1 Peter 1:13-20
Dr. S. Lewis Johnson goes into detail about the meaning of redemption.
[Message] Now the subject for tonight is the subject of “Redemption.” And remember last Monday night we were discussing propitiation, which is one third of our three doctrines which make up a useful summary of the finished work of Christ. Now these three doctrines, propitiation, redemption and reconciliation are not all of the works that our Lord accomplished when he died upon the cross but they do form a very apt summary of the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now last time I drew this outline on the board for you, propitiation, redemption and reconciliation. But I did not put these words which are in parentheses here on the board. Propitiation is the doctrine that is directed primarily toward God. Or remember as we studied it from Romans 3 last time, it is the doctrine in which we see our Lord Jesus offering himself as a sacrifice to God and satisfying his holy requirements and claims that he had against man. So it is a doctrine that is directed towards God. And remember our word that we use to try to explain this theological word was the simple word satisfaction. Jesus Christ accomplished a satisfaction in that he satisfied God’s claims against us when he died for us upon the cross at Calvary. So that is a doctrine that is directed toward God; it is Godward.
Reconciliation, we shall see next Monday night the Lord willing, is a doctrine that is directed primarily toward man, for it is man who needs reconciliation and not God. Redemption is something of a compromise in that it is a doctrine that is directed toward man but also directed toward sin as we shall see.
Now these are large words, I mentioned this fact last time: propitiation redemption and reconciliation. But after all, our salvation is a very complicated thing too. Did you know that in order for a man to be saved, it is necessary for him to have predestination, election, for ordination, regeneration, justification, sanctification, imputation, reconciliation, glorification, adoption, intercession and many other things? Did you know that? It’s necessary to have all of these things before you get to heaven.
But this does not necessarily mean that we must understand all of these things. After all, most of us drive an automobile. And you know, it takes a lot of very complicated things for an automobile to run. If someone were to come out to your house and just pile up on your front lawn all of the parts to your automobile, I’m quite sure that most of you in this room would not be able to ride for a long, long time if ever. And I’m quite sure I would never be able to ride, for I could never put a car together. But fortunately there are some men who are mechanics, and they know a lot about automobiles, and so they put the car together for us. And all we have to do is just to get in, turn the ignition switch, get the motor going and then just hang on, because we are able to move. Now I say this is a very complicated thing, but it’s very simple.
Now all of these things which are necessary to get us to heaven are things which Jesus Christ has accomplished for us. And all that is necessary for us to do is to believe in him and all of these benefits become ours. So don’t be scared by the big words propitiation, redemption and reconciliation.
Now tonight we want to very quickly go through that which the New Testament has to say about redemption. And so I’m going to do it in this way. First, I want to say something about the New Testament exposition of the doctrine of redemption. Then, I’m going to turn to the Old Testament and I think we will have time for two simple illustrations which are found in the Old Testament of the doctrine of redemption, so we will look at some Old Testament illustrations. And finally, we will conclude with an Old Testament passage, which contains a personal application of the doctrine of redemption.
But now first the New Testament exposition, and I want to talk about three Greek words very briefly. Now if you are writing notes, and that’s not a bad habit to get into, I’m going to transliterate these words for you, lutroō, and then agorazō, and peripoieō. Now all Greek verbs in the lexicons end with an ō, a long ō, so we will put that long ō over them.
And I want to talk now about these New Testament words for just a moment. First the word lutroō, the word which is spelled L U T R O O, lutroō. Now, this is a very common word and I want you to turn with me to 1 Peter chapter 1 and let’s read these verses which are found in 1 Peter. For here we find this word translated redeemed. Now, I’ll try not to be too technical for you, for I know some of you are not in the mood for a very deep lesson in Greek verbs at this time, but it’s necessary for us to understand some of these things. So beginning now with verse 13,
“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed (Now here is our word redeemed) redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain manner of life. (Now, you’ll notice I’ve change this word because this is an old English word, which means manner of life. But in the time when the New Testament was translated by the King James’ translators, conversation meant manner of life. If I were to speak about his conversation, I at that time would mean one’s manner of life. So this word appears frequently, and it does not mean what we mean today by conversation, activity with our tongues.) your vain manner of life received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb (Now, I want you to notice that because we’re going to use the Passover as one of our illustrations and Peter refers to it here as the type or illustration of our redemption through Christ.) But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.”
Now here we have the word lutroō in 1 Peter chapter 1 verse 18, and it is translated redeemed. Lutroō is a very interesting word. It means to set free by the payment of a ransom price. It is a word that was used frequently of slaves who were in the slave market of sin. And if for example you needed a new slave and you wanted to go down to the market and buy one you would go there and when the auction of the slaves took place and you saw a slave that you thought would do the duty that you wanted the slave for then you would pay the price for this slave. You would buy that slave and the word used to buy a slave in the market was, we’re going to talk about that word in just a moment. But then if you wanted to take a slave and set that slave free, then you would pay a certain, well that slave would pay a certain ransom price in order to be set free. So this word lutroō was used of the payment of a price in order that a slave might go free.
Now the second word is the word agorazō and that is the word that means to pay. It means specifically to buy in the forum. Now the forum was the marketplace among the Romans. And so it signified the payment which a man made in order to buy a slave. So a slave might be bought and the word would be agorazō. Or the slave might be set free or set himself free if he could obtain the necessary money to buy his freedom, that would be lutroō.
So here is verse 18 when Peter says, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things,” he means that we were set free, not with money as slaves might be set free, but rather we were set free with the precious blood of Christ, which was the ransom price.
The second word agorazō means to pay the price, and it is found in one or two places in the New Testament, which are interesting and so I want you to turn to one of them. 1 Corinthians chapter 6 and verse 20. 1 Corinthians chapter 6 and verse 20. Now Paul is writing here about Christians, and he speaks of the fact that we belong to the Lord and in the 20th verse he says. First Corinthians chapter 6, verse 20, this is page twelve-seventeen. If this air is too much for you, would you speak up? Just go ahead and speak up.
Now notice the 20th verse, “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” So Paul says here that we had been bought with a price and he uses the word agorazō, which means to buy, to pay a price. Now Paul does not say in this passage of what the price is. But the price is the price that Peter has mentioned; it is the precious blood of Christ.
Sometimes in the New Testament this word to buy is used of all men. In 2 Peter chapter 2 and verse 1 it is used of false teachers who are bought. For you see the blood of Christ on the cross was sufficient to pay for the salvation of all men. So we can say that all men have been bought but not all men have been redeemed in the sense that they belong to the Lord Jesus.
In the New Testament there is an intensive preposition, which is attached to this agorazō. It is the preposition ex, which means really “out from.” So to buy out from is a word that is used always of Christian, who are actually redeemed. And I’m going to ask you to turn with me to one passage where it is found. Galatians chapter 3 and verse 13. Galatians 3, verse 13.
Now in verse 13 of Galatians 3, Paul says, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” And here Paul uses exagorazō, which means to buy out from. So he looks at us as if we were in the marketplace and the Lord Jesus came. We were in bondage to sin. He paid the purchase price of his precious blood, and then as a result of that we were bought out of the marketplace, exagorazō, redeemed. So redeemed then comes to means to set free by the payment of ransom price. It comes to refer to the actual purchase that was made so that we come out of the marketplace.
And thirdly, it also comes to mean, as peripoieō our third word shows, it comes to mean that an acquisition. And I want you to turn to Acts chapter 20 and verse 28 for our last passage. Acts chapter 20 and verse 28. Now Paul is speaking to the Ephesian elders in this passage, and he says, “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.” Purchased with his own blood.
Now, this is the word that means to acquire for one’s own possession. These three words peripoieō: to acquire as a possession, agorazō: to buy in the forum, lutroō: to set free by the payment of a ransom price are the three verbs that are used in the New Testament in connection with this doctrine of redemption.
What then can we say that redemption means? Well, redemption means, if we study these words, it is the work of God whereby he purchases us or sets us free by the payment of a ransom price from the bondage of sin.
Now also in the New Testament in these passages that we have been looking at, you’ve noticed that the text says “we have been redeemed.” He has purchased us so that we are the objects of this redemption. It is a doctrine that pertains to us.
Also, the New Testament uses this term redemption in connection with our bodies. Turn with me to Romans chapter 8. This is page twelve hundred and one. Romans chapter 8, page twelve hundred and one.
Now Paul says here in the 23rd verse of Romans chapter 8, “And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”
Now in the New Testament we not only have through the work of Jesus Christ the redemption of our spirits when we believe in him, but we also have the redemption of our bodies. But this is a future thing and will take place at the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
So let me sum it up then. Redemption is that doctrine which has to do with the work of God whereby he sets us free from the bondage to sin by the payment of a ransom price, which in the New Testament is the blood of Christ. He sets free our spirits the moment that we believe in the Lord Jesus so that we can say, “We have been redeemed” if we have believed in the Lord Jesus. But we, our bodies, do not receive the benefits of this redemption until the Lord Jesus Christ comes, and the bodily resurrection takes place.
Now, I’m going to use an illustration that I used yesterday in church. So those of you who were in Believers Chapel Sunday morning at 11 o’clock, you will have to forgive me. You are going to have this illustration again. You see I have a little book here, which is called St. Paul. Now this is not significant in itself actually; it is the poem, a famous poem of F. W. H. Myers on St. Paul. And it’s a very valuable book. I paid five cents for it. I got it at a bargain. But it’s a very good poem, one of the best poems ever written on St. Paul. But you can see it’s just a little book.
Now I want you to think as this book is before you of my body, for this book in my illustration is going to represent my body. Now my body, that you see before you is a body that is really dominated by the immaterial heart, my soul or spirit. I’m not going to talk about the distinction between these two because it’s not necessary for this illustration. You see the outward; you do not see the inward.
Actually there is something in this book. There is a white piece of paper. Now that represents my spirit. When I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, my body is still the same body. There should be a different look. I should not be so sour and glum and solemn as I was before I receive the Lord Jesus as Savior. But nevertheless, while my outward man is the same my inward man has been made clean by the blood of Christ so that I am redeemed in my spirit.
Now let’s suppose that the normal course of events take place, and I do not live to see the coming of the Lord. I’m not here when he comes. Let’s say that I die, and so I’m going to take the book and hide it from you for this is to signify my burial. But this which represents my spirit, you see, is now with the Lord, for when I die I go to be with the Lord. To be absent from the body spiritually in my spirit and soul is to be present with the Lord. So when I die, my spirit leaves my body, goes to be with the Lord.
Now my spirit has been redeemed. And of course this, this going to be with the Lord is because Jesus Christ paid the ransom price. He redeemed me. And so now my spirit is with the Lord.
Well now, when the Lord Jesus Christ comes again, he will come in the air and 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 says, verses 13 through 18, that when he comes he will bring those who have died in Christ with him, not their bodies, for their bodies are in the grave. They have decayed and corrupted. But their spirits shall come with him, so my spirit shall come with the Lord Jesus when he comes in the air according to 1 Thessalonians chapter 4. And at that time Paul says, “The dead in Christ shall rise first.” So my body shall rise from the dead, being made like unto his own glorious body. It shall rejoin my spirit.
And now instead of being a body that is dominated by the appearances of the old man as it was before. Now, you see, not only is my spirit redeemed, but my body is redeemed as well. And I am given a body like the Lord Jesus Christ’s own glorious body.
Now I’m trying to represent that by this white piece of paper around this little book. So that now what you see is the old body, you can see its form. But instead of being the body characterized by the old nature, even though its spirit was redeemed, now it is a body in which there is no sin nature, for Jesus Christ has eradicated that. When I died there was no more old nature; that was done away with. Now it is a spiritual body dominated by a spirit which has been redeemed by the Lord Jesus. So that I now have redeemed body and redeemed soul and spirit. I am completely redeemed at the rapture of the Church or the coming of the Lord Jesus in the air when I go to be with him in my resurrection bodily form.
Now as I said yesterday morning. Do you mind if I put my body and soul in my pocket now for I’m through with the illustration. But the point, you see, that I’m trying to make here is that when Paul says in Romans chapter 8 in verse 23 that we who have the spirit wait for the adoption, that is, the redemption of our body. He is talking about the completion of the redemption that we have in Jesus Christ.
So, the doctrine of redemption then is this: that God through Jesus Christ’s finished work, the payment of the ransom price of the shedding of the precious blood, has redeemed our spirits already, has set us free, and at the second coming of Jesus Christ our bodies too shall be redeemed so that we will have a body which will be a body that is able to fully manifest the new life that we have now through Jesus Christ, and we will no longer be longing for release from the body for we shall have a body, a resurrection body in which the life of the Spirit may be fully manifested.
Well now, this is a New Testament doctrine of redemption, but let’s turn to the Old Testament now for a couple of illustrations, which I think will add to our understanding of redemption. And the first is found in Exodus chapter 12. And since we have referred to this once before, I won’t spend a whole lot of time on it. Exodus chapter 12. This is the famous passage of the Passover. You remember the historical situation. Israel had been in bondage in Egypt. Now mind you, the whole of the Old Testament is one great pageant, which is designed to illustrate the work of Christ. So Israel was in bondage to the Egyptians. That was designed by God in the history of salvation to illustrate our bondage to sin. And just as Israel was in Egypt in bondage to Pharaoh, so we before we believe in Jesus Christ are in bondage to sin, and in bondage to our pharaoh, Satan.
Now the work that whereby God brought Israel out of Egypt into the wilderness, delivering of them from Pharaoh and the Egyptians, was a work that illustrates that which Jesus Christ does when he brings us from the bondage of sin and the bondage of Satan under our new leader, the Holy Spirit, into redemption.
Well this, you remember when Israel was in Egypt, God contended with Pharaoh through his servant Moses. And they had quite a contest, and Moses won the contest. And finally as Israel was just about to leave, Pharaoh had so provoked the Lord that finally the ordinance of the Passover was instituted when Moses was to perform his, or when God was to perform his last judgment upon Israel. He told Pharaoh that he was going to slay the firstborn in every home in Egypt if he would not let God’s people Israel go.
So these are the instructions that are given to Moses to give to Israel so that when this great judgment came in the land their firstborn would not be destroyed with the firstborn in the homes of the Egyptians. They were told that they were to put blood in certain places and if they did, then they would be delivered. But let’s read the account.
“And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt saying, This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats.”
Now notice this, this lamb was to be without blemish, for you see, this lamb represents the Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus. And since he is sinless, we must have a lamb that is without blemish.
Furthermore he says in the 6th verse, “And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month.” In other words, they were to observe the lamb to be sure that this was a perfect lamb, just as our Lord was upon the earth and for three years ministered so as to demonstrate beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was qualified to be our redeemer. Men said, you know, This man hath done nothing amiss. Others said, I find no fault in him. The apostles as they looked back said, In him there was no sin. He did no sin. He knew no sin. So our Lord’s ministry confirmed, you see, the fact that he was the sinless Son of God. So they were to keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month.
“And the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. (Now this of course is the fulfillment of Calvary, for our Lord Jesus was crucified on Friday evening just before the Saturday which was the Sabbath day.) And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.”
Now I must not pass over this striking of the blood on the door posts and on the upper, the upper doorpost. Notice verse 7, “they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses.” So you see, when the lamb was slain, the blood was taken and it was applied to the houses of the Egyptians on the two side posts and then on the upper door post. Now, that was extremely important. Let’s just skip to verse 12 to save a little time,
“For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. (Now notice I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and smite all the firstborn. Now in the 13th verse he says) And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: (Now these are the most important words in the section that follow.) and when I see the blood, (when I see the blood) I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.”
Now let me say just a word about pass over before I talk for a moment about the blood. He says, “And when I see the blood, I will pass over you.” I wish we could take time out for a lesson in Hebrew, but we cannot, you’re just going to have to take my word for it. I am going to ask you to turn to one passage to confirm what I want to say.
This word pass over has often been misunderstood. It is often thought and particularly by Bible teachers that what this means is that when the Lord comes down into Israel on the night of the Passover and sees a home in which the blood is on the two side posts and on the upper door posts, that he would skip that house, hop from the house before it to the next house, that is he would pass over it. He would not execute judgment upon that house for that I think is probably the natural meaning of pass over, that is, to go to the next house.
But the Hebrew word does not mean that at all. I want you to turn with me to Isaiah chapter 31 and verse 5. Isaiah 31 and verse 5. Here we have this same word again. “As birds,” this is page seven hundred and forty. Now Isaiah speaks, “As birds flying, so will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it.”
Now notice, he’s talking about birds flying and so, the meaning of the word pass over means to hover over, flutter over in the sense of protecting, so that the text in Exodus Chapter 12, when we read, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you,” does not mean that when he saw the blood on the door posts he would pass over to the next house, but rather when he saw the blood then he would hover over that house so that when the destroying angel came and attempted to slay the firstborn in the house, you see, our Lord would be protecting it. So it would be impossible for the destroying angel to destroy the firstborn, because he would have to contend with God himself. And his power is insufficient, for we are kept. And this is what Peter means when he says that we are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed at the last time.
So this is a wonderful promise, that if they put the blood on the two side posts and on the upper door post, then God would undertake to protect them from the destroying angel. And to show you that that is what Moses had in mind, will you read the 23rd verse here in Exodus chapters 12? “For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.”
So you see, what he is saying is that I will protect and defend you. So that’s the meaning of the word pass over. But notice now; let’s look at the middle of this verse again. What is the condition for God’s power to protect us from the destroying angel? We’re thinking now of Moses and the Israelites. Why the condition is “when I see the blood.”
Now he did not say when I see your good resolutions. He did not say when I see that the lamb has been slain, for you see it wasn’t enough to slay the lamb. It isn’t enough to know that Jesus Christ has died. You see there must be personal application. There must be the personal risk of personal acceptance of that which Jesus Christ has done. There must be that “I thank you Lord” for that which Christ has done. I do apply the blood to the door posts of my heart. So the Lord said, “when I see the blood” not when I see that the lamb has been slain, not when I see your good resolutions, not when I see that you’re a member of Israel but when I see the blood. That was the condition, the blood on the door posts. Just as today the condition for salvation is the blood on the door posts of the heart applied by faith. So, “When I see the blood I will pass over you.”
You know it is very interesting, if you were to just imagine what happened in many Israelitish homes. No doubt there was a lot of terror that night, because they knew the destroying angel was coming through. No doubt many of the families were very much disturbed.
Let’s just for the sake of illustration, let’s just go in the home of one family and just imagine what might be there. Let’s suppose that they have several children, but the firstborn is a young boy about the age of Chip here in the front. And he’s in the room and the father and mother are in the room and mother is very much disturbed. She’s pacing up and down in the room, wringing her hands and just wondering what’s going to happen.
And father is sitting over in the corner. He has the Jerusalem Gazette opened and he’s looking at the sport page, trying to figure out what the Dan Giants did the day before in the baseball game, you see. And he’s unconcerned.
And so mother, after she is very much concerned and a little perturbed that he’s not concerned at all, says to him, I don’t understand how you can sit there so serene and calm when the destroying angel is coming through tonight. And little Chip is here. And after all, we don’t know exactly what might happen.
And father turns the paper aside and says, Is the blood on the door posts or not? And she says, Of course the blood’s on the door posts. I’ve gone out there several times just to be sure it’s there, but nevertheless I cannot help but worrying. It seems to me that you don’t really love our son at all. You’re sitting there looking at the newspaper when you ought to be worrying like I have am about what’s going to happen. He says, Did not Moses say that God said when I see the blood I will pass over you?
Yes, I know Moses said that, but I’m not so sure about that, and so I’m going, I’m going out and look again to be sure that it is there. So she goes out again and she looks again.
Now mind you, all of that is utterly useless. She was perfectly safe so far as her son was concerned. Her son was safe because, you see, the blood was on the door posts. And furthermore, her son was safe even though she had very little faith. But nevertheless she had the blood on the door post. Faith had been exercised in obedience to the word. And even though she had no assurance, nevertheless, her son was safe.
The son was safe, whether they were serene and secure and calm or whether they were disturbed and worried, for you see safety depended upon what? The blood, the blood.
But now you see, the father was not disturbed and upset because he had trusted the veracity of the word of God. He said God does not tell a lie. He said put the blood on the door post. We have put the blood on the door post. We have nothing to worry about. God’s word is at stake. And so he was happy and contented and had assurance.
You see, safety depended on the blood. Happiness and assurance depended upon faith in God’s word, God’s word. So safety depends on the blood. Happiness and assurance depend upon the veracity of God’s word.
Now this is true in the Christian life. When we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, we have everlasting life. It is ours. Now we may wonder and worry. And we may say, Yes, I have believed in the Lord Jesus, but still, I don’t know, I might lose it.
Now, you’ve got it. You may not be very happy if you’re not willing to trust the word, but if you really have believed in the Lord, you have salvation. Safety depends on the blood of Christ in the application to the heart. Assurance depends on the word of God.
And can God tell a lie? Of course he cannot tell a lie. And he says, “whosoever believeth in the Lord Jesus Christ has everlasting life.” His word can be trusted. So salvation depends upon the blood. Assurance depends on the word and God cannot lie.
Well now of course, when the destroying angel came through, Israel was a redeemed nation, for God had preserved them by means of the lamb which had been slain. That was the Old Testament illustration.
Now I want to turn to another Old Testament illustration tonight and this one is not so well known, but it’s just as good an illustration. It’s found in the Book of Leviticus. Leviticus chapter 25. By the way, do you know that when Israel came through the Red Sea in Exodus chapter 15, while you’re finding Leviticus chapter 25, we read that they came through the Red Sea and Moses and the children of Israel sang the song of redemption? And you know you never read of Israel singing in the land of Egypt. They never did, for we never do sing until we come to know Jesus Christ as personal savior. But they sang when they were redeemed.
Now Leviticus chapter 25 in verse 25. Now this is a very interesting chapter but it’s a little complicated and so I’m going to have to do a little explanation as we go along. But Israel had a very wonderful institution called the law of the kinsmen redeemer. So I’m going to read verse 25 and then we’re going to skip to verse 47.
Notice verse 25. “If thy brother be waxen poor.” Now that means if an Israelite has “waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold.” In other words, he is saying that if an Israelite becomes poor and has to sell some of his possessions, it is possible under Israelitish law for a kinsman to buy that land or property back. And let’s go to verse 47.
“And if a sojourner or stranger wax rich by thee, and thy brother that dwelleth by him wax poor, and sell himself unto the stranger or sojourner by thee, or to the stock of the stranger’s family: After that he is sold he may be redeemed again; one of his brethren may redeem him.”
Now I’m not going to read the rest of this passage, but the rest of the passage has to do with some of the conditions, gives the price that is to be paid and so on. But let me just stop now and illustrate this.
What is being said is this, in Israel that was this law of the kinsman redeemer. Now let’s just suppose that Mr. Howard Prier who is sitting back there on the third row is an Israelite. And let’s suppose that I am an Israelite. And let’s suppose too that we are somewhat related. Let’s just suppose that we are first cousins, Howard and I. And let’s suppose, let’s suppose that Howard is living by a very rich stranger who has come in from the land of Moab and he has struck oil or something and he gets richer and richer and poor Howard, due to certain tragedies and problems that he has, he begins to get poorer and poorer. And finally he’s so overwhelmed that that he sells himself to the rich stranger who has come.
Now according to Israelitish law, I may redeem him for I am a near kinsman. Now as I understand Israelitish law, those who were nearest of kin have the first right. If they do not exercise their right, then the right may become mine. So I know about Howard and I know that he’s in a bad way and he’s now had to sell himself to this stranger. And so the opportunity comes to me to redeem him.
Now the process of redemption involves several things according to this law. In the first place, and mind you all of this again is designed to illustrate which Jesus Christ had done for us, the first requirement is that I must be a near kinsmen. I must really be related to him so that I am able to take advantage of the law.
Now this is the first requirement in the redemption of one of us from the bondage to sin. For you see, we have waxed poorer and poorer and poorer. We have finally become the bond slaves of sin. Paul says that he is carnal sold under sin. So just as poor Howard has become the slave of a stranger, so every single one of us is a slave to sin.
But there is a possibility of redemption by a near kinsman. Who is our near kinsmen? Why the bible says that the Lord Jesus Christ is our near kinsmen. For you see, this is why he became a man. John 1:14 says, after John 1:1 which says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” In the 14th verse John says, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
The Lord Jesus who was with God came to be with us by taking human nature to himself. It’s no wonder when you talk about the incarnation that Luther said we need new tongues to describe this. For think of the fact that the second person of the Blessed Trinity who dwelt with God throughout all eternity came to this human scene and took human nature to himself. God with men, that is a wonderful and marvelous thing to think about. Dorothy Sayers in one of her books says, “If this is dull, then what in heaven’s name is worthy to be called exciting.” The incarnation of the son of God.
You see, the Lord Jesus in order to redeem us must become our near kinsman. And so he came and took human nature to himself so that he could be one of us and thus able to go to the cross and pay the price of our redemption.
That’s why he came, to take human nature to himself so that human nature may be offered for the whole human race on the cross at Calvary. So the first requirement for the redemption of Howard is that I be related to him as his near kinsman. And the first requirement for the redemption of my body and spirit is that Jesus Christ become a man and this is why he became a man.
But now it’s not enough for me to be his near kinsman. For you see, suppose I were in debt myself. Even though I was Howard’s first cousin, an Israelite, I couldn’t help him out. I could go to him and say, Howard I feel very sorry for you. I’m sorry that you’ve got to work for this stranger. But after all, I don’t have anything with which I can pay your redemption price. And so he would still be unredeemed even though I were his near kinsman.
Now in the case of our redemption, the Lord Jesus Christ must not only be my near kinsmen but he must be wealthy enough to be able to pay for my redemption. He must be free from debt himself. Do you remember what he said in the Upper Room Discourse? He said to the eleven as he was talking with them. He said, “The prince of this world cometh and he hath nothing in me.”
You see, there was nothing in Jesus Christ that Satan could put his finger upon and say, Ah, there is something that is contrary to the will of God. You need redemption yourself.
And furthermore, the Bible says that “He was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor that we who through his poverty might be enriched.” When he was born, the angels said, Mary, the Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, the power of the highest shall overshadow thee, and that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. He was untouched by sin. He was absolutely holy, and so there was no claim against him. He was not in debt himself.
Well it’s not only necessary for Howard’s redemption that I be his near kinsman, not only that I not be in debt, but I must be willing to redeem him. I might come up to Howard and say, Howard, I hear you’re in bondage to the old man who lives over there across the street.
And you say, Yes I’m sorry, I’ve had to sell myself into his slavery. Whatever he says now, I have to do and I’ll tell you, he’s a tough master also. But you’re my near kinsman, Lewis, how ’bout redeeming me?
Well, Howard, after all I’ve been doing pretty well. I do have a pretty fat pocketbook now and I could redeem you but Howard, frankly I’m enjoying your plight. [Laughter] It really does me good to see you labor the way you do, because you’ve always been a kind of a lazy fellow and now you’ve got to work for the first time in your life. Go ahead and work on until the Day of Jubilee and then you’ll be free.
That may be fifty years away, you see. In Jubilee, all slaves were freed in Israel, who had been sold into slavery. But after all if it were fifty years off, you wouldn’t be too happy about it, would you? So you see, it’s not only necessary that I be his near kinsman, and not only necessary that I not be in debt myself, but I must be willing to redeem him.
Now in the New Testament when we come to our Lord, of course we know he was willing to redeem us, do we not? For he loved us and gave himself for us. He loved us. After all, that’s why he came. He was willing to redeem us.
But now a further thing. It’s not only necessary for me to be Howard’s near kinsman and be free myself and willing to redeem. But I’ve got to have that price too. I might come up to Howard and say, Howard, I am your near kinsman. And furthermore I’m not in debt. And I really would love to redeem you, but I just don’t have that much money. If I had it, I would do it. I might even be willing, but unable.
Our Lord was not only our near kinsmen, not only was he free himself, not only was he willing to redeem us, but he had the price, and he paid the price. As we read in 1 Corinthians chapter 6, “Ye were bought with a price.” You see the price was paid. So in this wonderful little illustration, we find the illustration of redemption. We were slaves, Jesus Christ came and he has freed us.
Well I’m going to read now a passage in closing. This is the passage that has to do with personal application, so turn to Job chapter 19, Job chapter 19. Job chapter 19, page five hundred and eighty-one.
Job had lots of troubles. Job was a man whom the Lord allowed to fall into the hands of Satan, although God said, Satan you cannot take his life.
And you remember Satan said, Job only serves you because of the things that you give him. Take away everything that he has and Job will curse you.
And so the Book of Job is the recounting of Job’s experiences under the judgment that came through the will of God, his permissive will, but directly by the hand of Satan. And you remember after he had lost everything, then Satan caused him to be broken out with boils all over his body. So the extreme mental, spiritual and physical judgment had come upon Job short of death.
And his friends, you know, are the kind of friends that lots of Christians have. They come and they say, Uh, you’re having a hard time, aren’t you? I wonder where you have disobeyed God. What have you done wrong?
Have you noticed Christians like that? The first thing they’re anxious to do when they see Christians in difficulty is, not to comfort them, not to suggest that perhaps this is educative, that is God is showing them something about himself, but they immediately want to find out what you have done to deserve this, you see.
And we ought to remember that many of God judgments come to us not because we have displeased him, but because he loves us and wants to show us more of himself. And that’s what Job learned. But in the midst of it, he had a pretty bad time. And these friends were no help to him.
You remember he said in the 13th chapter, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him.” Where did Job get that faith? Well here it is, right here. And mind you, I want to read you what some of his friends have just been saying.
Will you look at chapter 18 and verse 5? Now this is, this is the Reverend Dr. Bildad. Now listen to his explanation of the situation. He says in the 5th verse,
“Yea, Job, the light of the wicked shall be put out, and the spark of his fire shall not shine. (Verse 13) It shall devour the strength of his skin: even the firstborn of death shall devour his strength. (Now you know well, that’s very comforting to Job. Verse17) His remembrance shall be perished from the earth, and he shall have no name in the street. He shall be driven from light into darkness, and chased out of the world. He shall neither have son nor nephew among his people, nor any remaining in his dwellings. They that come after him shall be astonied at his day, as they that went before were affrighted. Surely such are the dwellings of the wicked, and this is the place of him that knoweth not God.” (And Job, it looks like you fill the bill.)
Now in the midst of this, let’s look at Job’s faith. Verse 21, “Have mercy upon me, have mercy upon me, O ye my friends; for the hand of God hath touched me. Why do ye persecute me as God, and are not satisfied with my flesh?”
Now I want you to notice what he does here. He says, “Oh that my words were now written.” What does he mean? Why he means he’s got something so wonderful to say that he would like to write it down in order that it might be permanent. So that the certainty of this truth might grip his listeners. You know, things that are said orally slip into eternity and are often forgotten. But things that are written tend to be preserved.
So he just says, Oh, that what I’m going to say was written. Furthermore, “Oh that they were printed in a book!” How many times have we taken a piece of paper out of our pockets and said I want to make a note of that and then we can never find the note? But to write it in a book. That would make it more permanent.
Furthermore, Job says in the next verse, “Oh that they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!” Not only on a piece of paper, not only in a book, have I wished that I could engrave these things on a rock “with an iron pen and lead, for ever,” inscribe them up there so that men can forever see this is the answer to our problem.
And now notice the 25th verse,
“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin, worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.”
What is Job’s affirmation? Why his affirmation is the affirmation of redemption. “I know that my Redeemer liveth.” Not only that, but it is the affirmation of resurrection, “And that he shall stand at a latter day upon the earth.” And furthermore his affirmation is of his own resurrection, “And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.”
That’s the doctrine of redemption. Jesus Christ who dies upon the cross for us, who is raised from the dead himself as the guarantee that those who believe in him shall have their spirits redeemed and their bodies redeemed, because as he said, “Because I live, ye shall live also.”
Let’s bow in a word of prayer.
[Prayer] Heavenly Father, we think Thee and praise Thee for this wonderful privilege to study Thy word and for the doctrine of redemption. We thank Thee that our sins have been redeemed through the blood of Christ and that we have new spirits and shall have new redeemed bodies when he comes for us. May these truths grip our hearts. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.