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)
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.