"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace ..." (Ephesians 1:7)
This lesson explains the biblical definition of redemption, that Jesus Christ has paid the price for our redemption, and that our redemption is a free gift from God.
Consider. Think for a moment. How would you define redemption in your own words? How would you explain your redemption through Christ to an inquisitive unbeliever or a new Christian?
1. Redemption is the action of buying back or repurchasing what was previously forfeited or lost.
The transliteration of the Greek word for redemption in Ephesians 1:7 is apolutrosis (ap-ol-oo'-tro-sis) (Ref. 1). HELPS Word-studies states that apolutrosis (redemption) literally means buying back from, repurchasing what was previously forfeited (or lost) (Ref. 1). Jesus said, "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost" (Luke 19:10).
In the New Testament, the primary idea in redemption is deliverance from bondage, specifically the bondage of sin (John 8:34-36, Ref. 2). "Into that bondage man has plunged himself; God’s mercy redeems him from it at an unspeakable price" (John 3:16, 1 Peter 1:17-19, Ref. 2).
2. Redemption is effected by the payment of ransom. Jesus Christ has paid the ransom price -- his blood -- for our redemption.
The Strong's Concordance definition of apolutrosis (redemption) is a release effected by payment of ransom (Ref. 1). The transliteration of the Greek word for ransom is lutron (loo'-tron), which literally is the ransom money (price) to free a slave (Ref. 3, HELPS Word-studies). Jesus Christ has paid the lutron, the ultimate "liberty price" -- the blood of Christ -- to purchase (ransom) believers, freeing them (us) from all slavery (bondage) to sin (Ref. 3). Jesus said, "For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45).
Consider these cross references:
1 Peter 1:18-19 -- "Know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from the fathers, not with perishable things like silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish."
Hebrews 9:11-12 -- "But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things having come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made by hands, that is, not of this creation; 12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all time, having obtained eternal redemption."
3. According to Ephesians 1:7, we (believers in Christ) have redemption through the blood of Christ and the forgiveness of our trespasses according to the riches of God's grace.
Strong's Concordance defines grace as a gift or blessing brought to man by Jesus Christ (Ref. 4). Thus, our redemption by Jesus Christ is a free gift from God to us, believers in Christ, according to the riches [abundance] of God's grace (Ephesians 1:7, Ref. 5).
Even though God's grace-full gift of redemption to us was free, that free gift of redemption was immensely costly to God (John 3:16, 1 Peter 1:18-19).
Summary - the Main Principles in this Lesson:
1. Redemption is the action of buying back or repurchasing what was previously forfeited or lost.
2. Redemption is effected by payment of ransom. Jesus Christ has paid the ransom price -- his blood -- for our redemption.
3. We (believers in Christ) have redemption through the precious blood of Christ and the forgiveness of our trespasses according to the riches of God's grace. Redemption is a free gift from God to us.
4. Although our redemption by God is a free gift from God to us, that free gift was immensely costly to God -- it cost the precious blood of God's only Son, Jesus Christ.
Apply. How will you purpose to live today and each day in light of your redemption by Jesus Christ, God's Son? Give thanks for God's gracious gift of redemption.
Image Source: Ref. 1
"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake." (Psalm 23:1-3)
"I am the good shepherd." (John 10:11, 14)
This article describes the author background and then the scripture allusions for verse 1 of the hymn, "Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us." This article is the first in a series on this theologically-rich children's hymn. Reference 2 describes the scripture allusions in verse 2 of "Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us."
Hymn Text Author
Researchers do not know for sure the circumstances about how the text for "Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us" was written; however, researchers attribute this beloved hymn of the Christian faith to Englishwoman Dorothy Ann Thrupp (1779-1847) (Ref. 3, Ref. 4). Miss Thrupp is "particularly remembered as a writer of hymns for children" (Ref. 4). "Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us" first appeared unsigned (unattributed) in her collection, Hymns for the Young, in 1836 (Ref. 4). Ms. Thrupp wrote this hymn for teaching young children the message of a "caring Christ who loves all his children" (Ref. 3).
Hymn Tune Composer
William Batchelder Bradbury (1816-1868) was an American musician who composed the tune in 1859 most often associated with "Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us" (Ref. 3, Ref. 5 below, Ref. 6). He named the tune "Bradbury" after himself (Ref. 3, Ref. 5). Mr. Bradbury "modified the original words meant for children and broadened the meaning to include all the congregation" (Ref. 3).
Mr. Bradbury also composed the tunes to many popular hymns including "Jesus Loves Me," "He Leadeth Me," and "My Hope is Built" (Ref. 6). In addition to being an excellent musician and composer, Mr. Bradbury served as a music educator, choir leader, organist, and was a devoted reader of the Bible (Ref. 7, Ref. 8).
All of the Bible verses below are linked to the BibleGateway.com website (Ref. 9). The verses below are quoted from the English Standard Version (ESV) unless noted otherwise.
To see the lyric sheet for all four verses of "Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us" on one page, click here. The lyrics are provided by Timeless Truths (Ref. 10).
Scripture Allusions - Verse 1
The first verse of this great hymn teaches children that Christ is our great Shepherd who leads us, cares for us, feeds us, and protects us. The verse also explains that Christ has redeemed us and that we are his possession.
"Savior, like a shepherd lead us, much we need Thy tender care"
The Lord is our Shepherd who leads us and cares for us.
Psalm 23:1-3 -- "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. (2) He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. (3) He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake."
Psalm 23:5 -- "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows."
Isaiah 40:11 (KJV) -- "He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young."
John 10:11 -- "I am the good shepherd." (also John 10:14)
"In Thy pleasant pastures feed us, for our use Thy folds prepare."
The Lord feeds us in pleasant pastures and protects us.
Ezekiel 34:14 (KJV) -- "I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel."
A fold was a walled in, hedged, or fenced place for keeping and protecting sheep or other livestock (Ref. 11, Numbers 32:24 KJV). Jesus referred to such a sheepfold in John 10:1 (KJV). "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber." Jesus not only is the means of access to the fold; he also is the Shepherd who protects the sheep in the fold with his own body at the door. "I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture" (John 10:9, Ref. 12).
"Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! Thou hast bought us, Thine we are." (Phrase repeated)
The phrase, "Thou hast bought us, Thine we are," explains to children the meaning of redemption. HELPS Word-studies defines redeem as "to release (set free) by paying the full ransom"; (figuratively) to restore "something back, into the possession of its rightful owner" (Ref. 13). Christ has purchased us and now we are his possession.
Titus 2:13-14 (italics added) -- " ... waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works."
1 Peter 1:18-19 (KJV) -- "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot."
Listen and Sing Along
Click on this YouTube link - Solo piano meditation on the hymn "Savior, like a Shepherd Lead Us" with sing-along lyrics. Recorded by Rick Betts - March, 2011.
Thank you, Jesus, for being my Savior and Shepherd. Thank you for leading me and for all the ways that you care for me.
5. The United Methodist Hymnal, The United Methodist Publishing House, 1989
10. Reference 10 begins next line
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