Redeeming People

In the Bible the word ‘redeem’ means ‘to purchase’ or ‘to ransom’. To redeem an object or person is to transfer ownership from one to another. When the Israelites were freed from slavery to pharaoh, they believed themselves to be owned by God.

‘By the greatness of Your arm They will be as still as a stone, Till Your people pass over, O Lord, till the people pass over whom You have purchased.’ (Exodus 15:16)

For Israel, Passover was a celebration of new found freedom and ownership. Similarly, the early church understood their relationship with God as one of ownership.

‘Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.’ (Acts 20:28)

‘you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your bodies.’ (1 Cor 6:20)

Having been purchased, how should we respond? Did Jesus purchase us so we could live for ourselves?  The answer is found in what God says to Israel after he redeemed them.

4 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself… Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.(Exodus 19)

And to the early church God says:

9 ‘But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;’ (1 Peter 2)

Jesus died to make us priests. Our duty as the church, today as always, is to teach, model, and facilitate relationship between God and people. We were redeemed to redeem!

Denis Oliver