Monday, May 23, 2016

In Christ: Redemption:Part 1

"Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:" 
 Romans 3:24

  On our list of things found only "in Christ" we come to 'redemption'.  It's an interesting word with a very clear definition in scripture. The word 'redemption' is derived from the verb 'redeem' , and those two  words are so common  in the  law of Moses that a thorough citation of every instance would be both redundant and repetitive. But it is worth noting that there are a few different categories of redemption in the scriptures, and all of them are beautifully and marvelously fulfilled in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
 The clearest in-context definition of redemption is probably the one in Lev 25:25;"If thy brother be 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 the verse  a man loses his possessions to poverty, and his brother is able to redeem, or 'buy back' those possession.  Leviticus 25 is full of provisions and restrictions and regulations on the idea of redemption in regards to lands and houses, but in  verses 48 and 49 , the Bible says "After that he is sold he may be redeemed again; one of his brethren may redeem him: Either his uncle, or his uncle's son, may redeem him, or any that is nigh of kin unto him of his family may redeem him; or if he be able, he may redeem himself.".  Redemption isn't just limited to tangible goods; people can be  redeemed, but while the need for redemption may not be limited; the ability to redeem is. Redemption can only be accomplished by a male relative but once performed , was binding upon the entire family.   The Bible refers to this as 'the right of redemption' or the 'right of inheritance' in several places, and this  figures heavily into the story of Ruth, among others.
 Generations before Ruth , however, God buys back the entire nation of Israel in Exodus 6 saying "Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments"   God lays claim  to their loyalty and their devotion and their obedience over and over again in scripture because of this single act of redemption.
  In the middle of all these proclamations regarding how and why and when things can be redeemed, God makes some things very clear.  In Psalm 49, the songwriter extols the limitations of human wealth, saying "They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: (For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:)That he should still live for ever, and not see corruption. For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others. Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling places to all generations; they call their lands after their own names. Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish.This their way is their folly: yet their posterity approve their sayings. Selah. Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the grave from their dwelling. But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah."  No matter how much money you have, that brother you redeemed has a claim on him that you cannot annul, the claim of the grave. Kings and beggars alike are bound by it, but God isn't and claims the exclusive ability to redeem from the tomb and he does so while redeeming the mans  soul.
  Before we jump into the New Testament, let's look at what we know so far.  We know that to redeem is to buy something back that was lost. We know that things can be redeemed as well as people, but that only a male relative can perform this function.  We know that only God can redeem a man from the grave.

  Now as interesting as all definition and word studies are, what does it all mean? How does it all apply? Part two is on its way.

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