#22 THE COST OF REDEMPTION

A tremendous change has taken place in our lives – the change from ignorance [1Peter 1:14] to the knowledge of God [verse 21], the change from hopelessness to a living hope [verses 3, 21], the change from darkness to wonderful light [2:9], the change from being nobody to being the people of God [2:10], the change from being the objects of condemnation to being the recipients of mercy [2:10]. This immense and multi-faceted change has occurred because we have been the focus of a grand and costly redemptive action of God.

Redemption presupposes an existing condition of bondage, captivity, enslavement or debt, from which there is no simple or easy way out. Redemption (liberation) from such bondage always involves a cost. That’s what redemption is - freedom achieved by the payment of a price. This price is termed the ‘ransom’. In the case of our salvation, the ransom, the price paid, is the life of Christ. He died, he shed his blood, he gave his life, as the only price that could secure our freedom.

Jesus spoke of this: ‘The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many’ [Mark 10:45].

Paul wrote of it: ‘There is no difference, for all ... are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood’ [Romans 3:22-25].

And again: ‘Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”’ [Galatians 3:13].

And again: ‘In him we have redemption through his blood ...’ [Ephesians 1:7].

John reported the praise of Christ around the throne of God: ‘... you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation’ [Revelation 5:9].

Peter teaches us that our redemption was not purchased with ‘perishable things such as silver or gold ... but with the precious blood of Christ’ [1:18,19]. He goes on to explain why the blood of Christ is so precious, so valuable.
Christ is ‘a lamb without blemish or defect’. Here Peter uses the symbolism embedded in the ritual requirements of the Passover festival: that only a perfect lamb was an acceptable substitutionary sacrifice. The reality symbolised by this perfect sacrificial lamb is Jesus Christ, who was without sin. Christ is the real Lamb of God – perfect, sinless, without blame. He ‘had no sin’ [2Corinthians 5:21]. He, the righteous one, died for us, the unrighteous [1Peter 3:18].

This incredible plan of redemption was, Peter affirms, determined by God even before we had sinned: ‘He was chosen before the creation of the world ...’ [1:20]. From eternity, from deep within the heart of God, before time, before creation, before we existed, Christ was the chosen ransom. As Paul puts it ‘this grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time’ [2Timothy 1:9].

There are three truths here that emphasise the extreme cost of our redemption:

Who it is who paid the price: it is Jesus Christ, the beloved Son of God, the King of kings and Lord of lords.

What the price was: it was his life given, his death, his blood.

When this plan was first decided: it was decided before the creation of the universe.

Once we recognize this extreme cost of our redemption we can draw two further conclusions:

That our redemption is highly valued by God. God did not do it lightly or thoughtlessly. Knowing completely all that was involved God planned it and implemented it.

That we ourselves are highly valued by God. God created us, knowing that we would sin. God created us, knowing that to redeem us from that sin he would send his one and only Son into the world to pay the price for our redemption. How very, very much he loves us!

For this reason Peter says: ‘... live your lives ... in reverent fear. For you know ... that you were redeemed ... with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect ... chosen before the creation of the world.’

© Rosemary Bardsley 2017