You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers, 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. (RSV) 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. (NIV) 21 Through him you have confidence in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. (RSV)
I’ve been ransomed. It strikes me that most governments, while trying to free kidnapped people, are opposed to paying a ransom for their release. All of mankind was kidnapped by Satan when he tempted Adam and Eve in the garden and got them to rebel against God. Ever since then, children born to their descendants have been born into slavery to sin. The futile ways I’ve inherited is my nature to sin. I was no different until Jesus ransomed me. A ransom is the price demanded by the kidnapper or slave owner for the freedom of the captive. Usually, the kidnapper establishes the price, but in this case, God established the price for my freedom.
The price for freedom from sin and adoption into the family of God had to be something a whole lot more than the things of this world. No amount of money could buy my freedom. Money is worthless in eternity. Previously, I quoted Psalm 49:-9 that expressed God’s position on the ransom for a life. God says that no payment is ever enough. No wonder Peter says that the blood of Jesus is precious. In human terms it is more precious than any amount of earthly riches. Why blood? Because Lev 17:11 says that life is in the blood and Heb 9:22 explains that without the shedding of blood there can be no forgiveness.
I think about all that Jesus had to do to provide that for us. John 1:1-3 establishes that Jesus is God, is eternal, and created all things. He had to give all that up in order to take on a body that could bleed and dies. If He hadn’t done that but came as some super human being, He couldn’t die. There isn’t any kryptonite that would have made Jesus vulnerable. He had to give up His God nature on His own. Once it was established that He could die, He volunteered to go to the cross to pay the price for our sins and rebellion. That’s what Phil 2:6-8 is talking about.
Peter points out that Jesus was chosen before the creation of time to do this. The timing is confirmed in Eph 1:4, Titus 1:2, and Rev 13:8. I am astounded to think that before I existed, or even the earth for that matter, God decided that He would come to the earth to redeem fallen mankind and me by dying on a cross. He made that choice even before He created Adam and Eve. Jesus was not a martyr in the sense that He had no control over the situation. He is a martyr because he was a willing volunteer to take the punishment and pay the price that we couldn’t.
The result is that I have confidence in God through Jesus. When I believe in Jesus, I believe in God. God’s plan included raising Jesus from dead. His plan for me was not to let me wallow in my sin but he has restored me from that state and given me a position in His family. I’m redeemed!