What Does Redeemed/Redemption Mean?

“For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors.” (1 Peter 1:18a NLT)

When I was in high school, I worked in a stamp redemption center. What’s that you may wonder? Years ago, it was common when you made a purchase, to receive stamps. They had catalogs and each item had an equivalent number of stamps you’d need to redeem (trade for) the item of your choosing. The stamps themselves were of little or no value. What was of value was the item you received when you redeemed or traded them in.

That’s essentially the picture Peter is painting in the verse above. Because of the effects of sin on our lives, we were worthless, since we had no value that could be accounted for righteousness in the sight of God. The Bible says in Isaiah 64:6: “We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags.”

It grieves God’s heart to see what we do to ourselves and to each other and it hurts Him to see how we ignore and mistreat the glorious masterpiece we were created to become. Yet, in much the same way that people would see things they desired in the stamp catalog, God sees value in each of us. He knew there was no possible way we could ever be good enough to deserve the life He had in mind for us to live. So, what was the answer?

The only possibility was for His perfect, sinless Son to take our place. That’s the price Peter refers to in the rest of verse 18, into verse 19: “And the ransom He paid was not mere gold or silver. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.”

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The Greek word translated “precious” literally means “of inestimable value.” The value is so great it’s incapable of being computed. The value of global real estate in 2020 was $326.5 trillion. That’s the equivalent of less than a penny compared to one drop of our Savior’s blood. Yet that’s how much God was willing to pay to free us from the stranglehold sin had on us.

We sail through life in much the same way as the son in Jesus’ story of the prodigal son in Luke 15. We discern no need of the Father and all we can think about is being free of Him, His rules and restrictions. We think we get what we want, and our intention is to never return home. But when our resources run out, as they always do, then all that fills our mind is thoughts of home. One of the most telling phrases in the Bible to me is found in Luke 15:17: “When he finally came to his senses…”

Sin robs us of our senses, but by the grace of God, when we come to our senses, we can finally see that the price God was willing to pay for us has nothing to do with us. We’re just a worthless “stamp.” It has everything to do with Him. He is the One from which our worth is derived. He is the One that gives our life value, meaning and significance.

Jesus said it well in John 5:5-6: “Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in Me is thrown away like a useless branch.” Pride keeps my focus on me. Humility helps me see who I am in light of the price that was paid for my redemption. Without Jesus I’m a useless branch, but when I abide in Him nothing is impossible.

When I ponder where I was before I met Jesus and where I am now in my walk with Him, my heart is filled and rejoices in what God was willing to do on my behalf. Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Blessings, Ed 😊

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