The Utopia of Spiritual Redemption

The wisemen of our internet world continue to preach their brand of freedom and tolerance all the while attempting to enslave you to these ideologies and intolerances. These nice activists are perfectly willing to force you to comply to their demands of accepting everyone and everything or else you shouldn’t be allowed in their enlightened society. Governments and corporations have bowed the knee to these woke philosophers all in the name of tokenism and he who controls the money, rules the world. Their goal is to bring diversity, inclusion and equity to all and how they plan on doing this is to tear down societal institutions in hopes that they can build better ones. They are peddling a mirage and think we’re gullible enough to believe that their utopia will be less oppressive than the last. They themselves are fooled in believing that they’re rebuilt utopia won’t repress those they see as different or deemed less than them. You know, like those religious folk.  What we must not miss, is that while our society has done atrocious things towards those they deemed as inferior, these self-enlightened activists will do something far worst. Before you drink the proverbial cool aid of our modern-day sages, consider that we are already seeing the results of their solutions and we’ve seen nothing but death, fire, perversion, and chaos. When they don’t get their way, they bring suffering, violence, and death. The solution is not in the destruction of western civilization, not in wokey racism, not in a rainbow flag sticker on my car but in redemption and forgiveness. For the Christian, this is the ultimate solution. Before moving on to fix our societal wrongs, we need to receive redemption and forgiveness in Christ, and grant to others the same.  

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace  which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight (Ephesians 1:7-8)

In our previous segment, we saw that our election and predestination were found in Christ. In this same beloved One, we now see the fruit of His sacrifice in the form of what we experience as believers in history in contrast to the election and predestination that were granted to us before the foundation of the world. This heavenly blessing comes in the form of a possession. We possess redemption in His blood and the forgiveness of our trespasses. Not in some potential provisional form, but just like our election and predestination are meant for “us”, these blessings of redemption and forgiveness are meant to a particular people.

The Ransomed Need

There is an emphasis in scripture to communicate how the believer has been transferred from one state to another. Examples of this might be the relocation of a person spiritually from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of the Son (Colossians 1:13) or a believer being moving from a child of wrath to a son of God. Another similar transfer can be found in our identity. As believers in Christ, the scriptures tell us that we’ve moved from slavery to freedom. The scriptures are clear in contrasting our state from being a slave of sin to the position of the freed man to obey God (Romans 6:17). Every man born in this world is born in spiritual slavery, inclined to sin and hate God’s righteousness, and we are called to seek the freedom from this found in Christ. We need Him to be liberated.

Many first century Christians were quite familiar with the demands of slavery since many were physical slaves. The term often used to understand this freedom from slavery was redemption. Redemption (απολυτνωσις) was a price paid to release a slave from his/her bondage (1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23). While we use it in a more religious sense today, it had a physical connotation to it in those days. Christians in the first century borrowed from the common concept of the term redemption to communicate a biblical truth. Under the Old Testament, an individual could sell themselves into slavery to pay off a debt. There were strict laws on how this was to happen which were more desirable than those of Roman slavery. As an example, the owner couldn’t keep them in this state of slavery their whole lives, and a family member was allowed to pay the price to redeem them (Leviticus 25:47-49)[1]. In the Greek world, many became slaves through being the plunder of a victorious army. They were lead away as a conquered people to showcase the victory of the army and then sold as slaves. If the individual was deemed as important in their homeland, someone may pay a price (ransom) to free (redeem) them to return them home. If no one paid the ransom to liberate them from the enemy, they were left in their state of slavery for the rest of their lives.

Slavery to Sin

According to John’s gospel, when Jesus encountered some Jews, He addressed the problem of slavery and freedom. Christ engaged them with the reality that things weren’t what they seemed:

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:31-32).

Their reply to His accusation was that they never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?” (v.33). The basis for this reply was that they were physical descendants of Abraham. The Lord Jesus wasn’t speaking of a slavery to another nation but a slavery to sin: “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.  The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:34-36). The practice of sin demonstrated that they were slaves. While convinced they were freemen in Abraham, the Lord Jesus confronts them with the reality of their state as bondservants. They were not genuine sons of the household because of their sins. In God’s house, Jesus is the Son, and they are the slaves who had no permanent place in the family[2] If they wanted a part in the family of Yahweh, they needed to become sons. It was the Son that needed to set them free through redemption and bring them into the family as heirs. Our natural state is that much like these Jews, we are of our father the devil and our will is to do his desires (John 8:44). As we’ll see later, we formerly were people who followed the course of this world and in return the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:1-2). Paul tells us of the believers former state:

For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. (Titus 3:3)

The Great Redeemer

The one who made the payment for the liberation of the slave was known as a redeemer. He was the one who would now own the slave and determine what to do with them. As we can see, the redeemer is Christ. The NT writers were keen on expressing this throughout.  The very purpose of His coming as the Saviour was so that He would pay our ransom from slavery.  For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). This ransom has freed us from the penalty of sin and our bondage to it (Romans 6:14). This redemption takes on another dynamic when applied to the law. Those who attempt to justify themselves by the law are under a curse and Christ comes as the redeemer to free them from that curse (Galatians 3:11-13). Those who were under the law who exercise faith in Christ are now free from it and should never consider returning to it (Galatians 5:1). What we need to be assured not to miss is that Paul tells us that our justification comes through this redemption (Romans 3:23-25). This text in Romans 3 is strikingly similar to our text in Ephesians 1:7 in that we have the mention of the blood and of grace. The purchase price of this redemption was not in gold or silver but by the shed blood of the Redeemer who offered Himself as the payment for sin. The voluntary sacrifice of the sinless Son of God in laying down His life and suffering the shame and death on the cross of calvary was the means by which He would liberate His people. This ransom price offered by the Redeemer has permanent effect (Hebrews 9:12).

The Redemptive Present

The result of this redemption is not to return to sin but to live in a very different way. We should live our lives as a people who have now become servants of Christ. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore, glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Our lives are lived as freemen who are privileged to have become the servants of Christ Jesus the Lord (1 Corinthians 7:21-23). While this redemption is something we currently experience, we are still looking towards the redemption of our bodies (Romans 8:23) and as we will see later, Christians still have a day they are looking forward to in the future called the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30)

Being in the beloved was a work of God in that Christ became righteousness, sanctification and redemption who becomes the believers boast (1 Corinthians 1:30-31).

“Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.” … “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” (Revelation 5:9-10,13)

The Forgiven

Salvation is not described solely as the redemption through His blood, Paul furthers this heavenly blessing in the beloved by stating that through this blood, we also have the forgiveness of our trespasses. Because we are dead in our trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1), we need to be forgiven of them to be made alive in Christ. We receive this forgiveness of our sins through faith in Him (Acts 10:43) and this beautiful reality is what should be proclaimed to the nations (Acts 13:38). This is exactly what the apostle was called to proclaim:

To open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’ (Acts 26:18)

What we must not miss is the essence behind the redemption and forgiveness. We receive and experience these blessings because they are according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Our blessings of salvation find their root in the divine act of favour shown towards those who are unworthy and sinners. This grace is described as riches that are bestowed upon us. A term that Paul will use many times in this epistle to describe the value of the blessings of God (1:18; 2:7; 3:8,16). The quality of the grace is that of richness while the quantity is found in the abundance by which He showered us with them. Paul describes it as lavished upon us. Truly God made our cups to overflow in the grace He has given to us through the Messiah. This grace that has been shown to mankind through the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus was manifested in all wisdom and insight that He has granted to believers by opening their minds to the reality of the cost of this redemption. In light of this, the wisdom and insight have become heavenly blessings in of themselves (Colossians 1:9).

The Heart of the True Utopia

The Gospel of Jesus Christ in the redemption of a people resulting in their forgiveness of trespasses should be the driving force in the Christian message. While social reforms and reconciliation is unquestionably significant especially in the present chaos in our country, we need to discover the true meaning of redemption and forgiveness given to us by God and exemplified in our Lord Jesus Christ. We must then live out these blessings and look to demonstrate our redemption by living our lives as a ransomed people in gratitude for our freedom, showing grace and mercy to others and in return offer forgiveness for their trespasses towards us.

[1] This isn’t the only way that redemption is accomplished in the OT. Sometimes, redemption came, not with a payment, but as a rescue. When Israel went into slavery at the hands of the Egyptians, Yahweh promised to the sons of Israel, ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments (Exodus 6:6). It wasn’t with a payment that He accomplished this, but with the right arm of power (Exodus 15:20; Psalm 77:14-15)

[2] See Pillar New Testament Commentary, D.A. Carson, Page 350


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s