What is Redemption ?
I’d like to begin by sharing a few verses from Psalm 49. First, verses 5 thru 7; “Why should I fear in days of adversity, when the iniquity of my foes surrounds me? (why would I fear, the Psalmist asks) “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: For Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.” (Psalm 23, verse 4) And so why should I fear in the days of adversity?
And speaking of the foes that surround me; Psalm 49, verse 6 says; “..Those who trust in their wealth, and boast of the abundance of their riches? Why fear these people of the world, who are against the people of God? Verse 7 says; “..Truly, no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life.” They can’t accomplish a thing with their riches, whether it be for me or against me! Don’t fear them, and don’t trust in them either. Leave the people who insist on being “of the world”, BE a part of the world. That doesn’t really concern us. Our concern, is for those who are interested in the ransom that God offers.
Verse 8 says; “For the ransom of their life is costly, (most versions use the word “redemption”. Redemption, or ransom; In the scriptures, they mean the same thing) “For the redemption of their life is costly, and can never suffice.. “ In other words, nothing they could ever pay would be enough; It would never suffice.
Now the scriptures are going to throw a curve at us here. You thought the scriptures were talking about redemption of the spirit, and the ransom for spiritual life; But listen to the next several verses.. “For the redemption of their life is costly, and can never suffice.. that he should live on forever and not see decay. For he sees that even the wise die; The fool and the stupid alike must perish, and leave their wealth to others.”
Sounds like the words of Solomon.. Listen to Ecclesiastes 2:14 thru 16; “The wise man has eyes in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. Yet I also came to realize, that one fate overcomes them both. So I said to myself, “The fate of the fool will also befall me. What then have I gained by being wise?” And I said to myself that this too is futile. For there is no lasting remembrance of the wise, just as with the fool, seeing that both will be forgotten in the days to come. Alas, the wise man will die just like the fool!”
Now back to Psalm 49, picking up with verse 11; “Their graves are their homes forever, their dwelling places to all generations, though they call lands by their own names. But a man, despite his wealth, cannot endure; He is like the beasts that perish. This is the way of those who are foolish, and self-confident, And of those after them who approve their words. Like sheep they are appointed for Sheol; (sheol in this verse means the grave) Death shall be their shepherd, and the upright shall rule over them in the morning. Their form shall be consumed in Sheol, (in the grave) with no place to dwell.”
And so God is telling us that the rich focus and trust in their riches of this world, and the wise in their wisdom of this world, even though, it is all uselessness, and “it” along with “them” will all simply perish and decay. But now God brings us back to reality, in verse 15..
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.” Not the body, but the soul, which will be the spirit.
“GOD will redeem my soul..” Therefore, it’s God who pays the ransom; God Himself, pays the price, of the redemption.
And what IS “the price” of the ransom? Ephesians 1, verse 7 answers that; “In whom we have redemption, through His blood, (thru the blood of Jesus) the forgiveness of trespasses (the forgiveness of SIN) through the riches of His grace.”
“Redemption through His blood”.. The blood of Christ, was the “price” of the ransom; It was the price of redemption. And it was paid, by God, in the body of Jesus. God Himself was IN the body of Jesus. That’s what the scripture is saying, in John 1, verse 14, when it says; “And the Word became flesh..” John 1, verse 1. says that “the Word was God”. 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.”
In the old testament an “atonement” was a “covering” of sin. It wasn’t an actual forgiveness of sin, but it was a “covering” of sin. A “covering” and a temporary appeasement of God, until the true redeeming blood was shed. But the point being made here, is that the blood makes the atonement, “by REASON of the life”. By reason of the life, which is CONTAINED in the blood. It wasn’t just blood that had to be shed, but it was LIFE that had to be sacrificed. And that’s exactly what God did for us, in the body of Jesus Christ.
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 forfeit our spiritual life, eternally. In God’s redemption of man’s soul, an exchange is being made. One “life” is being exchanged for another “life”. The shedding of Christ’s blood, and thus the “life” that was given, 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.
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 death.
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 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 a life led by the flesh, in exchange for a life led by the Spirit of God? We need to! Would you give up your own will, in exchange for God’s will? We 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?