© 1999 James A. Fowler

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I. Representative Biblical references to "redemption"

    A. Old Testament
        1. Hebrew words padah (to ransom), pidyon (ransom)
              Deut. 7:8 - "the Lord brought you out by a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house                   of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh of Egypt" (cf. 9:26; 13:5; 21:8)
              Ps. 78:42 - "His power, when He redeemed them from the adversary...in Egypt"
                  (cf. 49:7,8; 111:9)
              Isa. 1:27 - "Zion will be redeemed with justice" (cf. 35:10; 51:11)
              Hosea 13:14 - "I will redeem them from death" (cf. I Cor 15:55)
         2. Hebrew words kopher (ransom), kippur (to make atonement)
              Lev. 1:4 - "burnt offering accepted to make atonement"
              Lev. 16:6-34 - "make atonement for the sons of Israel for all their sins once every year"
              Dan. 9:24 - "make an end to sin, to make atonement...Messiah the Prince..."
         3. Hebrew words gaal (to ransom, redeem), guella (redemption), goel (redeemer)
              Ruth 2:20 - "the man is our relative, one of our redeemers"
              Ruth 4:14 - "the Lord who has not left you without a redeemer"
              Isa. 52:3 - "you will be redeemed without money"
              Isa. 59:20 - "a Redeemer will come to Zion"
    B. New Testament
         1. Greek words agorazo (to buy, purchase), exagorazo (to buy out, redeem)
              I Cor. 6:20; 7:23 - "bought with a price" (cf. II Pet. 2:1)
              Rev. 5:9 - "purchase for God with Thy blood"
              Gal. 3:13 - "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law"
              Gal. 4:5 - "He might redeem those who were under the Law"
         2. Greek words lutron (ransom price), lutroo (to ransom), lutrosis (redemption),
              lutrotes (redeemer)
              Matt. 20:28; Mk. 10:45 - "to give His life a ransom for many"
              Titus 2:14 - "redeem us from every lawless deed"
              Heb. 9:12 - "through His own blood...obtained eternal redemption"
              I Pet. 1:18,19 - "redeemed...with precious blood...of Christ"

II. Background considerations for understanding "redemption"

    A. Hebrew heritage most important for contextual background
         1. Hebrew concepts take priority
         2. Greek words have limited meaning of transactional purchase
         3. Early aberrations in Christian thought about redemption
              a. Over-emphasis of Greek thought - Who is paying? What is paid? Why is it paid? To                     whom is it paid? What is the result of the payment?
              b. Failure to apply balanced Hebrew concepts
              c. Led to crude, outlandish explanations
                  (1) God paid ransom to devil; stiffed him
                  (2) Jesus bought God's favor; paid Him off to enact legal fiction
    B. Physical analogies employed to express spiritual realities
         1. Must not push analogies too far
         2. Must maintain balance of all concepts
    C. Historical perspective must be maintained
         1. Condition of man from the Fall
              a. Why was redemption necessary?
              b. Why did Jesus have to die?
         2. Complete life of Jesus Christ
              a. Incarnation - perfect in Being
              b. Obedience - perfect in Behavior
              c. Death - Perfect in Benefit - remedial - for us
              d. Resurrection - Perfect in Benefit - restorative - in us

III. Essential elements for understanding "redemption"

    A. Event-payment redemption (padah) - Israel redeemed out of Egypt
         1. God's powerful intervention for man in grace
         2. Triumphal event of rescue and deliverance
         3. Substitutionary sacrificial offering
         4. Satisfactory payment of equivalence ­ first-born
         5. Redeemed out of slavery, bondage, oppression
         6. Judgment on repressive power
         7. New covenant relationship and kingdom
    B. Ritual-sacrifice redemption (kopher) - Day of Atonement
         1. Legal standards of God's character violated
         2. God's establishes means for dealing with transgression
         3. Fault not canceled, but covered by vicarious offering
         4. God provides both priest and sacrifice; Lord and lamb
         5. Innocent is sacrificed for guilty
         6. Redeemed out of defilement, guilt, estrangement
         7. God is satisfied; man is reinstated and restored
    C. Relational-emancipation redemption (gaal) - Ruth redeemed by Boaz
         1. God is identified with His people
         2. God takes the initiative and responsibility to restore what was intended for people
         3. Redeemer is one of us; a kinsman
         4. Redeemer is vindicator, avenger, emancipator, advocate
         5. Redeemed out of indebtedness, bondage, loss of what previously belonged to us
         6. Restoration to full inheritance

IV. Necessity of a balanced perspective of "redemption"

    A. Event-payment (padah)
         1. without ritual-sacrifice results in dualistic ransom to devil
         2. without relational-emancipation results in historicism of events and theological benefits               bestowed
    B. Ritual-sacrifice (kopher)
         1. without event-payment results in placating and appeasing angry, vindictive god by               meritorious human mediation
         2. without relational-emancipation results in ritualistic superstition or an overly objectified               "legal fiction"
    C. Relational-emancipation (gaal)
         1. without event-payment results in mere moral influence or existentialism
         2. without ritual-sacrifice results in mystic absorption of man into the divine, or human               deification
    D. Contemporary need to recognize the ontological factors of relational- emancipation alongside
         of epistemological factors of event-payment and ritual-sacrifice.



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