In most of our song books there are several that deal with the subject of

redemption. Whether they say, “I will sing of my Redeemer,” “I know

that my Redeemer lives,” “How I love the great Redeemer,” “Redeemed,

how I love to proclaim it,” “I’m redeemed” or some other words that either

point to His love or our reception of it, they suggest a wonderful theme.

It is doubtful, however, that very many of those who sing these songs have

ever studied in depth what is involved in the words that are used in the Bible

to describe the action or condition of redemption. There are at least four

words translated “redeemed” and one translated “ransom” that shed light

on some aspects of the subject.

First, there is the word “agorazo” found three times in the New Testament

as in Revelation 5:9, “For thou wast slain and hast redeemed us to God by thy

blood.” The literal meaning of the word is “to purchase at the market place.”

To those who were accustomed to slavery, it called to mind a slave, sold under

sin as a servant of the Devil. Our Lord left the glorious portals of heaven and

came to the market place of sin and bought us with His blood. It involves the

fact that the One who was in the form of God counted not being on equality

with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself (Colossians 2:6-7). As

we study it,we may emphasize God’s part ours. We may concentrate on the

gracious love of One who became obedient unto death, even the death of the

cross. Or we may choose to emphasize that since He bought us, we belong to

Him, body, soul and spirit. That calls for meditation in two directions: first,

the wonderful joy and privilege of belonging to and being cared for by such a

One. Second, the great responsibility we have to act as if we and all we have

are His. Any detailed study of the thoughts in the last three sentences would

make at least a very long article.

The next word we could examine which is translated “redemption” is

“exagorazo,” found four times in such expressions as Galatians 3:13,

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law.” An exegesis of the four

passages could take four articles or sermons, but we are concerned at this time

merely with emphasizing the meaning and implications of the term. The

preposition “ex” was added to the word to suggest “buying out of the market

place.” “Agorazo” is primarily involved with simply purchasing the slave and

the change of ownership. “Exagorazo” is involved with the idea of removing

the slave from the market place of sin. As Jesus put it in John 17:11-16, we are

in the world, but not of the world. We are a called out people. He redeemed us

in our sins in the sense that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for the

ungodly” (Romans 5:6-8). But he saved us from our sins (Matthew1:21) and

took us from the market place of sin. Any extended comments on it would

surely include the thought Paul expressed in Romans 6:17-18, “But thanks be

to God, that, whereas ye were servants of sin, ye became obedient from the

heart to that form of teaching whereunto ye were delivered; and being made

free from sin, ye became servants of righteousness.” All of that, and more

is suggested by “exagorazo” for we were bought in the market place as

servants of sin, but are taken out of the market place to be servants of


The third word, “lutroo,” used three times, signifies setting free as a

result of the price paid. It is translated “redeem” as in Titus2:14, “Who

gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify

unto himself a people for his own possession, zealous of good works.” One

difference in the significance of this word and the first two is that they

relate to the act of paying for us or purchasing us with His blood. This

one relates to the result of the payment. In its fullest meaning, it

represents the assurance that “if the Son of Man makes you free, then

you are free indeed (John8:36). That is, a Christian has been bought in

the market place, taken out of the market place and set free, and now

has the privilege of being a voluntary bondservant of a new Master.

It is our judgment that these three words are used to suggest three

great significant thoughts related to our redemption. First, there is a

sense in which the price was paid (agorazo), but the slave to sin was not

necessarily set free. This is what Paul meant when he said in Titus 2:11,

“The grace of God hath appeared, bringing salvation unto all men.”

Salvation has been brought, the price has been paid, but not all men

accepted it. Millions are still lost, although Jesus paid the

price. Second, the more intensive form of the verb which is formed by

combining the verb with the preposition, suggests that the price was paid

with a view to removing us from the power and influence of the world.

Third, not only was the price paid, and our release was obtained, but

now we have the privilege of presenting ourselves as bondservants to a

righteous redeemer.

Another word, “apolutrosis,” is used nine times, and translated

“redemption” as in Hebrews 9:15, “For this cause he is the mediator

of a new covenant, that by means of death for the redemption of the

transgressions that were under the first covenant.” Not only were we

redeemed by the blood of Christ, but all those under the Old Covenant

who accepted God’s way were also redeemed by His blood. They had

to if they were redeemed at all, forĀ  “It is not possible for

the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin” (Hebrews 10:4. One can

understand how the Bible can speak of God forgiving persons in the Old

Testament, for in the purpose of God, Christ’s blood was shed from the

foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4-7).

In 1 Timothy 2:6, Paul says, “Who gave himself a ransom for all.”

The word “antilutron” used here probably differs from the “lutron” of

Titus2:14primarily in this respect: Titus2:14merely signifies the

payment of a ransom, whereas 1 Timothy 2:6 refers to the payment of

a ransom in a full and corresponding price. This is but a small sampling

of expressions that show in variegated colors and multifaceted

splendor some of the things did as He redeemed us from sin, its guilt,

power, burden and bondage.

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