The meaning of the word redemption…

You know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. (1 Peter 1:18-19)

The meaning of the word redemption would have been much clearer to the apostle Peter’s readers than it is to us today. Back in his time, there were millions of slaves who could have been redeemed from slavery if someone had been willing to pay the stipulated price to buy their freedom. Then, if they had been redeemed, they could have not only have been brought out of the slave market, but they would also have been free to serve their new owner.
Just the same, we are born into the slave market of sin, and as we grow up we prove our sinfulness by personally sinning, and we compound our guilt by justifying our sin to ourselves and to others. We cannot pay our own purchase price of redemption, for, spiritually speaking, we are bankrupt, hopelessly indebted and unable to change our current standing.
Praise Jesus who came to do what we could not. Listen to His own job description: “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). He paid a price that we could not, and He did it to set us free from our slavery to sin and Satan. Redemption, then, is the means by which salvation is achieved—namely, by the payment of a ransom. To redeem is to “buy out of a marketplace.”

In the above passage Peter (1:18-19) stresses two facts:

1. He details our need to be bought out of the slavery of sin, which he describes as an “empty way of life” handed down from our forefathers. Our predicament is that we cannot redeem ourselves because we do not have a perfect payment that God would accept.
2. Peter stresses the awesome nature of the payment made for us. Silver and gold are usually thought to be among the safest investments for preserving our money. Peter calls even these valued assets “perishable things” in contrast to the incomparable value of “the precious blood of Christ.” Which also means we are indeed valuable, for we have been bought at high cost.
What are the implications of our redemption? Most importantly we now belong to God and are no longer subject to our former masters—namely sin and the devil. In the words of Paul, “He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13-14). Thanks to Jesus, who paid the ransom, we have now officially switched owners, and both our identities and destinies have been forever changed. Redemption means that someone loved us enough to buy our freedom. To Him we should gladly give our deepest loyalty and praise.
In His Service,
Eric Barnes