Copyright Rev. Stanley L. Derickson Ph.D. 1992



As in previous studies we want to define the term. Redemption according to Shedd is as follows: "God's mercy ransoms man from God's justice." (Shedd Vol. II, p 398) I think that I like this definition, but I would add just a little more to it. I like it because it centers itself around God rather than man. Man had the need, yet all of redemption is actually of God.

God planned the program, God provided the program, God will consummate the program, and God will apply the program.

Might we amend Shedd's definition slightly by mentioning the provider of the ransom? God's mercy, through Jesus Christ, ransoms man from God's justice.

Chafer's definition is good, but contains a need for logic, rather than literary licence. "The death of Christ is said to be a redemption or ransom paid to the holy demands of God for the sinner and to free the sinner from just condemnation." (Reprinted by permission: Chafer, Lewis Sperry/Revised by Walvoord, John F.; "MAJOR BIBLE THEMES"; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1974, p 61)

This definition seems to be true, except that ransom cannot be paid to demands. A demand cannot receive payment. Only a being with intelligence accepts things. The thought that Christ paid a ransom to satisfy God is correct.

It is of interest that both these men use the term ransom. I am not sure that the English word ransom, is the real meaning of the term in the Bible, nor is it the real meaning of the doctrine of redemption. The term purchase is more to the point of redemption. It is the payment of a price for something. Ransom has the idea that someone has been kidnaped. We have not been kidnaped, we are in sin, and sin always carries a price. Christ paid that price for all who will receive His payment.

So, to put it simply, redemption is the purchase of a soul by the blood of Jesus Christ on the cross of calvary.

Let us look at the terms used in Scripture.


The first word we want to look at is the Hebrew word "g'l," which means according to Ryrie, a "family obligation related to payment of a price." (Reprinted by permission: Ryrie, Charles C.; "BASIC THEOLOGY"; Wheaton: Victor Books, 1986,)

Ryrie says of the term "pdh" a ". . .payment of a price as in a commercial transaction without any obligation arising from kinship. . . ." (Reprinted by permission: Ryrie, Charles C.; "BASIC THEOLOGY"; Wheaton: Victor Books, 1986)

A third Hebrew word is used which is "kopher," which means a "sum paid to redeem a forfeited life..." (Reprinted by permission: Ryrie, Charles C.; "BASIC THEOLOGY"; Wheaton: Victor Books, 1986)

"All these words consistently signify deliverance by payment of a price. The circumstances may vary from redeeming a prisoner of war, or a slave, or a pawned article, or the nation Israel, but always because of the payment of a price." (Reprinted by permission: Ryrie, Charles C.; "BASIC THEOLOGY"; Wheaton: Victor Books, 1986, p 290)


"agorazo" is a term that originally related to going to the forum, but later, became a word that indicated buying or purchasing in the forum. The same term is used by the Septuagint translators of commercial purchases. Some references that might be good sermon material for the topic are: II Pet. 2:1; Rev. 5:9-10; I Cor. 6:19-20; I Cor. 7:22-23. These verses should give a definite definition to the term slave in relation to the believer.

There are other terms used that are related to "agorazo." I will just list these with comments from other authors. ("exagorazo"/"compound simply adds the idea of purchasing out of the forum." (Reprinted by permission: Ryrie, Charles C.; "BASIC THEOLOGY"; Wheaton: Victor Books, 1986); "a strengthened form of "agorazo", to buy... denotes to buy our...especially of purchasing a slave with a view to his freedom." Vine, W. E.; "AN EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY OF NEW TESTAMENT WORDS"; Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Co.)

We see in Acts 20:28 the purchase of believers via the blood of Christ. It also pictures the importance of caring for those believers. Christ paid a terrible price to purchase them, and now He has placed them in the hands of His shepherds. Any pastor reading this passage ought to gain just a hint of his responsibility before God. "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood."

There is another aspect to this passage. The indications are that the purchase of Christ was not only for the buying of souls, but it is also related to the church, or His Body.

Ryrie correctly and concisely, summarizes the doctrine around three points. "(1) People are redeemed FROM something; namely, from the marketplace or slavery of sin. (2) People are redeemed BY something; namely by the payment of a price, the blood of Christ. (3) People are redeemed TO something; namely, to a state of freedom; and then they are called to renounce that freedom for slavery to the Lord who redeemed them." (Reprinted by permission: Ryrie, Charles C.; "BASIC THEOLOGY"; Wheaton: Victor Books, 1986, p 292)

Unger in his Bible Dictionary mentions that the freedom of redemption implies a former bondage. He goes on to relate this bondage to our position in sin, our servitude to Satan, and our bondage to spiritual death. It seems that we were not in too good a position until Christ came along!

Indeed, Unger's observations should bring us to a real sense of what Christ did when He died on the cross. He didn't just save us, He saved us from sins dominion, from Satan's dominion, and death's dominion. In response to this we live our lives as if we were still under sin's dominion, Satan's dominion, and death's dominion. We ought to live our lives as if we knew from which we came!

Some indicate that the ransom or payment was to free us from Satan's ownership. This is not true. We were under his control and bondage, yet he did not have ownership. The sinner ends up in the same place as Satan in the end, but not because Satan has any claims on the lost. Both are committed to the Lake of Fire by the justice of God for their disobedience.

Redemption is both universal and limited. It was provided for all of mankind, yet man must accept the work of Christ for it to be of value, or benefit to the individual.

Redemption involves the soul and spirit. Ps. 49:15 "But God will redeem my soul from the power of sheol; for he shall receive me." (note the soul only is mentioned however the soul and spirit always go together.) All of spiritual man is provided for, both soul and spirit.

Redemption also involves the body. Rom. 8:23 "...waiting for the adoption, that is, the redemption of our body." The body will see its final redemption when it is glorified and united with our soul and spirit (unless we are fortunate enough to be taken in the rapture, in which case body, soul, and spirit will be finally and completely redeemed at one moment).

REDEMPTION IS DELIVERANCE FROM THE CURSE OF THE LAW: Gal. 3:13 "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law" We are freed by the work of the cross, yet the proper response to that freedom is not to live in sin.

REDEMPTION IS DELIVERANCE FROM THE BONDAGE OF THE LAW: Gal 4:5, "To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." We not required to keep the law for salvation, but we are expected to keep the principles of the law as rule and practice for our lives.

REDEMPTION IS DELIVERANCE FROM INIQUITY: Tit. 2:14 "Who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity" Now, notice that verse. It relates to what we have said about our nature and our sin life. He redeemed "us from ALL iniquity" which, if we hold to plain literal interpretation says we do not have to sin, we do not struggle to keep from sin, we only need to submit to the Spirit rather than self.

REDEMPTION IS DELIVERANCE FROM ENEMIES: Ps. 136:24 "hath redeemed us from our enemies." We may have enemies, we may struggle with enemies, but we will not fall to enemies. God will care for all our enemies, big and small.

REDEMPTION IS DELIVERANCE FROM DESTRUCTION: Ps. 103:4 "whom redeemeth thy life from destruction" Isn't that what salvation is all about? We were on our way to physical destruction as well as spiritual destruction. Christ intervened and corrected all that.

REDEMPTION IS DELIVERANCE FROM DEATH: Hos. 13:14, "I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes." It is not that we will not go through the death process, but we will not suffer from the effects of the grave, or of death. This is also seen in the following point.

REDEMPTION IS DELIVERANCE FROM THE POWER OF THE GRAVE: Ps :49:15, "But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah." The promise of bypassing the power of the grave is linked to another promise, "he shall receive me." The account of the beggar in Luke 16:22 comes to mind, where it mentions that the angels came to carry him away. The thought of going through death will be relieved if we realize the truth presented in these two texts.

REDEMPTION IS DELIVERANCE FROM VAIN LIVING: I Pet 1:18, "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;"

REDEMPTION IS DELIVERANCE FROM THIS PRESENT WORLD: Gal. 1:4 "who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil age" Another glorious promise. We will not have to continue in this life and in this world forever; there is a life and world yet future that is far better.

REDEMPTION IS DELIVERANCE FROM THE POWER OF SIN: Rom. 6:18-22, "Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things [is] death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life."

Again, I would draw your attention to the thought of why we sin. Is it because we loose the struggle with the old nature, or is it because we mentally take control of our lives to serve self? This passage seems to indicate the later. Notice the terminology, free from sin, servants of righteousness, yield to righteousness, servants to God.

REDEMPTION IS ACCOMPLISHED BY: God's power: Deut. 7:8; Isa. 44:21; Isa. 43:1; Lu. 1:68. Christ's blood: Acts 20:28; Eph. 1:7; Heb. 9:12. God's grace: Rom. 3:24,25. Do you get the feeling that redemption is centered in God. I think that this is truly a valid observation.

There are many benefits that come with redemption. We will mention a few of these benefits. Since these verses are so self explanatory, I will just list the benefit and the verse.


We gain forgiveness: Col 1:14, "In whom we have redemption through his blood, [even] the forgiveness of sins:"

We gain justification: Rom. 3:24, "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:"

We gain adoption: Gal. 4:4,5, "But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." (Note the fulness of time. The time was set before the foundation of the world.)

We become God's possession: I Cor. 6:20, "For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." (Our body and spirit are His - ours for the using only.)

We become God's people: Tit. 2:14, "Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."

We gain purification: (Above)

We gain sealing: Eph. 4:30, "And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption."

We gain an inheritance: Heb. 9:15, "And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions [that were] under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance."

The book of Ruth is a very good illustration of the idea of redemption. It is quite fitting for it concerns one of the couples in the line of Messiah.

We have already seen that "salvation" isn't as simple as it seems. Salvation is simple in its reception, but very complicated in its application. Many things are involved in God saving an individual.

Each of these items are very precious to study in and of themselves. Don't allow yourself to stop with this surface study. Take time to do further study and give much thought to these things. God can use it in your spiritual life.