What Did God Redeem Believers With?
Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold … but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. (1:18a, 19)
Psalm 49:7–8 says, “No man can by any means redeem his brother or give to God a ransom for him—for the redemption of his soul is costly, and he should cease trying forever.” Indeed the price “for the redemption of [a] soul is costly.” Peter appealed to his readers’ basic knowledge that there was nothing available to mankind that could meet that price. Knowing emphasizes that believers know that they were not redeemed with perishable things. Redemption’s price was not some valuable earthly commodity—like silver or gold. But why did Peter in this context even mention those prized metals? In this instance he quite possibly recalled the Old Testament passage about the ransom money God required the Israelites to pay (cf. Ex. 30:13, 15) for the action of numbering all males of military age:
The Lord also spoke to Moses, saying, “When you take a census of the sons of Israel to number them, then each one of them shall give a ransom for himself to the Lord, when you number them, so that there will be no plague among them when you number them. This is what everyone who is numbered shall give: half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary (the shekel is twenty gerahs), half a shekel as a contribution to the Lord. Everyone who is numbered, from twenty years old and over, shall give the contribution to the Lord. The rich shall not pay more and the poor shall not pay less than the half shekel, when you give the contribution to the Lord to make atonement for yourselves. You shall take the atonement money from the sons of Israel and shall give it for the service of the tent of meeting, that it may be a memorial for the sons of Israel before the Lord, to make atonement for yourselves.” (Ex. 30:11–16)
The taking of a census was a sin and considered as a lack of trust in God. On that one occasion when God ordered a census, He required a purification ceremony for cleansing. By that the Israelites would cancel the punishment implicit in the census. When Israel took a census in direct disobedience to God’s command not to do so, signifying an act of sinful distrust in His power, as David did in 1 Chronicles 21, Scripture records that he fell to Satan’s temptation to gratify his pride in the nation’s military strength. David’s failure to trust and obey God in dealing with his enemies incurred the Lord’s fury and moved Him to punish Israel with a lethal plague brought by a destroying angel (vv. 11–17).
Peter knew that, unlike the temporal redemption with money that God permitted the Israelites to purchase in Exodus 30, no amount of money could redeem people’s souls from the bondage of sin. The prophet Isaiah saw the true nature of God’s ultimate redemption of His people when he wrote, “For thus says the Lord, ‘You were sold for nothing and you will be redeemed without money’ ” (Isa. 52:3).
Having stated what believers were not redeemed with, Peter declared the means by which God did redeem them—with precious blood. He used blood as a vivid synonym for sacrificial death involving the shedding of blood. The blood was not just any blood but precious because it belonged to a lamb unblemished and spotless. Peter’s words implicitly picture the immense sacrifice the owner of such a lamb made when he killed his flock’s finest, purest, most perfect animal, the very kind of animal God always required for sacrifice (Lev. 22:19; Num. 6:14; 28:3–4; Deut. 15:21; 17:1; cf. Ex. 12:5; Lev. 22:17–25). No sacrificial lamb or any other animal sacrifice could ever really take away sin, as Hebrews 10:1–10 makes clear:
For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins? But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, “Sacrifice and offering You have not desired, but a body You have prepared for Me; in whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have taken no pleasure. “Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come (in the scroll of the book it is written of Me) to do Your will, O God.’ ” After saying above, “Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have not desired, nor have You taken pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the Law), then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will.” He takes away the first in order to establish the second. By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (cf. 9:24–26; 10:11, 14)
Those sacrifices all showed the deadly effects of sin and pictured the idea of an ultimate substitute taking the sinner’s place—fulfilled in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ “once for all.” That Jesus was absolutely and perfectly unblemished and spotless is the clear testimony of Scripture, especially concerning the doctrine of imputation, as contained in 2 Corinthians 5:21, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him”:
Imputation speaks of a legal reckoning. To impute guilt to someone is to assign guilt to that person’s account. Likewise, to impute righteousness is to reckon the person righteous. The guilt or righteousness thus imputed is a wholly objective reality; it exists totally apart from the person to whom it is imputed. In other words, a person to whom guilt is imputed is not thereby actually made guilty in the real sense. But he is accounted as guilty in a legal sense. It is a reckoning, not an actual remaking of the person’s character.
The guilt of sinners was imputed to Christ. He was not in any sense actually tainted with guilt. He was merely reckoned as guilty before the court of heaven, and the penalty of all that guilt was executed against Him. Sin was imputed, not imparted, to Him.
This is a remarkable statement: “[God] made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf.” It cannot mean that Christ became a sinner. It cannot mean that He committed any sin, that His character was defiled, or that He bore our sin in any sense other than by legal imputation.
Christ had no capacity to sin. He was impeccable. This same verse even says, “[He] knew no sin.” He was spotless. He had to be spotless in order to serve as the perfect substitute. He was holy, harmless, undefiled—separate from sinners (Heb. 7:26). He was without sin (Heb. 4:15). If sin had besmirched His character in any sense—if He had become an actual sinner—He would have then been worthy of sin’s penalty Himself and thus unqualified to render payment for the sins of others. The perfect Lamb of God could not be other than spotless. So the phrase “[God] made Him … to be sin” cannot mean that Christ was tainted with actual sin.
What it means is simply that the guilt from our sins was imputed to Him, reckoned to His account. Many Scriptures teach this concept: “He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities” (Isa. 53:5). “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross” (1 Peter 2:24). He bore “the sins of many” (Heb. 9:28).
So in 2 Corinthians 5:21, Paul’s simple meaning is that God treated Christ as if He were a sinner. He imputed our guilt to Him and exacted from Him the full penalty for sin—even though Christ Himself knew no sin.
The guilt He bore was not His guilt, but He bore it as if it were His own. God put our guilt to Christ’s account and made Him pay the penalty for it. All the guilt of all the sins of all who would ever be saved was imputed to Jesus Christ—reckoned to His account as if He were guilty of all of it. Then God poured out the full fury of all His wrath against all of that sin, and Jesus experienced it all. That’s what this verse means when it says God made Christ to be sin for us. (John MacArthur, The Freedom and Power of Forgiveness [Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 1998], 25–26; emphases in original)
Since all sin is a violation of God’s holy law and a debt incurred to Him, He is the One to whom the price must be paid. Only the creditor can determine the terms of ransom or redemption. The price was not paid to Satan as some have suggested, as if he had been offended and needed to be compensated for sins against him. All sin is against God, and He sets the terms of redemption. The price He required as payment was the life of His own Son (Acts 20:28; Rom. 3:24–25; Gal. 4:4–5; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:13–14; Titus 2:13–14).
The blood of Christ is the most precious blood of all because He was the only utterly perfect person who ever lived (cf. John 1:14, 27; Heb. 4:14–15; 7:26–28). The writer of Hebrews captured the essence of Christ as the perfect Mediator and High Priest of the new covenant, made possible by His death as the perfect sacrifice:
But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. (Heb. 9:11–15; cf. 4:15)
In many other passages the New Testament affirms the same truth of the uniqueness of Jesus’ atoning death (3:18; John 1:29; 1 Cor. 1:30; Gal. 3:13; Rev. 1:5; cf. 1 Peter 2:4; Rev. 5:6–9; 14:4).
The blood of Christ refers not to the fluid in His body, but to the whole of His redemptive death. Scripture speaks of Christ’s blood nearly three times as often as it mentions the cross, and five times more often than it refers to the death of Christ. The word blood, therefore, is the chief term the New Testament uses to refer to the atonement.
Peter wrote that election is “unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ” (1:2, kjv). The “sprinkling of the blood” is what sealed the new covenant (cf. Heb. 9:1–18). “Without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (v. 22). If Christ had not literally shed His blood in sacrifice for believers’ sins, they could not have been saved. This is one reason crucifixion was the means God ordained by which Christ should die; it was the most vivid, visible display of life being poured out as the price for sins.
Bloodshed was likewise God’s design for nearly all Old Testament sacrifices. They were bled to death rather than clubbed, strangled, suffocated, or burnt. God designed that sacrificial death was to occur with blood loss, because “the life of the flesh is in the blood” (Lev. 17:11).
The literal blood of Christ was violently shed at the crucifixion. Those who deny this truth or try to spiritualize the death of Christ are guilty of corrupting the gospel message. Jesus Christ bled and died in the fullest literal sense, and when He rose from the dead, He was literally resurrected. To deny the absolute reality of those truths is to nullify them (cf. 1 Cor. 15:14–17).
The meaning of the crucifixion, however, is not fully expressed in the bleeding alone. There was nothing supernatural in Jesus’ blood that sanctified those it touched. Those who flogged Him might have been spattered with blood. Yet that literal application of Jesus’ blood did nothing to purge their sins. Had the Lord bled without dying, redemption could not have been accomplished. If the atonement had been stopped before the full wages of sin had been satisfied, Jesus’ bloodshed would have been to no avail. If blood per se could redeem sinners, why did Jesus not just bleed and not die? He did not because the “shedding of blood” in Scripture is an expression that means more than just bleeding.
The biblical meaning in this matter is readily apparent. Romans 5:9–10 clarifies the point; those two verses side by side show that to be “justified by His blood” (v. 9) is the same as being “reconciled to God through the death of his Son” (v. 10). The critical element in salvation is the sacrificial death of Christ on sinners’ behalf. The shedding of His blood was the visible manifestation of His life being poured out in sacrifice, and Scripture consistently uses the term “shedding of blood” as a metonym for atoning death (Heb. 9:22; 12:4; cf. 9:12, 14; 10:19; 11:28; 13:12, 20; Ex. 12:7, 13, 22–23; 23:18; 30:10; 34:25; Lev. 16:27; 17:11; Deut. 12:27; Matt. 26:28; Acts 20:28; Rom. 3:25; 1 Cor. 11:25; Eph. 1:7; 2:13; Col. 1:20; 1 Peter 1:19; 1 John 1:7; Rev. 1:5; 7:14).
So the blood of Christ is precious—but as precious as it is, that physical blood alone could not and did not save. Only when it was poured out in death could the penalty of sin be paid (Luke 24:46; Acts 17:3; Rom. 5:8–11; Eph. 2:13–16; Rev. 5:9; 13:8; cf. John 11:50–51).
It is important to note also that though Christ shed His blood, Scripture does not say He bled to death; it teaches rather that He voluntarily yielded up His spirit (John 10:18). Yet even that physical death could not have brought redemption apart from His spiritual death, whereby He was separated from the Father (cf. Matt. 27:46) by bearing the full guilt of all the sins of all who would ever be saved.
Clearly, though Christ shed His literal blood, many references to the blood are not intended to be taken in the literal sense. A strictly literal interpretation cannot, for example, explain such passages as John 6:53–54: “Truly, truly I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” It would be equally hard to explain how physical blood is meant in Matthew 27:25 (“His blood shall be on us and on our children”); Acts 5:28 (“[You] intend to bring this man’s blood upon us”); 18:6 (“Your blood be on your own heads”); 20:26 (“I am innocent of the blood of all men”); and 1 Corinthians 10:16 (“Is not the cup of blessing … a sharing in the blood of Christ?”).
Trying to make literal every reference to Christ’s blood can lead to serious error. The Roman Catholic doctrine known as transubstantiation, for example, teaches that communion wine is miraculously changed into the actual blood of Christ, and that those who partake of the elements in the mass literally fulfill Jesus’ words in John 6:54: “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
Some claim that Christ’s blood was never truly human. Yet they insist on literalizing every New Testament reference to Jesus’ blood. They erroneously teach that the physical blood of Christ was somehow preserved after the crucifixion and carried to heaven, where it is now literally applied to the soul of each Christian at salvation.
Believers are not saved by some mystical heavenly application of Jesus’ literal blood. Nothing in Scripture indicates that the literal blood of Christ is preserved in heaven and applied to individual believers. When Peter here said saints are redeemed by the blood, he was not speaking of a bowl of blood in heaven. The apostle meant they are saved by Christ’s sacrificial death.
In the same way, when Paul gloried in the Cross (Gal. 6:14), he did not mean the literal wooden beams; he was speaking of all the elements of the redeeming work. Just as the Cross is an expression that includes all of Christ’s atoning work, so is the blood. It is not the actual liquid that cleanses believers from sin, but the work of redemption Christ accomplished in pouring His blood out in death.
18–20 In Petrine theology there is no tension between divine judgment and divine mercy. Having already offered praise to God for his great mercy and the believers’ living hope (1:3–5), Peter rehearses by means of standard paraenetic language (eidote) the marvel of redemption and the purchase price for that redemption—the blood of Christ. The metaphor of the slave market occurs frequently in the NT (e.g., Mk 10:45; Ro 6:15–23; 8:15; Gal 4:1–7; 1 Pe 1:18–19; 2:16; 2 Pe 2:19–22) and is critical to a proper understanding of the nature of salvation. It speaks to the condition of bondage caused by sin, to the beneficence of the one buying the slave, to the costly nature of the redemptive transaction, and to the state of freedom (i.e., the household) into which the redeemed is brought. From the Petrine perspective, reverential fear is heightened by the believers’ grateful awareness of the high cost of ransom. This cost, sacrificial blood, greatly exceeds the value of silver or gold used in the business transaction, either of which is perishable (cf. 1:4). The result is that the believer is brought into a marvelous spiritual freedom (2:16). Reverence acknowledges that the ransom price was indeed high.
This costly transaction, however, is presented in 1 Peter as no second thought or “plan B” in the counsel of God (cf. Ro 16:25–27; 1 Co 2:7–10; Eph 3:1–6; Col 1:26–27; Tit 1:1–3). Rather, the ransom, it is emphasized, was in the purpose of God “before the creation of the world,” even though it has been fully “revealed in these last times” for the sake of the saints. Once again, as in the letter’s opening, Peter appropriates the language of sovereign election: Christ, the unblemished sacrificial lamb (cf. the language of Ex 12:5 and Isa 52:13–53:12 and its resemblance to 1 Peter), was “chosen” or, more precisely, “foreknown” (proginōskō, GK 4589). Peter’s confession of Christ’s role in salvation history is a remarkable and compelling witness to the preexistence of the second person of the Trinity (on which cf. Jn 1:1–3; 17:5, 13, 18, 24; 8:16, 58; Php 2:6–11).
1:18 / The cost of establishing such a relationship with God has been anything but cheap. Nor can it ever be calculated in terms of perishable things such as silver or gold, for they belong only to this material world and have nothing to do with eternal values. Peter’s reference to silver and gold as perishable in comparison with the blood of a sacrifice is remarkable, since in the literal sense the opposite is true. But the very boldness of the unexpected expression brings out the eternal character of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The redemption wrought by Christ was not the result of a business transaction involving the exchange of money. Nor is it necessary to debate, as did some of the early church fathers, to whom payment was made. That question does not arise, for we have here simply a commercial metaphor—which is still in use: “The victim sold his life dearly.”
The effect of Christ’s redemptive work is to deliver men and women from their past, which Peter describes as an empty way of life, and one that has been inherited, handed down … from your forefathers. The latter five words represent one word in the Greek, patroparadotos, and Peter seems to be the first Christian writer to use it. The term refers to a traditional religious way of life. When we bear in mind how very highly the ancient world esteemed patroparadotos, enduring and revered family religious traditions, the dramatic weight of Peter’s reference to empty (mataios) way of life is brought home, for the significance of mataios is “vain and useless idolatry.” The shackles of long-established religious traditions lie shattered, not because Christianity is a rival competitor but as a direct result of the liberation brought about by Jesus. Men and women can rejoice in a totally new life in Christ.
1:19 / The price of redemption is nothing less than the precious blood of Christ, that is, his sacrificial death upon the cross. That death fulfilled the meaning of the Passover sacrifice, which demanded a lamb without blemish or defect. The sacrifice of an animal, however perfect physically, could never in practice have taken away the sin of human beings. The two, animal and human, are not in the same class of creation. Furthermore, sin is a matter not of physique but of morality. Only another human being, and one who was perfect in every way, could match the need of the human race. But animal sacrifice could at least offer a picture of what was required, and this was the purpose of the ot ritual—until in the fullness of time, God sent his Son into the world (Gal. 4:4–5).
As if to make the association crystal clear, the nt not only likens the Son of God to a lamb without blemish or defect, the required standard of the Passover animal (Exod. 12:5), but also reveals that Jesus has the title of Lamb (John 1:29, 36; and 28 times in the book of Revelation). Paul unequivocally identifies Christ as “our Passover” (1 Cor. 5:7). Only the blood of the spotless Son of God could ever be sufficient to deal with the problem of sin (Heb. 9:11–14; Rev. 5:9) and thus pay the price of redemption.
1:18–19. Redeemed is the dominant word used to describe our salvation hope. The word means “to release by paying a price or a ransom.” For the Jews, the picture of redemption would be God’s deliverance from Egypt. For the Gentiles, it would be the picture of a slave whose freedom was purchased. The message for both audiences is the same: before we can enter a relationship of faith with Jesus Christ, we must realize that we are slaves who need to be set free from our empty way of life.
An empty way of life is a life that has no real direction or purpose and leads to no good results (cf. Eph. 4:17). It is essentially a life of entrapment. Peter’s readers were trapped in the lifestyle inherited from their pagan ancestors. We are too often trapped in the pagan materialism inherited from our culture. It is a life that has no escape from the futile and sinful behavior that will end in condemnation from the Eternal Judge. The only escape comes through the death of Jesus Christ, who is described in verse 19 as the perfect sacrifice. Christ’s death was the ransom paid for our spiritual deliverance. The ransom was not paid with first-century currency, such as gold or silver. These commodities have no eternal value. Redemption was paid with the blood of Christ, upon which no value can be placed.
18. For 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 forefathers, 19. but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.
Note, then, the first doctrinal point.
This passage has a negative and a positive aspect. To put it differently, items that are perishable (silver and gold) are compared to Christ, whose blood has eternal significance.
- “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed.” Here is a gentle reminder of what the readers know about their salvation: their knowledge of salvation has filled them with “an inexpressible and glorious joy” (v. 8). They know that God, through Christ, has redeemed them at an enormous cost.
Peter rates the cost of redemption first in terms of created things; they, of course, are subject to change and decay. He mentions two precious metals (silver and gold) that comparatively speaking are least perishable. First he specifies silver. But silver, when exposed to any sulphur compounds in the air, tarnishes, corrodes, and loses its value. Next Peter cites gold, which is more durable than silver. Even this precious metal is subject to decay. In brief, earthly possessions do not qualify as payment to redeem the believers (see Isa. 52:3).
When we use the word redeem today, we think of it in a reflexive sense: “I have redeemed myself.” We mean that we have regained our former standing. We also use the word when we exchange trading stamps for commodities at a redemption center. Last, we can redeem something by buying it back or by fulfilling financial obligations (e.g., by repaying a loan).
What does Scripture say? In the Old Testament, God redeemed his people from the yoke of slavery in Egypt (Exod. 6:6). He accomplished this by sending ten plagues on Israel’s oppressors. In the ancient world, slaves obtained freedom with a sum of money paid either by themselves or by someone else.
In the New Testament, the focus shifts to Christ. We read that “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13). Paul says that Christ Jesus “gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good” (Titus 2:14; also compare Ps. 130:8). Peter, too, uses the word redeem to refer to Christ’s death and our deliverance from sin (1:18–19).
- “From the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers.” The phrase empty way of life describes a lifestyle that is without purpose, unfruitful, and useless. The text provides no information whether Peter is referring to the forefathers of the Jews who lived by tradition instead of God’s Word (Jesus rebuked the Jews for observing the traditions of the elders and setting aside the commands of God [Mark 7:5–13]). Another possibility is that Peter thinks of the pagan forefathers of the Gentile readers; in his epistles Paul comments on the futile life of the Gentiles (Rom. 1:21; Eph. 4:17). A third option is that Peter means the forefathers of both the Jews and the Gentiles.
- “But with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” Here is the positive aspect of our redemption. Peter speaks as a Jew who is fully steeped in the Passover history and ritual. The Jewish people were set free from slavery when each family took a lamb without defect, slaughtered it at twilight on the fourteenth of the month Nisan, put the blood on the sides and tops of the doorframes of their homes (Exod. 12:1–11), and ate the Passover.
The writers of the New Testament teach that Christ is that Passover lamb. John the Baptist points to Jesus and says, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). Paul comments that our redemption has been accomplished through Christ Jesus because “God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement” (Rom. 3:25). The writer of Hebrews declares that Christ did not enter the Most Holy Place by means of the blood of goats and calves but entered “once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption” (9:12). And John in Revelation has recorded a new song that the saints in heaven sing to Christ: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” (5:9).
The New Testament unfolds the teaching that Christ Jesus is our redeemer. In our Christian vocabulary, unfortunately, the word redeemer is not so common as the word savior. We readily acknowledge that Jesus Christ has saved us from the power and destruction of sin. Of even greater significance, however, is the truth that he has purchased us by shedding his precious blood on Calvary’s cross. Of the two terms, therefore, the expression redeemer deserves more prominence than the word savior.
With Philip P. Bliss every believer gratefully and joyfully sings:
I will sing of my Redeemer;
And His wondrous love to me;
On the cruel cross He suffered,
From the curse to set me free.
1:18 Before their conversion, believers were not different from the rest of the world. Their talk and walk were as empty and trivial as that of men around them. Their unconverted days are described as your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers. But they had been ransomed from that futile existence by a tremendous transaction. They had been rescued from the slavery of world-conformity by the payment of an infinite ransom. Was it by silver or gold that these kidnap victims had been freed (see Ex. 30:15)?
1:19 No, it was with the precious blood of Christ—like the blood of a perfect, unblemished lamb. Christ is a lamb without blemish or spot, that is, He is absolutely perfect, inwardly and outwardly. If a believer is ever tempted to return to worldly pleasures and amusements, to adopt worldly modes and patterns, to become like the world in its false ways, he should remember that Christ shed His blood to deliver him from that kind of life. To go back to the world is to re-cross the great gulf that was bridged for us at staggering cost. But even more—it is positive disloyalty to the Savior.
“Reason back from the greatness of the sacrifice to the greatness of the sin. Then determine to be done forever with that which cost God’s Son His life.”
1:18 Redeemed suggests the idea of offering something, usually money, in exchange for the freedom of a slave or a prisoner of war. God bought our freedom, paying for us with His Son’s life (v. 19). your aimless conduct: Peter’s focus is not on any specific action, but on the way of life that his readers inherited from their ancestors. Those old ways were futile, empty of power and incapable of securing salvation. Peter’s readers needed to be snatched from their hopeless condition.
1:19 precious blood: God’s way of salvation is contrasted to human attempts at gaining salvation through the use of earthly means (v. 18). a lamb: Peter describes Christ as the ultimate sacrificial Lamb, who is offered in our place to pay the price for our sins. The analogy here may be a reference either to the Passover lamb (Ex. 12:3–6) or to the many lambs without blemish that were offered as part of the OT sacrificial system (Lev. 23:12; Num. 6:14; 28:3). First-century believers recognized Jesus as the spotless Lamb of God who pays the price for the sin of the world (John 1:29).
 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2004). 1 Peter (pp. 76–82). Chicago: Moody Publishers.
 Charles, D. J. (2006). 1 Peter. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, p. 310). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
 Hillyer, N. (2011). 1 and 2 Peter, Jude (pp. 49–50). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.
 Walls, D., & Anders, M. (1999). I & II Peter, I, II & III John, Jude (Vol. 11, pp. 13–14). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
 Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Epistles of Peter and the Epistle of Jude (Vol. 16, pp. 65–66). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.
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 Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 1679). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.