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What is the meaning of Christian redemption?

When we speak of something or someone being "redeemed," that implies that there was originally a defect or shortcoming that is somehow made up for through the act of redemption. To use a simplified example, a sports team might "redeem" their losing streak by winning in the final, most important game.

In the case of Christian redemption, we must first define what that defect or shortcoming is which needs to be redeemed. This passage in Romans is an excellent explanation of redemption through Christ:

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus." —Romans 3:23-26

All Have Sinned

"... For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..." —Romans 3:23

The sin of humankind is the flaw or defect that needs to be redeemed. Every single person—regardless of whether they believe in God or not—has a sinful state naturally. This sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2; Psalm 5:4). Romans 6:23 tells us that the penalty for sin is death—spiritual death, which is eternal separation from God.

The Gift of Redemption & Justification

"[We] are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus..." —Romans 3:24

Unlike the losing sports team from the earlier example, WE can't redeem ourselves. We could never pay the penalty for our sins on our own, and there is no way we could ever do anything "good enough" to earn our way into redemption (Ephesians 2:8-9). This is where Jesus comes in!

"Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." —Matthew 20:28

The dictionary definition of "redeemed" gives us several definitions that may help shed some light on God's gift of redemption through Christ.

re-deem, verb
  1. to compensate for the faults or bad aspects of (something). The sinless life that Jesus led compensates for our sinful state (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 John 3:5).
  2. to atone or make amends for (error or evil). Jesus took our place, dying on the cross to pay the penalty for OUR sins (Philippians 2:8; Colossians 1:14).
  3. to save (someone) from sin, error, or evil. Jesus saves us from eternal separation from God (Matthew 25:41; John 3:3).
  4. to gain or regain possession of (something) in exchange for payment. We were made to love, serve, and glorify God (Ephesians 2:10; Romans 11:36). Our sin has made that relationship impossible, but Jesus paid our ransom with His life to make it possible for us to get our relationship back (Matthew 20:28; 1 Timothy 2:6).

Another definition of "redemption" relates to slavery. Sin is like a slave master, and we are its slaves (Romans 7:18-20). Because of God's great love for us, He has purchased our freedom with the life of His Son (John 3:16). No longer must we be slaves to sin or to the Old Testament laws (Galatians 3:13, 4:5).

The Benefits of Christian Redemption

When we accept God's gift of redemption through Jesus Christ, we receive the promise of eternal life (Revelation 5:9-10), forgiveness of sins (Ephesians 1:7), righteousness (Romans 5:17), freedom from the curse of Old Testament laws (Galatians 3:13), adoption into God’s family (Galatians 4:5), deliverance from the slave master of sin (Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 1:14-18), peace with God (Colossians 1:18-20), and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). That's a lot!

When you are redeemed through Christ, you are forgiven, holy, justified, free, adopted, and reconciled. (Also see: Psalm 130:7-8; Luke 2:38; Acts 20:28.) If you're not sure if you've been redeemed by Jesus, please take a moment to read this article: How can I be saved? It's not too late to experience freedom from sin and gain a life of purpose and joy.

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." —John 10:10

TL;DR

Our sin is punishable by eternal separation from God. But God loves us so much that He offers redemption from that fate through the sacrifice of the perfect, sinless life of His Son, Jesus Christ (John 3:16; Matthew 20:28). When you're redeemed through Christ, you are forgiven, holy, justified, free, adopted, reconciled, and granted eternal life with God in Heaven.

By: Catiana Nak Kheiyn

Cat is the web producer and editor of 412teens.org. She loves audiobooks, feeding the people she cares about, and using Christmas lights to illuminate a room. When Catiana is not writing, cooking, or drawing, she enjoys spending time with her two kids, five socially-awkward cats, and her amazing friend-amily.


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