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1 Peter 1:18–19
1 Peter Lesson #048
April 28, 2016
“Father, we’re thankful so much for the opportunity to come before Your Throne of Grace to bring these requests at the beginning of class. Father, we pray for our Vacation Bible School. We pray for the workers, those who are preparing. We pray for outreach and that you would prepare those who are coming for the reception of the gospel and learning the Word.
Father, we pray also for Jim Myers as he’s traveling now in Zambia. We’re thankful for the initial reports I received this morning that things are going well, although he has quite a bit of interest since he’s teaching spiritual warfare. There’s so much confusion about that in Africa.
Father, we pray that you would keep him strong and healthy and that he can rest while he’s in the midst of these labors. Father, we’re thankful for Your Word that we can come and study and encourage one another by our presence and encourage one another by focusing on Your Word.
We pray that You will help us understand these important doctrines. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.”
Open your Bibles with me to 1 Peter 1. Tonight we’re going to hit one of the critical verses in Scripture related to understanding God’s multi-faceted work of saving us. How does God bring about this so-great salvation that we have?
We’ve seen in the last three or four verses that there’s a challenge to us. We are first of all to rest our hope, our confidence, fully upon God’s grace. We are to be holy as He is holy. We are to conduct ourselves throughout the time of our stay here in fear.
The implications given in 1 Peter 1:17 focus our attention upon the fact that one day, we as believers, even though we are saved by grace and sin is not the issue of anything in the future because Christ paid the penalty for that sin, nevertheless, there is a judgment coming. There’s an evaluation, not to show and reveal what we’ve done is wrong and not to expose the sin in our life, but to rather expose that which we have done when we have walked by the Spirit and what He has produced in us. What will be rewarded in terms of our future service for the Lord in the Millennial Kingdom and on into the future? That’s one of the things we need to learn to focus on in terms of our spiritual growth.
Learning to live today in light of eternity. We’ve spent a lot of time on that. When we look at 1 Peter 1:17 we see this statement, “If you call on the Lord who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourself [live your life] throughout the time of your stay here in fear.”
What’s the reason for that that Peter gives here? It’s at the beginning of verse 18. It begins with an English word that in English looks like a gerund or a participle. It’s that “ing” ending. Knowing something. It’s a particular type of participle there in the Greek. It could be causal or it expresses a reason for the command.
We are to conduct ourselves because we know something. We’ve come to understand fully our salvation. This is one of the reasons it’s so important to review and review and review what was accomplished on the Cross for us. The more we are aware of the dimensions of what was done on the Cross, all of the multifaceted aspects of what God did and what Christ paid for, the more that should motivate us to live for Him.
The more that should motivate us to press on to maturity because we understand that we have been saved for a purpose. That’s what Peter says. We are to conduct ourselves in a certain way. We are to follow a certain kind of lifestyle because we know and understand something about our redemption.
We know that we were not redeemed with corruptible things. That word for redeemed or redemption is the Greek word LUTROO, which means to ransom something or to redeem something or to pay a price to purchase something. We use the term “redeem” often when we have coupons. You get coupons in the mail or the e-mail and you go and purchase something.
Someone gives you a gift card and you redeem that. There is a price that has been paid and on the basis of the payment of that price we gain something. That’s the main idea of redemption whether we’re talking about the Old Testament words or the New Testament language, it always has this idea of the payment of a price.
What lies behind that are a couple of different images. One of those images that we find is the image of buying something in the marketplace. Specifically it’s used in relation to slavery, purchasing the freedom of a slave. It has the idea in one form of the word to bring that person out of the slave market.
It has that idea of purchasing someone’s freedom by the payment of a price. There are other dimensions to this idea of payment. It’s the idea of cancelling a debt. It’s a financial term. Each of these words LUTROO or AGORAZO from AGORA, which is the word for the marketplace, has that idea.
We have people called agoraphobes. They don’t like to go out of the house, out into the marketplace. They stay at home and after a while, they never leave the house. They never go outside because they don’t want to be in open areas or around people. They’re fearful. That’s the root of the word, AGORA. It refers to the open marketplace in the ancient world. For example, the Mercado in Greece and Italy and places like that.
Redeem has this idea of buying something so we can’t get away from the economic aspects here. That’s why in passages we’ll see, it’s related to forgiveness because the word for forgiveness is a word that’s also an economic word that has the idea of cancelling or eradicating a debt. If you pay off someone’s debt, then they no longer have a debt. The debt is cancelled.
That’s behind the imagery that’s used in Colossians 1 and in Colossians 2:12–14. This is a very economic idea that we have here. That helps us to understand what transpires on the Cross. There’s an economic transaction that takes place there.
One of the problems that entered into the early church is they came up with these different views on redemption. I talked about it a little bit on Sunday morning. One of the early ideas to try to explain it was the idea of the payment of this ransom. But who is the payment paid to?
For many years one of the dominant views was the “ransom to Satan view”. That was the view that came from an early church father who is the source of some good as well as of bad by the name of Origen. Origen is also probably the first systematizer of allegorical interpretation. He did a lot of other things that were good in terms of preserving the text, copying the text, organizing the text, and making various translations so we could see or understand the word meaning, especially in Hebrew and Aramaic much better.
He also had some really bad theology. He had this idea that paying a price meant you had to pay it to someone. Rather than just in terms of understanding it judicially, that when there is a judicial sentence of guilt, then a penalty has to be paid. A penalty has to be assessed and carried out. It’s not necessarily paid to someone. It is paid to satisfy justice.
This word redemption, LUTROO, and its synonyms all have this economic aspect to them. Peter says that because you know you weren’t redeemed with corruptible things. Notice what the corruptible things are. They’re things that we value in our economy. We value gold and silver.
Peter says not corruptible, which means it’s not transitory. Eventually gold and silver and everything else will be destroyed. It’s not corruptible like silver and gold. Then he uses the phrase “from your empty manner of life [your aimless conduct]”. That’s that same word that we were studying earlier related to conduct back in 1 Peter 1:17 and then back in verse 13.
We have this idea of conduct or the way of life. Our way of life may produce that which has a lot of value. We may become a multi-millionaire. We may buy a lot of property. We may build or start multiple businesses. We may become extremely wealthy in this life, but it doesn’t last.
There’s nothing we can produce in this life that is going to last past that instant of death. After we die we don’t carry anything with us except our spiritual life, our spiritual growth. That’s the only thing that goes on into eternity. This brings out this aspect of redemption that goes on for eternity.
Then he says, “from your aimless conduct”. This is really a dig at Judaism. Remember, Peter is writing to the twelve tribes that are scattered. These are Messianic believers. That’s the term we would use today. They’re Hebrew Christians. They are Jews who have accepted Jesus as Messiah.
When he uses that phrase “by tradition from your fathers” that is a technical term to refer to the rabbinical authorities in Judaism. He’s not talking about a Gentile culture there, some past Gentile religion or philosophy. He’s talking about the religious teaching they had inherited through Judaism. He’s saying this doesn’t produce anything that has eternal or lasting value.
In 1 Peter 1:19 he says that in contrast you are redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. Of course, for those of you who may not realize this, today is the last day of Pesach or Passover. The Bible uses Passover in many different ways.
It uses Passover to refer to the lamb. It uses Passover to refer to the first day of Passover, the 14th of Nissan. The day after is the Feast of Unleavened Bread and that lasts for seven days. Passover began at sundown last Friday so we count the days and now tonight, tomorrow, and Saturday is going to be the end of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
I haven’t checked back on the calendar but it coincides with the fact that Sunday is Orthodox Easter. That’s Easter in Orthodox Churches, Syrian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, and all of the Orthodox Coptics. They all celebrate Easter this coming Sunday morning.
That means that tomorrow is Good Friday according to Orthodox traditions. I picked a crummy time to go to Jerusalem tomorrow. The Old City is going to be crammed with a lot of religious fanatics. They all come for this thing they call Holy Fire. I’m not sure I even understand what Holy Fire is but some guy in the middle of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher lights a fire to celebrate the Resurrection. Then all of a sudden everyone has something in their hand with fire.
I can’t imagine how unsafe this could possibly be. You just have tens of thousands of religious pilgrims who come into Jerusalem for Orthodox Easter. Then on top of that you have the 2nd Seder that’s observed tomorrow night at the close of Pesach.
Then you have Sabbath on Saturday. Not only is there nothing open. There “ain’t going to be not nothing” open. I’m going to use that triple negative. I was really planning on doing something Saturday. Nada.
The focal point of the Passover is the lamb. The lamb is chosen ahead of time and is observed to make sure the lamb is without spot or blemish. That means there’s no observable defect in the lamb. That is designed to picture the perfection of the humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is without sin. Therefore only He is qualified to go to the Cross.
If it’s a human being that’s tainted by sin, then the only person for whom he can die is himself. Because of the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, which gives infinite value to whatever He does in His humanity and because He is without sin in His humanity, He is qualified to go to the Cross as our lamb. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10, He is our Passover, Christ, our Passover Lamb.
Whenever we think of Passover we shouldn’t divorce ourselves from the whole Jewish background because that is brought over as a very real dimension of our understanding of our salvation. In fact, the whole concept of redemption is grounded in what happened at the Exodus.
It’s interesting how God in His universal pedagogy, as He’s trying to teach the human race about these spiritual truths, starts with these very concrete images in the Old Testament. The lamb without spot or blemish, the sacrifice, having to cut the throat of the lamb and the blood and all that is entailed in that; and putting your hand upon the lamb to identify your sins with the lamb so that now the lamb dies because you sinned.
All of this imagery is present here.
With this as a core verse to understand the doctrine of redemption we need to understand how this fits within the scope of God’s salvation plan for us. This takes us back to a doctrine I haven’t reviewed in a while. That is the doctrine of the barrier, which says that when God created man there was perfect harmony between Adam and Eve.
In the Garden there was a harmonious relationship. God walked with them on a daily basis. We don’t know how long it lasted. Some people want to try to make it last as long as it could. I don’t think it lasted that long. The longest it could last is about 110 or 120 years, maybe.
That’s because we know that Adam begot Seth when he was 130 years old. That’s 130 years from the moment he’s created, not 130 years from his sin. That’s because 24 hours after he was created he was a day old. There was morning and there was evening and it was the seventh day and then it was the eighth day. Time is marching on.
It’s funny I’ve had people say no, that’s only 130 years from the time he fell. What kind of clock do you have? That’s not how it works. The time factor was consistent from the day he was formed. So if he was 130 years old when Seth was born and Seth is born after Cain kills Abel. Let’s say they reached the age of about 20. So that would mean that from the time of the Fall until the time that Cain kills Abel would be approximately 21 years.
We’ll have a year there for Eve to get pregnant and then give birth and then say 20 years go by before Cain kills Abel. So 21 years. Twenty-one years from 130 is 109 years. That’s the longest time period that you could have for Adam and Eve to be in the Garden, conceivably. It could have been a year or two shorter.
If Adam fell after three or four years it just took him a while before all of this happened. If they were 50 or 60 years old when Cain killed Abel there would have been a much shorter time in the Garden. So they’re there, and they’re enjoying that relationship with God, and then Satan tempts Eve.
She yields to the temptation, eats the fruit, dies spiritually, offers it to Adam and he died spiritually. God came to walk in the Garden and they ran and hid. They knew internally they were in trouble. Something had changed. They were now spiritually dead. They were separated by sin.
We talk about that but there are components to the sin problem that are present in the Scripture. First of all, it’s sin. Because there’s sin, there’s a separation from God because God is not able to have a relationship with a sinful creature. So sin itself is part of that barrier.
Sin means to miss the mark or to fall short of the standard. Then there’s the penalty of sin. There is the judicial penalty that’s assessed and that is spiritual death. Something happened instantly when Eve ate of the fruit and Adam ate of the fruit, which was this judicial separation from God. Man lost the capacity to have a relationship with God.
Then we have a problem with the character of God because God is perfectly righteous and He cannot have fellowship with creatures who are less than perfection. This is a problem all the time that we have with people who are just confused over the gospel, confused over evangelism, and confused over many things because they don’t understand the character of God.
Understanding the character of God helps us to understand why the Bible is consistent when we have these things that take place, like the holy war of taking the land and the conquest. We’ll see this coming up in 1 Samuel 15 on Tuesday nights and try to wrestle over why this is not the same as what happens in Islam and why it was necessary because of the character of God.
It demonstrates how harsh the problem is with sin in the human race. We want to minimize sin but God won’t ever let us. He always treats us in grace but sooner or later the reality of the horrors of sin comes into play.
There is not only the judicial penalty of sin, which is the judicial reality of the spiritual death and separation of the human race, there is a spiritual death on the part of the individual. Each person is individually born spiritually dead and separated from God.
The fifth component is our lack of righteousness. We don’t measure up. We can never measure up. It’s impossible for a human being to measure up to what God expects.
God is the One who has to provide that for us.
Then a sixth dimension that is brought out by Paul in Romans 5 is that we are dead in Adam. “In Adam all die.” It’s our position in Adam. Our identification with his sin. He is the one that is the designated head of the human race so whatever decision he made affected the rest of us.
That may seem a little unfair. Well, it is unfair. It’s unfair when we vote for a congressman to go represent us in Washington, D. C. and they promise us they’re going to do a, b, and c and they do just the opposite. That’s not fair. They’re supposed to represent me and we get angry and we get frustrated because our representatives fail to represent us.
When Adam sinned he was our designated representative so in Adam’s fall, as the old Puritan Primer read, “In Adam’s fall, we sinned all.” That’s how it works. That’s how it works in life. We have many different people who represent us in many different ways from politics to business.
We have all kinds of people who represent us and when they make decisions that we disagree with and especially, when they go bad, we feel that it’s terribly unjust. It is because we live in a fallen world and that’s what happens with sin.
These are the problems. There are probably other dimensions that could be brought out but these are the basic ones and all of that composes this barrier that separates us from God.
Then we have the Cross. It just destroys the barrier. It wipes it out so that sin is no longer the issue. This is one thing that is rarely understood in evangelism is that sin isn’t the issue.
The unbeliever needs to understand that sin is a problem. It’s not his personal sins, but he needs to understand that sin is a problem and it makes him spiritually dead. Otherwise he doesn’t want the solution.
If he can’t grasp the fact that he’s thirsty and what that means he’ll never take a drink of water. The reason people need to be informed that they’re a sinner is they need to understand why they need to be saved, not brow beaten and be made to feel guilty because they have committed sin, which is usually what happens in a lot of evangelism.
They need an understanding that a person is spiritually dead and therefore, separated from God.
The next thing that happens is that God begins to solve the problem. The first basic solution is unlimited atonement. We need to stop there and just understand this is a little bit. The word unlimited means that it applies in some ways to every single human being.
Now the word “atonement” is a funny word. It’s come into English and into English theology and other theology because of the Old Testament depiction of the sacrifice providing something called in the Hebrew kafar. In early years, especially in early years of the Reformation and the Pre-Reformation with Wycliffe and others who didn’t know Hebrew that well, it was a problem.
It was very difficult for Gentiles to learn Hebrew because of their horrid Christian anti-Semitism that dominated the medieval culture. The last thing in the world a Jew would want to do is to teach a Gentile Hebrew. They were completely separated. This is one of the horrible things in the history of Christianity.
They thought that kafar, which is actually one of two homonyms [words that sound alike and spelled alike but mean different things]. One is the pitch that Noah used to cover the Ark. That word is kopher. The other is the word that’s used in the Levitical language of Leviticus, Exodus, and Numbers.
When you look at how the rabbis translated the Septuagint into Greek translated those words, they often used the word KATHARIZO in Greek, which means to cleanse. They didn’t understand it as a covering. They understood it as cleansing. What happens in the development of the language of the Bible and theology is that the English decided they needed to create a word that would capture the essence of this.
They understood that it brought God and man together so they invented a word called “At-one-ment”. See what that spells, Atonement. Atonement came from “at-one-ment”. So they’re trying to explain this concept basically of reconciliation.
It has come to be one of the terms used to describe the totality of Christ’s work on the Cross. I use it more in the objective sense of what’s accomplished on the Cross.
There are three basic problems that face the human race spiritually. I think that to grasp this helps us to understand what we’re seeing here in the barrier.
The first problem that faces man will be addressed by the solutions of the character of God, the penalty of sin, and sin. The second and third are handled by the solutions to spiritual death, our lack of righteousness, and position in Adam.
The first problem is that we have a judicial penalty. The judicial penalty was accessed on the human race the instant that Adam ate of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. They became spiritually dead. This is the judicial penalty. The whole team is put out of bounds. They’re put out of bounds. They’re put in the penalty box and there’s nothing they can do to solve the problem.
They keep multiplying inside the penalty box but they’re all in the penalty box. So the first thing that has to happen is the penalty has to be paid for. That’s an objective thing.
The second problem is the reality of all those generations that are going to be born inside the penalty box and experientially they’re spiritually dead and separated from God.
The third problem is that they all lack righteousness. Every one of them is born unrighteous and corrupt no matter how sweet and nice and wonderful and talented and brilliant they might be. They are morally and spiritually corrupt and they’re spiritually dead.
The solution to the first problem is what’s paid at the Cross. Christ pays the penalty. He redeems the entire lot and that refers to the fact that the objective penalty is paid so that God’s righteousness is satisfied, His justice is satisfied, and that’s what we call propitiation.
That’s why 1 John 2:2 mentions that God is propitiated for all. That’s every single one whether they accept it or not. They’re out of the penalty box but that doesn’t mean they’re made spiritually alive. They’re still all spiritually dead. It’s just that the judicial penalty that God assessed is paid for.
The second problem is that they’re each still individually spiritually dead. The only way they can individually change their status is to believe in Christ’s death for sin. The instant they do they’re born again. The term there is that they’re regenerated. They become a new creature in Christ.
They did not have a human spirit before. They get this human spirit, which is that immaterial ability to have a relationship with God.
When we talk about the classic argument between limited atonement and unlimited atonement, the atonement is unlimited. Christ pays the penalty for all. It’s limited because it’s not applied to individuals until they believe. When they believe they’re regenerate. The individual problem of being spiritually dead is resolved.
For the problem of righteousness, they receive the imputation of Christ’s righteousness and God declares them just. That’s remarkable. Y’all have heard this so much that it borders on boring, but this is remarkable!
We’re not saved because of anything that we’ve done or because we’re so smart that we exercise positive volition or because of any other human factor. God declares us just because we have Christ’s righteousness. When God looks at us and declares us just it’s not because something changed inside of us.
This is one of the problems with lordship salvation. Lordship salvation still has a remnant of the thinking that was the part of Roman Catholicism that somehow there’s some moral change that occurs in the believer so that they can’t be as gnarly and sinful after they’re saved as they were before.
If you just think about it a while, there are all kinds of problems with that. I’ve known all kinds of people who have been saved when they were very young, three, four, or five. I was six. You’re just not that experientially wicked. You’re just not doing those many things.
You’re not going out on a drunken bender every weekend. You’re not beating up on your parents. I know there are a few cases of that, but generally, you’re not beating up on your parents. You’re not doing horrible things to your friends. You’re limited in the expression of your sin nature.
You get saved and you get justified but when you’re fourteen or fifteen years old, if you’re a normal fourteen or fifteen year old, then you’re just nasty at times. We all were. We’re not very pleasant to be around as we’re trying to figure out how to grow up. All of a sudden you’re starting to discover options and opportunities for your sin nature that would never occur to you when you were five or six years of age.
Once you hit puberty that even expands. Now, unless you have learned and been trained well by your parents, in this culture in which we live I’m just glad I didn’t grow up with these options and opportunities. I don’t know how young people do it. Of course, many of them don’t.
What we see is this emphasis on the universality of Christ’s work on the Cross.
1 Timothy 2:6 says, “Who gave Himself as a ransom for all.” That word “all” means “all”. Sometimes the word “all” doesn’t mean “all”. The people who hold to limited atonement often emphasize that all doesn’t always mean all and they’re right. In the Gospels when John writes that all the people in Jerusalem went out to see John the Baptist, he doesn’t mean every single individual person. He’s using language the same way that we do.
We talk in terms of broad generalities. That’s what happens. But you have the word “all” being used in a specific time in Scripture and this is one of them. He gave Himself as a ransom for all. The Greek word there translated ransom is ANTILUTRON. We’ll see that a little later.
This is one of those words. It’s built on the root LUTROO. You can see it there. That LUTR is the root and ANTI is the Greek preposition of substitution. It means to pay something for someone. There we get that idea for substitutionary sacrifice. That’s the essence of the atonement.
It’s not the idea of a ransom payment to Satan. It’s the idea of substitution. It’s a real substitution. It’s not a phony substitution. I remember someone asking me when I first went to seminary and was told that one of the things I would have to deal with in thinking through this issue of whether Christ died for everyone or only for the elect is whether it means that He really, actually died as a substitute.
In Calvinism, they’ll say that Christ died as a substitute only for the elect. The way classic unlimited atonement was expressed, especially in the Reformation and after, is that Christ died for the unbeliever but if they don’t accept Christ’s payment, when they die then they go to the Lake of Fire and pay the penalty there.
So did Christ actually die for them if they end up paying the penalty? No. That’s a fake substitution. It’s also called hypothetical substitution. It ends up at the end, if I were to die and let’s say I’m in the Lake of Fire and I’m talking to someone and they said, “You know we should have believed in Jesus. Christ died for us.” Well, if Christ died for us what am I doing here? If He died for me and I believed it I would have gone to Heaven but since I really didn’t believe it, then He didn’t die for me, did He?
It’s a misunderstanding there. He died as a ransom for all but in the sense that He pays the judicial penalty to satisfy God’s righteousness and justice for every single human being. Sin isn’t the issue any more.
1 Timothy 4:10, “For it is for this that we labor and strive because we have fixed our hope on the living God who is the Savior of all mankind [not all males], especially of believers.” That last phrase tells us that “all mankind” refers to believer and unbeliever alike, but “especially of believers” mean there are dimensions of the Cross that are applied specifically and especially to those who are believers.
Another passage in 2 Peter 2:1 is where Peter is referring to false prophets, “Who arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you.” He recognizes that there will be those who come up within the ranks and I could give you a list of names unfortunately of people who have come up within our ranks in a broad sense who are teaching heresy today.
I mean real heresy. There are some who are teaching Replacement Theology. There are some who are off into amillennialism. There are others who are so immersed in mysticism and God speaking to them that it is just downright scary how they got from where they were to where they are today. But for the grace of God go each of us.
So when Peter is saying this he’s not saying that these false teachers are coming from outside and infiltrating the church, although that’s a problem. He’s talking about people who got out of fellowship and in arrogance they became false teachers and they introduced heresies that were destructive, “Even denying the Master who bought them.” Now this applies to unbelievers and the way Peter is talking about this it could apply to believers or unbelievers. It’s not necessarily just talking about believers.
These false prophets arose among the people [as they did in the Old Testament] and denied the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Here you have someone who is carnal and heretical yet Jesus paid the penalty for their sin. The word here is AGORAZO, the one I mentioned earlier from the marketplace, purchasing in the marketplace. Again, it emphasizes this economic aspect.
Then we have 1 John 2:2, “and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins.” Propitiation means satisfaction. He satisfied God’s righteousness and justice. “He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.” “Ours” refers to believers. “Whole world” refers to all the unbelievers. This is a great passage that Christ’s death had an unlimited dimension to it.
The second aspect of the barrier is solving the penalty of sin, paying the price. That is redemption.
We’re going to look at the language of redemption. The first point in the doctrine of redemption is understanding the language. This is really important because a lot of people don’t understand redemption and how the language is used, both specifically and literally, as well as figuratively.
In the Old Testament there are only two words that are used. Each word is emphasizing a slightly different aspect although both words do have as part of their core semantic meaning the idea of providing or supplying something for someone.
The first word is padah, which has to do with the payment of a price to free someone from a state, such as slavery, death, or destruction. It always emphasizes the payment of a price to bring about freedom. That’s the ultimate result of redemption when the word used is padah. It brings about deliverance.
It’s used with reference to many different things in the Old Testament. I’m going to give you two or three examples. In Exodus 13:13, in the Law we read, “But every first offspring of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb.” This is in the context of the first Passover. What happens in the first Passover?
It’s the tenth plague. In the tenth plague God said He’s going to kill the firstborn of livestock and of human beings in all the land of Egypt. The firstborn is going to die. Every first born of a donkey, Moses says, you shall redeem with a lamb. When a donkey gives birth to that first born, you’re going to sacrifice a lamb for the value of that first born.
“If you do not redeem it, then you shall break its neck.” That is, you shall kill that first born of a donkey. “And every first-born of man among your sons you shall redeem.”
That was brought about in Exodus 13:15, “And it came about, when Pharaoh was stubborn about letting us go, that the Lord killed every first-born in the land of Egypt, both the first-born of man and the first-born of beast. Therefore, I sacrifice to the Lord the males, the first offspring of every womb, but every first-born of my sons I redeem.” How did he redeem them? Through the sacrifice of a lamb to God. This is the idea: the payment of a price takes place there.
Another verse is Exodus 21:8. This is a verse that relates to the laws related to divorce. If a man is betrothed to a woman and she displeases him before the marriage and they find some fault with her, “Then he shall let her be redeemed.” Her freedom can be purchased so she does not go through with the engagement.
There are certain restrictions. “He shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people.” He can’t sell her into slavery.
Job 33:28. Job is an interesting book. Job is the earliest book, I believe, that was written in the Old Testament. It was written before the Pentateuch. Job lived approximately the time of Isaac and Jacob, along with the patriarchs. I think Job is the first book written. It deals with one of the most significant experiences in the human experience, which is suffering and undeserved suffering.
There are a lot of things Job says that reveal a rather in-depth knowledge of doctrine that is not explicit in either Genesis or Job. He talks about knowing His Redeemer liveth. Isn’t that interesting? Here in Job 33:28, “He has redeemed my soul from going to the pit, and my life shall see the light.” He understands this concept of a substitutionary payment.
Psalm 44:26. David prays, “Rise up, be our help, and redeem us for the sake of Thy lovingkindness.” He’s calling upon God to redeem us.
Then we come to the next verb that’s used in the Old Testament which again is a very interesting word. Ga'al is the verb. Go’el is the noun. Ga’al as a verb means to redeem and it is also used to refer in a participial form to the Redeemer. Usually we find this idea exhibited in the book of Ruth of the kinsman redeemer.
The key idea for the Go’el is that he provides security. He provides protection. It also emphasizes that he is a close kinsman. He’s a family member. It’s a family responsibility. According to the Mosaic Law, if a man was married and he dies without offspring, no children, then his brother if he’s not married, has the responsibility to marry his widow and have children by her to raise them up in the name of the previous husband in order to preserve property rights and maintain the family as the core unit in society.
That’s part of the way of protecting a nation by securing the family under divine institution number three. This idea is the idea that is exhibited in the book of Ruth.
Ruth is a Gentile woman. She’s a Moabitess. She’s married to one man. There’s a father and two brothers. The father dies and later the two brothers die. The two wives are left without husbands. One wife goes back home but Ruth is going to stay with her mother-in-law, Naomi.
There are a lot of lessons about grace. Naomi recognizes this law about levirate marriage and says, “We can go back to where the family is from in Bethlehem. There is a close kinsman who is Boaz. You can go to him and maybe he will provide protection for the family.”
So we go through the whole story of Ruth identifying who Boaz is and letting Boaz know who she is. There’s another person who has a closer relationship so that has to be determined whether he will take the responsibility and he won’t. Eventually Ruth and Boaz get married. Boaz is the go’el. He is the kinsman redeemer who provides protection and security for Ruth, who as a widow would have nothing, No protection. A widow was left almost destitute in that culture.
So padah and ga’al are the two Hebrew words.
When we get into the New Testament we have quite a few different words and they’re all built off of the same base: either LUTRON or LUTROO [verb] or the AGORAZO base.
We’ll just sort of run through these. What I want you to pay attention to is that it always refers to the payment of a price. Redemption has to do with paying the price or the results of the payment of a price.
ANTILUTRON we talked about has the idea of paying the price for the freedom of a slave or prisoner, rescuing them from slavery so that they are purchased and given freedom.
Another noun form with a different Greek preposition, still the same root, is APOLUTROSIS. It means deliverance procured by the payment of a ransom; to release a slave upon receipt of a ransom. Notice the idea here. These are great words that have been developed in Roman culture that God is using to help us understand that we’ve been bought with a price. We’ve been rescued from slavery, from being in the slave market of sin.
The noun is LUTRON, which is the payment of a ransom price in order to set someone free.
The verb is LUTROO and that again refers to the payment of a ransom price, to deliver by ransom, or to liberate. It’s used in the sense of redemption here in our particular passage.
Another noun is LUTROSIS or APOLUTROSIS which simply means redemption or deliverance or freedom. Now that’s a great idea, that redemption is emphasizing the idea of freedom. That’s what Paul gets to in Galatians 5:1, it’s the freedom that “Christ has set us free.”
So you have LUTROSIS, APOLUTROSIS, and then the sixth word is LUTROTES, which always refers to the redeemer or one who pays for the freedom. In Acts 7:35 it describes Moses as the redeemer of Israel. In other passages it refers to God as the Redeemer of Israel.
The next two words are built off of AGORAZO. AGORAZO means to buy something in the market place. It’s to purchase something in the market place. The AGORA in some places refers to the slave market, so it is purchasing someone who is a slave. In the concept of salvation, Christ is paying the price to liberate those who are slaves to sin.
Then there’s EXAGORAZO, which means to purchase out from [prepositional prefix EX] the slave market and is used in Galatians 3:13 and 4:5.
Redemption then, in conclusion, has the idea of purchase, to buy, and to liberate. It has this idea of delivering someone for something. The context is going to fill out the details but it has that idea of paying the price.
So the first point that I’ve covered, I spent most of the last hour covering, is just the language of redemption, helping us understand. When you hear the word redeem you should hear paying a price.
In the Old Testament there are two basic pictures for redemption. The first is the exodus event. That’s why that is so important. Again and again and again, that’s why God tells the people that every year at this time you have to celebrate having a meal. The children in the house will ask these questions. The first question is, “Why is this night different from every other night?” The answer is that it’s because this is the night where God redeemed us from slavery in Egypt. So through these questions that are asked through the Haggadah you tell the whole story of the Exodus so everyone is reminded of this on an annual basis.
All of this is mixed in with this model of redemption. This is the language that is used. Both padah and ga'al are used to describe what God did for Israel in redeeming them from physical slavery in Egypt.
Exodus 6:6, “Say, therefore, to the sons of Israel, ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.’ ” What’s going on here is that God is commissioning Moses to be the one to go and be the deliverer. And Moses is saying what do I tell the people. This is what God tells him. “I will deliver you from their bondage.” The word there for deliverance is a Hebrew word which can have a violent context to it. It means to rip something out, to pull it apart, and in that sense to remove it and to bring someone out from something.
God concludes by saying, “I will also redeem [ga’al] you with outstretched arm and with great judgments.’” The ga’al there is emphasizing that God will redeem them. He will protect them and preserve them. Remember, that’s the main idea of ga’al and He will do this with an outstretched arm. The arm of God always focuses on His power and His omnipotence and His care. He will do this with great judgments. So He’s going to be judging the Egyptians. That’s going to be the context of how He will bring them out.
Exodus 15:13. Moses says, “In Thy lovingkindness Thou hast led the people whom Thou hast redeemed.” So now they’re out and God is delivering them. Notice the basis. It’s His lovingkindness. The Hebrew word there is chesed. Chesed has the idea of God’s faithful, loyal love. He hasn’t even given the Mosaic Covenant yet. He’s loyal to the covenant of Abraham and the promise that He made to Abraham back in Genesis 17 that the people would be in bondage for 430 years and then He would bring them to the land. God is faithful to that.
Moses says, “In Thy lovingkindness Thou hast led the people whom Thou hast redeemed [ga’al] in Thy strength, Thou hast guided them to Thy holy habitation.”
Then we have Deuteronomy 7:8. How did God redeem Israel? He purchased them through the sacrifice of the Passover lamb. The lamb price was not paid to Pharaoh. The lamb price was symbolic and the payment is made to satisfy God’s judgment. “But because the Lord loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the Lord brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.” This is the word padah here.
In Deuteronomy 9:26, “And I prayed to the Lord and said, O Lord God, do not destroy Thy people, even Thine inheritance, whom Thou hast redeemed through Thy greatness, whom Thou hast brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand.” The redeemer must be free to pay the redemption price.
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We go on to Deuteronomy 13:5, “But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death.” This is a false prophet that comes up. “… because he has counseled rebellion against the Lord your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery.”
Again and again and again what you find in Deuteronomy, like Deuteronomy 13:5 and 15:5, is that God is the One who redeemed them. The identification of God in the rest of the Old Testament almost always goes back to “this is the one who brought you up out of Egypt” and “this is the God who redeemed you”.
We constantly think of the Lord Jesus Christ as our Redeemer. We see these passages again and again and again.
I’m going to stop here. We’ll come back next time and just summarize this again and review this. Then we’ll talk about the second great illustration, which is the one I’ve already referred to related to go’el, that is, the redemption of the kinsmen redeemer and how that relates to understanding that in order for Christ to redeem us He has to be truly human because He’s our Kinsmen Redeemer.
“Father, thank You for this opportunity to think a little more precisely about our salvation, about what Christ did for us on the Cross, and how so much had to be done to pay this penalty that was against us because of sin. It’s not a light thing. It’s a very heavy thing and very difficult and complex and not something to be treated lightly or frivolously. This is why Peter says this is the ground for the command that we are to conduct ourselves with fear in this life, knowing that we have not been redeemed with corruptible things from our empty manner of life.
Father, we pray you will help us to think through these things, understand these things, as we continue to grow spiritually. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.”