“Either his uncle… or any that is nigh of kin unto him of his family may redeem him, or, if he be able, he may redeem himself” (Lev. 25:49).
Under Old Testament law one who had failed in business could sell himself, or be sold, into slavery, his master paying off his debts in lieu of salary. The slave could be redeemed, however, by his uncle or any near relative who could afford to pay off his debts, or, says our passage: “if he be able, he may redeem himself.”
“If he be able”! Significant qualification, for what bankrupt slave was ever able to redeem himself!
In this way God would teach us an important lesson about salvation from sin. All of us have failed in business, as it were. We have amassed a huge debt of sin against God and our fellowmen, and have become morally and spiritually bankrupt.
We have many who are “nigh of kin” to us, but they are unable to redeem us because they themselves are bankrupt sinners. There is One, however, who has an infinite store of righteousness with which to pay our debt and redeem us. Indeed, He did pay the penalty for all our sins when He, the Holy One, died in shame and disgrace as a sinner on Calvary’s cross.
There are many, however, who will not face up to their condition. They somehow think that they can still redeem themselves. To them God says: “Do it, if you are able!” To the rich young ruler who asked, “What must I do to inherit eternal life,” the Lord said “You know the law… this do, and you will live.”
But who of us has perfectly kept the law of God? Who of us is not a repeated law-breaker in the sight of God? Who is able to redeem himself? Why not then turn from self to Christ, “In whom we have redemption, through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7). source