by John MacArthur
Jesus Christ didn’t set aside His glory and come into the world to be a good teacher, a countercultural philosopher, a political revolutionary, a social activist, or any of the other skewed legacies the world attempts to foist on Him. In fact, His true legacy isn’t for us to determine or discover at all. It’s already spelled out on the pages of Scripture.
We have been looking at the Person and work of Christ—and particularly His death on the cross—from the perspective of heaven. We’ve already seen that Jesus’ death was a sacrifice, a substitute, a submission, and a satisfaction. Today we’ll see how it was also a salvation.
Through Christ’s sacrifice, believers have been rescued from Satan’s kingdom of darkness and delivered to the kingdom of God. We’ve been removed from the pathway of His wrath and set aside for glory, blessing, and eternal communion with Him. In a word, we’ve been saved. That salvation is best understood in terms of two words: redeemed and ransomed.
The word redeemed means to purchase, and it was often used in New Testament times when referring to slaves. Redeeming a slave meant you had paid for his freedom. In His death on the cross, Christ purchased our freedom (Acts 20:28), not from physical slavery but from slavery to sin. As Peter writes in 1 Peter 1:18-19, “you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.
Paul described that payment as the “redemption which is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24). He writes in Titus 2:14 that Jesus “gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.”
The word ransom is a little more familiar to us. It refers to the price that must be paid to purchase another person’s release from captivity. Matthew 20:28 says, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” In 1 Timothy 2:6, Paul writes that Jesus “gave Himself as a ransom for all.” Christ’s death was the price of purchasing our salvation from the clutches of sin.
But those two simple terms become confused if we lose sight of whom Christ was paying that ransom to. Many people assume the payment pacified the devil. But it’s not the devil who demands a punishment for sin.
It’s God who destroys both body and soul in hell (Matthew 10:28). It’s God who is the final adjudicator of every life. And it’s God who will ultimately judge the whole of humanity. The ransom Christ paid to redeem believers from the penalty of their sins was not due Satan—it was due God.
God the Father set the price for our redemption. He alone determined how to buy people back from the penalty of their sins. As we’ve seen previously in this series, that penalty was death. And through the sacrificial death of Christ, God was able to satisfy His wrath and redeem His people. Christ bore our curse in order to buy our salvation (Galatians 3:13). Hallelujah, what a Savior!