18 For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from your fathers, not with perishable things like silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb.
1 Peter 1:18-19
The last year has been difficult. And while things are beginning to open up, and the economy is slowly coming back to life, we cannot mistakenly place our hope on the altar of the almighty dollar. The stock market won’t save us, nor can a vaccine carry salvation through the tiny hole at the end of a needle. Whether I am safe from the awful virus, whether my savings account and stock portfolio will remain every bit as impressive as they were in February of 2020—these are real-life issues. Yet none of it will bring redemption. These things cannot offer eternal hope.
Redemption is the framework of Peter’s soteriological hope. To be redeemed is to be released through the payment of a price or ransom. First Peter is widely considered to be a circular letter. This means it was sent to several churches, as opposed to being tailored to one specific congregation. Because this is likely true, Peter’s audience would probably have been a mix of Jews and Gentiles. A Jew may see redemption in terms of deliverance from Egypt, while a Gentile would likely think of a slave whose freedom was purchased.
The message for both audiences is Christocentric. We cannot express faith in God apart from our relationship with Jesus Christ. Regardless of our religious upbringing, we were once slaves that needed to be set free from an empty way of life. A life apart from Christ has no real direction or purpose. It yields no good fruit and is essentially a life of entrapment.
The only escape is through the death of Jesus as described in verse 19. He is the perfect sacrifice, “a lamb without defect or blemish.” His death was more than sufficient as a ransom paid for our deliverance. Christ did not pay with gold or silver. His grace is not dependent on the strength of the dollar, nor does it fluctuate with the NASDAQ or the S&P 500. Neither silver nor gold, neither pound, shilling nor pence, can affect the love of God towards humanity. Redemption was paid by the precious blood of Christ, which is beyond any worldly measures of value.
We are not slaves to a virus nor a vaccine. Our hope is not housed in a petri dish, nor is it distributed by syringe. It does not hide behind a surgical mask, but is inside each and every one of us who believes in Jesus Christ. Our soteriological hope has nothing to do with the purity of our own blood, but of Jesus’ shed blood on the cross. His blood redeems us—nothing else can.
Overall, Peter’s epistle challenged the dominant Roman political ideology. It also encouraged believers to realize sufferings are a “normal” dimension of Christian existence. This past year has caused us to rethink our lives in terms of what we really value. Many people have lost loved ones or suffered financial hardship due to loss of income. Our lives may never be the same, but Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. No amount of money or possessions or worldly accomplishments can substitute for the precious blood of Jesus, shed on the cross for us.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- We are no longer slaves to an empty way of life. Redemption through Jesus’ perfect sacrifice is our only hope. Whom do you know that needs to hear the truth about the redemptive power of God? What are you waiting for?
- Jesus shed His blood so we could experience His intimate love for us. Most people would not die for a righteous person much less a sinner. Christ died for us, even as we were still sinners. Would you give your life for Him?