Summary: Looking at the doctrine of redemption, what that means to us as Christians and how we should live in light of being redeemed.
Cans, Coupons and Christians
Text: Ephesians 1:7 – 10
By: Ken McKinley
When Presidents leave office one of the last acts they usually perform are Presidential pardons. Sometimes people agree with the Presidential pardons, but I would dare say that most of the time, us regular folks don’t. Every once in-awhile the President gets it right and the right people will be set free (like President Bush’s clemency of Ramos and Compean), but again I would say that more often than not the pardons given by our Presidents cause a bit of a stir; and when we hear about them or read about them in the paper, you might feel slighted or even angry. Most of the people that a President will pardon are guilty as can be, and that is why sometimes we do get upset.
Now let me just tell you before we get too deep into this sermon, if the idea of pardoning guilty criminals bothers you, even in the slightest way, then our passage this morning might make you feel a little bit uncomfortable.
Now we’ve been talking about God’s love and the various ways that His love is shown to us, and displayed. Our text begins by saying that in Him, we have redemption. That word “redemption” is a word that we don’t use too much today. The meaning of it has been lost by most people today. It’s been replaced by words like “recycle” or “refund.”
When I was a kid we used to save our aluminum cans so that we could redeem them. I think we would get something like 10 or 15 cents a can – I don’t really remember; but I do remember that we would save every can we came across throughout the year, and at one point during the year (around November) we would take all those cans in and redeem them. In other words we would take them in and the scrap yard would buy them back from us.
In the Bible the idea of redemption came from ancient warfare. Captives were made slaves and put to work. Some of those captives however were important people in their homeland, and so the homeland would bargain with the country or kingdom that held them captive, and eventually a ransom would be paid. There are 3 Greek words in the New Testament that help us understand redemption.
The first one is agoradzoo. This word literally means to buy from the market. And it had to do with buying a slaves freedom from their owner. We see it being used in Revelation chapter 5:9 (read). So we can see that Christians are like slaves being bought at an auction block. We have been bought with a great price.
The next word is almost the same: exagoradzoo: It not only means to be bought but to be taken out of the slavery. We see this in Galatians 4:4-5 (read). That word “redeem” means to be bought out of slavery, bought away from our previous owner, and then set free. We have been bought with a great price and set free from the curse of the law. But this word we see in our text; the word “redemption” actually goes one step further. It is the Greek word Apolutrosis, and it not only means to be bought from our former master, and it not only means to be set free, but it’s talking about paying a ransom, a high price.