Hebrews 10:1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
The Lord Jesus Christ bought His people from among the fallen sons of Adam, out of the hands of God’s offended justice, and delivered us from our sins by the shedding of His precious blood. This is redemption! Redemption is not something attempted, but something accomplished. It is not offered, but proclaimed. Everywhere in the Old Testament our redemption by Christ was pictured and portrayed as that which He would effectually accomplish for God’s elect, securing their everlasting salvation. Here are five pictures of redemption given in the Old Testament.
1. The Redemption of Israel Out of Egypt (Psalm 106:6-12) was a very special and remarkable type of our redemption by Christ out of a far worse state of bondage than that of Egypt. As the human race was brought into bondage by an act of sin, Israel was brought into Egyptian bondage by an act of sin, by the selling of Joseph. Israel was redeemed by the hand of Moses, a man God raised up to be their Deliverer (Acts 7:35), just as we were redeemed by the man Christ Jesus. The price of redemption was the blood of the paschal lamb (Exodus 12:13), even as “Christ our Passover” was sacrificed for us. The power of their redemption (deliverance) was the omnipotent hand of God (Exodus14:13-14; 15:1-2, 16), a picture of regeneration and conversion, the application of redemption, by God’s irresistible grace. This was a blood redemption. This was a particular redemption. And this was an effectual redemption.
2. The Atonement Money Paid by Israel (Exodus 30:11-16) — The numbering of the children ofIsrael and the atonement money they paid, so that no plague would come upon them, was typical of our ransom by Christ. None but Israelites were ransomed. A specific, numbered people were ransomed. The ransom price was the same for all. And all who were ransomed were preserved from any plague (Proverbs.12:21; Psalm 91:10).
3. The Kinsman Redeemer (Leviticus 25:47-49) — The buying again of an Israelite who, by reason of great poverty, had sold himself to another, by one of his near kinsman, is another good, beautiful picture of our redemption by Christ. We have sold ourselves into bondage. We cannot redeem ourselves. No friend is able, or has the right, to redeem us. But there is a near Kinsman who is both able and willing to redeem. That Kinsman is the Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior (Hebrews 7:25). He is a man. As such, He is our near Kinsman. The man Christ Jesus is also God the eternal Son. Being both God and man in one great and glorious Person, He is able to pay our debt. In order to do so, He willingly laid down His life to ransom us. The Lord Jesus is beautifully typified as our Kinsmen Redeemer in the story of Boaz and Ruth in the Book of Ruth.
4. The Deliverance of a Debtor from Prison (Isaiah 49:8-10; 61:1-3) was another picture of redemption by Christ. In ancient times a man in debt was liable to be arrested and cast into prison. There he would have to remain in bondage until his debt was paid, either by himself or by another. Our sins are debts. They are debts which we can never pay. We are all, therefore, shut up in debtor’s prison by nature. But Christ paid our debt and set us free! John Gill wrote, “Christ, as He has engaged to pay the debts of His people, has paid them, cleared the whole score, and blotted out the hand writing that was against them; in consequence of which is proclaimed, in the Gospel, liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; and in the effectual calling Christ says ‘to the prisoners, Go forth,’ opening the prison doors for them; and to them that sit in darkness, in the gloomy cells of the prison, ‘show yourselves;’ all which is done in virtue of the redemption price paid by Christ for His people.” Just as Paul assumed the debts of Onesimus (Philemon1:18), so Christ assumed the debts of God’s elect.
5. The Ransom of a Slave (Job 33:24; Zechariah9:11) in the Old Testament pictured the redemption and ransom of our souls by Christ. In the days of the Old Testament, godless men often took their slaves and threw them into deep pits at night. They would take them out of their pits only to perform slavish labor, or if a ransom price was paid. Christ has ransomed us and delivered us from the pit of slavery and corruption. We are all slaves to sin and Satan by nature. Our old master, the devil, kept us ever in the deep, dark pit of darkness and night, until Christ came to deliver us. The Lord Jesus Christ delivered us from the slavery of Satan and the pit of darkness, corruption, and sin by the power of His omnipotent grace. The price He paid for the deliverance of our souls was His own precious blood.
These five pictures of redemption, drawn for us by the pen of inspiration, teach us these two specific truths about redemption. May they be written upon our hearts by the finger of God.
- Sinners need a Redeemer. As we have just seen, sin as it is set forth in the Scriptures is a pit of bondage, slavery, and condemnation from which no man can deliver himself (Psalm 130:1; 69:1-2; Isaiah 51:1)
2. Redemption is deliverance from sin by the blood of Christ. All God’s elect were delivered from the penalty of sin at the cross. They are each delivered from the dominion of sin in regeneration and effectual calling. We shall be delivered from the being of sin in the death of these bodies. Finally, we shall be completely delivered from all the evil consequences of sin in resurrection glory!
This redemption is the unaided, unassisted, effectual work of Christ alone. — “Christ hath redeemed us!” In every picture we are given in the Old Testament, as well as in every explanation of redemption in the New Testament, redemption was made for a specific people and is an effectual work which always results in deliverance experienced. That is the doctrine of redemption taught in the Bible. The notion of a universal redemption, a redemption made even for those who suffer the wrath of God in hell, a redemption which redeems no one, accomplishes nothing, and secures nothing is as foreign to the Word of God as it is blasphemous.
Don Fortner, Pastor Grace Baptist Church Danville, Kentucky