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The ancient history of Israel was designed by God to reveal His plan of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ. Over centuries God instituted rituals, events, and practices that would become the images we need for understanding the meaning of salvation. One of those practices was the practice of redemption.

In pre-Christian Israel a Jewish person, brought to the point of destitution, could sell himself into slavery to pay off a debt and have a means of survival. However, God required that such an unfortunate soul could be bought out of slavery, either by himself or by a sympathetic friend or family member. A price had to be paid for such freedom and that price was called a ransom.

Slavery, then, was a metaphor for what sin does to us. Sin enslaves. It masters us, demeans us, binds us, controls us, victimizes us, and brutalizes us. It makes us less than we are meant to be. We are slaves to sin and unable to break free of it. We are in desperate need of redemption but we are not able to buy ourselves out of slavery.

The Bible teaches that the death of Jesus on the cross was for our redemption. Jesus defined this as his purpose in coming to earth, “The Son of Man (came) … to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). When we come to faith in Christ we do not become sinless but sin is no longer our master. In fact, we have a new master, the Lord Jesus, whom we serve out of love and not fear. We enjoy a wonderful sense of freedom to be everything God designed us to be and that begins right here on earth.

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