April 23

1 Peter 1:17-20

“You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish.” vss. 18-19

A ransom is typically understood as the payment that gives a person release from captors. In this passage it’s used as a verb to describe how the blood of Christ sets sinners free from their sinful pasts. It seems a fine metaphor and through the years countless Christians have understood that the innocent blood of Jesus is what has set them free from sin. It only becomes a problem when we start asking questions. For instance, to whom is this ransom paid? Or, why is a ransom even necessary if God offers forgiveness by grace? Answers to such questions are seldom satisfying and as a result many have stopped using ransom talk in understanding atonement, and some have even stopped using atonement language altogether. Instead of using a metaphor that arises out of the Hebrew sacrificial system outlined in Leviticus, they’re more comfortable with the language of sacrificial love found in the New Testament. With that understanding as a background, Peter’s words are a beautiful description of the mystical wonder of God’s grace. We don’t have to pay for forgiveness with silver or gold, it’s a free gift–and it becomes ours, not so much through the blood of Christ, as through Christ’s self-giving love.

Thought for the Day: Why does blood imagery touch a responsive chord in so many?

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