the purchase back of something that had been lost, by the payment of a ransom. The Greek word so rendered is apolutrosis, a word occurring nine times in Scripture, and always with the idea of a ransom or price paid, i.e., redemption by a lutron (see Mt 20:28; Mr 10:45). There are instances in the LXX. Version of the Old Testament of the use of lutron in man's relation to man (Le 19:20; 25:51; Ex 21:30; Nu 35:31-32; Isa 45:13; Pr 6:35), and in the same sense of man's relation to God (Nu 3:49; 18:15).
There are many passages in the New Testament which represent Christ's sufferings under the idea of a ransom or price, and the result thereby secured is a purchase or redemption (comp. Ac 20:28; 1Co 6:19-20; Ga 3:13; 4:4-5; Eph 1:7; Col 1:14; 1Ti 2:5-6; Tit 2:14; Heb 9:12; 1Pe 1:18-19; Re 5:9). The idea running through all these texts, however various their reference, is that of payment made for our redemption. The debt against us is not viewed as simply cancelled, but is fully paid. Christ's blood or life, which he surrendered for them, is the "ransom" by which the deliverance of his people from the servitude of sin and from its penal consequences is secured. It is the plain doctrine of Scripture that "Christ saves us neither by the mere exercise of power, nor by his doctrine, nor by his example, nor by the moral influence which he exerted, nor by any subjective influence on his people, whether natural or mystical, but as a satisfaction to divine justice, as an expiation for sin, and as a ransom from the curse and authority of the law, thus reconciling us to God by making it consistent with his perfection to exercise mercy toward sinners" (Hodge's Systematic Theology).
This term signifies 'being set free, brought back.' God having smitten the firstborn of the Egyptians, claimed all the firstborn of Israel, and received the Levites instead of them; but there not being an equivalent number of the Levites, the residue of the firstborn were redeemed by money: they were thus set free. Nu 3:44-51. So the land, or one who sold himself, could be redeemed. Le 25:23-24,47,54. The Israelites were redeemed out of Egypt by the mighty power of God. Ex 15:13. From thence the subject rises to the redemption of the soul or life, forfeited because of sin. Man cannot give to God a ransom for his brother: for the redemption of the soul is precious, or costly, and it (that is, redemption) ceaseth, or must be given up, for ever: that is, all thought of attempting to give a ransom must be relinquished
REDEMPTION denotes our recovery from sin and death by the obedience and sacrifice of Christ, who, on this account, is called the Redeemer. "Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus," Ro 3:24. "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us," Ga 3:13. "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace," Eph 1:7. "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish, and without spot," 1Pe 1:18-19. "And ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price, 1Co 6:19-20.
By redemption, those who deny the atonement made by Christ wish to understand deliverance merely, regarding only the effect, and studiously putting out of sight the cause from which it flows. But the very terms used in the above cited passages, "to redeem," and "to be bought with a price," will each be found to refute this notion of a gratuitous deliverance, whether from sin or punishment, or both. Our English word, to redeem, literally means "to buy back;" and ??????, to redeem, and ???????????, redemption, are, both in Greek writers and in the New Testament, used for the act of setting free a captive, by paying ??????, a ransom or redemption price. But, as Grotius has fully shown, by reference to the use of the words both in sacred and profane writers, redemption signifies not merely "the liberation of captives," but deliverance from exile, death, and every other evil from which we may be freed; and ?????? signifies every thing which satisfies another, so as to effect this deliverance. The nature of this redemption or purchased deliverance, (for it is not gratuitous liberation, as will presently appear,) is, therefore, to be ascertained by the circumstances of those who are the subjects of it. The subjects in the case before us are sinful men. They are under guilt, under "the curse of the law," the servants of sin, under the power and dominion of the devil, and "taken captive by him at his will," liable to the death of the body and to eternal punishment. To the whole of this case, the redemption, the purchased deliverance of man, as proclaimed in the Gospel, applies itself. Hence, in the above cited and other passages, it is said, "We have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins," in opposition to guilt; redemption from "the curse of the law;" deliverance from sin, that "we should be set free from sin;" deliverance from the power of Satan; from death, by a resurrection; and from future "wrath," by the gift of eternal life. Throughout the whole of this glorious doctrine of our redemption from these tremendous evils there is, however, in the New Testament, a constant reference to the ??????, the redemption price,
which ?????? is as constantly declared to be the death of Christ, which he endured in our stead, "The Son of man came to give his life a ransom for many," Mt 20:28. "Who gave himself a ransom for all," 1Ti 2:6. "In whom we have redemption through his blood," Eph 1:7. "Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ," 1Pe 1:18-19. That deliverance of man from sin, misery, and all other penal evils of his transgression, which constitutes our redemption by Christ, is not, therefore, a gratuitous deliverance, granted without a consideration, as an act of mere prerogative; the ransom, the redemption price, was exacted and paid; one thing was given for another, the precious blood of Christ for captive and condemned men. Of the same import are those passages which represent us as having been "bought," or "purchased" by Christ. St. Peter speaks of those "who denied the Lord ??? ?????????? ??????, that bought them;" and St. Paul, in the passage above cited, says, "Ye are bought with a price, ??????????;" which price is expressly said by St. John to be the blood of Christ: "Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God (????????, hast purchased us) by thy blood," Re 5:9.