The Expository Files


EF July 2016 

Understanding Redemption

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During the time of pre-civil war slavery, not only in this country but in some foreign lands, there were acts of benevolence quietly pursued in the interests of freedom. Sometimes called “Abolitionists Redemption,” slaves were sometimes purchased to be set free by their new “owners.” Little can be read about these quiet acts of benevolence, since those involved were subject to great risk. As the country moved away from the practice of slavery, it became more open and systematic. There was The District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act of 1862 to provide funds for such redemptions. It is also reported but not well documented, that some slaves freed by Abolitionists Redemption rejected the offer! Their desire was to remain in slavery. These stories awaken our appreciation for those willing to risk life and invest money, to free enslaved people.


These accounts may also help us understand redemption in the New Testament. Sinners are described as being “slaves of sin,” (Rom. 6:20). With the choice to transgress God’s law, there is an entrance into a way of life: bondage, slavery. The only way out of that way of life is redemption. The price is the life of the perfect Son of God. The offer of the gospel is, to take us out of slavery, so we can be free from sin to serve God and go to heaven.

Some do not accept the offer. They prefer to remain in bondage to sin. Those who accept the offer do so by the activity of faith: obedience to Jesus Christ (see Heb. 5:9, 1 Pet. 1:2). Once the offer is accepted by obedient faith, it is kept the same way: the activity of faith (see Gal. 2:20). The “scheme of redemption” as we sometimes call it, is just this simple. Yet, was much more costly than the dollars paid to free slaves.


17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, 18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you 21 who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 24 for

“All flesh is like grass
    and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
    and the flower falls,
25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.”

And this word is the good news that was preached to you.


 By Warren E. Berkley
The Front Page
 Expository Files 23.7; July 2016