Redemption, in theology, denotes our recovery from sin and death by the obedience and sacrifice of Christ, who on this account is called the "Redeemer" (Isa 59:20; Job 19:25). "Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Ro 3:24). "' Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us" (Ga 3:13). "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace" (Eph 1:7). "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; but with.the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (1Pe 1:18-19). "And ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price" (1Co 6:19-20).
By redemption those who deny the atonement made by Christ wish to understand deliverance merely, regarding only the effect, and studiously putting out of sight the cause from which it flows. But the very terms used in the above-cited passages, "to redeem" and "to be bought with a price," will each be found to refute this notion of a gratuitous deliverance, whether from sin or punishment, or both. "Our English word redemption," says Dr. Gill, "is from the Latin, and signifies buying again; and several words in the Greek language of the New Test. are used in the affair of our redemption which signify the obtaining of something by paying a proper price for it; sometimes the simple verb ἀγοράζω, to buy, is used; so the redeemed are said to be bought unto God by the blood of Christ, and to be bought from the earth, and to be bought from among men, and to be bought with a price — that is, with the price of Christ's blood (1Co 6:20); hence the Church of God is said to be purchased with it (Ac 20:28). Sometimes the compound word ἐξαγοράζω is used, which signifies to buy again, or out of the hands of another, as the redeemed are bought out of the hands of justice, as in Ga 3:13; Ga 4:5. To redeem literally means 'to buy back;' and λυτρόω, to redeem, and ἀπολύτρωσις, redemption, are, both in Greek writers and in the New Test., used for the act of setting free a captive by paying λύτρον, a ransom) or redemtion price." Yet, as Grotius has fully shown by reference to the use of the words both in sacred and profane writers, redempn tion signifies not merely "the liberation of captives," but deliverance from exile, death, and every other evil fromi which we may be freed; and λύτρον signifies everything which satisfies another so as to effect this deliverance. The nature of this redemption or purchased deliverance (for it is not gratuitous liberation, as will presently appear) is therefore to be ascertained by the circumstances of those who are the subjects of it. The subjects in the case before us are sinful men; they are under guilt, under "the curse of the law," the servants of sin, under the power and dominion of the devil, and "taken captive by him at his will," liable to the death of the body and to eternal punishment. To the whole of this case the redemption-the purchased deliverance of man as proclaimed in the Gospel — applies itself. Hence in the above-cited and other passages it is said, "We have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins," in opposition to guilt; redemption from "the curse of the law;" deliverance from sin, that "we should be set free from sin;" deliverance from the power of Satan; from death, by a resurrection; and from future "wrath" bv the gift of eternal life. Throughout the whole of this glorious doctrine of our redemption from these tremendous evils there is, however, in the New Test., a constant reference to the λύτρον, the redemption price, which λύτρον is as constantly declared to be the death of Christ, which he endured in our stead. "The Son of man came to give his life a ransom for many" (Mt 20:28). "Who gave himself a ransom for all" (1Ti 2:6). "In whom we have redemption through his blood" (Eph 1:7). "Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ" (1Pe 1:18-19). That deliverance of man from sin, misery, and all other penal evils of his transgression, which constitutes our redemption by Christ, is not, therefore, a gratuitous deliverance, granted without a consideration, as an act of mere prerogative; the ransom — the redemption price — was exacted and paid; one thing was given for another — the precious blood of Christ for captive and condemned men. Of the same import are those passages which represent us as having been "bought" or "purchased" by Christ. Peter speaks of those "who denied the Lord τὸν ἀγοράσαντα αὐτούς, that bought them;" and Paul, in the passage above cited, says, "Ye are bought with a price" (ἠγοράσθητε), which price is expressly said by John to be the blood of Christ: "Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God (ἡγόρασας, hast purchased us) by thy blood' (Re 5:9). The ends of redemption are, that the justice of God might be satisfied; his people reconciled, adopted, sanctified, and brought to glory. The properties of it are these:
(1) it is agreeable to all the perfections of God; (2) what a creature never could merit, and therefore entirely of free grace; (3) it is special and particular; (4) full and complete; (5) it is eternal as to its blessings.
See Edwards, Hist. of Redemption; Cole, On the Sovereignty of God; Lime-street Lect. lect. 5; Watts, Ruin and Recovery; Owen, On the Death and Satisfaction of Christ; Gill, Body of Divinity; Pressensd, Religion; Goodwin, Works; Knapp, Theology, p. 331; Bullet. Theol. Avril, 1868; Calvin, Institutes; Evangel. Quar. Rev. April, 1870, p. 290; Presbyt. Confess.; Werner, Gesch. der deutschen Theol.; Meth. Quar. Rev. Oct. 1868; July, 1874, p. 500; Jan. 1876, art. ii; Presbyt. Quar. Rev. July, 1875, art. ii; Fletcher, Works; New-Englander, July, 1870, p. 531; Barnes [Albert], The Atonement in its Relations to Law and Moral Government (Phila. 1858, 12mo); Princeton Rev. July, 1859; Oct. 1859; Bibl. Sacra, Jan. 1858; Delitzsch, Bibl. Psychol. p. 482; Muller, On Sin; Pearson, On the Creed; Liddon, Divinity of Christ; Pin, Jesus-Christ dans le Plan Divin lde la Redemtption (1873). SEE PROPITIATION; SEE RECONCILIATION; SEE SATISFACTION.