Nothing says salvation like “redemption.” The word literally means
a release effected or brought about by the payment of a ransom
or price. We know what it is to redeem something. We redeem
coupons, stamps, credit-card points, and frequent-flyer miles. In
order to redeem these items and receive the benefits of them, we
must have paid a price for them. When the Bible says that we have
been redeemed, it means that we have been delivered, rescued,
purchased, and ransomed by and for God. Redeemed from what?
Redeemed from slavery to sin (Rom. 6:19–20).
One of the major themes of redemption in the Bible is the
idea of captivity. The idea is that someone is trapped, enslaved,
kidnapped, or held captive, and thus a price must be paid or a
sacrifice made in order to rescue him. When it comes to our
redemption through Christ, we were in a situation similar to Israel.
As Israel was enslaved in Egypt, we were enslaved to sin and death.
When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden of Eden, they
sold themselves and all their progeny into slavery—slavery to
sin and death. From this captivity, there is no escape by natural
means. The power of sin is such that it has mastery over its subjects
even to the point of death (1 Cor. 15:56). Those who admit
to addictions understand this well. Yet, biblically speaking, we
were all addicts at one time. Drugs, alcohol, sex, pornography,
and food are controlling and addictive forces for sin, but they are
not the only ones. Money, popularity, pride, gossip, work, and
ambition can all become sinfully addictive and hold us captive
to the destruction of our souls.
Thus, it is important to see that the Bible portrays sin not just
as an action but also as a tyrannical master (Rom. 6:16). Jesus
said in John 8:34, “Everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.”
Elsewhere, the Bible reminds us that all who are of the flesh are
“sold under sin” (Rom. 7:14). Sin is a power that must be broken.
It is a tyrant that must be defeated.
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