Romans 3:24 teaches us that those who believe in Jesus Christ ‘are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus’.

Ephesians 1:7-8 teaches that in Christ ‘we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he has lavished on us’.

In both of these redemption is linked to grace.

The concept of redemption assumes that there is an already existing state or condition of bondage, and that liberation or escape from that bondage is possible only by the payment of a price, which is called the ‘ransom’.

Thus the redemption we have in Christ Jesus is a costly redemption: it is ‘through his blood’; it is because ‘God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement’. The price, the ransom, paid by God to obtain our redemption is the life of his Son [Mark 10:45; 1Timothy 2:5-6; 1Peter 1:18-19]. God, the Father, gave his only Son,  and the Son gave himself, to liberate us, to set us free, from an already existing condition of bondage, loss and disempowerment that is described in the Bible as death [Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:1], perishing [John 3:16] and condemnation [John 3:18; Romans 5:18], enforced by the law-sin-death trilogy that held us legally and spiritually entrapped [John 8:31-36; Romans 5:17; 6:1-8:2; Galatians 3:10-13; 4:3-5; Hebrews 2:14,15].

This costly liberation is given freely to those who believe in Jesus Christ – without the performance of any prerequisite conditions relating to what we are or what we have done or achieved. It is not meted out relative to merit. Rather it is ‘by his grace’ and ‘in accordance with the riches of his grace’: it is absolutely free for those to whom it is given.

It is of this totally free spiritual redemption that Jesus Christ spoke in Luke 4:14-21. When he stood in the synagogue in Nazareth and read from Isaiah 61 he referred to his mission as proclaiming ‘freedom for the prisoners’, ‘recovery of sight for the blind’ and ‘release for the oppressed’. This liberation came as part of ‘the year of the Lord’s favour’.

‘Favour’ equates with ‘grace’. The year of the Lord’s favour is the year of the Lord’s grace. Here in the coming of Christ, here in his message of redemption, his message of liberation, the grace of God, the underserved favour of God, finds its ultimate expression. Here we see the real redemption - the ultimate spiritual and eternal liberation and restoration that was symbolized in the images of financial and physical redemption in the Year of Jubilee in Leviticus 25.

The person who believes in Jesus Christ lives with this gift, this grace: that God, in an act that was immensely costly to himself, has redeemed us, liberated us, released us, from all that had previously held us in spiritual poverty and captivity.

This is redemption. This is his grace.

© Rosemary Bardsley 2009