“And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.” (1 Peter 1:17-21)
Do any of you recall, under mom’s direction, licking “green stamps,” filling the pages of a small stamp book, and “redeeming” them for items at the local S & H Redemption Center? Today many of us still participate in various card and online “reward” programs. What is easily forgotten is the initial cost of items to achieve these rewards.
There are obvious limits to what silver and gold or the corruptible rewards of this world can do for us. While they may gain for us fleeting earthly treasures, they cannot buy love, happiness, or contentment; they cannot purchase integrity, respect, or peace of mind; they cannot guarantee earthly health or well-being. Most importantly, they cannot secure forgiveness, peace with God, salvation, or eternal life for ourselves or anyone else. “None of them can by any means redeem his brother, Nor give to God a ransom for him—For the redemption of their souls is costly.” (Psalm 49:7-8a)
Only the precious blood of Christ as of a lamb without blemish or spot (verse 19) can redeem lost souls. Only Jesus could pay the full price rightfully demanded by God’s holiness and justice. Only the foreordained holy Son of God becoming Man—living, dying, rising to redeem us, revealing Himself to us in the Word, and moving our hearts to believe through the Gospel—only this Jesus could be our Savior (Acts 4:12).
Likely the Apostle’s words were on Luther’s mind and heart as he penned his Second Article gem so dear to all of us: “He has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sin, from death and from the power of the devil—not with gold or silver, but with His holy precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death.”
Yet neither Peter nor Luther stopped there. “All this He did that I should be His own and live under Him in His kingdom, and serve Him . . . thank and praise Him.” As Peter reminds us, Christ also redeemed us from a meaningless, hopeless, sin-driven life in order that we might love and thank and serve Him. We are called and empowered to live in holy awe and prayerful trust of our heavenly Judge and Father.
Our world places great emphasis on motivation. Parents, teachers, counselors, coaches, and employers all utilize various tools to improve the attitude and maximize the performance of those they lead. Internal drive and inspiration are well recognized as vital to achieving many earthly goals. How blessed we are as Christ’s redeemed to be given the ultimate Gospel motivation! In every life moment, situation, and opportunity, “the love of Christ compels us” —impels us, drives us, moves us, motivates us (2 Corinthians 5:14).
What a treasure chest of grace, rewards, and blessings are found at God’s amazing “Gospel Redemption Center”—found wherever His Word is near (Romans 10:8). Visit that redemption center often. No purchase necessary—for Christ has already redeemed us and secured these rewards for all who put their faith and hope in God.