knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. ~ 1 Peter 1:18-19
Redeemed. An interesting word. Outside of church, we use it mostly in reference to coupons. Many coupons include words at the bottom in tiny print: Cash value 1/100 of one cent. The paper is worth essentially nothing. Only when words are printed on it does it have a potential value. And only when it is redeemed is that value realized.
I have always thought of myself as essentially the same—just a useless body composed of largely the same materials as the planet I live on, only given meaning when the Word was engraved in my heart.
But yesterday as I was musing on that, it suddenly occurred to me that there is more to the story. In my eyes, I was worthless before I knew the Lord, and unfortunately, it’s far too easy to regard the lives of others as of little value when they are being lived out in self-indulgence and empty pursuits.
Thinking more carefully about how redemption happens, though, I realize that the one who redeems must see a benefit before he will make the transaction. The merchant who gives a discount to honor a piece of paper must receive something he wants from the deal, or he would never bother. When he sacrifices the dollar amount of the coupon, he increases his business, and that makes it worthwhile to him.
Me. My life.
He was cursed
to give me life.
Yes, I did have life…sort of… a futile, ineffective and unproductive life that I inherited, but the blood of Christ redeemed me. His blood—his very life! An exorbitant price! But He thought it worthwhile to die for me. He made the sacrifice that gave me real life, abundant and fruitful life, because He saw me as valuable.
When He died, I was still a wretched sinner. I seemed like a worthless scrap of paper with no words. (In fact, the tree that produced the paper wasn’t even planted yet!) But He, being outside of time, could already see the Word which would be written there. He knew the end result, and He saw me as infinitely precious. And each soul in the universe, every scrap of human refuse huddled in a gutter somewhere, is just as precious to Him. Because He can see eternity in our hearts, the infinite value that is not yet written.
And He has already redeemed us.
Before we could love Him back. Before we could possibly thank Him. Before we even existed.
Thank you, thank you, Jesus.