14 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.
Verse 14 shows the outworking of God’s grace (v. 11). It exhibits the significance of Christ’s death.
14 who [Christ Jesus] gave Himself
Jesus gave the greatest gift of all—His death on the cross. His death was no accident. The Roman government did not control Jesus’s crucifixion. He went to the cross deliberately of His own will (Ac 2:23). He donated Himself; no one extracted His life from Him.
The word “for” means on our behalf. This is the substitutionary death of Christ for our sins. We deserved judgment for our sins, but Christ suffered in our place. He took our hell that we might have His heaven. We should have been on that cross. Jesus represented us on the cross; He substituted Himself for the hell we should have experienced. He took our hell. He paid for our sin. This is unmitigated grace.
Jesus died that He might accomplish two things:
Redeem us from every lawless deed.
Purify for Himself a special people zealous for good works.
He might redeem us
The word “redeem” means to set free by payment of a price. The price of our redemption was the blood of Christ shed on the cross. He paid for the curse of God upon sin for us by shedding His blood.
1 Pe 1: 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
Redemption is an expression of God’s grace because Jesus did the redeeming; He, not we, paid the price. The word “redeem” would have grabbed the attention of slaves in the Rome Empire because they knew that it was possible to purchase slaves out of slavery. For first-century readers the idea of redemption brought up the idea of purchase from slavery by a payment. Redemption is payment for a prisoner’s release.
Mark 10: 45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
1 Ti 2: 6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,
from every lawless deed
By committing sin, we violated God’s law, God’s character. God redeemed us from the personal penalty of violating His law.
Jesus paid for our sin so that we do not have to pay for it.
Jesus took care of the sin problem by paying for it with His blood. Now the issue is a Son problem—will we accept what the Son did on the cross for our sins? He is the only one who can unlock the door of heaven and let us in. He had the currency to get into heaven—His own blood was sufficient to pay for our sins.