Because this morning is our time at the Lord's Table, I have chosen to depart from the Gospel of Luke, which is our ongoing study on Sunday mornings. There's a bit of reluctance in doing that because I'm so blessed, as I know you are, in the magnificent pictures of the Lord Jesus Christ that appear in paragraph after paragraph of Luke's Gospel. Well, we'll be back there next week.
But it's important as well that we focus on His redemption, the death of the Lord Jesus Christ, in a communion service, and we won't get to that part of Luke's Gospel for quite a while, so it is appropriate that we address it from another portion of God's precious Word.
If you would, open your Bible to 1 Peter Chapter 1, Peter, the beloved Apostle, whom we're getting to know better and better as we work our way through Luke's Gospel, is the author of two Epistles, 1 and 2 Peter as they are known. In the first chapter of his first Epistle, he focuses on one of the great realities, one of the great perspectives in the matter of our salvation, and it's on our redemption.
The word "redemption" or redeemed belongs in a litany of words that are attached to the subject of salvation, words like conversion, regeneration, new birth, justification, even sanctification, and the word "redemption" is an important word for us to understand, and Peter makes the focus of a paragraph here in his opening chapter.
Let me begin reading in Verse 14, 1 Peter Chapter 1, "As obedient children do not be conformed to the former lest which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy one who called you, be Holy yourselves also in all your behavior. Because it is written, you shall be Holy, for I am Holy, and if you address as Father, the one who impartially judges according to each man's work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay upon earth, knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of the lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ, for He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you, who through Him, are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory so that your faith and hope are in God."
The passage begins with a call to virtue. In fact, backing up one verse, there are a series of commands to gird up your mind to be sober in your spirit, to fix your hope on the future grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ, Verse 14, "to be obedient children;" Verse 15, "to be like the Holy one, who called you, being holy yourselves in all your behavior because it is written, you shall be holy, for I am Holy."
And Verse 17 says, "If you're going to address as Father, the God who judges impartially everyone, then you ought to conduct yourself in fear of that Father during the time of your stay on earth," and He's writing to believers here, and He's saying you need to take seriously how you live your life.
You need to live your life with discipline. That's what "gird up your minds" means. You need to live your life with the right priorities. That's what "keeping sober" means. You need to live your life in the light of the future, not the moment. That's what "fixing your hope" means. You need to be obedient. You need no longer to be conformed to the things to which you were previously conformed.
You need to be like the Holy One, who called you, being yourselves holy in your conduct or your behavior. And if you're going to call God your Father, then you understand that He has Fatherly responsibility and you have to Him the accountability of a child, and you ought to conduct yourself with an appropriate fear over the Father's right to hold you accountable for you behavior and to discipline you for it.
So this is really, in Peter's words, a "call to holiness, a call to virtue, a call to the right priorities, spiritual self-discipline and all of those matters are touched on in the passage, but it is in Verse 18 that he adds the motivation for this, knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold, Verse 19, "but with the precious Blood of Christ."
He says, "This is a foundation for your approach to living when you understand your redemption." When you come to the Lord's Table, anytime you come to the Lord's Table, it becomes a time of confession. It becomes a time of heart examination. The Apostle Paul says in his instruction about the Lord's Table in 1 Corinthians, "Don't come to this Table superficially. Don't come with shallow thoughts. Don't come, holding onto sin. Examine yourselves. If you come in a light way or in a trivial way or a superficial way, you'll eat and drink judgment or chastening to yourself."
In other words, the Lord's Table is a time for real hard examination. It's a time to take inventory of how you're living your life. It's a time to renew the call to obedience. It's a time to renew the call to Holiness, to virtuous conduct, to sober mindedness, to self-discipline. It's the perfect time, really, to sort of re-grip the matters of virtue and holy living to which we were called.
And behind all of this is to remember your redemption. The word down in Verse 18, the word "redeemed," comes from a great verb, lutrao. It basically means to set free by a ransom paid, to set free by a ransom paid. You ought to conduct yourselves in a certain way because you have been ransomed. You owe that to the one who paid the price to set you free. It's consistent with who you are now.
When we think of a ransom, typically, we think of a criminal activity. We, our culture, don't have slavery. We don't have a way to ransom people, as it were, out of prison, to ransom prisoners of war as if in an ancient time, so the word "ransom" in our culture has taken on basically a criminal kind of feature. When we think of ransom, we think somebody has kidnapped a child or kidnapped a spouse, and they write a ransom note, saying for X amount of dollars, I will set this person that you love free. Ransom, for us then, tends to be associated with evil people, with the worst of people, with criminal-type people, who are endeavoring to exhort, extort money out of people by threatening to kill the people they love.
But in ancient times, the ransom had different significance. When the nations ward against one another, the conquering nation would take prisoners, the other army, the opposing army; those prisoners could be bought back. They could be bought freedom from their imprisonment under certain terms met by the conquered people. And there were servants or slaves in the ancient world. That was pretty much how the labor force of the ancient world would be identified, and it was possible for a price that you could buy the freedom of a slave or a servant and make that servant a free man.
That's the term that's used here. The term is lutrao. It means to pay the price to free a prisoner, to pay the price to free a slave. In our case, both were true. We were prisoners of a just God, who had every right to sentence us to eternal hell. We were slaves of righteousness, of unrighteousness, I should say, and as slaves of unrighteousness, had put ourselves in a position of culpability before that just God by the violation of his Holy law.
God then having every right to hold us guilty; had sentenced us to death; however, the Lord Jesus provided the ransom price to liberate us from the power of sin, the slavery of sin and from the prison of divine judgment, the sentence of eternal hell.
So as we talk about this concept just before we take the Lord's Table, a brief look at that; I want you to kind of look at just some of the features of redemption because maybe in reaffirming what we've been redeemed from, we can excite our own hearts toward obedience and holiness and behavior that's consistent with the mighty work of God in our lives. Let's ask the question, first of all, what were we redeemed from? What were we redeemed from? You can't really understand the significance of redemption unless you understand where we were when we were bought our freedom.
The obvious answer is sin, but there's an extended reality in thinking about that, and that is judgment. To be the slave of sin is therefore to be under the judgment of God, The soul that sends it shall die; the wages of sin is death. Anybody who sins is going to perish in eternal hell; anyone who sins and dies in their sins unforgiven is going to experience eternal punishment, eternal judgment at the Hand of God; never-ending torment described in very vivid terms in the Bible.
So we, as slaves of sin and prisoners to the justice of God, who had every right to sentence us to eternal hell for the violation of His Holy law, have been set free. This is the glory in reality of our redemption. Because we broke God's law, Galatians 3 says, "We are cursed by the law. A curse of that law is death and eternal judgment." We're all under the curse. There's none righteous, no, not one that does good. There's none that understand. You know all of those verses that define man's bondage to sin.
We are guilty of lawlessness. To break a law of God one time is to be guilty of all of it, the Scripture says. We need then to be redeemed from sin and its consequence, divine judgment. And the one who holds us accountable for that sin and holds us in contempt and sentences us and has prepared for us that divine judgment is God Himself so that the ransom price must be paid to God. This justice must be satisfied in a manner which He Himself has determined is acceptable to Him.
Now, thinking about the depth of this slavery, the Apostle Peter has given us some insights into the condition of being unredeemed. Let's go back to Verse 14 for a moment and see how he describes it. He says in Verse 14, "You are now obedient children. Do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours," the former lust. The first way to define our enslavement to sin is that it was an enslavement to lust. Lust, that's the familiar New Testament word, epithumia. It means strong desires for what is evil. That's essentially the way it is used here, strong desires for what is evil.
It characterizes all people who are unredeemed. In 1 Thessalonians 4, it tells us very clearly in Verse 5 that "The pagans who do not know God function in lustful passion." They're driven by these internal desires, strong, compelling desires in the heart for what is evil. They are driven by these unrestrained desires, and they are comprehensive and dominant. That's why Paul, in Romans 6, says, "You are slaves of unrighteousness."
Genesis 6:5, I think, says it as well as any verse in Scripture. "God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." The precision of that statement is really very, very important. Every imagination of the thoughts of man's heart was only evil and evil all the time; every, only, always. Everything about his imaginations, his desires, was wrong. Everything about his desires was evil, and it was always that way and never any other way.
In the eighth chapter of Genesis Verse 21, Scripture says, "The imaginations of the heart are evil from man's childhood." As soon as he becomes conscious of his own conduct, conscious of his own behavior, makes willful choices; they are evil, and they stay evil all his life long, every imagination of the thoughts of his heart. That's an amazing phrase, "Every imagination of the thoughts of his heart."
When we think about the heart, we're talking about the mind. The Old Testament says, "A man thinks in his heart, so is he," so the heart was the mind. You might think that which is most basic to man is his mind, but that which is most human as distinguishing us from monkeys or any other animals is our rationality; that the truest essence of being human is to have a mind that thinks rationally. Well, that is essentially human, but that's not the most profound, and that's not the most powerful influence in us because there's something behind the mind.
There are thoughts that rise out of something called the imagination. There is something deeper than the mind. Imagination is more fundamental than thinking. It is what energizes thought. It would be one thing if man was really controlled by his reason. If man was controlled by his reason, he would look at creation and he would conclude there's a God. And if he were controlled by his reason, he would look at the reality of that moral law that's a part of his rational component, and he would say there is a moral law; therefore, there's a moral lawgiver; therefore, I conclude there is a Creator, who is a Judge, who has disclosed to me, not only His power to create, but His moral will.
Why doesn't man do that? Why does man do what Romans 1:18 and following says? Why does man who sees God if he looks through his reason, who sees God if he looks through his conscious in the law written in his heart in Romans 2; why does he suppress the knowledge? "Why does he not like to retain the knowledge of God," as Roman 1 says. Why does he go against the grain of his reason? Why will he cling to an evolutionary lie tenaciously to the grave, though to do that, he has to literally commit rational suicide? Why will be do that? Because there is something more dominantly human than rationality, and it is evil desires in the heart.
They rise through rationality, and they devastatingly affect man's objectivity. Imagination, James says, is where lust conceives, James 1:14. "Down deep in the inner workings of the being of man, there is lust," James says. And it entices and it gives birth of sin, and it brings forth death. It's not rational. It's not rational. Romans 1:32 says, "Even though people know these sins produce death, they not only do them, they give approval to those who do them."
This isn't rational. There's something more profoundly human than rationality; that is lust. Man is dominated by that lust, and it pollutes his reason. That's why Jeremiah said, "The heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked." If you want to know the heart of man, it is rational, but above all things, above it's rationality, above its ability to think, which is one of the great realities of humanity; that is, we can think, but above that, that is to say more powerful than that, more pervasive than that, more controlling than that is deception that is built into the fabric of being a fallen human being.
Down below his rationality is this corruption, this fallenness. And it energizes into reality sin, produces distortions so that he can't think reasonably. If he could, he's stop committing immorality. He's stop committing murders, stop the horrific crimes and sins that make up his life, but he can't, can't. Man is so corrupt from the core that it's absolutely mind-boggling.
I know even watching the television, you've been seeing that there are snipers going around shooting people, and I think there are a dozen people that have been shot, and the whole world is on this amazing high alert as if some bizarre anomaly has happened in human conduct. Just to put things clearly, if I might for a moment; in the last century, 170 million people were killed by their own governments. This isn't any anomaly in human conduct. This is just normal because down below, what's reasonable; there is a fire of hatred that broods in the heart of man, and it lashes out in murderous ways.
That's the real humanity. It may not always kill, but Jesus said, "If you've hated in your heart, you've done as much as murder." It might not always commit adultery, but Jesus said if you've done it in your heart, you've done it. This is the truest reality of the heart of men.
So when you were redeemed, you were redeemed out of that slavery of being absolutely controlled by your lust and your evil imaginations. Secondly, if you go back to Verse 14, He says, "Not only will you conform to the former lusts, but that they existed in your ignorance." This is a second way to define the terrible condition of the unredeemed. They're ignorant. They're ignorant.
Even the Apostle Paul, who was basically persecuting Christians in 1 Timothy 1:13, said, "God have mercy on me because I did it in ignorance." He was religiously astute; Hebrews, according to the law, blameless, a Pharisee, zealous; he was among the religious elite, highly educated; trained under Gamaliel, the best available training possible to a Jewish person. He was helenized in the great culture. He was a man of letters. He was a man of the world, but he was ignorant because that's the way it is in the unregenerate heart.
"The natural man understands not the things of God, their foolishness to Him," 1 Corinthians 2:14, "He can't know them." John 17:25, "Jesus confessed to the Father, the world has not known you." As I said in Romans 1, they suppressed a knowledge of God. They don't like to retain God in their knowledge, so their understanding is dark. Ephesians makes it very, very clear that the understanding of all people who are unredeemed is dark; they don't get it.
Ignorance is no excuse. They are without excuse, Romans 1 says, because their ignorance is willful. So when you look at - this is not some stranger we're talking about, folks; this is us before our redemption. We're talking about somebody who is driven by below the rational level lusts for fulfillment, immorality, pride, covetousness, whatever. They drive their way through from the core of our fallenness and infect and pollute and corrupt even our reason; that we conduct ourselves irrationally for the supposed fulfillment of our deeper lusts. And secondly, we're ignorant. We don't know God. We don't know where we're going. We're stumbling around in the dark. When we fall, we don't know what we fell over, and when we get up, we don't know where we are.
And then, thirdly, in defining this condition, then you go down to Verse 18, He says, "You are also redeemed from your futile way of life." From your futile way of lie - there's another characteristic of being under-redeemed. "You live a futile way of life." The word "futile" is matayas. Let me tell you, it's a simple word. It means empty, empty, useless, pointless, powerless, valueless, zero. That's what the unregenerated person is, great big nothing, useless. Their whole lives, from start to finish, utterly useless, of no real value.
Now, we live in a world that's gone absolutely wacky over rewarding people things; try to make people feel like they're important. By the time the average kid is 12 years old, there has to be a funkycabinet built in their room because they've been given so many awards that are also given to everybody else for participation, as if that's somehow going to make their life valuable; that they can achieve something from that low level of reward, all the way to winning literary prizes or Nobel prizes or science prizes or education prizes or earning PhDs or whatever it might be, even being sainted.
If you're unredeemed, your life is useless, absolutely useless. In Ephesians 4 Verse 17, Paul essentially says the same thing Peter said. "I say; therefore, and affirm together with the Lord." He's affirming the same truth, "that you walk no longer like the pagans walk in the futility of their mind." That's the same thing. It's in the uselessness of their mind. Their thoughts are useless; their deeds are useless; their accomplishments are absolutely useless.
There's really no end to the award platforms that are presented to us on television. Everybody gets awards for everything, and bottom line; it doesn't matter. In the scheme of things, it relates to eternity in the Kingdom of God; they're all useless. So they operate, according to Ephesians 4:17 in the futility of their mind, the uselessness of their mind, being darkened in their understanding. It's the same thing that we just read. They're ignorant. They are excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them because of the hardness of their heart, and they, having become callused, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.
In other words, they just can't get enough impurity. They just can't get enough. Now, that's the same definition exactly. That's the unredeemed. Their life has no value, absolutely none. It is an ignorant, lust-driven and useless existence. But some of them are religious, and doesn't that matter? No, they have to be saved and delivered out of that as well.
Go down to Verse 18 again. He says that they were not redeemed "from your futile way of life," and then adds this: "Inherited from your forefathers." Tatso Paradotus. That word basically means tradition, tradition. Tradition is a celebrated thing in our society, very celebrated thing. There are organizations that want to go back to tradition. There are people that clutch with a death grip to their tradition, but here, Peter says you need to be redeemed from your tradition. That's hard for people to swallow.
This can and does regard an apostate Judaism. You can go to a Jewish Orthodox, Jewish synagogue; you can go to the land of Israel, and you will be struck with the fact that there is a desperate need for these people, not only to be delivered from lust, not only be delivered from ignorance, not only be delivered from uselessness, but to be delivered from tradition because it's captivated their souls. It's an illusion.
Steven knew it when he preached his sermon to the Jews that day, and they killed him for it. He said, "You are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart." What you've got is tradition and nothing else. Jesus said in Matthew 15:9, "They've substituted the traditions of men for the commandments of God," and Jesus also said, "You've rendered the Word of God ineffective by your tradition."
So you could be talking about degenerate Jewish tradition, passed on from generation to generation to generation, and Jesus dismantled that thing when He said, "You have heard it said, but I say to you," and you have heard it said in Matthew 5; is pointing to their rabbinic tradition. Your rabbis tell you this, but I'm telling you this. Your rabbi's telling you this, but I'm telling you Jesus had to literally rescue them from their tradition.
It's not just Judaism. It could be something else. I just got back from several weeks in Italy, and you can't be a prolonged time in Italy without seeing the power of the Roman Catholic system, which is really the worship of Mary. It's a Mary cult. That becomes very, very clear when you're in Italy. It isn't that the people are personally connected to God or connected to Christ. It isn't that the churches are drawing people in. People aren't really connected to God, and they aren't so much connected to the church, but they are really connected to the tradition, and it runs so deep that it's hard to extract people out of that hold of tradition.
Talked to some missionaries, who were happy and fulfilled and having a great time raising their children there, and one of their daughters was about to marry a young Christian Italian. They were thrilled with that; that that had become their home after 13 years there, and they said, "We've been blessed. We have a large church in Italy." I said, "How many," and they said, "Thirty-five." Thirty-five? Well, you have to understand how hard it is for these people to come to faith in Jesus Christ because it means they have to literally reject their entire tradition.
The Catholic church has so much power over the towns, the communities, the country and the way the people live their lives that the provision holds them in the script; furthermore, the day they confess Jesus Christ and say that they were lost, they then consign all their ancestors to hell because they will have confessed that they didn't know the truth. The tradition is powerful. It's powerful in Judaism. It's powerful whatever tradition it is; might even be a pagan tradition.
1 Peter Chapter 4 Verse 3, it says there that the pagans, the Gentiles, the ethnots, the nations, the peoples; they have their own desire. "In the time past, it might have been," He said, "sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the pagans, the nations, and what is their tradition; sensuality, lust, drunkenness, carousals, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. If you read any of the literature from the ancient world around New Testament time, you know that the Greeks and the Romans had these religions in which there were temple prostitutes, in which there was drunkenness, in which there were orgies, in which there was gluttony, in which there were idols and all of this - this was all religious tradition.
That was the Gentile religious tradition. It could be a lot of different things. It can be a philosophical tradition. It can be the tradition that you were raised in Mormonism or JWZ; I mean, you can fill in the blanks. What has to happen is you are in slavery to lust. So was I; so are all of us in slavery to ignorance, in slavery to emptiness, in slavery to an inherited tradition from which we need to be rescued. That's what we need, to be rescued.
In Peter's thinking, all people are fettered, needing to be set free, and they're not slaves to alcohol or drugs or sexual addiction or any of those other things. That's superficial. They're enslaved to their fallenness, and there's no way out. There isn't any 12-step program to become unfallen. When you look at man and his unredeemed state, he is degraded; he is defiled; he is not a fit companion for God.
He is a fit companion for demons. His flesh is filthy; his body is stained, in desperate need of cleansing; his members and faculties are given over to iniquities. There's no part of him that is fit for union with God. His tongue is deceitful; his lips are poisonous; his throat is an open grave; his eyes are full of adultery; his heart is proud; his ears are deaf to God's voice and truth. His hands do evil; his feet are swift; they shed blood; his mind is depraved and reprobate; his heart is desperately wicked.
His will is hard and impentated; he resists God, refuses life; his conscious is defiled; he's so polluted, he can't help himself and he faces eternal hell. In 1669 Ralph Denning wrote, "It is not any one faculty only that sin has defiled, but like a strong poison, it soaks and eats through them all." Man is left in an utter darkness. A darkened mind leaves him to grope in the blackness, unable to comprehend the light. He walks in all kinds of wickedness, doesn't know where he's going, stumbles; doesn't know where he is; can't control thoughts, words or actions; appears content to be led blindly to destruction by the guide dogs of false religion, and it is from all of that that we have been redeemed.
And from the inevitable sentence on those who live that way, sentence of eternal punishment; that poses the question, "With what were we redeemed?"
God back to 1 Peter 1, "We were not redeemed with perishable things," that's for sure, like silver or gold or any other perishable thing. The price, the ransom price paid to God was not material. There was no amount of earthly wealth symbolized by silver and gold that could deliver the eternal souls of people from the bondage of sin and death and hell. There is no price within the reach of man that could satisfy God.
Psalm 49 Verses 7 and 8, "No man can, by any means, redeem his brother or give to God a ransom for Him, for the redemption of his soul is costly. You don't have the capability to come up with a price to redeem somebody's soul, not yours and not your brother's. There is no earthly commodity that is subject to decay, corruption and perishing that can pay the price that God requires to redeem a soul from sin and its consequence. On the other hand, you were redeemed, Verse 19 says, "with precious blood as a lamb unblemished and spotless, the Blood of Christ."
This is why we come to the Lord's Table because we come to celebrate that precious blood. It isn't the fluid that saved us. I say that often because people misunderstand it. Blood is simply a metaphor for death, a vivid metaphor for death. It's a vivid way to describe death, and Jesus died a bloody death, a death that a sacrifice dies, but His death was precious because He's precious. He is that lamb without blemish and without spot, pictured in all the Old Testament sacrifices by that spotless lamb that was selected to be the symbol of the final lamb, who would take away sin.
He is precious. Why precious? Well, I'll show you why. Precious because predestined, Verse 20, "Precious for He was foreknown before the foundation of the world;" precious because He was having been foreknown that is to be planned by God from before the foundation of the world. "He was the lamb slain from before the foundation of the world," so it says in the Book of Revelation, "The preciousness of Christ is, first of all,' expressed in that exquisite reality of his predestination, his foreordination, precious because perfect from before time ever began, eternally perfect; precious in his predestination before the foundation of the world; precious secondly in his incarnation.
Verse 20, "He has appeared in these last times. He has appeared in these last times." Fawn erao, a cortical event, to make something plain, to make it clear, to make it manifest, to reveal it; shows Him in eternity because of his perfection; revealed in time and manifesting that perfection. This appearing in His last time refers to his virgin birth. It refers to the kenosis, the incarnation, the self-emptying of the second member of the trinity. The last times are the Messianic times. The last times began when He was born, though he is precious. He's precious because He was chosen before the world began. He's precious because He was incarnate perfection.
His preciousness is further described by His resurrection, Verse 21, "God who raised Him from the dead." This is a divine affirmation of the preciousness of Jesus Christ and His death. There's a fourth element in His being precious, and that's His ascension. You go from His predestination to His incarnation to His resurrection to His ascension in Verse 21. This is the capstone. It says, "God not only raised Him from the dead. God gave Him glory." In John 17, Jesus said, "Take Me back. Give Me back the glory I had with you before the world began. I've done My work. Take Me back," and God exalted Him to His own right hand; gave Him a name above every name; that if the name of Jesus, every knee should bow in Heaven and earth and under the earth, every tongue confess Jesus as Lord.
He was highly exalted and seated at the right hand of the Throne of God on High. This is our precious redeemer, predestined, incarnate, risen, ascended; the most precious person ever to live, Holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners and all points tempted like as we are, but yet without sin, the spotless lamb, without blemish. God determined that He would be the ransom price to satisfy God's justice. Sometimes we sing that little song "Precious Lamb of Glory," love's most wondrous story; heart of God's redemption of man. That's it.
Well, we know what we were redeemed from now. We know by whom we were redeemed, but there's one other wonderful thought. For what were we redeemed? It says at the end of Verse 20 that this precious lamb, Christ; this lamb foreknown before the foundation of the world, the One who appeared incarnate, the One who rose from the dead, the One who ascended to glory; this One came - I love this - the end of Verse 20, "for the sake of you. For your sake, who through Him, are believers in God," end of the verse, "so that your faith and hope are in God." What is the reason for redemption? So that we could become believers in God, no Christ, no cross; nobody could be a believer in God, and no one would have faith and hope in God.
We are believers in the true and living God. All our faith is in God. All our hope for the future is in God, and it is only possible because of the redeemer, who paid the price to redeem us. That's why we live holy lives; because of the glory and the wonder of our redemption, through lives.