Summary: Our redemption: Who paid the price and to whom was the ransom paid?.
When the Biblical subject of Redemption comes up, several questions come to mind. What is being redeemed? Redemption is from what? Redemption is for what? And Redemption is done by who? We are going to explore these questions and more this morning. But we need first to understand what the word “redemption” even means. Alister McGrath (a noted British theologian who wrote a few of my seminary books) said this about redemption:
Perhaps the most basic meaning of the concept of ‘redemption’ is ‘buying back’—as in the practice of redeeming slaves, a familiar event in New Testament times. At that time, people often sold themselves into slavery, sometimes for fixed periods, to raise much-needed funds for their family. A slave could redeem himself by buying his freedom. The Greek word used to describe this process could literally be translated as ‘being taken out of the forum [i.e. the slave market]’. The fundamental idea here is of restoring someone to a state of liberty, with the emphasis laid upon liberation rather than upon the means used to achieve it. In the Old Testament, God is often said to redeem his people. Again, the emphasis falls on the act of divine deliverance or liberation rather than upon its financial basis.
A basic theme throughout the Bible is that of “redemption.” From the very beginning, in the garden Man has sold himself to sin, we inherited our sin nature from Adam and we had indulged that sin nature and we have become slaves to sin. More and more we alienate ourselves from God. And do you know what? We could not help ourselves. There was nothing we could do about it. We were bound for hell and there was nothing we could do to stop. It would take something bigger than ourselves to save us, to redeem us from that fate that we ourselves have put ourselves in.
For those of us who know Jesus, I believe it will not be until we are in heaven, and in the presence of Jesus that we will fully understand how sinful our condition was. When we realize our inability to save ourselves; when we see the holiness of God and our just how sinful we are and our sinful condition would never allow us to ever earn our salvation; When we see the great love that God had for us redeeming us with the blood of Jesus and what a great price that was to pay; All this considered and realized when we step foot in heaven, I do believe that praising God, and lifting high the name of Jesus for all eternity will be a natural reaction for us.
We read about this in Revelation.
Revelation 5:9 (NKJV) And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation
Ill: Nicky Gumbel tells this story in his study course “Alpha,” of two men who grew up as best friends, except that their lives took divergent paths. One became a judge, and the other a criminal. At one point the criminal ends up in the Judge’s court. He is obviously guilty, but he was the judge’s friend. If the judge let him off, he would not be fulfilling his role of dispensing justice. So what he does is he sentences his friend to the appropriate fine for his crime, he then steps down from the bench, takes off his robe, and writes his friend a check for the amount of the fine in full. This is what God does in Jesus. He sentences us to death for our sins, but then steps down from heaven and pays for our sins in full with his death. 
In our focal passage today, the scene in heaven is that of the 24 elders, who represent the saved from all humanity singing praises to Jesus, to the Lamb who was slain, to open the scroll that held the future of the earth. They pointed out that Jesus: “For You were slain.” Jesus died on our behalf. Because of sin the debt we owe is death, our death.
Romans 6:23b (NKJV) For the wages of sin is death …
That began back in the garden. The penalty for violating God’s rules is death. Adam and Eve had only one rule and they violated it. The penalty of death. We are due the penalty of sin which is death. But:
2 Corinthians 5:21 (NKJV) For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Jesus was the Lamb, the sacrificial lamb, the Passover Lamb. As we enter this Easter season, we remember the Passover. When Pharaoh would not let the people go, God sent the death angel to kill the first born male of every household. The Jews were to slaughter a lamb, and put the blood on the doorposts of their house. The death Angel passed over all the houses with the blood on the door post.