Let us think of our redemption in terms of things that are flawed or dysfunctional being made right. I believe redemption begins with the good news of Jesus’ work being received by those who are sufficiently poor in spirit to know their need for it. Next, there comes liberty for those people trapped in wrong behavior and not able to free their selves. Moral blindness is a sign of God’s disfavor. Having our sight restored means we can see ourselves, others and the world as it really is and agree with God’s judgment as to how things actually are.
When we are redeemed we are moved from God’s disfavor, where we all begin our moral lives, and brought into the effective righteousness of God. I do not think this means we are perfected but we become instead blessed by the fullness of God’s gifts to his children. In other words, I think we drink spiritually of the living water and eat of the bread of life. We are no longer subject to God’s condemnation. This is not because we have been ransomed from Satan but because we have been returned to our right position with God.
Being redeemed means we are not only spiritually made new but freed from oppression from outside ourselves. This is because we should be free from fear of financial disaster, imprisonment or death, which are the usual tools of oppressors.
In addition to a personal side to redemption there is a social side. It is not generally thought that when Jesus read from Isaiah in the synagogue of Nazareth he was defining also social redemption but let us look at the words. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19 ESV).
I think that Jesus was speaking of both personal and social redemption when he read this passage from Isaiah. Personal redemption produces a new kind of person. Social redemption results in a new kind of culture. Both kinds are fruit of effective Christian believers.
The people Jesus spoke to did not want redemption. They wanted miracles like Jesus had performed in other Galilean cities. When he did not give them what they wanted they tried to kill him. We have technological miracles and progressive hopes so many people of our time are not interested in nor see a need for redemption. I believe they are acting if Christ is dead and thus unable to do anything useful for them or their society.