Our Redemption: The Purpose of Christ’s Sacrifice

Paul wrote, “Who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness” (Tit. 2:14). He states two purposes for Jesus’ self-giving—(1) to redeem us from lawlessness; and (2) to purify a people for Himself.

The verb “redeem” (lutroo) means to “set free, redeem, rescue.” (Knight) It means to release, to let loose, or to liberate.

Nicky Gumbel tells this story in Alpha of two men who grew up as best friends, except that their lives took divergent paths. One became a judge, and the other a criminal. At one point the criminal ends up in the Judge’s court. He is obviously guilty, but he was the judge’s friend. If the judge let him off, he would not be fulfilling his role of dispensing justice.

So what he does is he sentences his friend to the appropriate fine for his crime, he then steps down from the bench, takes off his robe, and writes his friend a check for the amount of the fine in full.

This is what God does in Jesus. He sentences us to death for our sins, but then steps down from heaven and pays for our sins in full with his death.[1]

What does Christ set us free from? In v. 14, Christ sets us free from all lawlessness. Christ releases us from the power of all lawlessness. He liberates us from the control of sin. This is redemption in Christ. Redemption in Christ is liberation from the power of sin.

Note that Paul wrote “all” lawlessness and not just some. The word “all” means each and every act of lawlessness. The sacrifice of Christ covers each and every lawless act of every sinner. The purpose of Christ’s death is to redeem us from every lawless act that we have committed.

The word “lawlessness” (anomia) refers to “what is contrary to law (Friberg); or “against the law.” (Knight) Lawlessness is sin. Sin is lawlessness. “Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4). Lawlessness is living in opposition to the law of God. “Where there is no law, there is no transgression” (Rom. 4:15). Lawlessness is the transgression of the law of God. It is disobedience to God’s law. It is the violation of the law of God.

But Christ gave Himself to redeem us from all lawlessness. Christ died to release us from every act opposing the law of God. Christ liberates us from the power of every kind of sin.

[1] Mike Wilkins, “Text Illustrations: Redemption,” Sermoncentral.com. Cited March 18, 2017. Online: https://www. sermoncentral.com/illustrations/ sermon-illustration-mike-wilkins-stories-grace-7523?ref=TextIllustrationSerps.

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