1 Peter 1:18-19 (NIV)
For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.
Redemption…. We have heard that word. We have used that word in our studies. And here, Peter tells us that we were “redeemed” from an empty way of life through the “precious blood” of Christ … as a perfect, unblemished lamb slaughtered for sacrifice on the altar of a Roman cross. Indeed, our redemption was “purchased” with something of far greater value than perishable silver or gold….
To redeem something has several meanings. Let’s look at some of these from Merriam-Webster:
1. To buy back or repurchase
2. To get or win back
3. To free from captivity by payment of ransom
4. To release from blame or debt
5. To free from the consequences of sin
6. To change for the better
7. To repair or restore something (i.e., a relationship)
8. To remove the obligation of by payment
9. To exchange for something of value
10. To atone for; to remove guilt; or expiate
There were more, but I think you get the picture of what the word “redeem” can and does mean. As I reviewed this list, I thought to myself: Every one of these definitions articulates what Jesus Christ accomplished through the cross on our behalf. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Cf. Romans 3:23) And, “The wage of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Cf. Romans 6:23) And Paul explained that we were “sold as slaves to sin”. (Cf. Romans 7:14) Indeed, the sinful human nature has held us captive as prisoners of darkness. But Christ Jesus redeemed us! He repurchased us from the slave owner of darkness! He released us from the consequence of our sins! He paid the steep price of death and removed our personal, individual obligation for the required payment. This how we need to understand redemption!
In our Verse of the Day, we find Peter affirming that our sin required a payment … an infinite price … in order to redeem us and reconcile us to our Holy Creator … to Father God. And the only payment acceptable for our atonement (propitiation) was ordained by Father God before the foundation of the world. (Cf. Revelation 13:8) It would not be with silver or gold, precious jewels, or anything that humans might consider as valuable. It is clear that the debt for sin is greater than the sum total of all so-called “wealth”. No, the Word of God decreed from the beginning that the consequence of sin would be death. (Cf. Genesis 2:17) As Paul explained, the trespass of the first man brought death upon us all. The only solution there will ever be is an atonement … a royal pardon … divine clemency. The only hope there will ever be is to have the sentence of death commuted to a resurrected life. (Cf. Romans 5:9-19) And because of His great love for those created in His image, God Himself elected the sacrifice … a blood sacrifice … that would fulfill the righteous requirement of death for our sin. God determined the only acceptable form of atonement that He would receive.
According to the pattern He revealed to His servant Moses, God chose a lamb without blemish or defect for sacrifice. Yes, our loving Father provided His own lamb for the sin offering when He sent His own Son … One who was without sin … to become our atonement! Indeed, Jesus died our required death Himself! Our Lord Jesus Christ, manifested how God truly feels about sin in our lives; and yet, He also revealed God’s great compassion and love for us … His passionate desire to redeem us to eternal life with Him. His selfless sacrifice was purposed to bring us back to God … to restore our broken relationship with the Father. These are the outcomes of His atonement for our transgressions while held under the power of sin. His sacrifice removed our guilt while fulfilling the judgment required for our rebellion. And this required a high price to be paid! The value of our redemption was set higher than the value of all the gold and silver in the earth. God decreed that the just punishment was death … and then took that punishment upon Himself as a demonstration of His deep love for us. How can we even understand what God has done … except that Jesus Christ fulfilled it before the eyes of His disciples and followers? And His resurrection from the dead confirmed: “It is Finished!” There is no more payment required! An eternal redemption was paid in full on our behalf….
The writer of the Book of Hebrews offers us some insight on this matter:
Hebrews 7:23-27 (NIV)
Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, He has a permanent priesthood. Therefore He is able to save completely (forever) those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them. Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, Jesus does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for His own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when He offered Himself.
Hebrews 9:11-15 (NIV)
But when Christ Jesus came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, He went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but He entered the Most Holy Place once for all by His own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! For this reason, Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that He has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.
My friends, it is my prayer that we will spend some time contemplating our redemption. It articulates the message of the cross … explaining its necessity and affording a clear visual image of the price exacted by God for our sin. We need to see that the mission of the Messiah was to defeat the kingdom of darkness and to establish the kingdom of light. And this is how Jesus fulfilled the purpose for which He was sent. Yes, the kindness of God is seen in the redemption of the cross. His kindness is intended to lead us to repentance; and through repentance, we receive full reconciliation. Indeed, I hope each of us will internalize the incomprehensible price paid for our redemption. It should move us to great reverence and thanksgiving! Redemption was completed on the cross! May God be forever praised … in the name of Jesus! Amen.
So Now You Know…
Have a Blessed Day!
Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, He cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over Him. The death He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to Him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. ~ Romans 6:8-14
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Thank you, Jesus!
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