Forward: Words have Meaning

The concept of redemption is central in Christianity. Unfortunately, the average American does not have the foggiest idea as to the meaning of redemption, or salvation for that matter. Actually redemption and salvation are inseparably connected. The current neglect of the liberal arts in our educational institutions has produced a generation (and perhaps two or more generations) ignorant of both classical literature as well as the Bible. I say this because our classical literature is based on the assumption that one is familiar with the Book of Books (i.e. the Bible).


Words have meaning. Our "redeem" comes from the Latin "redimere" meaning to "buy back." If we pawn a favorite item, we redeem or buy it back. In the context of Christianity it is defined as, "Save from sin, error, or evil." The Good Lord knows America needs to be saved from all three. Furthermore, "redeemer" is defined as "a person who redeems someone or something (the Redeemer) Christ."


Back to the pawn shop analogy. Man has pawned his soul for sin, i.e. "The pleasures of sin for a season" (Hebrews 11:25). Man is lost because of sin, for as Paul expressed it, "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). This is where the analogy breaks down - only Christ can pay the price for our sins and therefore redeem our souls from perdition.

Man has always, at least in olden times, tended to make sacrifices to the gods. The sacrifice was usually to gain favor, appease an angry god for transgression or sin, etc. The Old Testament sacrificial system was varied and complicated. It included burnt offerings, sin offerings, thank offerings, trespass offerings, etc. Christianity culminates in the sacrifice of Christ for the sins of mankind (Hebrews 9:28).


Redemption has to do with the Judgment Day of Almighty God, our sins against Him, and the sacrifice Christ made for us on the cross. Hebrews 9:27-28 puts it this way, "as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation." This is God's scheme of redemption for a lost and dying world.


Dale I. Royal, Elk City OK