1 Peter – Chapter One XLVI

by Ed Urzi

“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” (1 Peter 1:18-19).

While the concept of “redemption” may be familiar to airline travelers, retail shoppers, and others who participate in various consumer loyalty programs, the Biblical concept of redemption is one that stretches back into the Old Testament era. For instance, let’s consider the related concept of a “kinsman-redeemer” as it appears within the pages of the Old Testament.

Although the role of a kinsman-redeemer may be largely unfamiliar to contemporary audiences, it is an important Biblical concept that holds significant interest for those who follow Christ. A kinsman-redeemer was someone who held the power to act on behalf of a family member in several ways…

  • He possessed the ability to re-purchase family property.
  • He could redeem another family member who had been sold into slavery.
  • A kinsman-redeemer could punish those who injured a relative.
  • He could assume responsibility for continuing the lineage of a deceased male relative.

These responsibilities are most clearly defined in the Biblical book of Ruth. As we consider these duties, it should be easy to apply them to our relationship with Christ. For example, Jesus serves as our kinsman-redeemer in several respects…

  • He is related to us through our common humanity.
  • His death on the cross served as the purchase price to redeem us from our estrangement from God.
  • He then cares for us, protects us, provides for us, and gives eternal life to those who accept and follow Him.

The following commentary offers some further insight into Jesus’ act of redemption on our behalf…

“The word redeemed (Gr lytroō) refers to the payment of a required price to release one from an obligation. This is one of the most important words in the Bible since it succinctly describes the atonement of Jesus Christ and the reason for His death on the cross. Peter refers to the fact that his readers, like all Christians, have been released from empty and meaningless lives by a payment made on their behalf.

The value of the payment that was made was far greater than silver or gold in any amount; it was the blood of Christ, meaning His death on the cross, which paid the price of release from traditional, pagan conduct. The command to live holy lives for our brief sojourn on the earth, in the interim, as we wait for the consummation of our salvation, is based upon the great price paid by Jesus Christ.” (1)

(1) Edward E. Hindson and Woodrow Michael Kroll, eds., KJV Bible Commentary (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1994), 2604.