Have you ever read the Book of Ruth in the Old Testament? If not, I would encourage you to take just twenty minutes from your day and treat yourself to this beautiful little love story. Ruth is not only a heartwarming story, it pictures for us the biblical concept of the "kinsman redeemer". The characters are Naomi and her daughter-in-law Ruth, both widows. Boaz is a wealthy landowner and a relative of Naomi. The beauty of the story lies, not only in Boaz falling in love with Ruth, but his being her “kinsman redeemer”, or “go’el” (redeemer in Hebrew). In biblical days, when a person fell on hard times, it was the duty of the nearest relative, the go’el to restore lost property and stand up for the rights of the one in need (Leviticus 25). Boaz became not only Ruth’s husband and Naomi’s son-in-law; He fulfilled his duty as the go’el. Boaz is the only person in the Bible mentioned as a kinsman redeemer, and as such he is the picture our redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ.
I have mentioned all this because in the past weeks we have been looking at our spiritual blessings in Christ as presented by the apostle Paul in his letter to the Ephesians (Ephesians 1:1-14). We have seen that through Jesus Christ, we have been chosen, predestined, and adopted as sons (Ephesians 1:4-5). And we now come to the blessing of redemption: In Him we have redemption through His blood (Ephesians 1:7).
Naomi and Ruth were poor widows who had been forced to sell the family land. They had no means of paying their debts, saving their land, and saving themselves. People in their position were often forced to sell themselves into slavery. Naomi and Ruth needed a go’el to pay the price to rescue them. When Boaz was confronted with their need, he graciously stepped forward to redeem (buy back) the land and redeem the women by taking Ruth as his wife. As a close relative of Naomi’s husband, being free from debt, and willing and able to pay the price, Boaz fulfilled his role as kinsman redeemer.
Like Naomi and Ruth, all people are in need of a redeemer. We are lost sinners, slaves to sin, who have no means of lifting ourselves out of sin and saving ourselves . The Bible tells us that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Furthermore, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin (John 8:34) and the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Every human being is in desperate need of a redeemer to pay the price to be set free from sin and death. The good news is that God has sent redemption to His people (Psalm 111:9) in the person of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. As the apostle Paul has stated, In Him we have redemption through His blood (Ephesians 1:7).
The word Paul uses for redemption is the Greek “apolutrosis” which means “to pay a price to deliver someone from bondage”. The blessing of redemption is an act by which God has paid a ransom for the price of our sin, sending His Son Jesus to be our Kinsman Redeemer. Hebrews 2:11-18 explains how Jesus is our kinsman: being not ashamed to take on flesh and blood and call us brothers, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil; and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. Being sinless, Jesus was the perfect sacrifice for sin. You were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:18-19). And you know that He appeared to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin (1 John 3:5). Jesus Christ came to earth as God incarnate, Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me (John 14:11). And He humbled Himself to pay the price to redeem us.
To sum up, we were lost sinners. Like Naomi and Ruth, we were helpless and our case seemed hopeless. But in His grace and mercy, God saw fit to bless us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). And our blessing of redemption means that our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,….gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds (Titus 2:13-14). [Our] Redeemer is strong; the Lord of Hosts is His name: He shall thoroughly plead [our] cause (Jeremiah 50:34). As Christians, we are a redeemed people, saved from our sins and purified by Christ’s blood to be His own possession. We are His and He is ours, and He calls us to turn to Him, I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud and your sins like a heavy mist. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you (Isaiah 44:22).
“Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it!
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed through His infinite mercy,
His child and forever I am.” (Fanny Crosby, 1882)
Someone has said that grace is the most important concept in the Bible, in Christianity, and even in the world. It is most clearly expressed in God’s promises revealed in Scripture and it is embodied in Jesus Christ. In Ephesians Chapter 1, where the apostle Paul lists our spiritual blessings in the heavenly places in Christ, we discover that grace is one of those blessings. Along with being chosen, predestined, and adopted into God’s family, Paul reveals that God acted according to the kind intention of His will and to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:5-6). In choosing to adopt us into His family with all the privileges of sons, God has freely bestowed His grace upon us. Grace is God's method of choosing, predestining, and adopting us -- grace through Jesus Christ, the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14). Jesus Christ is the embodiment of God’s grace. He came into our sinful, self-centered, selfish world and showed us what grace is. For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men (Titus 2:11).
But God’s grace was not a new concept with the coming of Christ. The message of God’s grace is proclaimed throughout the Bible. God declared it from the beginning in Exodus 34:6-7, “The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin…”. The Old Testament goes on to tell us that Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD (Genesis 6:8); The LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD will give grace and glory (Psalm 84:11); So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness (Joel 2:13).
In the New Testament, the truth of God’s grace comes alive with application to us as believers today: For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace (John 1:16); For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; (Ephesians 2:8); Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16).
As human beings, it may be difficult for us to comprehend God’s grace. Although we’ve experienced grace and even shown grace to others, there is no such thing as perfect human grace. This is because there are no perfect humans. All humans are sinners. True and perfect grace can only come through God who is perfect and holy in every way. “He is a holy and righteous God, completely void of sin and full of goodness and love. He has never made a mistake and He can do anything….except fail. He is perfect in all His ways. If He were a doctor, He’d never lose a patient. If He were a lawyer, He’d never lose a case. There is no moral compass that could measure how upright and blameless He is” (“God’s Grace is Mind-blowing” by Philip Holmes).
All of mankind lives under the incomparable grace of God. The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger and great in lovingkindness. The Lord is good to all, and His mercies are over all His works (Psalm 145:8-9). There is no other religion that emphasizes Divine grace the way the Bible does. Whenever we experience God’s mercy, forgiveness, favor, blessing, kindness, patience, or correction, it is all by His grace, by His unconditional lovingkindness that cares and stoops and rescues sinners who do not deserve it. God’s grace is at the very core of His relationship with all of us He has adopted as “sons”. His grace is a blessing we have in Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul always thanked God, not only for the grace bestowed upon Him personally but for the grace God had given to all believers in Christ Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:4).
How has God graced you and others you know? I hope you will take a few moments to consider the answer to that question and then thank Him for His blessing of grace today.
Grace be with you all (Hebrews 13:25),
I have been involved in Disciplers since 1987, as a discussion leader, teacher, writer, and now as director. I am profoundly committed to the stewardship of this ministry which God has entrusted to me for a time. God’s word is the chief joy of my life. I cherish my personal time in the word, and I am filled with gratitude to be able to share His word with you, my fellow disciples in Christ.