Imagine for a moment that one of your children is missing and you later get word that they are being held hostage. Perish the thought because that would be a nightmare for any parent to just think about. But imagine that scenario and ask yourself what would you be willing to pay to get the child released? I remember cases where the parents have spent their all trying to obtain the release of a child in such a situation.
Romans 6:6 describes the faithful Christian’s former state as children being in a similar state of being held hostage. It describes the sinner’s circumstances as being held captive or slaves to sin.
A few verses before that we find, “being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” This phrase is found in Romans 3:24. And it makes for a thrilling study. Let us note very briefly the words of this passage.
Being – the word is in the present tense in the Greek which means it is happening now, even as we read the words, i.e. it is continuously occurring.
Justified – a dear friend once said he thought of this phrase as “just as if I’d” never sinned.
Freely – whereas it is said of Joseph in Genesis 39:4 that he found favor or grace in the sight of his master, this was because of something Joseph did. His master saw that what Joseph did prospered and because of that the master favored Joseph. The grace of Romans 3:24 is freely given; it is not because of what we can do for GOD.
Grace – grace is sometimes defined as what we need but don’t deserve. Titus 2:11-12, tells us this grace has appeared to all men. Sadly, all will not accept it.
Which brings us to the word redemption. The Greek word translated redemption is the word apolytrosis. The meaning of this word is to release on a payment of ransom.
Man, being held captive to sin, cannot pay his own ransom. But Christ paid it for us. He redeemed us from being slaves of sin with His blood. While the grace we receive from GOD is freely given to us, it was not free for Christ. He paid dearly for our ransom.
The last words of the phrase are “in Christ.” We must note that the redemption is found only in Christ Jesus. Paul uses the phrase, in Christ, in Him, etc. 169 times in his writings. It is found 12 times in one sentence alone in Ephesians 1:3-12.
So while we are thrilled that Someone was willing to pay our ransom we must realize the necessity of being “in Him” in order to receive the pardon.
How do we get “into” Him? Romans 6:3-4 describes the process clearly. We are baptized “into” Christ; that baptism representing a burial. Symbolically, our old man serving sin was crucified with Him and we are no longer slaves of sin. We are raised from our watery grave of baptism to walk in newness of life no longer being held hostage to sin. My ransom was paid. I hope yours has been too.
What a thrilling thought to begin my day!