The Greeks Have A Word For It (Part 3)


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We are bought with a great price. We are bought from the slave market of sin. We are bought to be set free. Those were the facets of the diamond of redemption. We got the big picture from the three Greek verbs that the apostle Paul used to described redemption. We already learned what agarazo and exagorazo mean. Now we look at the third one, lytroo. 
Related to the verb “to loose” (luo), it carries the fullest meaning of redemption, namely, “to set free by the payment of a ransom.” …Jesus’ death [is] the redemption price that sets us free and motivates us to live for Him. … A related noun is apolytrosis, the act of buying a slave so that he is free. When a person believes in Christ, he or she is freed from the slavery to sin. [1]
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We were not bought to become slaves. We were bought to become free. This is the Greek word that Paul used in Ephesians 1:7. “In him we have redemption [from lytroo] through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace”. It is interesting to note that “to forgive” means “to release.” Combine the word “forgive” (“release”) with that concept of “redeem” (“buying a slave to set him free”) and we have a powerful picture of what it means to be redeemed. Free at last! Never to become a slave again! “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36) 

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Not only that we are redeemed from sin, we are redeemed for holiness. According to Titus 2:14, our Lord Jesus “gave himself for us to redeem [from lytroo] us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” Since we have been set free from sin’s hold on us, we should not enslaved ourselves to it again. “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:10) We are to live in obedience, not in disobedience. We should no longer go back to the way we were. According to 1 Peter 1:17-19, “And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time here as ‘temporary residents.’ For you know that God paid a ransom [from lytroo] to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.” (NLT) We were saved from an empty life. We are now to live a full life. Since we were set free from the prison of sin, we should not live with a prisoner’s mindset or lifestyle. We are to live as free men and women.
After creation God said, It is finished—and he rested. After redemption Jesus said, It is finished—and we can rest. 
(That’s according to Dr. Timothy Keller, dubbed as the “C.S. Lewis for the 21st Century” and the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City). If we think we can be saved by good works, we will have no rest. But if we believe that we are redeemed by the Lord’s death on the cross, then we will enjoy rest—freedom—for our souls.

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Significant Step 

Pray for an opportunity to share what you are learning about redemption to somebody else. Ask God for wisdom on how to stir your usual conversation towards spiritual matters.

NOTE: This is Day Four of the devotional guide (Volume 1, Issue 3) of our church, Filinvest Community Christian Fellowship, for the message last Sunday, March 15, on Know How Much You Are Worth Part 2” (“Significance” series, a verse-by-verse study of the book of Ephesians).

[1] Earl D. Radmacher, Salvation (TN: Word Publishing, 2000), 58. Italics his. Emphasis added.

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