All this week we are going to be examining how all three members of the Trinity are involved in our salvation. Yesterday, we saw that this process began in eternity when God the Father chose to save us. Today, we will turn our focus to the work of God the Son in redeeming us.
Redeemed by the Son (v.7-12)
We’ve already seen that the Father’s purpose in choosing us for salvation is so that we can be “holy and blameless before him.” (v.4) For this to happen, something must be done about our sin. Both the Old and New Testaments make it clear that no matter how hard we try, we can never overcome the problem of sin on our own. That’s why God the Father sent His Son, Jesus, to redeem us from our sin.
The word “redemption” in v.7 comes directly out of the slave trade. To redeem someone meant to buy their freedom through the payment of a ransom. This language captures our plight perfectly, because we’ve all been born under the captivity of sin. The Bible makes it clear that we have all rebelled against God’s rule in our lives and been taken captive by our sin nature.
Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We were created for the glory of God but sin has consistently and sometimes outrageously caused us to miss His mark. Even in times when we try to shoot straight and live honest lives, we end up misfiring and harming ourselves and/or others in the process. But into the midst of this desperate picture, there is good news. Jesus came to redeem us.
The price of our redemption in v. 7 is “His blood.” By taking our place on the cross, Jesus paid the penalty for our sin so that we can go free. His death is the ransom paid to buy our salvation. Paul captures the extravagance of this forgiveness observing that it is, “according to the riches of His grace, which he lavished upon us…” This is a picture of abundance. Of going above and beyond what was required. Instead of giving us the bare minimum amount of grace we needed, Jesus lavished His love upon us.
In verses 11-12 Paul turns his attention to the result of our salvation. The language of verse 11 presents a dilemma because it can be translated in two different ways. The most frequent translation of is, “In him we have obtained an inheritance…” Taken this way, the emphasis is on the assurance of salvation. By being adopted as the children of God we are qualified to be co-heirs with Jesus and our future inheritance is guaranteed. (see 1 Peter 1:3-4) For this reason the early church stood for prayer, symbolically showing they could approach God as a child would their Father — not begging or groveling but with their heads up, confident of their right to enter the throne room, as a beloved child.
But we could also translate the phrase as, “In him we have become an inheritance…” Here the emphasis is on what Jesus receives because of His faithfulness— namely, the saints. By taking the verse this way, the emphasis is on what we become because of our salvation. We become the beloved children of God through the election of God the Father and the redemption given to us by His Son. Once again, this translation fits well with other passages of Scripture. In John 6:37, for instance, Jesus refers to believers as gifts the Father has given to Him. In the Old Testament God speaks of Israel as being his inheritance. (Deut 4:10)
Because both translations have strong grammatical support and fit well with other passages of Scripture, it is impossible to choose which is best. But we really don’t have to, because both are true and they each have glorious implications for our lives. Having received an inheritance, we can be sure and certain about our future. But having become an inheritance, we can be equally assured that we are loved and cherished by God the Son. This brings us to the work of the third person of the Trinity in our salvation — the Father choses us, the Son redeems us and the Holy Spirit seals us. We will look at this aspect of our salvation tomorrow.