Redemption is an ongoing process.
It has to do with so much more than our initial salvation. We need to know the answer to the question, “Does our ongoing deliverance from the power of sin come from our best efforts to keep God's law or is it also by trusting in the Lord Jesus as we did when we first met Him?”
Only Jesus Christ can
There is absolutely nothing wrong with the law of God. It is perfect and holy and if it could redeem us it would. The problem is that this perfect law has to deal with imperfect people. Not only that, but it does not have the power to free us from the persuasion or penalty of sin. Jesus Christ can. You can read all about Paul’s revelation of this in Romans 7. He tried to fulfill the law to be a “holy” person, but he failed and God showed him that Christ was the only way. The book of Ruth gives us a beautiful example of this too.
“Then Boaz said, ‘On the day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you must also acquire Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of the deceased, in order to raise up the name of the deceased on his inheritance.’ And the closest relative said, ‘I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I jeopardize my own inheritance. Redeem it for yourself; you may have my right of redemption, for I cannot redeem it.’” Ruth 4:5-6
Biblical Stories of Redemption
The law is redeeming as long as a perfect person comes along who can maintain it for his or her lifetime, but we know that is unrealistic. Just like we stand in the way of the law being our redeemer, Ruth stood in the way of this other “closer relative” being her redeemer.
Then we have the example with Paul. He realized in Romans chapter 7 that he is the one thing that prevented himself from fulfilling the law. He was the problem. He couldn’t find it within himself to fulfill the law and redeem himself. If we are the problem then how can we be the solution?
Paul finally got it as we see that as we go into Romans 8:1. He has to look elsewhere and having reached this point he immediately sees the answer.
“Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1
In walks Boaz, our picture of Jesus Christ. We can be diligent to keeping God's word but if we do it within our own strength then we are still looking to the wrong redeemer.
The Picture the Bible Paints for Us
The whole book of Ruth points to our Lord Jesus, ‘in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of our sins,’ (Col 1:14). This leads us to a profound point. There were ten elders who were called to witness two things – first, they witnessed that the closer relative couldn’t redeem, and secondly, they witnessed that Boaz could.
I believe these ten elders are a picture of the ten commandments that also tell us these two very things – they witness that the law itself cannot save, but they also witness the one who can. The New Testament tells us this.
“Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.” Galatians 3:23-24.
“Then the elders and all the people standing in the gate replied, ‘We are witnesses! May the Lord make this woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, from whom all the nation of Israel descended! May you prosper in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. And may the Lord give you descendants by this young woman who will be like those of our ancestor Perez, the son of Tamar and Judah.’ The Descendants of Boaz.
So Boaz took Ruth into his home, and she became his wife. When he slept with her, the Lord enabled her to become pregnant, and she gave birth to a son.” Ruth 4:11-13
Freedom found in Jesus Christ
So you see, it is not salvation alone that redeems us but the revelation that we can’t fulfill the law ourselves. Jesus Christ did it for us and we abide in Him and he gives us the strength to choose right from wrong. And, if we mess up and have a repentant heart then He is faithful and just to forgive us. If we abide in Him, then just like Paul and Ruth, we are free. And from that freedom, we find lots of fruit manifesting!
Dear Lord, thank You for being our redeemer. Forgive me for falling short and praise you for loving me anyway. Amen.
The Bare Bones Bible Handbook by Jim George—Grow in your knowledge of the Bible so you can better answer others’ questions with this helpful Bible study tool.
What have you learned from reading Paul's testimony? Have you surrendered yourself to Christ and accepted Him as your Lord and Savior?
It is not salvation alone that redeems us but the revelation that we can’t fulfill the law ourselves. Jesus Christ did it for us and we abide in Him and He gives us the strength to choose right from wrong. And, if we mess up and have a repentant heart then He is faithful and just to forgive us.