Join me for the greatest theme in all the Bible—the redemption of lost sinners by the God who so loved the world that he gave His Son to die on a cross and shed His blood to pay the price of sin! And where better to see that theme than the way we will be—singing the new song of our worthy redeemer.
Last time we saw that in the Roman Empire that surrounds the New Testament, when ever a person was convicted of a crime the law courts would produce a “certificate of debt” that listed the exact crime and the punishment that had to be paid before the criminal would be freed. The convicted criminal or debtor would have to sign the certificate and acknowledge the debt or punishment for the crime was rightfully his. This certificate of debt was then nailed to the door of the cell where they were imprisoned until their sentence was completed and the crimes were “paid” for.
This is exactly the legal imagery that Paul draws upon in Colossians 2:13-14. The word handwriting in v. 13 is the exact word for the list of crimes and/or debts the person was responsible for. Jesus took each of those “Certificates of Debt” upon Himself as He hung upon that cross. “Believers’ sins were all put to Christ’s account, nailed to His cross as He paid the penalty in their place for them all, thus satisfying the just wrath of God against crimes requiring punishment in full”.
So as God the Father looked down at Christ He saw your sins and mine. John calls it “the sin of the world”. It was the totality of the sin of all humans that was nailed on Christ’s Cross. That was Jesus declaring that He was guilty of every sin listed off for everyone of us and all who would ever live.
Now turn to the record of Christ’s death upon the cross. The climactic end of Christ’s redemption as the Lamb of God was captured by John as he stood at the foot of the Cross. Looking up through the darkness he heard and recorded Christ’s one word.
John 19:30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.
In English we say “it is finished”; but in Greek those words are summed up in the single word that John heard Christ gasp on the cross—tetelestai.
Tetelestai was Jesus declaring to God His Father that the price of salvation was paid; and the debt of the sin of the world was paid; and the work of redemption was complete.
Again this word was a word that was very familiar to those of the New Testament times. This word tetelestai should burn into our hearts and minds because it was exactly the same word that a Roman judge would write on a criminals certificate of debt when he was released from prison—tetelestai, you debt to the Roman law is paid in full.
It is the same word that would be written on the certificate of a slave who had been enslaved to pay off a debt—tetelestai, your debt is paid in full, you may now go forth as a free man!
Paid in full is what Jesus cried from the cross of His redemption as the work of salvation was once and for all time completed; and paid in full is what He declares each time we come to Him confessing our sins.
Paid in full is what Jesus our advocate says while standing before God the Father as Satan the Accuser points out yet another time we have sinned.
One word captures the essence of our salvation this morning, and that word is redemption.
Redemption involves the blood of Jesus shed as He died on the Cross to pay the purchase price of our salvation. So redemption sums up Christ’s death, His blood shed, His life given as a substitutionary sacrifice. So if any portion of salvation can be ranked as any more vital than any other—redemption would be at the top of the list.
Please stand and follow along as we read these words:
Revelation 5:9-12 And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 10 And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.” 11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands,12 saying with a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!”
Revelation 14:2-4 And I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder. And I heard the sound of harpists playing their harps.3 They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth. 4 These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb.
Remember the illustration of the “Big Three Doctrines” from youth ministry many years ago? The big three we need to always understand are: redemption, justification, and sanctification.
We started life on earth as dead in our trespasses and sin (pictured by my pen laying on the palm of my hand); redemption is when Jesus reached down and bought us out of the slave market of sin (that is my hand grasping the pen); justification is Jesus lifting me to be seated with Him already in Heaven, we are completely freed from the penalty and record of our sin; sanctification is God forever binding our souls into His grasp and pulling us closer and closer to Him until at the end of our earthly life, He safely lands us into His Presence for ever.
OPEN THE GIFT OF REDEMPTION
Because of our sin—we are all slaves in bondage to sin and death; so we need Christ’s payment of His death to buy us and take us out of the slave market of sin.
In Redemption we go from being a slave chained to our sins to complete freedom by God and a new focus.
We need to experience what the Scriptures often declare—God has liberated us from our slavery to sin, broken sins chains that long had enslaved us and freed us to focus our lives on what really matters to Him.
- Romans 3:24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus”. Because I’m redeemed—Jesus destroyed the records of my sins and took my punishment.
- Romans 8:23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. Because I’m redeemed—I have a new body coming!
- 1 Corinthians 1:30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption. This verse summarizes the three tenses of our salvation. In the past we have been saved from the penalty of sin (righteousness); and in the present we are being saved from the power of sin (sanctification); and in the future we shall be saved from the presence of sin (redemption). Because I’m redeemed—Jesus is all I need!
- 1 Corinthians 6:20 “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s”. Christ bought me from the slave market with a high price—I belong to God.
- Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace. Since we have not been saved by our good works, we cannot be lost by our bad works. Because I’m redeemed—my sins are forgiven forever.
- Ephesians 2:10 “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them”. Because Christ bought me in redemption—I am God’s workmanship.
- Philippians 1:6 “…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ”. Because I’m redeemed—God will finish what He started in me.
- Colossians 2:13-14 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Because I’m redeemed—my sin debt is forever paid in full.
- Titus 2:14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. Because I’m redeemed—I am set free from every bondage to be zealous for God!
- Revelation 5:9-12 And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 10 And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.” 11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands,12 saying with a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!” Because I’m redeemed—I will worship the Lord forever!
As you begin each day one of our greatest privileges is to open and enjoy the gift of salvation God has given to us.
By faith we please God when we believe what He’s said about us. We need to not live by what others say or have said about us all your life.
Satan is the Accuser and wants us to only remember all the many times we have fallen; Satan delights in the days, weeks, or months he can keep us condemning ourselves for what we’ve done. That is his plan, so don’t fall for it. Resist Satan as you believe the truth; speak the truth; and preach the Gospel to yourself.
And when ever we fall down, God says to just turn back to Him and repent, confessing our sin immediately–and believe that what God has promised in His salvation. We are forgiven, justified, regenerated, reconciled, adopted, redeemed, and sanctified. That makes us precious in His sight, special in His plan.
One of the most powerful habits you could grow is to take this list of the ramifications of having received the only gift everyone really needs and rejoice by faith in your great salvation!
Keep this list in your Bible, at home, on your computer, put one on your mirror where you start your day, and in your car. Where ever you need to keep reminding yourself of what great things God has promised and done through Christ’s death for us!
Slowly as you understand and lay hold on these truths a life-changing transformation take place in our minds, and then in our emotions, and finally throughout our entire life as we live each day based on God’s eternal truth.
John F. MacArthur, Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible, (Dallas: Word Publishing) 1997.