Despite being blind from infancy, Frances (“Fanny”) Jane Crosby (1820-1915) wrote more than 8,000 hymns in her lifetime. Her poem “Redeemed” was set to music by William James Kirkpatrick and published in 1882.
Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it!Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
His child and forever I am.
Redeemed, and so happy in Jesus,
No language my rapture can tell;
I know that the light of His presence
With me doth continually dwell.
I think of my blessed Redeemer,
I think of Him all the day long:
I sing, for I cannot be silent;
His love is the theme of my song.
I know I shall see in His beauty
The King in whose law I delight;
Who lovingly guardeth my footsteps,
And giveth me songs in the night.
I know there’s a crown that is waiting
In yonder bright mansion for me,
And soon, with the spirits made perfect,
At home with the Lord I shall be.
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
His child and forever I am.
Biblical Basis and Meaning
A form of the word “redeem” occurs in scripture over 140 times,1 essentially meaning to exchange one thing for another. In ancient times it was a common term used in the market place to purchase an item by exchanging currency for it, or bartering one item for another. It was also a word used in the slave market; a price was paid to transfer a slave from one owner to another.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say this” (Psalm 107:1, 2).2
The theme of the book of Exodus is “redemption.” Through God’s providential working in Joseph’s life, about seventy members of Jacob’s family entered Egypt and over the next several decades greatly multiplied (Ex. 1:1-7). There arose a new king who did not know Joseph (1:8), and the Egyptians began to afflict the people of Israel. “And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage …” (1:14). Seeing the oppression of his enslaved children and hearing their cries, Yahweh commissioned Moses to lead them to freedom (3:7-10), or to “redeem” them (6:5-6), commemorated by the Passover celebration (12:1-7, 13, 26-27). Afterwards Moses and the liberated Israelites sang to Yahweh, “You in Your mercy have led forth the people whom You have redeemed; You have guided them in Your strength to Your holy habitation” (15:13).
Redemption in the New Testament
About fifteen centuries after the exodus, Jesus is confronted by antagonistic Pharisees in Jerusalem. He warns, “I am going away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin …” (John 8:21). Then having predicted his death (v. 28) and promising freedom through his word of truth to the descendants of Israelite slaves, the Lord explains, “whoever commits sin is a slave of sin…. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:31-36).
During the Lord’s earthly ministry the Passover was still faithfully commemorated (John 2:13; [5:1]; 6:4; 12:1). At his final Passover meal, he instituted the Lord’s Supper (Matt. 26:17-30; Mark 14:12-26; Luke 22:13-23), declaring, “For this is my blood of the [new] covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matt. 26:28).
The Good News That Followed
“Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons…. Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ” (Gal. 4:3-7). “For you were bought at a price …” (1 Cor. 6:20; 7:23).
“Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness” (Rom. 6:16-18).
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works” (Tit. 2:11-14).
The Christian life is confidently lived, “knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Pet. 1:18-19).
Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it!
--Kevin L. Moore
1 This includes various Hebrew and Greek terms for freeing, loosing, delivering, redeeming.
2 Unless otherwise noted, scripture quotations are from the NKJV.
*Prepared for the Summer Series at Red Walnut church of Christ, 28 July 2017; assigned by my friend Stan Mitchell.
Image credit: https://riveroflifeint.com/