The Reality of Redemption

“And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.”
(1 Peter 1:17-19)


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We may not think of it much today, but redemption was a theme that the ancients were familiar with. The Jews were aware of the custom of the kinsman-redeemer, where a relative could buy his brother out of slavery, or ‘redeem’ his brother’s property when that relative deceased.

Yet if redemption was a common theme, slavery was far more commonplace for the Jews who were scattered throughout the Roman Empire. That vast dominion was speckled with thousands of slave-marts  — places where debt-ridden peasants, or prisoners from enemy wars, or the unfortunate children of slave-parents were sold to the highest bidders.

The most educated slaves, often from the cultured lands of Greece and Anatolia, sold for extravagant prices. Some of these slaves could read, write, practice music, or take care of business or administrative tasks. These slaves may have sold for many thousands of dollars in today’s money  — vast sums of gold or silver in the ancient world.

Spiritual Redemption Through Christ

Christians are also a redeemed people. We were not ‘redeemed’ from one slave owner to another, simply to receive one harsh servitude for another grueling subjugation. We were redeemed from slavery and oppression to love and adoption.

We were redeemed from slavery and oppression to love and adoption.

In the kingdom of heaven, our worth is insignificant. We cannot do anything for God, and He could easily ignore us, focused on the grand designs of eternal plans. But can you ever imagine seeing a rich Roman noble, wearing a purple tunic and a golden chain, exchanging his first-born son at the slave-mart in order to obtain a wretched slave?

This is exactly the picture that the Bible paints for us. Our redemption is far more glorious than that of any miserably oppressed human. Jesus Himself becomes the currency, so to speak, that God uses to purchase us. His blood is shed on our behalf, and it comes from a Being who is ‘like a lamb without blemish or spot’ – completely pure and innocent Himself, just like the sacrificial lamb that the Jews would offer on the altar.

Peter says that we were ransomed ‘from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers.’ For the Gentiles who heard this, it might refer to the godless ways of Greek mythology and philosophy. For the Jews, it would refer to the sterile, man-made traditions of their fathers, that never moved them any closer to God. For us today, it may refer to dead religion, godless thinking, and patterns of generational disobedience.

When Peter speaks of the reality of redemption, he brings it up for a purpose: to explain why Christians live a lifestyle of fear toward God. While too many have relegated fear to the Old Testament, fear is an important part of the Christian’s daily life.

Responding to Redemption

Our redemption is a reality that should strike both joy and fear in our hearts.

A God who was willing to send His own Son to ransom miserable humans is a God Who deserves to be feared. If the valuable blood of the spotless lamb was shed for you, it should strike a great fear of God into your soul. David said, “My flesh trembles for fear of you, and I am afraid of your judgments” (Psalm 119:120), and this is a concept that shows up often in the New Testament.

Our redemption is a reality that should strike both joy and fear in our hearts. A God Who is willing to sacrifice His Son should terrify us when we see how He views sin. A God Who is willing to ransom us by His Son should enrapture us with the joy of His love for us!

Daniel Pentimone is a homeschooled writer and ER nurse. He loves to study the Scripture and see how its teaching applies to modern life in light of history and the Biblical worldview. Visit his blog at, and while you’re there, don’t forget to check out this month’s free drawing!

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