Redemption

A Way of Life, Elder LeGrand R. Curtis Jr.

There are various names by which reference is made to the Lord Jesus Christ. These names give us insight into different aspects of the Lord’s atoning mission. Take, for example, the title “Savior.” We all have a sense of what it means to be saved because each of us has been saved at some time from something. As children, my sister and I were playing in a river in a small boat when we unwisely left the safe area of play and found ourselves being propelled by the current to unknown perils downstream. In response to our cries, our father ran to the rescue, saving us from the dangers of the river. When I think of saving, I think of that experience.

The title “Redeemer” provides similar insights. “To redeem” is to buy or to buy back. As a legal matter, property is redeemed by paying off the mortgages or other liens on it. In Old Testament times, the law of Moses provided different ways that servants and property could be freed, or redeemed, by the payment of money (see Leviticus 25:29–32, 48–55).

A prominent scriptural use of the word redeem concerns the delivery of the children of Israel out of their bondage in Egypt. After that deliverance, Moses told them, “Because the Lord loved you, … hath [He] brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt” (Deuteronomy 7:8).

The theme of Jehovah redeeming the people of Israel from bondage is repeated many times in the scriptures. Often this is done to remind the people of the Lord’s goodness in delivering the children of Israel from the Egyptians. But it is also done to teach them that there would be another, more important, redemption for Israel. Lehi taught, “And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall” (2 Nephi 2:26).

The Psalmist wrote, “But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave” (Psalm 49:15).

The Lord declared through Isaiah, “I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee” (Isaiah 44:22).

The redemption referred to in these three scriptures, of course, is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. This is the “plenteous redemption” provided by our loving God (Psalm 130:7). Unlike the redemptions under the law of Moses or in modern legal arrangements, this redemption does not come by “corruptible things, as silver and gold” (1 Peter 1:18). “In [Christ] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7). President John Taylor taught that because of the Redeemer’s sacrifice, “the debt is paid, the redemption made, the covenant fulfilled, justice satisfied, the will of God done, and all power is … given into the hands of the Son of God” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: John Taylor [2001], 44).

Excerpt from Elder LeGrand R. Curtis Jr.’s October 2011 General Conference Address, Redemption. Elder LeGrand R. Curtis Jr. is a Member Of The First Quorum of the Seventy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. View Elder LeGrand R. Curtis Jr.’s full address here.