Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 2, 1955

The Redemption Price -- How Applied?

Wm. E. Wallace, Akron, Ohio

We have studied the history of redemption, emphasizing the importance and preeminence of Christ in God's scheme of redemption. We pointed out the place of the blood of Christ in redemption. Now we want to study how one may appropriate the effects of the blood of Christ and how one gets into Christ. Hear the apostle Paul speak concerning this matter: "Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?" (Rom. 6:1-6.) What's that Paul — baptized into Christ, baptized into his death? Yes, baptized into Christ and thus baptized into his death where the blood, the redemption price, was shed. "Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death." In being baptized, buried in water, we are baptized, immersed into the death of Jesus Christ. There we come in contact with his blood; we are buried with him by baptism.

But that does not end the story either — for "that like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life for if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: knowing this that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve him." You see then how we are raised from the grave of water baptism, where we are cleansed spiritually by the blood of Christ, to be new creatures in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17), members of that church purchased with the blood of Christ. (Acts 20:28.) How important the place of baptism in redemption! Why it is the very thing that brings us to the grace of God to receive the gift that comes through our contact with the redeeming element, the blood of Christ. Baptism is an act of obedience — obedience to the command to be baptized in order to obtain remission of sins. (Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16.) Peter had this act in mind when he said "seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth." (1 Peter 1:21.)

Yes, one is "buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead." (Col. 2:12.) In writing to the Galatian Christians Paul put it this way: "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ." (Gal. 3:26-27.)

Does this mean then that we are redeemed by our works, our work of baptism? No, heaven forbid any such doctrine! Baptism is not our work, it is not a work of our righteousness. Baptism is a work of God, for he is its author, we submit to baptism by God's authority. Baptism could not be a work of our righteousness for we are not righteous until after we are baptized. We must work such works of God: "What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?" (John 6:29.) Even faith on our part is a work of God: "This the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." (John 6:29.) We are not saved by our works "lest any man should boast" (Eph. 2:9.) We are saved in our submission to the works of God as our faith leads us in obedience to God. How true it is that the works of man do not save. But the works of God, the work of which God is the author, like faith (John 6:28, 29), repentance (Acts 17:30), and baptism (Mark 16:16) are the kind of works that James said the body is dead without: "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." (James 2:26.) Listen to him again: "Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only." (James 2:24.)

You see then, I am sure, how we purify our souls. We can never earn nor merit salvation, it is the "gift of God." "For by grace are ye saved through faith." (Eph. 2:8, 9.) But the gift of God that comes through the blood of Christ — redemption, comes only to the individuals who are in contact with the blood. As to how we come in contact with the blood, the sixth chapter of Romans makes it too clear to misunderstand. If you fail to see the necessity of baptism after reading it, the devil has corrupted your thinking. Shake him loose and submit to the Lord in humble obedience to the command "Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins." (Acts 2:38.)

The covenant relationship that the Christian enjoys with God is that which enables him to truly refer to the Almighty as "my Father who art in heaven." Sinners are condemned; but the redemption price has been paid; allow its purchase and walk in hope of the eternal companionship with the heavenly host.