The Bible speaks of multiple forms of redemption. Jesus brings all of them.
by Jimmy Evans
When Jesus was telling His followers about the events of the last days, He told them to be watchful and ready. He said, “Your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:28).
If you are a Christian, Jesus has already redeemed your personal relationship with God the Father. But God has even more planned for your future: When Jesus returns, He will bring about your total redemption.
God has redeemed you already. Through His Holy Spirit, He is redeeming you now by sanctifying and conforming you into the likeness of Christ. But on the day Jesus returns for the Church, God will fully redeem you.
Bought by His Blood
In Scripture, several Greek terms are translated into “redeem” and “redemption.” For example, the apostle John talks about how the people of God from every nation will one day sing praises to Jesus for giving His blood as a sacrifice to redeem them:
And they sang a new song, saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll,
And to open its seals;
For You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation…”
In this case, the Greek word used is agorazo, which means “to buy or acquire, such as in purchasing property.” The people in this passage are singing that Jesus’ blood “bought” those of us who are believers in the same way you might buy a house or something from a store.
Bought Back at a Price
A second Greek word translated “redeem” or “redemption” is exagorazo. This word is found, for example, in Paul’s letter to the Galatians:
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”)—Galatians 3:13
But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.—Galatians 4:4-5
In both of these verses, the use of “redeem” means “to buy back something or deliver someone.” Paul is saying that we belong to God, but someone else—the devil—bought or stole us. Jesus had to repurchase us by His life and death on the cross.
For example, imagine you lost your spouse’s wedding ring through gambling or a bad business deal. This term means you would then buy it back at a high price and return it to your spouse (after you did some serious repenting and explaining). It also is a term used to describe buying a slave only to set them free after the purchase.
Bought for Himself
A third use of “redeem” in the Greek New Testament is peripoieo, which means “to purchase something for yourself.” Luke uses a form of this word in Acts:
Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.—Acts 20:28
Luke is saying that God has bought the Church as His own exclusive personal possession.
Rescued and Set Free
In Ephesians, Paul ties the word peripoieo together with another Greek word, lutroo.
In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.—Ephesians 1:13-14
In the passage above, “redemption” is a translation of lutroo, while “purchased possession” is a translation of peripoieo. Paul is saying God has purchased us so we can forever and exclusively belong to Him.
A form of lutroo is also used in that first passage from Jesus, in Luke 21:
“Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”—Luke 21:28
The word translated here as “redemption” means “to free someone by paying a ransom, to rescue, and to set free.” You might use this word to describe a hostage who has been rescued either by an authority figure paying a ransom or through a commando raid. Paul uses this term in his closing message to Titus:
…looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.—Titus 2:13-14
Peter also uses the term:
…knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.—1 Peter 1:18-19
Every Kind of Redemption
So which one of these forms of redemption does Jesus have in store for us through His return? All of them!
Here is the whole story:
God purchased us, but Satan took us hostage and made us slaves.
Then through a “commando raid,” Jesus paid the price, defeated the enemy, and set us free. The price was high and precious, and it cost Him His own life.
Through that price He is restoring everything the enemy had stolen.
So when Jesus tells His followers their redemption is “near,” He means He is getting ready to free us from all bondage and restore every broken thing in our lives. And He will do it “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.” This is where Jesus told us to put our focus.
Look up! His redemption is at hand!