We know what we have been ransomed from.
1 Peter 1:17-19
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, 18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. ESV
Picking up from where we left off in our previous post where we mentioned, if you have God as your Father, if you have become a child of God then there is something that you must most certainly “know” and what you know gives you reason to “conduct yourself with fear throughout the time of your exile”. So, what is that Peter says believers in Christ know? In our last post we took up verses 18-19 and considered the first of three “we know” points. In this post we are going to consider Point #1.
1 We know that we have been ransomed
2 We know what we have been ransomed from
3 We know how we have been ransomed
So, we know that we have been ransomed. We were once slaves. We’re now free and that is not our own doing, it’s because someone else has paid the price to set us free.
Next let us consider our third point:
We know how we have been ransomed
We see that as we continue in verse 18 and move into verse 19 where we read: “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”.
Firstly, notice that Peter stresses what has not been paid to ransom us.
He says “knowing that you were ransomed ….. not with perishable things such as silver or gold”. Those are things that are held to be of great value in this world, in this empty way of life. Those are the very things that would be needed as a ransom to free a captured soldier from the enemy or to free a slave from his master. But Peter dismisses them as “perishable things”.
Remember that back in verse 7 he spoke of our faith being “more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire”. Even the purest gold and silver will ultimately perish. Even though gold and silver could free a captive or a slave, it still didn’t free them from “the futile ways inherited from their forefathers”. It takes much more than gold or silver to ransom us “from the futile ways inherited from our forefathers”. Praise God that something much more precious has been paid to ransom us. We know that we have been ransomed “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”.
People in this world think of gold and silver as being precious but something that really is precious has been paid to ransom us. That is “the precious blood of Christ”. Now, the “blood of Christ” speaks of His death. The idea is of His lifeblood being poured out in death. His blood was shed so that He died. It was His life that was given up as a ransom for us. Peter goes on to say that “the precious blood of Christ” was “like that of a lamb without blemish or spot”. That is clearly a reference to the Old Testament sacrificial system.
So Jesus Christ died a sacrificial death.
Firstly, that tells us that His death was even more than the payment of a ransom price.
He actually took our place. He bore our empty way of life with all its sin and failure in order to free us from it.
Secondly, that “the precious blood of Christ”…
….was “like that of a lamb without blemish or spot“ tells us that the life He gave was a perfect life. That’s why the blood of Christ is of such great value. That’s why it’s precious. It’s a perfect life that was given in death for us. It wasn’t an empty life like ours but a life that was full and pleasing to God in every way.
It’s not that He simply died a death. That was the case with the lambs in the Old Testament sacrifices.
The priest simply took the lamb and slaughtered it. The lamb had no say in the matter. It was a helpless victim. But, look at what Jesus said in Matthew 20v28: “even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many”. You see, He gave His life. That doesn’t just mean that He died in the way that we might say that a soldier who died in Afghanistan gave his life for his country. No, he gave His life for a specific purpose. That was to be “a ransom for many”. It was a deliberate act. That’s made even more clear in John 10v17-18 where He said: “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father”. You see, no-one took Jesus’ life from Him. He freely laid it down in order to ransom us. The cost of our ransom was nothing less than the perfect life of Jesus Christ being given, being laid down.
The amazing thing we see in this is that He was the priest as well as the sacrifice.
He made the offering. He paid the price. At the same time He was the offering. He was the price. We see that in Hebrews 7v26-27 where we read: “For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself“. You see, “he offered up”. As a priest He offered a sacrifice. What was the sacrifice He offered? It was “himself”.
In closing, let us look at Revelation 5v8-10:
“And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth””.
Here we see Jesus being worshipped in heaven as the Lamb that was slain.
He ransomed people by His blood.
Notice that the emphasis here isn’t on the fact that He ransomed people from an empty way of life. He ransomed people “for God”. He made them “a kingdom and priests to our God” who will “reign on the earth”. If you are a believer in Christ, you have not only been “ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers”, you have been ransomed for God and a glorious life for eternity.
Dr. Steve Orr
Dr Orr has served the Body of Christ in the United Kingdom for many years and in various capacities (preaching, teaching, etc.,). Steve is a regular contributor to the pages of Christ My Covenant. His insights into the Word of God will serve you in your personal study of God’s Word. Learn of Christ!