Three Words Translated “Redemption”
All who profess to believe in the atonement of sin by Christ believe in a limited atonement. The Arminian, the freewiller, who teaches that Christ died for everyone, limits the merit, power, and efficacy of Christ’s blood atonement, declaring that many perish in hell for whom Christ died in vain. Such blasphemy is actually a denial of Christ’s deity for it makes him a failure (Isa. 42:4). However, the Word of God never limits the merit, power, and efficacy of Christ’s redeeming work. His blood shall never lose its power! The Word of God limits the scope, design, and purpose of the atonement, declaring that it was made for and effectually accomplished the redemption of God’s elect.
Our English word, “redemption,” comes from the Latin and means “to buy again.” Forgive me for breaking one of my own rules about not referring to the Greek and Hebrew texts. If we are to grasp the meaning of the word “redemption”, it is necessary. In the Greek New Testament three words are commonly used in reference to our redemption by Christ.
1. AGORADZO The basic meaning of agoradzo is “to buy”. You and I who believe have been bought unto God from among men by the blood of Christ (Rev. 5:9), bought from the earth from among the fallen sons of Adam (Rev. 14:3-4), and bought with the price of Christ’s blood (1 Cor. 6:19). The church of God has been bought, purchased, with his own blood (Acts 20:28). “Agoradzo” is the word you would use to describe the purchase of a house.
2. EKAGORADZO - This is a compound word. “Ek’ means “out of”, and “agoradzo” means “bought”. “Ekagoradzo” means “bought out of.” God’s elect have been bought out of the hands of God’s offended justice by the blood of Christ, which satisfied the justice of God for us (Gal. 3:13; 4:5). If we were talking about redeeming an item from the pawn shop, or buying groceries, or purchasing a car, or any other item that is both purchased and delivered from the possession of one into the possession of another. “Ekagoradzo” has the idea of deliverance by the payment of a price. As it is used in the Word of God, it refers to the deliverance of God’s elect from the hands of his offended justice and the curse of his holy law by the price paid by Christ at Calvary, the price of his precious blood.
3. LUTROO - “Lutroo” means “to set free,” or “to loose.” It is the word that would be used to describe the deliverance of a slave, or a prisoner from bondage and captivity by paying a ransom price for him. So Peter tells us that we have been redeemed, not with silver or gold, the usual price of ransom, but with the precious blood of Christ (1 Pet. 1:18). Our Lord Jesus declares that he came into the world to give his life a ransom price for many (Matt. 20:28).
Try to keep these three words in mind whenever you think about the redemptive work of Christ: “agoradzo” - to buy; “ekagoradzo” - to buy out of; and “lutroo” - to deliver by ransom. Those who deny the doctrine of Christ’s effectual redemption, or limited atonement, simply do not understand or refuse to acknowledge the usage of these three distinct words for redemption in the New Testament.