1 Peter 1:17-19 Identity: Ransomed


17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, 18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.


A prisoner sits in their cell without hope of reprieve.  They are awaiting the death sentence.  Each day is sapped of joy because they know the inevitable truth that they will be executed.  It is not as if the prisoner sits there because they do not deserve the sentence.  Each prisoner on this death row has deep shame and guilt that they can not shake.  The shame is in the knowledge that nothing good dwells in them.  The guilt rests on them because the judge has spoken truth, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  So the prisoner sits in their dark cell waiting for the inevitable.  They are without hope.  Nothing they can do will free them.

Mercy comes in the form of a ransom.  The price of the guilt is paid.  The shame is removed.  The payment is in the form of an exchange.  A stranger comes in with a face that looks glad to see the accused.  He embraces the condemned even though they are guilty.  He informs them that he has taken the guilt and shame and they do not have to be executed.  However, there is more than mercy, he has purchased grace.  The prisoner can leave the cell and live a life without shame or guilt.

Jesus has purchased for us our freedom to live a new life.

Some of us still feel as though we have to sit in the cell.  It is the perception we have had for so long.  We have let others dull our senses to God’s truth with accusations and verbal abuse.  Others have told us we are not worth much.  However, there is someone who has taken our place so that if we exchange his life for our freedom he pays the ransom.  We are worth that much.  However, Jesus demonstrates the extent of his love in that he paid the price and took our place when we were still rightly condemned.  We were not in the cell unjustly.  Justice has been suspended in our case because it has been completely transferred to another.

Now we need to throw aside the old, defeated persona of who we once were.  We need to enter more fully each day into the victorious, successful, bold, and joyful identity that is ours.


The price is paid,
Come let us enter in
To all that Jesus died
To make our own
For every sin
More than enough He gave
And bought our freedom
From each guilty stain

The price is paid
Amazing grace
So strong and sure
And so with all my heart
My life in every part
I live to thank You for
The price You paid

The price is paid
See Satan flee away
For Jesus crucified
Destroys his power
No more to pay
Let accusation cease
In Christ there is
No condemnation now

The price is paid
And by that scourging cruel
He took our sicknesses
As if His own
And by His wounds
His body broken there
His healing touch may now
By faith be known

The price is paid
‘Worthy the Lamb’ we cry
Eternity shall never
Cease His praise
The church of Christ
Shall rule upon the earth
In Jesus’ name we have


  1. How does the accused feel about the judge who rightly condemns them?
  2. Why does the fear of God not get taken by Jesus?
  3. From what have the recipients of the letter been ransomed?
  4. What behavior patterns have you been ransomed away from?
  5. How do you respond to being ransomed from the reasons for guilt and shame?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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5 Responses to 1 Peter 1:17-19 Identity: Ransomed

  1. Christina Zezulak says:

    Some of the accused and convicted know that they are rightly condemned and they acknowledge their desperate need. I recall when Jesus says that He has come for the sick, not the “healthy.” So many people, however, continue to not see their wrong, their failure, their wickedness. These people cannot embrace the Savior when they don’t understand what they need to be saved from.
    I love the analogy of the prisoner to explain the gospel. In a very real sense, we are prisoners destined for a lifetime of punishment. In eternity, a lifetime means forever. One of the largest issues I see for Americans not embracing the gospel is that they are taught that they are amazing just the way they are, and that everyone makes mistakes, and that they are special. When we are dead in sin, we are nothing. We are evildoing, we are rebellious against our Creator, and we deserve God’s full wrath. But praise be to God forever for His undeserved kindness towards us. May I never cease praising Him for ransoming my life for His glory.

  2. Bronwyn says:

    Though Jesus does set us free from fears- like fear of what others think of us, fear of demons, fear of death, (Heb 2:14-15) and also the rightful fear of condemnation, the fear of God is something that we dare not be “released” from because it is a good thing, and God’s plan is for us to grow in our fear of Himself!

    Psalm 34:4 does say, “I sought the LORD, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.” But then verse 7 of the same chapter says, “The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, and rescues them.” Verse 9 also encourages us, “O fear the LORD, you His saints; For to those who fear Him there is no want.”

    Psalm 130:3-4 says, “If You, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared.”

    Isn’t this interesting..some people seem to think that if God forgives them of their sin than they have been given permission not to fear Him at all, but can do whatever they want, since they have their “ticket to Heaven.”
    These verses seem to say that when one truly is forgiven of their sins what comes out of this experience is reverence for God and a desire to walk in His ways. We shouldn’t desire forgiveness of our sins, so we can sin some more; we want forgiveness of our sins because we’re “done with this rubbish” and we want real pleasure, we want to live a life that honors God.

  3. Eric Wildermuth says:

    These verses immediately remind me of another sermon in Galatians when my pastor highlighted adoption in chapter 4. He gave the illustration of a judge at a sentencing who pardons the guilty (he spoke of the courtroom drama better because he was a prosecutor for the state of Illinois for 25 years before becoming a full-time pastor). Anyhoo, not only does the judge pardon the guilty, but invites him to be his own son and receive all of the blessings and inheritance that comes along with it. How far-fetched an idea in our society, or in any? But this is precisely what is so. God, the great judge, has not only pardoned us through the atoning and propitiating work of His Son Jesus Christ, but has also adopted us so that we are He is our loving Father and that we are co-heirs with Christ. Peter gets at a similar idea where, in an amazing cosmic plot-twist, the condemning judge is actually our father and has made a way for us.

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