When I was growing up, I remember my mother collecting S&H Green Stamps, which she received at grocery stores. These were redeemable for household items, personal items, and even toys.
Mother and I would sit at the dining room table, licking the stamps and applying them to the pages of the S&H Stamps redemption books. Occasionally, I would go with her the next day to the S&H Stamps Redemption Store, and she would give me one or two books of my own to “buy” something for helping her.
This was my first exposure to the idea of something (or someone) being redeemed, which simply meant that the stamps she had collected were exchanged for money or goods. But this falls far short of the biblical meaning of being redeemed.
So what do I mean when I say “we are redeemed?” According to Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary, redemption is “deliverance from captivity by means of a ransom price paid.” Before we became Christians, we were in bondage to sin and Satan. Jesus paid the “ransom price” by shedding His blood on the cross He paid what we owed and could not pay. Baker goes on to say, “The central theme of redemption is that God has taken the initiative to act compassionately on behalf of those who are powerless to help themselves.”
“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
What should be our response to Jesus’ gift of redemption? 1 Peter 1: 17-19 gives us the answer.
“Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”