THE PRICE OF OUR REDEMPTION
by Wayne S. Walker
"For the redemption of their souls is costly, and it shall cease forever" (Psalm 49:8). This Psalm by the Sons of Korah opens with a call for everyone to listen to wisdom (verses 1-4). Then the Psalmist asks, "Why should I fear in the days of evil, when the iniquity at my heels surrounds me?" (verse 5). Evidently what made the days of evil was "those who trust in their wealth and boast in the multitude of their riches" (verse 6). While such people may do much iniquity, there is no reason to fear them because "None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him" (verse 7). The fact of the matter is that the redemption of the soul is so costly that no one can redeem even himself let alone anyone else.
Yet, everyone has sinned (Romans 3:23). In so doing, we have made ourselves slaves to sin (Romans 6:16). And the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). This refers to eternal punishment in hell as a result of sin. Therefore, to escape this eternal punishment, we definitely need to be redeemed or bought back by God from slavery to sin. If we cannot be redeemed by ourselves or other mortals, how can we be redeemed? The answer is that the God who made us and loves us in spite of our sins has acted to provide redemption. "But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons" (Galatians 4:4-5).
However, redemption requires the paying of a price. What was the price that the Lord paid for our redemption? Paul said of Christ, "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace" (Ephesians 1:7). Truly, as the songwriter tells us, "Jesus paid it all! All to Him I owe! Sin hath left a crimson stain; He washed it white as snow" (Elvina M. Hall). No, I cannot redeem you nor you me; in fact, neither of us can redeem himself. But God has provided redemption through the blood of Christ which He shed as an atonement or ransom for our sins when He died on the cross. This is what Paul was talking about when he wrote, "…by grace you have been saved" (Ephesians 2:5).