When did God lose the human race?
“Being justified….“ Justification is that judicial act of God. Now, when I use the word `judicial,’ I mean like a judge on the bench hands down a decree. Justification is when God, The Judge, judicially declares the sinner (that person who recognizes that they are undone and are under the control of old Adam) to be just as if he had never sinned. That’s beyond our comprehension. Even after we’ve been justified, we still are prone to fall and sin, yet what does God tell us? He says we are justified! He sees us as if we had never sinned! We’ll never have to come before the judgment seat of Christ, as believers, and have to answer for our sins. Never! Our sins are forgiven. They are under the Blood. Christ took care of it and we will never have to stand before Him with sin on our back. Our sins are buried in the deepest sea and God has put up a sign which says, “No Fishing!” He has completely removed them. They are not going to come back and plague us. That’s being justified.
Let’s continue in verse 24: “…freely (without a cause…and how did God do it?) by his grace (unmerited favor) through the redemption….“ I think you all know what the word `redemption’ refers to: losing something and buying it back. And it’s a Scriptural term. When did God lose the human race? When Adam sinned. We’re all in Adam, remember? It was there God lost us. So now, what does He have to do? Buy us back with a price. Satan is a hard task master; he won’t let go of us easily. And this is the whole idea of redemption — that God has to buy us back for Himself because He lost us in Adam. The word redemption here, especially in Romans, goes back to the Roman slave market in particular, for a beautiful illustration. The Greek word is Agorazo. We’re not going to be concerned with that word so much, but we’re talking about a slave market.
Just like in today’s stock market, there were certain terms back then that applied only to the slave market. And these were the three that were usually exercised by wealthy Romans who would go down to the slave market and just spend the day. It was a good past-time for them to go down and buy a slave and leave it in the market. And, when they left that slave in the market (much like a stock trader today can buy stocks in the morning on the board of trade or stock exchange and, if at one o’clock in the afternoon, the market has jumped a couple of points, he can resell that same stock), if the price went up, they could sell the same slave that same day.
Well, the Romans could actually do that with slaves. But, the one we’re most concerned with here in Scripture is the term Exagorazo. Now the term ‘ex’ always means out. So, in this case, they could buy a slave, take it out of the market and take it home, thereby becoming that slave’s owner. Then, they could exercise the third part with regard to slaves — they could ‘Lutroo’ him, or set him free. So, with that background, let’s look at this verse. Here, the Roman legions have just come down from barbarian Gaul in Northern Europe. And they’ve got this teenage lad who has probably been beaten and dragged several hundred miles – and here he is in the slave market. But this rich, benevolent Roman sees this young man and sees something in him of worth. So, what does he do? He buys him; and instead of leaving him in the market to trade again, he takes him home, cleans him up and gives him light duty.
This young man has never lived so sumptuously, although he is a slave. And then, one day, this Roman master calls this young man into his office and says, “You’ve been an ideal slave and I’m going to now give you your freedom. I have paid for your citizenship. You are free to go wherever you want to go. You are a Roman citizen.” What do you suppose that young man would say considering the fact that slaves who were not fortunate enough to be bought, were thrown to the lions in the coliseum? He would probably say, “Master, there’s no way that I could do that after all that you have done for me. You bought me out of that awful slave market. You’ve put me in new clothes, you’ve cleaned me up and you’ve given me the best of duty. Master, I love you, and I will never leave you. I’m going to serve you all the rest of my life.”
Now, doesn’t that say it all? That is what God rightfully expects from every child that He has saved. He has taken us out of the slave market of Satan; He has broken the bonds of sin. He has cleaned us up and given us a whole new outlook on life. He has given us the Holy Spirit and all the promises of eternity to come. So, what should be our logical reaction? “Lord, you’ve done so much for me. The least I can do is serve you and be your faithful bond-slave.”
Editor’s Note: Later in this book, under the question, “How was Lord Jesus Christ born without sin?”, Les explains why the human race did not come under sin by virtue of Eve, even though she had eaten the forbidden fruit first. Sin came upon the whole human race by way of Adam’s sin.