’s matchless grace in our lives. Praise God for that abundance of gifts that he offers us. And thank you again, Tom, for being God’s messenger of this life-giving realization!!!

    1. Tom Smith

      Today, I came across an excerpt that makes the relationship between redemption and salvation even more clear:

      We have to thoroughly and comprehensibly explain to people the truths concerning redemption and salvation. Redemption and salvation are two aspects. Redemption resolves the problem of our sins, redeems us back to God, and deals with the problem of our position. It includes forgiveness, cleansing, justification, reconciliation, and acceptance by God. Salvation is related to God’s purpose and includes God’s regenerating, sanctifying, renewing, transforming, and conforming us into His image. In addition, it also includes His glory eventually being manifested from within us for our full glorification. (Witness Lee, Truth, Life, the Church, and the Gospel…, Chapter 5, p. 63)

      We often speak of God’s salvation in a general way without making the distinction that there a two aspects: the first redemption, that deals with our problem toward God and the second salvation, that fulfills God’s purpose within us.

  8. mthobisi


    1. Tom Smith

      Glad you enjoyed the post. For a fuller appreciation of God’s redemption and salvation in the Old and New Testaments, I would recommend reading or listening to the Life-study of Bible by Witness Lee. For the Old Testament I would recommend starting with the Life-study of Genesis and Exodus. For the New Testament, I would recommend the Life-study of Romans. These messages can be read in their full text for free. The message podcasts are excellent and are less than 30 minutes each. So I often listen to one in the morning over breakfast. They are very enlightening and supplying and will help you to know God’s redemption and salvation in a much deeper way. Thanks for your comment.

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