Redemption – 1 Peter 1: 18 & 19


 My usual practice is to present topical Bible studies. But this message is a different study.
This is an expository study of two verses in the Bible, 1 Peter chapter 1 verses 18 and 19.
An expository study presents the meaning and intent of a biblical text, providing commentary and examples to make the passage clear and understandable. And so here we are trying to dig deep into these Bible verses.
To start the study let us read the passage:

1 Peter 1 : 18 - 19 
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.  (NKJV)
As I have already said this Bible verse is from the first epistle of St. Peter.
St. Peter was one of the disciples of Jesus.

The letter written by Peter is directed to the churches in five provinces of the Roman Empire in Asia Minor which Peter had evangelized.
Still this letter has a general appeal to all churches everywhere in this world.
This is a short and sweet letter.

In Chapter 1: 13 -19, Peter is motivating the saints of all times to lead a holy life.
Peter is reminding us of the price at which we were purchased or redeemed.
This should motivate us to a better holy life.

Peter is exhorting the believers to deeply consider the price by which we are purchased or redeemed.
He reminds us that we are redeemed by giving the price in the form of the precious blood of Jesus.

Since we all belong to Jesus, we should live a holy life according the standard of God.
In verse 18 and 19 also we read Peter urging the believers to lead a holy life.
They should consider three facts:

1.   The word ‘redeem’ itself speaks of freedom and cost.
Redemption is from the slavery of the old master into a freedom by giving a ransom or equal price.
The old master is presupposed as satan and the redeemer or the new master is Jesus.

2.   That they were redeemed or purchased with a price by Jesus.
So they are not their own.
They are purchased by a master and they belong to Him.
Once a slave is purchased by a new master, the slave should forget the old one and must have all his obligations to the new master.
Jesus has purchased us by giving a ransom and hence He is our new master.
We should forget the old master satan and should have all our obligations to the new master Jesus Christ.

3.   The manner in which their redemption had been effected.
They are purchased not by silver of gold, but by the precious blood of Jesus.
There is nothing in this world more precious than the incorruptible innocent blood of Jesus.
Everything in this world, even the valuable gold and silver are corruptible.
But the price given for us is incorruptible
So we should live a holy life according to God.
The subject matter - Redemption

The subject matter of verse 18 and 19 is redemption.

First of all, let us learn the meaning of the word “redemption” in the secular sense.

Redemption – secular meaning

A good example to learn the meaning of redemption in the secular sense is the pawn shop transactions.
The owner keeps his goods as a security with a pawn broker for a price advanced by the broker.
Later, after some days or months, the goods held by pawnbrokers are redeemed, or bought back by the owner.
For redeeming the goods, the owner pays a price greater than the amount originally advanced by the pawn broker.
This is an example for redemption in the secular world.

Also in secular use, a 'ransom' is the price demanded by a kidnapper for his victim's release.

In the social, legal, and religious customs of the ancient world, the metaphor of redemption includes the idea of:

·        loosing from a bond
·        setting free from captivity or slavery
·        buying back something lost or sold
·        exchanging something in one's possession for something possessed by another
·        Ransoming

 Redemption means either strictly deliverance by payment of a price or ransom, or simply deliverance by power, as from oppression, violence, captivity etc.

Redemption in Bible

The meaning of redemption in the Bible is similar to the secular sense of the term.
Here also it is buying back or deliverance.

Redemption in the Bible is deliverance from:

§  Slavery of sin
§  The bondage, curse, and condemnation of the law
§  The captivity of Satan
§  A state of poverty
§  A state of deep debt      etc.

Redemption means that they were rescued from sin and death by the blood of Christ.
“To redeem”, signifies to procure life for a captive or liberty for a slave by paying a price.
The precious blood of Christ is here stated to be the price at which the souls of men are purchased and delivered.

In the passage we read above from the letter of Peter, there is the idea of substitution, the giving of one for another by way of a ransom or equivalent.
Man is "sold under sin" as a slave; shut up under condemnation and the curse.
Humankind is held in the captivity of sin from which only the atoning death of Jesus Christ can liberate.
The ransom was, therefore, paid by Jesus and delivered them.
Redemption in the Old Testament

Here, Peter is making an allusion to the concept of redemption in the Old Testament.

In Old Testament law and ritual, 'redemption' referred to

1.   the act of buying back people or property sold because of debt, and the purchase and liberation of slaves
2.   the act of rescuing a person out of poverty
3.   the release of first-born males from mandatory dedication to God

In Biblical history the words 'redeem' and 'Redeemer' relate to the exodus from Egypt, in which God set the Israelites free from slavery to the Egyptians.
To this historical redemptive act of God the prophets repeatedly refer, reminding the Israelites that the God is their mighty Redeemer.

In the Old Testament there words are used at different occasions to denote redemption.

They are:

§  Pada
§  Gaal
§  Kapar

These three words are used at different occasions to denote redemption.

Let us study the meaning of these words in connection with the occasion in which they are used.
1.   Pada (padah)

This is a verb.
It is a legal term concerning the substitution required for the person or animal delivered.
It is also used in relation to the legislation with regard to the firstborn.
Every first born male, whether human or animal, belonged to Yahweh, and hence was to be offered to Yahweh.

The first-born male of every Jewish family was consecrated to Yahweh, because God saved all first born among them from the massacre that happened while they were in Egypt.
On this ground all the first-born were the Lord's, and should have been employed in His service.
But He chose the tribe of Levi in place of all the first-born of the tribes in general and permitted to redeem the first born in all other tribes.
All first born males were redeemed at the price of five shekels.

Exodus 13:2 "Consecrate to Me all the firstborn, whatever opens the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and beast; it is Mine."   (NKJV)

Exodus 13:13 "But every firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb; and if you will not redeem it, then you shall break its neck. And all the firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem.   (NKJV)
2.   Gaal (gaal)

The word gaal is also a verb.
This is a legal term for the deliverance of a person, property, or right to which one had a previous claim through family relation or possession.
The redeemer is usually his next of kin or relative.
The redeemer is buying back the freedom he has lost through debt.

In Leviticus 25: 47 - 49, we read of an Israelite who had to sell himself into slavery because of poverty.
He may be redeemed by a kinsman or by himself.
Property sold under similar conditions could likewise be redeemed, thus keeping it within the family.

Leviticus 25:47, 49
47   'Now if a sojourner or stranger close to you becomes rich, and one of your brethren who dwells by him becomes poor, and sells himself to the stranger or sojourner close to you, or to a member of the stranger's family,
 48 'after he is sold he may be redeemed again. One of his brothers may redeem him;
 49 'or his uncle or his uncle's son may redeem him; or anyone who is near of kin to him in his family may redeem him; or if he is able he may redeem himself.
3.   Kapar (kapar)

The meaning of the verb kapar is to cover.
To cover sin, atone, or make expiation are associated meanings.
It signifies a price paid for a life that has become forfeit.

Exodus 30:11 - 13
11   Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying:
 12 "When you take the census of the children of Israel for their number, then every man shall give a ransom for himself to the LORD, when you number them, that there may be no plague among them when you number them.
 13 "This is what everyone among those who are numbered shall give: half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary (a shekel is twenty gerahs). The half-shekel shall be an offering to the LORD.
Redemption, Gold and Silver

In all these three occasions, gold and silver were used as the ransom price.
Silver and gold usually constitute the price or the valuable consideration paid for the redemption of captives.
It is clear that the obligation of one, who is redeemed, to love his benefactor, is in proportion to the price which is paid for his ransom.

Peter in his letter says that a far more valuable amount than gold and silver has been paid for the redemption of the people of God.
So we are under proportionate obligation to devote ourselves to His service.
We are redeemed by the life blood of the Son of God.
There could be no comparison possible between the value of gold and silver with the blood of Jesus.

In the first letter written by Paul to Corinthians, he also speaks about the price offered and the proportionate devotion to Jesus.

1 Corinthians 6: 20  For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.   (NKJV)

The idea of paying a price to redeem us from the slavery of sin and satan is repeated at many places in the New Testament.

Corruptible gold and silver

Gold and silver are corruptible things.
They represent in our text, not just silver or gold, but all created earthly wealth.
But created things could not purchase the souls of men.

Silver and gold are the most valuable medium of commerce among men.
But they bear no proportion in their value to the souls of a lost world.
There must be a congruity between the worth of the thing purchased and the value given for it.
The laws and customs of nations require this.
On this ground, perishable things, or things of lesser value cannot purchase human souls.

The Israelites were ransomed with five shekel each.
The ransom price was used for purchasing the lamb for the daily sacrifice.
That means, they were redeemed through a sacrifice.

But the Lamb who redeems the spiritual Israelites does so without money or price.
We are redeemed from sin and the curse with Christ's precious blood.
An Israelite sold as a bond-servant for debt might be redeemed by one of his brethren.
As, therefore, we could not redeem ourselves.
Christ assumed our nature in order to become our nearest of kin and brother.
Thus He became our God or Redeemer.

The redemption of man is real, not metaphorical.
The blood of Jesus Christ is the only price of man's redemption.
We are bought with a price, and the price is equal to the purchase, for it is the precious blood of Christ.
It is the blood of an innocent person, a lamb without blemish and without spot.
It is the blood of an infinite person, being the Son of God, and therefore it is called the blood of God.
Redemption is totally the work of God through his Son, Jesus Christ.
It is something he does to us and for us.
We contribute nothing to it; indeed we have nothing which we could contribute to it.
The death of Christ stands alone, the one sufficient ransom: complete and absolute.
With this ransom God redeems us, delivering us from all the bondages in which sin had bound us.

So we have to live a holy life according to the great redemption price given for us by Jesus Christ.
May our Lord help you to live such a holy life!


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