June 13, 2024

Redemption through His Blood

Sinclair Ferguson
Redemption through His Blood

By nature, we are slaves to sin who need to be redeemed. But the good news is this: Jesus Christ, the Redeemer, has purchased His people with His own blood. Today, Sinclair Ferguson conveys the freedom found in Christ alone.


This week on Things Unseen, we’ve been thinking about the work of Jesus and some of the big words the New Testament uses to help us understand what He’s done for us. We’ve already considered words from the temple sacrifices and the law courts, propitiation and justification.

Here’s a third familiar word: redemption. It’s a word from the world of slavery, really. Slavery was commonplace in the Roman Empire in which Jesus and the Apostles lived. Some scholars actually suggest that maybe a third of the population of Rome were slaves. The empire virtually depended for its efficiency on them. And some were treated very harshly, but others were more like employees. And slavery also existed among the people of God in the Old Testament. In some instances, it was the way to get out of debt. But unlike in our society in which a person for all practical purposes maybe sells thirty-five hours in the week to someone else, and that person or company kind of owns those hours of their lives, in essence, every hour of every day of a slave’s life belonged to his or her master. The master’s will was the law that governed the slave’s life.

It was possible, both in Rome and in Judaism, for a slave to purchase his or her freedom and be set free by the payment of a price—the redemption price. And the New Testament uses that language to describe what Jesus has done for us. Through His death He has redeemed us. He’s paid the redemption price needed to set us free says Paul, in that great passage in Romans 3:21–26: we are “justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Remember how Jesus put it in one of his great “truly, truly” sayings in John 8:34: “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin, but if the Son sets you free, you’ll be free indeed.”

Now, true, most people don’t think of themselves as being slaves to sin, but that’s partly because they have a very selective and superficial view of what sin is. Remember the rich young ruler? He might not be perfect in his own eyes, but he kept the commandments, at least externally, and he certainly didn’t think of himself as a sinner, and certainly not as a slave. But then when Jesus put his finger on the young man’s wealth, it turned out he was enslaved to it. And not only was that the case, he wasn’t able to free himself from it. And so, you remember, he turned his back on Jesus.

Not every sinful bondage is a bondage to the obvious sins. The dark truth is that by nature we follow the ways of the prince of the power of the air and the course of this world, and we walk in all kinds of sinfulness, and we are dead, and therefore powerless, and therefore enslaved to sin, and we need to be redeemed.

And the good news is that Jesus Christ is a Redeemer. In the Old Testament, a relative, a kinsman could redeem you, and Christ therefore has become our kinsman, taking our human nature in order that he might die in our place and redeemer us. He’s done everything that’s needed to set us free from our bondage to sin and to death and to Satan.

How has He done that? He’s done it by dealing with the guilt that led to the bondage. He’s done it by setting us free from the dominion of sin over us because, in His death, He died to sin once for all in order that we might die to sin in Him and be liberated from its dominion. There’s full redemption in Jesus Christ.

But we need to remember, as we noted earlier in the week, redemption isn’t a commodity that Jesus hands over to us; it’s a reality we experience when we’re united to Him. We have redemption in Jesus Christ. It’s found only in Him. It’s not given to us as a commodity we can get without having Jesus Christ Himself. And I hope you have found that and that, as Paul says, you too are in Christ and He’s your Redeemer.