What is Redemption ?
I’d like to begin by sharing a few verses from Psalm 49. First, verses 5 thru 7; “Wherefore should I fear, in the days of evil, when iniquity at my heels, compasseth me about? (when evil is all around me) 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.”
But verse 15 says; “But GOD will redeem my soul from the power of sheol, (from the power of death) For He will receive me! Selah”
Man can’t help us when it comes to redemption, but God can, and God will. “..God will redeem my soul, from the power of death.”
Verse 7 tells us what redemption is; It says; “..None of them, can by any means, redeem his brother, nor give to God, a RANSOM for him.” Very simply, redemption is a ransom. It’s a ransom, paid, to redeem our soul. The scripture says; “GOD will redeem my soul..” Therefore, it’s God who pays the ransom; God Himself, pays the price, of the ransom.
And what IS “the price” of the ransom? Ephesians 1, verse 7 answers that; “In whom we have redemption.. (that’s talking about Jesus Christ) “In whom we have redemption, through His blood, the forgiveness of trespasses (or SIN) through the riches of His grace.”
“Redemption through His blood”.. The blood of Christ, was the “price” of the ransom; And it was paid, by God, in the body of Jesus. God Himself was IN the body of Jesus. That’s basically what the scripture is saying, in John 1, verse 14, when it says; “And the Word became flesh..” The scripture says that in the beginning, “the Word was God”. John 1, verse 1. But then verse 14 tells us that the “Word became flesh”; The Word was still God, but it was God, in a fleshly body.
The bible says to us, in Hebrews 10, verse 5; “..But a body did Thou prepare for Me.” And actually, when you think about it, it couldn’t have been any other way. God had ordained, that the price that had to be paid, for the redemption of sinful man, was the blood of a sinless man. And therefore, a body HAD to be prepared, so that a sinless soul (God) could dwell in that body; So that the blood, of that body, could be used, as the price, for redemption.
Actually, the blood, is representative of something else. Blood wasn’t simply a random choice, made by God, to be used as the price of the ransom. The blood of Christ, has a direct connection, with what it represents. But what does the blood represent? The answer to that is found in a command that was given to Israel, and in the explanation of that command. Here’s the command, from Leviticus 17, verse 10;
“And whatsoever man there be, of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among them, that eateth any manner of blood, I will set My face against that soul that eatheth blood, and will cut him off from among his people.” There’s the command, now here’s God’s explanation, of the REASON for the command..
Verse 11; “For, the life of the flesh, is IN the blood; And I have given it to you upon the alter, to make atonement for your souls; For, it is the blood, that maketh atonement, by reason of the life.”
“The blood makes atonement, (in other words, the blood is the price of the ransom. The atonement, IS the ransom) “The blood makes the atonement, by REASON of the life”. By reason of the life, which is CONTAINED in the blood.
So then, the blood of Christ, is really the representation of the very life of Christ. Jesus Christ, gave HIS life, so that we, didn’t have to give OUR life. In God’s redemption of man’s soul, an exchange is being made. One “life” is being exchanged for another “life”. The life, of Jesus Christ’s body, has been exchanged, for the life of your spirit, and of my spirit. Life for life, and blood, for sin.
What Would a “Man” Give, as a Ransom ?
We’re all familiar with the question Jesus asked, in Mark 8, verse 37; He asked; “What shall a man give, in EXCHANGE for his soul?” In other words; What would a man give, in exchange, for the “life”, of his eternal spirit?
An “exchange” is a trade-off; It’s this, in exchange for that. Strong’s Concordance says that the word “exchange” in this verse, means two things; And the two things are related. The first thing that it means, is.. “an equivalent”. For example, we could phrase the question this way; “What would a man give, as an equivalent, for his soul.” What is of equal value, to a man’s soul?
A lot of people don’t understand the value of their soul, and so they might give something, in exchange for their soul, that isn’t “an equivalent” at all. As a matter of fact, people DO, give up their very soul, in exchange for things that have virtually no value at all! At best, there may be some temporary “carnal” value, that they receive; Such as some kind of “fleeting” physical pleasure. Or some kind of “carnal” pride.
That’s actually the kind of disrespect that people have for their very own soul; They have no idea of the actual value of their soul, and so they trade it off, for virtually nothing. That’s exactly the way it is, when we willingly sin. When we willingly sin, we’re openly admitting, to ourselves and to God, that to us, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life, are of equal value, with our soul. And so we give up our soul, for those lusts, for worldly things.
What Our Soul Is Really Worth
But the bible teaches us the real value of our soul. And that’s what that verse in Mark 8:37 is all about. Verse 36 says; “For what shall it profit a man, to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?” The American Standard Version of 1901, uses the word “life”. “What shall it profit a man, to gain the whole world, and forfeit his life? For what would a man give, in exchange for his life?”
That brings us to the second meaning of the word “exchange”. The second meaning is.. “a ransom”. Just like the blood of Jesus, and the life of Jesus, was a ransom for our life. That’s what God already gave, for our souls. But let’s look at Mark 8:37, from this prospective.. Jesus asks the question; “What would a MAN give, as a ransom for his life?” What would YOU give?
After you realize, that you’ve already “sold your soul” to sin; NOW, what would YOU give, as a ransom, to get your life back again? What would you give to get your “soul” back?
The truth is, no one HAS, what it takes, to get his soul back again. So then, even if you HAD, the whole world to give, it wouldn’t matter, because even the whole world, doesn’t have what it takes, to get your soul back. The world could not provide nor deliver, what God demands, as a ransom.
What does God demand? God demands, the blood, and therefore the life, of a sinless man. Thus, the “man” Jesus Christ, God in the flesh. That’s the price, and since the world can’t pay that price, GOD paid it Himself. That’s the kind of value that God puts on your soul!
Think about that, when you contemplate the true value of your soul. God gave a “ransom”; God gave, what He considers to be, “an equivalent”, of the value of your soul, and of my soul. Think about what that equivalent is.. The equivalent value of our souls, is the “life”, of God in the flesh! That’s truly amazing if you ask me. The equivalent value of our souls, is the life of Jesus Christ.
What’s the value of Jesus Christ? The very Son of God? I wouldn’t even be able to begin to describe, the value, of Christ. Oh, I guess I could begin, but I couldn’t do it justice. It’s just about mind-boggling! But yet, that is what God choose, to be an equivalent ransom price, for the soul of man. Let me say it once again, just so it sinks in, because it’s so incredible; The physical life of God in the flesh, was of an equivalent value, as the life of our spirits. That’s how God views His crowning creation!
The Life of Your Spirit
Consider if you would, the life of your spirit. Remember when Jesus said; “I am the way, the truth, and the life..” ? (John 14, verse 6) Jesus is indeed the “life” of our spirit. His life, is the ransom for our life, and thus our life is redeemed. Our “life” is purchased back, from being dead in sin; Not the life of our body, but the life of our spirit.
Many times in the bible, when the bible speaks of the “soul” of man, it’s referring to the very “being” of man. Like in Genesis 2, verse 7, when God said that “man became a living soul”. That means that man became a living being. But the bible also uses the word “soul” to refer to your life and your existence, and specifically, the life of your spirit.
When your body dies, it is your “life” that leaves your body. We find these words, in Genesis 35, verse 17; “And it came to pass, as her soul was departing (for she died)..” Those words were spoken of Rachel, the wife of Jacob. As her body died, her “life” departed”, from that dying body. Her “soul” departed.
We should all be familiar with Hebrews 4, verse 12, which says; “For the Word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword..” Well, it also says, that it is “piercing, even to the dividing of soul and spirit..” The “dividing” of soul and spirit, is the “separation” of soul and spirit. And a lot of people don’t understand how the soul and spirit can be separated. But when you understand that the soul, is the life, then you’ll understand, that the “dividing of soul and spirit” refers to the life being taken from the spirit.
And of course, at the judgment, is when total and irreversible separation of soul and spirit will occur. The “life” of many, many spirits, will be taken away. And it’s the “Word of God” that will be taking the “life” away. Remember what Jesus said, in John 12, verse 48; “He that rejects Me, and receives NOT, My sayings, has one that judges him; The word that I spoke, the same shall judge him in the last day.”
In the day of judgment, if the word of God, and Christ, should judge us to be guilty of sin, then our spirit will indeed be separated from the life, that it once enjoyed. It’s the Word of God, who created all things, including our living spirit, and it’s the Word God that will separate the life, from any and all spirits, who have chosen to remain in sin, to that day.
It’s our choice. There is a redeemer, and the ransom has been paid, but not all souls ARE redeemed. And that is because it is indeed, our choice, whether or not we WILL be redeemed. You might say that God has already made one half of the “exchange”, that makes up our ultimate redemption. Remember, the exchange is Life for life. God’s life in the flesh, for your life in the spirit.
God, through Jesus Christ, has laid down His life, for us; But before the exchange can become final, we have to lay down our life for Him. I’m not saying that we need to die physically for Him, just like he died physically for us; But what I am saying, is that we need to a life, led according to the world. That’s what Paul said that he did, in Galatians 2, verse 20. Paul said; “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I that live, but Christ lives in me. And the life that I now live in the flesh, I live by faith, the faith which is in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself up for me.”
And so to conclude, we can go back once again to the question that Jesus asked; “What would a man give, in exchange for his soul?” What would you give? Would you give up your entire life, which is led according to the flesh, in exchange for a life led by the Spirit of God? You need to! Would you give up your own will, in exchange for God’s will? You need to!
Your soul, is worth as much to God, as the physical life of His beloved Son. May our souls be worth as much to us, as they are to God; And so may we all be willing to make the exchange, of life for life. Christ gave His life, will we give ours?