Redemption and Justification Explained

Paul uses two terms to describe what God has accomplished for humans through the crucifixion, resurrection, and gift of the Holy Spirit.

Neither of the terms is common to everyday use. This article and the video that Rudy Ross and I produce are dedicated to explaining them.


Redemption describes what takes place when a slave is purchased and subsequently set free.

He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds (Titus 2.14).

Whether we like it or not, Jesus was right when he talks about our slavery to sin.

Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.

“The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever” (John 8.34-35).

The first step of Alcoholics Anonymous states, “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable.”

I have always been a non-drinker, but I know my life is powerless over iniquity and sin. I am a slave to self-will, self-sufficiency, and many other words that begin with “self.”

Iniquity, according to Rudy Ross, is an inside condition. The inner self is the place where God meets humans.

Instead of using our inner life to meet with God, we use it to think about what we want and how to fulfill our self-centered desires.

Jesus told his listeners, “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8.36).

How did the Son make us free?

He came to earth and completely identified with humans. He lived a perfect life of obedience that ended in his death on the cross.

The resurrection and ascension into glory assure us of Jesus’ victory for himself and for all of us.

The short-hand word for what Jesus has done to set us free from slavery to iniquity and sin is “redemption.”

Jesus redeemed us to “purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds” (Titus 2.14).

Can you imagine a situation where a freed slave returned to slavery? I hope not.

Jesus set us free, so we could live as his friends and be zealous to live a Jesus-kind-of-life.


What took place so humans could be justified? Nothing less than the crucifixion and resurrection of the Son of God, plus the gift of the Holy Spirit.

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared,

He saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3.4-5).

Notice how goodness and loving kindness (grace) is applied to both God and Jesus. God’s goodness, grace, and mercy are the reason for justification, not our righteousness.

The Trinity is involved in our salvation. The word “Trinity” is never used in the New Testament, but you frequently find Father, Son, and Holy Spirit at work.

We are reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit. God doesn’t give us a “little dab” of the Spirit, like a touch of perfume. He pours out his Spirit on us.

This Spirit he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life (Titus 3.6-7).

This statement brings us to the word, “justification.”

Imagine that you are the defendant in the courtroom. You have pled guilty. The judge pronounces a just sentence on your crime.

The next event is unexpected. The judge takes off his robe and steps away from the bench. He tells you that you are guilty, but he is going to take the punishment that is rightfully yours.

This scene is the essence of justification. This is what our merciful God has done for us, so we can be heirs of eternal life.

Both redemption and justification are real gifts from God. May we receive them and express eternal gratitude to God for his grace.

YouTube Video

Rudy Ross and I talk about this passage today on YouTube. You can see the video on the Bob Spradling channel.

Please email your prayer request to The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.

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