Redeem: gain or regain possession of (something) in exchange for payment
We sing about this word in church—“Redeemed, redeemed, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb; redeemed, redeemed, His child and forever I am.” We read this word in the Bible—“But thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt, and the Lord thy God redeemed thee thence…” It described the Israelites when God freed them from their slavery in Egypt and returned them to their Promised Land, but it also describes the Christians of all ages. What Jesus did for us on the cross by dying for our sins was redemption—the only acceptable price to regain possession of fallen man .
Revelation 5:9 “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy…for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.”
The word redeemed ought therefore to be very precious to us, because it reminds us of Jesus Christ’s incredible gift that bought us back from the cruel service of sin. Even more incredible to me is the meaning one could draw from the face value of the word—“re-deemed.” (I revel in etymologies and definitions, so forgive me if I get carried away with the thrill of word surgery.)
The prefix “re-” means “back, again.” The root word “deem” means “to judge, reckon, think, condemn, estimate, to form an opinion.” So we could define “redeem” as “to judge again, to form a second estimate, to think back, to reevaluate.” Basically, God gave us a second chance. He knew what we were and what people thought of us; He saw our sin-stained souls and wrecked lives. But then He chose to look a second time through a different lens—the lens of love—and see us as we could be, what we were capable of in His hands. He chose to salvage us for refurbishing, just like those people who root through dumpsters for castoff furniture to restore to former glory.
Isaiah 62:12 “And they shall call them, The holy people, the redeemed of the Lord: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken.”
When we become God’s children, we are no longer orphans, castaways, worthless. No matter what stage or status we are in, we now have been given worth through the adoption of God the Father.
Isaiah 43:1 “Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.”
For those of us who often struggle with confidence and security, the reminder of God’s redemption should be our sweetest comfort. Our self-esteem no longer rests in what we can do, but what God can do through us—“Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.” This world is full of people chasing after a feeling of worth by accumulating as many friends, lovers, paycheck figures, and possessions as they can. The guy with the rarest sportscars wins. The girl with the most expensive outfit wins. The celebrity who has broken the most hearts is the epitome of admiration. When you think about it—one child of God is worth more than all the billionaires in history. Because the God who created our universe has reevaluated us and changed our value to the highest price. The God who gave us life gave up his life so we could have worth. So we could lift our heads from the weight of insecurity and walk in dignity with God as our confidence.
It’s as if a house were first assessed by an average bystander and pronounced condemned—but then assessed a second time by a professional. The professional evaluator knows what to look for when attributing worth. He sees a rare blueprint to preserve, special details to salvage, historical interest or even personal intrigue, that changes his mind from condemning it to rescuing it. That’s how God is with us. He rethinks our value. He sees past our broken exterior. He “re-deems” us.
Romans 8:31-32, 35, 37 “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”